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“Relaxing break but New Years Eve disorganised” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandbanks Hotel

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Sandbanks Hotel
Ranked #9 of 14 Hotels in Poole
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Relaxing break but New Years Eve disorganised”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2013

This was our first visit to Sandbanks with our four children, aged 5, 10, 12 and 14. We were all looking forward to celebrating the new year together in this renowned family friendly hotel. We can't fault our room or the staff and our children did have a wonderful time but there is one issue which we just couldn't get our heads around. Why does the hotel insist on families not eating together? If we wanted the children to eat with us we had to pay an extra £5 per child. On the day of the New Years Eve gala meal they informed us that there was no option of the children eating with us, they were to eat in another area and then to join the entertainment team whilst we ate our meal. When we walked past the gala room all decorated in gold with crackers and party hats and streamers we felt guilty taking our children downstairs to this very damp smelling bleak basement room which had no tables set up and no party atmosphere, just a very poor canteen area. We were so shocked that we refused to leave our children there and insisted they ate with us. We were then very discretely tucked away in a corner but we did have a wonderful time and the food was great, lots of choice for the children. There was also a wedding function on that very same evening. It's clear that Sandbanks are trying to cater to everyone's needs when really they need to have two areas set aside for such a large event. One area for families with very young children so they can enjoy the entertainment and disco, which was far too noisy and really geared to very young children, and they need another function room for the more older clientele or quieter families with older children. A wedding using up a function room on the same night really did not help as we saw lots of older people walking around not knowing where to go to enjoy the evening. We spent our new year on the beach as the disco was too noisy and chaotic but that is our only complaint. Hopefully it will be a little more organised next year as we certainly intend to return.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Happysix2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (534)
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English first
Adderbury, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2013

My wife and I stayed here for New Years Eve and were extremely disappointed. The whole event was totally disorganized and in our opinion completely miss sold.

Looking for a suitably impressive venue to see the new year in we had been attracted by not only the 4 star rating and location of your hotel but also the promise of a 'Glitz and Glamor' evening.

Having looked at your website and read the marketing material I also phoned reservations to inquire about the dress code for the evening to be told it was most definitely black tie.

Arriving at the hotel, we checked in and were only then told we had to 'book' a table for dinner. No mention of this on your website?

Once this was done we went to our room (311) which after navigating our way through damp, musty corridors we arrived at our room which was a bit tired and in need of some tlc. There were cobwebs covering the skylight in the bathroom and loose ceiling tiles above the shower and door. (See attached)

We went down to have a pre-dinner drink in the bar and then at 20.30 went into the restaurant to be seated.
After 20 minutes a waitress appeared apologizing for the delay and handed us the menu's. I asked if I could order some wine to which she replied "I need to get you the wine guy, I'll send him right over"
Another 15 minutes passed and still no sigh of either the waitress or the "wine guy"

Then the restaurant manager appeared, Sergio, asking if we had had our order taken. I said no so he said he'd take it. I also took the opportunity to order a bottle of wine.
10 minutes later the first waitress came back and asked for our order. I replied that it had already been taken.

20 minutes later, the first course of mushroom soup appeared (served by yet another waiter) followed by the wine (served by another waiter) who apologized for having to leave the wine bucket propped up in the window as they had run out of wine bucket stands but not to panic as he would find one and return shortly - never saw the man again - not sure if he was the mysterious "wine guy" mentioned earlier.

Next course was sea bass which, if it had been served with mayonnaise would have been fine, but as it was supposed to be served hot not so good. This was accompanied by raw peas.

We complained to a passing waitress who offered to bring us a replacement dish but fearing this may delay the already lengthy service we declined but asked if our comments could be passed on to the chef. She said she would do this and removed our plates.

I'm guessing this message regarding food being sent out cold and raw did not make it back into the kitchen as when my main course arrived we had a plate consisting of the following

Cooked (but luke warm, and that is being very generous) meat
Raw - carrots, potatoes and green beans

I tried in vain to attract the attention of a member of the waiting staff but after a fruitless search I gave up and frustrated took it upon myself to deliver the message regarding cold and raw food to the chef myself.

I walked into the kitchen and presented my plate to the 4 chef's who were standing at the pass (I presume just for effect as clearly quality control was not being undertaken). I pointed out the cooked elements of my meal (the meat) and the uncooked elements (carrots, potatoes and green beans) to be met with silence and no response.

I returned to my table where 10 minutes later we were joined by the restaurant manager Sergio who asked if everything was OK.
We re-iterated our list of issues (cold second fish course, length of time to wait for each course, being served raw food).

He apologized and explained that this year they had included smaller tables in order to attract more couples and admitted that clearly they had underestimated the issues this would cause.

This does seem a bit odd as surely in a normal evening service you would have more couples tables than larger tables so one would assume that a hotel of this standard (and charging these prices) would be more than capable of delivering the expected level of service?

He offered to bring me another main course however as it was now 22.50 (and with still 2 course to go) and not wanting to see the new year in waiting for these to arrive we decided to cut our losses and go to the ballroom.

Sergio did offer to send us a cheese board up to our room which was there when we returned at 23.30 so to his credit he was very apologetic and understanding.

I use the term ballroom but creche would be a much more fitting description. I have no issue with children in hotels and families however at 23.00 at night I wasn't expecting to have to navigate around push chairs and buggies to get to the dance floor and once there have to keep one eye open so as not to step on any dancing pajama wearing toddlers.

The evening had been sold on the website as glitz and glamour and an expectation that the children would be entertained in another area after 21.30 however this did not appear to have taken place. If we had wanted a 'Butlins style' evening we would have gone there instead.

After half an hour of watching and listening to the DJ entertain the assembled children we decided to return to our room to see the new year in.

The following morning we came down for breakfast (which was actually served hot and quick - maybe due to it being buffet style?) and as it was such a nice day decided to take our coffee on the beach terrace.

It was now 11.00 and looking back into the dining room where there were at least 15 waiting staff it seemed strange that not one of them had bothered to check the beach terrace for remnants of last nights celebrations. On all the tables we were greeted with the sight of half empty pint glasses, empty champagne bottles, over flowing ash trays and even the carefully designed topiary had been embellished with Christmas tree decorations. If it had been 07.00 in the morning you could maybe understand why this had not been cleared but this was 11.00. It was yet another example of a hotel, it's staff and the management appearing not to care

Upon checking out we again expressed our disappointment with the level of service, quality of food and overall experience we had paid a not insignificant amount of money for (This being New Years Eve after all).
Given we only got round to being served 3 courses, 2 of which were cold / raw you had at least had the decency to not charge us for the food element.

I do hope you find the above feedback constructive and having spoken to other guests on the evening and during check out in the morning I suspect we will not be alone in expressing our overall disappointment at the level of service delivered by what claims to be a 4 star hotel - 2 star at best.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank mark g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Poole hotels

1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for New Years Eve with our children and two other families and were really disappointed. The whole event was totally disorganised. We only found out that it was necessary to book a table for the 'Gala Dinner' when we rang to enquire about something else. Even then, nobody told us that we would also need to book a table for the children's buffet dinner too. We only found this out when we called to check about the dress code for the 'Gala Dinner' (Which was meant to be Black Tie, but actually very few people were dressed up). When we took our children down for their tea, it was chaos. Nothing had been cleared, their were no plates available, the cutlery box was dirty and they had run out of puddings. The corridors smell of damp and the entire hotel needs a complete overhaul. The rooms are average at best and the only good thing about this hotel is the view.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Trinity0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2012

Firstly the positives room OK, evening dinner very good and staff excellent. Now for the not so good breakfast ok not good, not bad. Hotel children friendly but at a price. Spent the "twixmas break" surrounded by uncontrolled children running and screaming throughout the hotel - despite a dedicated children's area. More a posh Butlins than a 4 star experience clearly the parents were quite happy to let their children do as they please rather than exert any sort of parental control. Hotel management were clearly content to allow youngsters to run through the bar area whatever the time. Consequently I will not be staying at this establishment again.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Steve T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 24, 2012

nice hotel, excellent views, friendly staff, initially booked a single room but the bed was too small, my feet were hanging off the edge of the bed, and there was no room to even turn in bed (i am no giant!!) so i had to upgrade to a room with a double bed.
To summarise very nice hotel but avoid the single rooms

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank maz313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Switzerland
Level Contributor
260 reviews
162 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2012

Stayed there because a conference we were attending took place there.
Gorgeous location bang on the beach.
The bar area etc is nice enough.
The room we were given was spacious, but old. Definitley not the type they advertise on their website!! The beds were supposed to be made up as twins which they weren't so we had to call house keeping. And some child had obviously been lifted up to look out of the window as there were greasy finger prints all over - how could house keeping not spot that when making up the room?!
The room we had was on the third floor. Lifts only go to the second floor. Not fun when you're dragging luggage.
Breakfast was a dull affair. Nothing to write home about.
It was ok staying because of the conference. But would definitley not choose this place otherwise.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank A_Blue_Sea_Shell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2012

I was only visiting for a day and had lunch at the Hotel. The Staff were very friendly and helpful, considering they were inundated with people. The setting is lovely and views of the sea great. As a result I will probably spend a weekend there in the future. Food so far good.

Room Tip: Only there for a day
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Vee99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandbanks Hotel

Property: Sandbanks Hotel
Address: 15 Banks Road, Poole BH13 7PS, England (Formerly FJB Collection - The Sandbanks)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Poole
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Poole
#4 Luxury Hotel in Poole
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandbanks Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 116
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perched in one of England's most enviable seaside locations, the Sandbanks Hotel is a relaxed and affordable holiday destination. With direct access to the world-famous sandbanks beach - seven miles of prestigious blue flag awarded sand to get between your toes! Our popular beach-side terrace area is a place to recline with a glass of wine.Featuring well-appointed rooms that have been designed for comfort and relaxation. Many boasting either sea views or outlooks across Poole harbour. We're sure you'll agree that when it comes to family holidays, it's best to keep everybody happy. Mum, dad, teenagers, toddlers and everyone in between all need their own piece of holiday heaven. The Sandbanks Hotel is a fun filled staycation location for family seaside holidays. With dedicated children's entertainment during school holidays, an exciting programme of activities and adventure with the Watersports Academy - there are more opportunities for mum and dad to find some relaxation time. Our Seaview Restaurant boasts celebrated chefs and an enviable sea view. Helmed by Head Chef, Wayne Joyce and his commitment for creating good food with local ingredients inspired by our wonderful location. When you need a rest from building sandcastles, Sandbanks Beach Club is the perfect spot for a summertime bite. Located on the terrace, it's an easy option for lunch and dinner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandbanks Poole
Poole Sandbanks
Hotel Poole Sandbanks
Sandbanks Hotel Poole, Dorset
Hotel Sandbanks

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