We booked a two night Groupon break for £59 and paid an extra £20 to upgrade to a sea view room. We arrived with great trepidation after reading all the negative reviews, but were armed with bathroom wipes and bleach just in case.
Our first impressions weren't great. The outside was very shabby, with paint peeling off the walls. The linings of the curtains in some of the rooms were in shreds. It looked like a haunted hotel and all the windows were filthy, although to be fair I would imagine it would be impossible to keep them clean with being so close to the sea. The windows of our car got dirty just parked overnight in the car park.
Once inside the hotel it got a little better. The reception area and bar had an air of faded grandeur and there was a very appetising smell coming from the dining room. The lift was quirky, a tiny tatty box with a folding metal inner door. We were on the second floor and the corridor was very shabby, badly in need of redecoration and new carpets, but it was warm and smelled clean. There were some lovely stained glass leaded windows on the landings and the hotel must have been very glamorous in its hayday, before fire regulations meant they had to partition off the corridors and install fire doors.
We were pleasantly surprised by our room, although there was an unpleasant smell a bit like old popcorn. The small double bed was clean and comfortable, with pristine white cotton sheets and duvet cover. The bathroom was clean and had bath with shower over. There was one bath towel left on the bed although we found more in the wardrobe. They were clean, white and fluffy. We were in the turret and had great views all around the bay, or would have if we could have seen through the windows. We had two chairs, a table and an ancient square TV, in the bay window, which was a draughty old Edwardian sash. We didn't mind too much though as it all added to the charm and we were quite cosy with the curtains drawn in the evening. The carpet had seen better days, but we could live with that as long as the bedding and bathroom were clean. The decor was ok, inoffensive cream walls with a blue floral border and blue floral 1990s curtains which were heavy and good quality. The knob of one of the drawers came off when I opened it and the toilet didn't flush properly the first night, but a man was sent to repair it first thing in the morning after I told the receptionist.It was very quiet in the hotel and we weren't disturbed by other guests. There must be good thick walls.
The first morning there was a power cut from 7.00am until 8.30am which affected the whole of Scarborough. We thought we weren't going to get a cooked breakfast, but the staff pulled out all the stops and the chef heroically managed to produce a cooked breakfast before 9.00am. We heard an elderly man in the corridor talking about the hotel staff having "The Dunkirk Spirit" and making the best of things. When we first went down to the dining room we thought we weren't going to have a cooked breakfast, although they'd managed to make the first lot of tea and coffee. I had Rice Krispies which was a mistake. They were tasteless and stale. It was like eating little balls of polystyrene and the milk tasted as if it was going off. The cooked breakfast was a big improvement, in particular the bacon was very tasty. Unfortunately the whole was let down by the coffee which was luke warm at best and quickly went cold.
When the cleaners serviced our room they didn't make the bed, but replaced the cups and the tea and coffee. For some reason they took the bath mat, meaning we had to use the hand towel as a bath mat. I noticed that the popcorn smell was gone and the room smelled fresh. Unfortunately they didn't replenish the toilet paper. My husband had to go down to reception to get some more, which they took from the public toilets in the bar.
Overall I quite enjoyed the break. It'll certainly be more memorable than staying in a characterless Travel Lodge and the staff were helpful, maintaining the "Dunkirk Spirit" in sometimes trying circumstances, although the waitress was too efficient on the second morning and kept swiping our plates and cups before we'd finished with them.
We might have struck lucky with our room as some of the reviews are awful, but we were comfortable. Would we go back? Probably not, but it wasn't as bad as we feared and was good value for money with the Groupon deal.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Renowned for its warm Yorkshire welcome, The Clifton Hotel Scarborough offers some of the most amazing, uninterrupted sea views in Scarborough and is situated only a short distance from many of the town's attractions. This Scarborough hotel makes the perfect base for those visiting the Yorkshire Coast. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Clifton Hotel Scarborough
- Clifton Hotel Scarborough