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“Great stay, bad dinner.” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro

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The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Bangor
Certificate of Excellence
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
20 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great stay, bad dinner.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2013

I have mixed feelings about this review as my husband and I had a lovely experience staying in the Salty Dog but our meal was pretty bad. So I'll try and break it down into sections:
- The best thing was the service. Great relaxed atmosphere created by the waiting staff but particularly the bar staff. After our meal we sat at the bar and ordered cocktails and had great banter with the bar staff who were very knowledgable and clearly enjoying making cocktails and interacting with guests. So that went a long way to contirbuting to how great a night we had.
- I also like the room. We got upgraded to a Delux Seaview from the Superior seaview I had requested so that was nice. It was spacious and done in an interesting style with dark wood antique furniture that went well with the high ceilings and original features. The bathroom was a bit shabby with peeling wallpaper and a bit of cracked plaster so I would say it needs a bit of attention. It is possible to do the "shabby chic" style while still maintaining a high level of decor throughout.
- Now to the meal: I'm sure the restaurant does the classics quite well - the chowder, burgers, fish and chips all looked great coming out. But we wanted to try the a la carte menu as we like something a bit more creative. The menu read very well - sounded like the dishes had been well thought out with creatvitiy and designed to show off a bit of skill. However, when the food arrived this only made the disappointment even worse. Basically, the problem lay in the execution. I had the worst experience as 2 out of my 3 courses were essentially inedible. I'm not a fussy person and I enjoy challenging dishes but these were just bad. The started of cured salted cod with wild flower salad was awful. Instead of serving the cod as a thinly sliced carpaccio they served chunks of fish that were like putting spoonfuls of salt directly into your mouth. The balance of the dish was just all wrong - a perfectly poached egg yolk on the plate tried to save it but it was fighting a losing battle. I seriously think the chef must have never tasted this dish himself or he would surely know how awful it tastes. My main course was a rack of pork (basically a pork shop) which was well seasoned and well cooked to retain moisture and had a nice serving of sauce and spinach alongside it. But the potato served with it was waxy and left the bad taste of whatever oil it was cooked in. Overall, a decent main though. BUT dessert was another disaster for me. I had the apple tart tatin with flaming sorbet. The tart tatin had a thick, stodgy apple jelly that didn't taste great but with the freshness of the sorbet would have been nice enough on the puff pastry base. However, the waiter then added a shot of something into the bowl and set fire to the whole thing. The flame went out a bit too quickly I think as I was left with a bowl of the strongest, harshest tasting alcohol I've ever had, which all soaked into the pastry at the bottom of the tart and made it impossible to eat. I think this dish also needs reworked.
- Our breakfast the next morning was really lovely though - a nicely done fry up with obviously good quality ingredients and well cooked.

So overall I'd say I wish in hindsight I had booked us into the Boathouse Inn for dinner which is just across the road and apparently has amazing food. then we could have just come to the Salty Dog for drinks and had a lovely evening stay not ruined by poor food. Great for drinking and sleeping but not for dining!
One last point is that when I booked I was asked if I'd like the "special" that gave a flat rate of £150 for dinner and B&B but since the room I wanted only cost £80 for B&B this would have required us to spend £70 on dinner to make it worth our while. As it turns out, there are only a couple of options on the menu that would actually result in you spending that much - one of which is the steak which they actually informed us was not included in the deal! To be honest, they are taking money off people with this deal and I don't like that as a "special" is supposed to save you money, not make you spend more than you would have if you booked separately. I've written to them to ask about this but have had no reply.

Lovely staff, great bar, nice room with very comfy bed, enjoyable brakfast, probably do good pub grub but bad a la carte menu. I'd advise them to scrap the fancy stuff and stick to what they do well!

Room Tip: A seaview room is a must. Otherwise what's the point?
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank turtleizer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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405 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    192
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    47
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    22
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Paris, France
Level Contributor
36 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 17, 2013

I booked a room for my husband's birthday. We had just come home from an epic trip in New Zealand so we needed somewhere to relax and I had booked the Boathouse Inn across the road (highly recommended). As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed. It was just the weekend before Christmas which can be slightly crazy for bars and restaurants, but we did not see any lowering of standards when it came to customer service.

The bedroom was lovely and quite large. The bathroom is an odd shape but it was lovely and the Bee Kind toiletries are a nice touch. The room overlooked Belfast Lough. It was very comfortable.

The next day we went down to have breakfast where we sat down and waited for a while to be served. A guy behind the bar said he would get the waitress. It was very quiet with only a few tables. The girl eventually came along. We got the food and drinks ordered and everything was very tasty. The sausages were lovely. The only quibble was the nonchalant attitude of the waitress, she looked like she wanted to be elsewhere and was a bit cold. Whereas the rest of the staff were all lovely and were willing to help. Maybe sort out your waitress or train her to smile and have a personality. That was the only quibble

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Itchy_feet_2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2013

Didn't stay over just called on for light lunch. The decor was bright and contemporary and scruplesly clean. The service was second to none! couldn't do enough to accommodate us and our child. The afternoon tea was delicious, my mum and neice had soup it was so nice they had to stop themselves licking their bowls. My Neice had a special poppinf candy dessert which was very well presented as was all the food. Have to say it was a lovely find we will definitely be back!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank Jblyttle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

Never been here before, went on recommendation of a friend. Called in on new years day at 11:25, no staff around initially and a chef went past. He told us breakfast was over and the brunch menu was starting, this was just what we were looking for. A waitress then came along who fussed to another staff member that brunch hadnt started and she hadn't ever menus sorted. She left us standing there. We were then taken to "the only table I have set up". We ordered drinks then our food. The menu looked nice and after some confusion as to what was included with the eggs benedict we ordered. Half an hour passed, staff came and went and set up other tables. Finally we decided to leave, a waiter/manager went into the kitchen to check on the food, he then told us it was ready. We agreed we were leaving anyway. I said that we had not been made welcome since the moment we arrived and he gave me a very dirty look! there were no apologies.
Based on other reviews I think that we are not the only ones to receive slow service. But of work on customer service required I think!!
Great welcome and brunch had at another local establishment!

Stayed January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank RozBelfast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conwy
Level Contributor
44 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

Stayed at the beginning of December for 3 nights. Had a room at the front of the hotel - plenty of room and nicely decorated. We were warmly welcomed by Maeve who looked after us very well throughout our stay. Nothing was too much trouble - even bringing my husband a tray of beers so he could decide which one he wanted to drink.

Food was excellent and we couldn't fault the service. Friendly staff throughout. Excellent breakfast and a lovely atmosphere in the bistro. We will be back.

Room Tip: We had a room at the front with plenty of space and a huge bed. A bit of disturbance at chucking ou...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Elizalilian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

Went here with my wife on Friday evening. It is a nice wee place, good surroundings, staff and atmosphere. It is however way overpriced for what it is. We found the menu somewhat limited and chose to have a main and both went for the steak. This was tasty enough, nothing brilliant. Steak came on a tiny bed of cabbage with a lump of butter on top, and was served with a bowl of wedges for two of us. At £24.50 a portion it was not something to write home about. Steak still quite bloody , I believe could have been rested longer. Opted for a cheese board after which was ok but had to ask for extra biscuits as they were somewhat limited. So two mains ,cheeseboard, bottle of wine (£20, was good) and drinks £120 incl tip which is way way overpriced. Wolseys do a steak which is twice as good for £13. At these prices it is getting Boat House territory (across the road) and it really is not that sort of league. It wasn't all bad as I say and it was an enjoyable evening. Recommendations:- go to Wolseys and get a better feed for half the price or if feeling flush, gob to the Biat House instead.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank neil d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2012

We waited more than half an hour for a main meal as part of Sunday lunch and it wasn't even busy. No apology, no excuses, just left sitting there.

When the food came, it was a huge disappointment: portions were soooo tiny, the smallest lump of mash and not even a tablespoon of cabbage.

Considering the prices aren't low, this was a disappointing experience all around.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 19771234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenneth S, Owner at The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro, responded to this review, December 25, 2012
I was very sorry to read your review as this is not our usual standard. It woud be great if you could let me know when you came and what you had it would be much appreciated. ken@saltydogbangor.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro

Property: The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro
Address: 10 - 12 Seacliff Road, Bangor BT20 5EY, Northern Ireland
Location: United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > County Down > Bangor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Bangor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An old Victorian townhouse that’s been beautifully transformed into a stunning boutique hotel overlooking Bangor’s Marina and the Irish Sea. A perfect retreat from everyday hustle and bustle. Friendly staff, gorgeous rooms and great food will make your stay a memorable one. Committed to fine local produce, our highly skilled, award winning chefs, offer a real alternative to Belfast’s restaurants. Whether you’re visiting North Down’s attractions or want a memorable Bangor night out – The Salty Dog offers accessible, nostalgic food in a relaxed setting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Salty Dog Hotel And Bistro
The Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro Bangor, Northern Ireland

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