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“First class hotel and spa...”
Review of Solent Hotel & Spa

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Solent Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Whiteley
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 6, 2012

Myself, my husband and two of our children (16 and 21yr olds!!) stayed here in August for 4 nights. It is about 10 minutes drive from Portsmouth and only about 5 or 10 minutes from Southampton. I am always very anxious when arriving at a hotel I have booked without first knowing much about it. I was very pleasantly surprised... the entrance hall and reception area is absolutely beautiful, charming and so welcoming! The bedrooms were of first class standard, extremely clean, and each with a bathroom with bath and shower, bath robes and slippers! Very impressed... the dining area was also well laid out, the food was delicious. All the staff from cleaners, waiters/waitresses, receptionists, spa staff, etc., were so polite and nothing was a bother to them, they were all very pleasant, which is a rare thing these days!! Also one of the nights when we were staying, there was a wedding party taking place, but, thankfully, we heard no noise from the bedrooms at all.,... wonderful! I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Yvonne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Thank you for your really positive comments. It is rewarding to share them with my colleagues and your feedback is appreciated. We hope to see you again soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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928 - 934 of 1,094 reviews

Reviewed September 6, 2012

We first discovered the Solent in February 1995 when our first child was 11 months old. We used to go two, three sometimes even four times a year for long weekend or midweek breaks, often with other couples and then with our two further kids who are now both early teens. We loved it, it was a perfect haven from the stresses of work and London life.

Over the years we cut back the number of visits to once or twice a year, initially when we started to need two rooms and had to pay full price for the kids.

Then they scrapped the "third night free" promotion and changed it to a "fourth night free". At £170 a room a night, thats a big hit, so we were down to once a year if at all.

Now they seem to have scrapped that too.

As the end of the summer holidays approached I thought it would be good to treat the kids to some pool time before they went back to School/University, so I booked two rooms on hotel.com at £100 (double) and £130 (family) a night, room only.

Arrived at the hotel and everything seemed fine. For the first time ever, we were recognised as repeat guests, which was nice. Receptionist was not very cheerful but there you go.

Went to the room - neither key cards worked.

Went back to reception, got them re-done, tried again. One worked. Put the family in the one room and went back to reception again.

Got the cards re-done (again) and re-tried (again). Cards didnt work.

Went back (again) to ask for new cards. Asked to wait for a porter to show me how to use the cards. Porter was given completely new cards (special privileges obviously), which worked. Hurrah !

I could have done without being treated like i dont know how to use a key card. I am fifty years old and have travelled to all corners of God's earth. Trust me, I know how to open a hotel room door.

No chance of the receptionist cracking a hint of a smile at any stage in this process whilst apologising for the non-working cards.

Got changed and went to the pool. Absolute mayhem. Around 20 ladies in robes trying to have lunch on their spa day and about thirty small kids in the pool going mental. All of which, fair enough, is luck of the draw and you just have to wait til it gets quieter and maybe come back later. What didnt help was a third of the pool being closed off for a private swimming lesson. Genius.

All of the above I could have accepted because I've seen it busy before and you know come tea-time the kids will go home and it will get quieter.

What was totally unacceptable was the state of the pool. It was FILTHY. The water was cloudy and dirty and the place stank.

The men's changing rooms were dirty and the floor looked like it had not been cleaned in weeks.

Ordinarily by this time I would have thrown in the towel (npi) and gone home. But I thought I had paid in full when booking so we had to stay. One of the kids was almost in tears it was so disgusting. So they went back to their room and watched TV. I went to the steam room.

Steam room was looking very decrepit - I remember only a few years ago when it opened and being wowed - with dirty and cracked plasterwork. The multi-coloured lighting wasnt working at all.

As we left the spa I noticed what was becoming a theme in the hotel - all of the staff looked like they couldnt give a stuff. One girl at the spa (didnt get her name but saw she had a tattoo on her foot) was smiley and cheerful but the rest can most nicely be described as utterly indifferent.

The bedrooms - now looking very tired and worn. Chipped paint, snagged wallpaper, dated furniture: it's all in need of a re-fit. Both rooms had large stains on the carpets. One looked like nail varnish that had been rubbed into the carpet by someone trying to clean it with a towel, the other looked like food/drink.

Bathrooms are ok - no shower cap provided any more and the toiletries have been downgraded; the power shower is immense but your head is almost at ceiling level (I am only 5ft 8). The grouting is worn and missing in places. In one of the bathrooms, the toilet seat was chipped and in the other, it was about an inch out of alignment.

Rooms were clean and tidy - housekeeping was faultless.

We also got the 'cookie call' a day before arrival and this duly arrived shortly after check-in. Very nice touch, thank you. I read that other guests received mini-bathrobes for their kids. In the past we had received that but not this time. In fact there was only 2 bathrobes in the kids' room.

We went for dinner at Kam's Palace in Park Gate. Very enjoyable.

Day two, we went down to breakfast. Got seated quickly and all was good. Noticed that the buffet has been downgraded with no black pudding or scrambled egg on offer. (Eggs can now be ordered separately). No problem with queues - sure there are maybe five or ten people waiting sometimes but the queue soon goes down. Food was good and plentiful.

We got one pot of tea which had a teabag in it but tasted of coffee, so presumably not properly washed out. Sent it back - no apology given - and got a new one. Staff at breakfast looked downright miserable.

Went for a drive to nowehere in particular as the kids couldnt stomach the pool. What a great way to spend your holidays. Eventually, around 5 o'clock I persuaded them to go in the pool for 15 minutes. It was still cloudy and horrible but at least the smell had gone and it was fairly quiet.

Went for dinner at Chimichanga in Port Solent. Loved it - good meal. Got back to the room - key cards didnt work. Got new ones from Receptionist (Danielle) who was friendly, smiling and apologetic. Result !

Next day my wife had to go into work so I dropped her off at SAP station and came back to take the kids out for the day. We went to see a movie at Port Solent and then I managed to get them in the pool for half an hour around half five. It was still cloudy and horrible etc etc etc

Picked my wife up from the station and looked forward to our final night's dinner, which we had decided we'd take at the hotel.

We have some wonderful memories of the hotel restaurant, all the times we have been there with our kids, even when they were tiny, when we have been there with friends, and so on.

The restaurant has now been downgraded and re-branded.

Imaginatively now called "the restaurant and bar", what once was a smart dining area with high-backed leather chairs and fine-dining aspirations is now at gastro-pub level with wicker garden furniture. The menu prices are as high ever, even by hotel standards (even though this hotel is in the middle of nowhere) and as has been mentioned elsewhere, the wine list is very punchy. It offers some very good wines, but there is nothing very drinkable for much under thirty quid.

In the past you would get a basket of wonderful freshly baked artisan breads to enjoy before your meal arrived. That's now gone..... but there is the option of bread as an appetiser for £3.25

Service in the restaurant was friendly but did not really inspire confidence. I asked for a large bottle of sparkling water and was asked if I wanted it out of a tap....

Food was very good but portions very modest. £28.50 for the smallest 8oz fillet I have ever seen.

We ordered Green Apple sorbet for dessert. They brought mango because they were out of apple. It would have been appropriate to come and tell us first and give us a choice rather than just serve up something we didn't order.

Five main courses, two puddings, soft drinks and a bottle of wine came to over one hundred and sixty quid. Wow.

Our final morning we went down to breakfast, which was fine apart from the miserable waiting staff. Everyone looked like they'd been handed their redundancy notices ten minutes before their shifts started.

We packed up after breakfast and threw the kids in the pool for an hour while it was quiet. It was still cloudy and horrible etc etc. I went to settle up and found booking.com had not taken the money and I had to pay in full, so I could actually have checked out after one day and saved myself some money. Final score on checking out was nine hundred pounds for three grim nights b&b and one meal.

After over seventeen years of loving this hotel I now feel both disappointed and angry. It's easy now to see the decline, much of which has started with poorly motivated and badly trained staff. Last time we stayed we had a good time but when I had asked for a couple of extra pillows I got back to the room to find them thrown on the floor without covers. Now, that level of service seems to have become the standard and at these prices, it just isnt acceptable.

Even without the disgusting state of the pool, I would not go back to this hotel. Not because of the memories of how good it used to be and now isn't, but because the standards now are just shocking. The hotel was once a four star with aspirations of a five. Staff were friendly but not familiar, standards were high without ever being pretentious.

Now it seems to want to be a three star and is undoing as much of the quality as it can until it gets there.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank MGSreject
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 11, 2012

Thank you for your review following your recent stay. I acknowledge your feedback and would like to offer my sincere apologies for the shortfalls in service received. However I would very much appreciate the opportunity to discuss your comments in person as there are certain elements of your stay that I would like to clarify and may need further investigation. I can be contacted by the hotel switchboard and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012


Clean and relaxing hotel
Nice pool and spa , didn't eat here but menu looked good and decent value

Rooms were spacious and had some nice touches like fresh milk and water in the fridge, bit naff to make you pay for faster web access but theyre all at it these days

Power showers ace in the morning too

  • Stayed: September 2012
    • Value
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Thank Db1066
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Thank you for your feedback. I am glad that you enjoyed your stay and I will take on board your comments regarding our WiFi. We hope that we can see you again soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

We stayed at this hotel before our trip to peppa pig world. It is very nice. The little touches such as sweets, cookies and milk and mini dressing gowns for the children were appreciated. Toiletries very nice. The bathroom was tiny and difficult to bath our two small children with the door in the way. I think the air con had been switched off for building work but we coped with the window open and the building work didn't bother us at all. The spa is nice with fresh towels and was free to use the pool and spa pool. The kids loved the pool and the changing areas were nice and clean. The breakfast was very nice, i'm not sure if i paid for my children or not as the internet booking took full price for them but then i think i paid less than quoted. The hotel is very geared up for business events but managed to cater well for our young family too. I am pleased i followed trip advisor and booked this very nice hotel for our trip.

Room Tip: I followed the advice on here and asked for a family room with sofa bed not bunk beds. The room was...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank nicwatt0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Thank you for choosing the hotel for your trip to Peppa Pig World. I am glad that you enjoyed the little touches. I am sorry about the lack of air conditioning – we are just upgrading our system and will be fully operational soon. We hope to see you again soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

We stayed one night for a wedding, and would have liked to stay for more. A large hotel, but friendly and welcoming. Fluffy towels and robes, fridge and fresh milk in rooms. Good pool and sun loungers. A very relaxing experience.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank walkfan8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

I hope your enjoyed the wedding and hope that you have more time to spend with us next time. Thank you for your review.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

We stayed at this hotel on the aug bank hloiday weekend , a very warm welcome beautiful reception area , nice throughout , fresh milk in roomsfor tea making robes on the bed , clean swiming pool with great changing area .Only stayed for one night but would def return aslso the breakfast was very nice well deserved four star . , only thing i would say that its not really designed for families more couples , friends etc.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank lisa_buckle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Thank you for posting your feedback following your recent stay. Your feedback is appeciated and I hope that you have the opportunity to return soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

We booked the Solent as a base for a couple of nights with the family. It is a very pleasant hotel, but seems to cater for business clients rather than families. Hardly surprising as it is next to a business park.

The food in the restaurant was excellent (albeit expensive & obscene price for basic wine), and I found breakfast overpriced for what it was. (Catering for business prices)

Otherwise the rooms are very comfortable and clean, bathroom a little cramped although admittedly Im not the smallest of people.

Free internet a bonus and a very nice pool area.

All in all, a decent hotel, but not the best for a family.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank neojynx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ShireHotels, Dominic Osborne - General Manager at Solent Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Thank you for your recent review. I am glad that overall you enjoyed your stay and I will take on board the comments made. We hope to see you again soon.

Kind regards,
Dominic Osborne - General Manager

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 Solent Hotel & Spa

Address: Rookery Avenue, Whiteley, Fareham PO15 7AJ, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Hampshire > Fareham > Whiteley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Whiteley
Price Range: $125 - $225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Solent Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 111
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Awarded the AA Hotel Group Of The Year 2016/2017, Thwaites Hotel's luxurious 4 star Solent Hotel and Spa nestles in acres of glorious Hampshire woodland and provides a haven of peace and tranquillity for both business and leisure guests. Located just minutes from Junction 9 of the M27 motorway, the Hotel is midway between Southampton and Portsmouth, and less than thirty minutes from the New Forest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Solent Hotel And Spa
Solent Hotel Whiteley
Solent Hotel & Spa Whiteley, UK - Fareham

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