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“I don't think so”
Review of Priory Bay Hotel

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Priory Bay Hotel
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Seaview
Reviewed September 30, 2012

We stayed here in 2006 in room 6, a glorious room with a huge bay window looking out over the Solent. On a last minute whim, we decided to stay at the Priory Bay again. Our reception was third rate. A crone came running up the entrance steps and asked us if we were self catering, clearly envisaging the doubtless relished opportunity to consign our Ford Focus, parked as it was next to a Bentley, to the wooded parking area for plebs. No apology was offered as we checked in.

I doubt that a single penny has been spent on the hotel’s décor in the intervening six years since our previous visit. What in 2006 was quirkily reminiscent of a genuine country house is now beyond shabby. In some regards, room 1 was charming. We had a substantial balcony which was wrapped around the outer perimeter, set with a table, parasol and chairs. Every morning we tempted red squirrels onto the balcony with peanuts. Some of the upholstery was dreadfully stained. The corners in the bathroom hadn’t been dusted for some good while, from the gathered cobwebs.

Dinner in the island room was disappointing. We ate from a chefs recommendations menu which consisted of three choices and were dismayed to be presented with exactly the same menu on our second evening. It was only then that the restaurant manager advised that we may dine from the Oyster Bar menu, which gave a much wider choice. The menu is ambitious but beyond the chef. On one occasion I was served clearly unripe figs in an uninspired salad. Some dishes were good, but dinner simply shouldn’t be the lottery we found that it was.

Breakfast is first rate. The lovely man in charge of the breakfast room is to be commended for his solicitous and good humoured service. I have no doubt that, were he in charge, the Priory Bay might turn a corner away from the far reaches of mediocrity it is presently hurtling toward. The breakfast cook executes hot dishes with care and elan. Breakfast highlights all that’s good and bad about the Priory Bay. It is all very well to eat breakfast watching the red squirrels but less so looking out through a windowpane from which petrified flies are hanging from disintegrating cobwebs.

There is a room above room 1. If it is occupied, you must rise when its occupants rise. The lack of sound insulation is appalling.

There is an evident dichotomy in the staff. Whilst some are lovely, some are simply beyond awful. I address myself most especially now to the boot faced man whom we took to be senior management, suddenly present at reception on our last day, who comported himself as if there were a very bad smell under his nose, during our brief exchange, together with the awful woman determined to prevent us soiling the cobbled car park nearest to reception on our arrival. May I remind you that you are employed in hospitality. Your present efforts, should you be making any, which I somehow doubt, are utterly unacceptable and may result in your employer loosing business.

Finally, I wouldn’t have bothered with a review had we received a decent response to our customer satisfaction survey, on leaving. It would appear that an appropriate response to our comments is considered to be a letter from a receptionist, who hoped our journey home was good and also let us know that our responses had been, ‘ taken on board ‘ ( and consigned to the bilge, I have no doubt ). Laughably, the receptionist also looked forward to welcoming us back. £900+ for four nights of this ? I don’t think so. If you’re determined to stay here, for heaven’s sake, dine out and bring some throws to cover your room upholstery.

Room Tip: Room 6 is lovely. Room 1 may be good for smokers but see caveats.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Princess_Susannah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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282 - 288 of 427 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2012

We saw an advert for this hotel in the 'Oldie' magazine - that says a lot about us and also the hotel! The hotel's booking arrangements were first class, including reservations on the (cheapest) Ferry crossing from Lymington and our reception at the hotel couldn't be faulted - it was like being met by an old-fashioned butler; in fact, for the entire stay one had the feeling of being a bit player in an Agatha Christie TV production.
The building is ancient - an old Priory - and renovation is an ongoing process, a bit like painting the Forth bridge but despit the occassional decrepitude of worn carpets the over-riding impression is of comfort and cleanliness.
Our room was large, well-lit, comfortable large bed modern TV, clean bathroom (spot of damp over the bath) and our only complaint was the lack of a stand-up shower (yes, you could stand in the bath but without a shower curtain the room would soon flood.)
Lovely spacious grounds, free golf, private beach, inviting - but cold -outdoors pool - what more could you want? Well, some decent weather would have helped.......
Breakfast was superb; cooked to order (always a good start) with plenty of fresh fruit, real porridge (another good sign) with real kippers anf smoked haddock plua a waiter who not only spoke English but could have doubled with Jeeves.
Dinner was interesting -nearly everything from the IOW - lots from the estate itself all put together exquisitely by a very accomplished chef who does a lot of his own foraging. Fantastic creations but, a sour note here, Nouvelle Cuisine should not mean small portions - it doesn't in France - and we rarely left the dinner-table feeling satisfied, let alone replete.
However where else can you find these facilities and standards of old-fashioned comfort for £160 per night for two, including golf (and rain)?

Room Tip: avoid 16 - 20 if you're tall - you'll bang your head getting there! Nothing wrong with fi...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank nucleartraveller8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

I stayed in one of the cottages with my 2 small dogs. The welcome I received was first class, the chef came to see me to discuss my dietary needs. 'Delicious' is not a powerful enough word to describe the food, brought out to me by the chef himself!! The view of the Solent, as I ate, with the ferries lit up was stunning. The cottage was basic but extremely comfortable - the grounds were amazing and my little dogs couldn't wait to get on to the beautiful beach to play!! All the staff were friendly and had a smile for me and a cheery 'Good morning' whether at reception or working in the grounds. I shall certainly be visiting again.

Room Tip: I was in one of the cottages overlooking the golf course which made a lovely view and had an ambienc...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Margaret B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

We spent nine nights at this wonderfully well kept secret; during which we celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Having never been before, we found that the room we had been given was not quite what we wanted - this was no problem, and the helpful receptionist (she knows who she is) was able to fit us into a room with a sea view.
The staff could not do enough for us all through our stay.
The food was amazing, and the Restaurant manager was particularly attentive, especially on the night of our anniversary, and helped make our night feel even better than it would otherwise have been. All the dining room staff were very helpful. The Master Chef sources ingredients from the 75 acres of grounds, including the Wild garlic capers we had as part of one of our courses on the first night. As we asked about them, having not had them before, we were promised a jar when we checked out - which we duly received.
The private beach is great for pre dinner and post breakfast walks, and, yes, when the tide is out, locals and explorers do access it, or people in small boats - but it is so long, that you do not feel at all worried about this. We were lucky with the weather - but I would go back at any time of the year.

Room Tip: Rooms facing over the crouqet lawn/6 hole golf course are towards the sea have a great view of the s...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ian586
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

The Priory Bay gave us one of our best ever dining experiences!

We arrived in the pouring rain having driven all round the Island and the welcome we received made the sun come out!

All the staff encountered from the receptionist to the owner were exceptionally friendly and professional. We were the only people having lunch in the restaurant which is shabby, admittedly but the Owner joined us at our table to discuss the refurbishment that is taking place in the next three weeks and asked our opinion of paint colours, etc. So this should not be an issue in the future.

There is a new head chef, the amazing Oliver Stephens who has returned to this roots at the Priory Bay from Nomu in Copenhagen (voted the best restaurant in the world!). We had a very simple set menu which had limited choice but WOW! We were amazed and the knowledge of flavour, texture and the use of freshly sourced local ingredients, was incredible. I cannot say enough about the food, probably one of the best lunches I have ever had and the limited menu led me to choose Beef Cheeks which I would not normally choose but they were delicious and perfectly cooked after three hours in hay. The Chef came and introduced each course, but not in a pretentious way, and joined us after dessert to genuinely ask our opinions and tell us about his plans - the enthusiasm shone through from him and all the team.

Everything was just perfect and if you want to enjoy hospitality at its best, book in after the refurb. and I am sure you will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank BasilsMumNewForest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

We got married at this hotel and I would advise future brides to consider carefully. The setting is beautiful, but the hotel is just so beyond tired that you will really consider value for money. The staff are hit and miss - some every so helpful, others totally incompetent, other sour. The rooms are tired but London prices. Carpets threadbare, seats so stained you are put off your food by wondering what you are sitting on, cobwebs everywhere. The food is also very variable - some excellent, some boarding school standard. Overall we had an ok event. It could have been done better for less in a top London venue, but then we wouldnt have had the beach. So if you want the setting you cant beat it, if you want cleanliness, good service, good food, and are paying London rack rates for rooms anyway - you might want to think again.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank JuneBride_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

My wife and I stayed at this hotel for our days in early September 2012. We found it excellent in every regard - the bedroom, the lounges, the dining rooms, the setting with wonderful views on the Solent, and especially the staff who without exception were extremely helpful and polite. We were amazed that it is only graded 3 star by the AA - we consider it at least 4 star. We could not have found a nicer hotel in what, to our minds, is the nicest part of the Isle of Wight.

Room Tip: Rooms 4 and 6 are the nicest
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank adrian r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Priory Bay Hotel

Address: Priory Croft Priory Road, Seaview PO34 5BU, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Isle of Wight > Seaview
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Seaview
Price Range: $104 - $118 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Priory Bay Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Priory Bay is the Isle of Wight's leading country house hotel. Set within a 60-acre estate, it's period buildings have spectacular views out to sea, with gardens and woodland running down to the bay. It inspires our chefs to use the finest seasonal ingredients, whether foraged, farmed or fished we are passionate about local produce. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Priory Bay Seaview
Hotel Priory Bay
Priory Bay Hotel Seaview, Isle Of Wight

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