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St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa
Ranked #11 of 21 Hotels in St Ives
Hertford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“There is no need to be put off by the tripadvisor whinge brigade!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2012

My wife and I recently spent a couple of nights at this hotel to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Unusually for me, I booked first and read the reviews afterwards, and in fairness, they did put me off a bit. Having now stayed there, I would have to say that I think most of them are a bit harsh and give the wrong impression.

I do feel sorry for the hotel. From the guests I saw during our brief stay, it seems to attract more than enough nouveau riche, people with more money than manners who expect a Ferrari for Ford Escort money and who will complain when they don't get it. However for those who have a fairer outlook on life, then from our experience you can expect the following.

When you arrive, you simply park outside in a lay-by. If the garage has room, you will be invited to park in it. If it doesn't, one of the "parking men" will either take your car and park it for you, or lead you to the parking and bring you back. Sure, this isn't the most convenient thing, but this is St Ives. Parking is at a premium everywhere and if that is a problem then you need to holiday elsewhere. Besides, both the guys I saw were so friendly that I felt I had made 2 new friends. (To the younger guy, I hope you enjoyed your trip to the Eden Sessions - you were right, it is a fantastic place!)

The hotel reception area is very striking and we couldn't have been better received. Friendly, polite and very courteous staff, (who incidentally had upgraded our room free of charge), made us feel very welcome. The room was nicely appointed, clean and everything worked as it should (including a rather impressive air-bath). Okay, the sash window rattled a bit in a high wind, but this is an old building and sash windows often rattle. A judiciously placed piece of cardboard solved the problem. The hot water does take a few seconds to come through but certainly not so long that is worth complaining about.

The restaurant is superb with fantastic sea views. The chef produces excellent breakfasts and dinners; the restaurant manager is extremely professional and runs a very, very good dining room, and the waitresses were all very polite, attentive and helpful. The food is served for you, so if you want an all-you-can-eat style buffet you will be disappointed. One downside, the bar is extremely expensive, but I suppose this does mean no drunken guests careering around the corridors late at night!

Yes, the walk down into St Ives or to the beach is quite a steep one, but again, this is St Ives. Everywhere in St Ives is a steep walk up or down so if that isn't for you then I would suggest a holiday in Norfolk.

Overall, we thought this was a really nice, proper old-school English hotel. Okay, it might not be 100% perfect, (I've yet to see anywhere that is), but it does offer very good value for its middle-of-the-range price tag, all of the staff are polite and friendly, and you do feel like a guest rather than just a customer.

We would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: Well worth going for a room with a sea view.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank HertfordSaint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for your very kind review and for taking the time to post it. St Ives does present specific geographical challenges for the uninitiated but we feel its beauty and uniqueness go some way to mitigating these. Here at the St Ives Harbour Hotel we have addressed the parking issue to the best of our ability, however we have so far been unsuccessful in our attempts to flatten the landscape. All the staff I am sure will be pleased and motivated by your very positive comments and we hope to welcome you back soon.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Torquay, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2012

Booked a mid week stay - at £140 a night. Stunning view, awful room. Just as all the previous bad reviews warned - dated, tatty carpet, dusty, worn out, grubby. In dire need of a re-furb/modernisation. Middle aged women manning the desks looked aggrieved every time you spoke to them - very unhelpful. Although the pool was nice didn't try the spa as the reception staff there were just as uninterested. Breakfast was scrummy and with a wonderful view. Left feeling distinctly underwhelmed and overcharged. Wouldn't visit again nor would I recommend it to anyone else.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank 11Vegas11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for taking the time to post your review. I am sorry that we failed to meet your expectations, on this occasion. We are currently coming to the end of an extensive renovation and refurbishment programme as our rooms are completed to a very high standard, there are still some rooms that need some work and we are currently addressing these issues on a rolling basis. I am particularly concerned that you found members of the team to be uninterested and unhelpful, this is certainly not the image we want to portray for our hotel and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. If there are any aspects of your stay you would like to discuss further then please do contact me directly jason.parry@harbourhotels.co.uk.
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Leesburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2012

My wife and 2 pre-teen children spent 4 nights at the Porthminster in late June. I cannot account for the inconsistent feedback of the tripadvisor reviews but our experience was overall very positive. The hotel itself sits high above the harbor and Porthminster beach, which is easily accessible via pathways just behind the place. Having such close and easy access to the beach is a definite plus for families...at least it was for us.

We stayed in what i'd call a family suite; an adequately sized "normal" room with a smaller room attached that contained two twin beds. Having not seen any other rooms, I do not know whether our room was refurbished or not but it was perfectly clean and comfortable for us...everything worked and housekeeping did their thing everyday without incident. (The view of the harbor from our room was spectacular)

Breakfast is served in the restaurant, which looks out over the harbor (again spectacular views). The buffet section (fresh fruit, fruit salad, croissants, cereal, juices, etc) was fine and attended to promptly from what I could tell. The hot portion menu was a bit more extensive than we typically saw at other similar places on our stay (14 days)....poached eggs (not totally atypical), boiled eggs with toasted soldiers. All of the food we tried was satisfying and the waitstaff were attentive to our requests.

It's a bit of a walk to the city center...15-30 minutes depending on your speed and direction...you'll walk down, down, down to the city and up, up, up on the way back. If you're not a "walker" (we walk a lot on vacations purposefully so it's not a big deal for us) or if you want to be right in the thick of the very quaint town, then this may not be the best place for you.

Minor drawbacks:
1. As stated by others, parking could definitely be a challenge however I quickly learned to simply temporarily park out front and run inside to ask for the valet's "advice" at which point they would pretty much take over, parking the car and returning the keys to our room shortly thereafter. The advice i'd give is that when you're planning on taking your car out, to allow a few extra minutes because if they've parked it on the second floor of the garage (only accessible to the car by car-elevator), the valet will need to retrieve it and that takes a good 5-10 minutes. Worst case, if you discover that your car is parked on the first level or down the street in the aux-lot (and therefore don't need the valet) you've gained yourself an extra 5-10 minutes.
2. While I get that this place is a spa as well as a hotel, the pool has designated children's hours which are pretty inconvenient if you're planning on getting out of the hotel during the day. (10am - 11am and 3:30pm - 5pm...no jumping, no splashing, keep quiet) It reminded us of Caddyshack...caddies allowed in the pool once a year from 1pm-1:15pm. Note that I'm not against this policy per se but our expectations would have been different had we known this upfront since the presence of a pool was of some excitement to our kids (hence my noting it here). Otherwise, the spa was great...the pool, sauna, steamroom, whirlpool, and workout rooms were all very nice and well maintained. (the pool is pretty small fyi...probably about 20X30ft)

All in all the drawbacks were minor and we enjoyed our stay at the hotel very much. We would return here in a heartbeat should we ever decide to visit the area again.

Room Tip: My guess is that they have very few "family" rooms with the extra room attached so if you...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank BillyPenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for your kind review and we are all happy that you enjoyed your stay. We are sorry that the swimming times for children disappointed you, but do feel that we have, for the most part, balanced the needs of our younger visitors with the fact that the pool is very much part of our spa rather than a separate leisure facility. I sincerely hope that this will not deter you from visiting the hotel again in the future.
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Isle of Man, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2012

Fantastic location - however cleanliness is not good stayed for 4 nights room never hoovered. Table in dinning room dirty, glasses dirty.
Not warned that we could not use bar for 2 nights as booked out for weddings - noisey!
A shame that the staff are not trained to clear dirty tables, or told to keep private conversations to the staff room!
No complimentary products in bathroom - do not ask for porridge at breakfast you could turn the plate upside down!

Room Tip: The rooms on second floor are good
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank reader898
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for posting your review. Please do contact me directly at jason.parry@harbourhotels.co.uk in order that I can discuss the unsatisfactory aspects of your stay and hopefully go someway to restore your faith in us.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2012

We had booked a seaview room to stay for three nights over the Jubilee Holiday. It was the venue for our daughter's wedding held on Sunday 3 June. Arrival and parking were extremely difficult although the "valet" was extremely helpful and was run ragged trying to deal with the demands made on him. He was working very hard to deal with too many guests on his own. Our "seaview" room 302 was a disaster. It was only possible to view the sea whilst standing up at the window. The room smelled damp and some of the furniture was stained.Requests for bathrobes which should have been available in the room were met with initial surprise but then eventually provided. To my distress, it was not possible to move us on the first night to a better room but this was done for the second and third nights of our stay. The alternative room on the first floor had indeed a seaview and a balcony and did not smell damp. Unfortunately the carpet in this room was very badly stained and despite a request to have this cleaned - this was not done. Overall a very disappointing stay at a hotel which failed to live up to its brochure and website claims. An expensive, distressing and disenchanted stay for what should have been a special and wonderful occasion for our family. I would not recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sandimac323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for taking the time to post your comments and I apologise that, on the occasion of your stay, you feel we failed to meet our stated standards. I would be grateful if you could contact me directly at jason.parry@harbourhotels.co.uk in order that I may address your concerns personally and directly.
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London
Level Contributor
120 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2012

We really enjoyed our time here. Primarily down to the staff who were without fail friendly and helpful, The weather was appalling when we arrived and getting off the train were drenched by the time we walked up the path from the Station to the Hotel entrance (note if you enter at the rear of the hotel it is not too easy to find reception). The dining room is lovely and great entertainment watching people desperately seeking window seats, even though the others have a nice view as well, so no need to stress. Food was good, service a little uneven (did not get any Béarnaise sauce with my steak - did not want any but the little hole where pot should have been looked lonely). It is obvious that whoever owns the chain is cost concious (not a bad thing) but it does show occasionally. The lift is quite exciting! Anyway if weather had been good it is worth 5 stars! (Did not try ot look at Spa BTW)

Room Tip: I guess Sea view, but you do not really want to be spending too much time in your room if you visit...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank NW6_Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for your kind review. Our lift is unique and, as befits such an elderly lady, can sometimes be temperamental, but we are pleased that this did not impact adversely on your stay. Here at The St Ives Harbour Hotel we all strive to give excellent service every time and we are sorry that on this occasion we failed to meet your expectations consistently.
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Cape Town, South Africa
Level Contributor
68 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2012

A fine hotel , not pretentious and yes, parking etc difficult..however staff went out of their way to assist by meeting us roadside and parking the car for us, a good welcome and show around by Maggie. Spa and pool spotless and excellent, room small with no sea view but as we had booked yet clean and very adequate...only problem was that Roman blind fell down twice during the night and we had to tie it back in place with hair bands as room was too light to sleep.
Highlight was dinner which we had chosen as part of an inclusive package....food was outstanding , service was very good , efficient and warm...the view was breathtaking.Very good house wine.
The only hotel in our recent travels which offered a personalised welcome letter from the GM....it is the finer detail that makes the difference and it is apparent that this is a well managed hotel.Well done Jason.

Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank SouthAfricaAbroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
jasonparry55, General Manager at St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa, responded to this review, 22 July 2012
Thank you for your very positive comments. I have passed these to the relevant staff and I am sure all the staff will be pleased and motivated by your comments. We hope to welcome you back in the near future.
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Additional Information about St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa

Property: St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa
Address: The Terrace, St Ives TR26 2BN, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > St Ives
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in St Ives
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St Ives
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 46
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
St Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa is perfectly positioned directly above Porthminster beach boasting stunning views across the water. Watch as the waves lap against the famous Godrevy Lighthouse in the distance and feel your troubles disappear. Explore the local harbour, as you meander through the cobbled streets, and then return for dinner at the Terrace Restaurant, serving up seasonal and local food, along with stunning sea views. The Harbour Spa provides the perfect hideaway, as you indulge in a soothing treatment and then unwind by the pool, gazing out to sea from the comfort of a lounger! Enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea, cocktail or light lunch on the alfresco dining terrace and soak up the sea air and sensational views. The 46 bedrooms offer complete comfort and some of the Superior Bedrooms have balconies - a perfect place to relax over a morning coffee with the papers or afternoon tea watching the boats sail by... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Porthminster Hotel St Ives
Porthminster St Ives
St. Ives Harbour Hotel & Spa St Ives, Cornwall

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