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“Mixed bag”

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Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton
Ranked #27 of 66 Hotels in Bournemouth
Reviewed 22 March 2014

For me this is a really difficult review. The position of the hotel is fantastic, prime real estate, the cleanliness and housekeeping were pretty good too, the bed was big and comfortable, so no complaints there. I want to be positive about our stay there, but am finding it a little difficult.
First room we were given looked over the car park ( some rooms have to look over the car park ), but the wallpaper was peeling off the walls ( and not just in one area ), so we asked to change rooms. First we were offered the hotel next door, which we declined and were then given a room with wallpaper intact and a lovely sea view, the only complaint about the room was the bathroom was smaller than one would expect and the shower pressure was almost none existant.
Breakfast was very poor indeed, orange juice from concentrate, Chorleywood processed bread ( white or brown ), , cheapest jam possible, a few slices of cheese, eggs swimming in fat /oil, cheap museli,coffee was fresh at least.
The spa area was tiny and tierd as was the hotel in general, rather like a great hollywood star who has aged and fallen on hard times, except the garden ( that was fantastic ). Fire alarm went off twice without explanation, the reception staff accidently gave our room to people checking in, who came into our room whilst we were in residence ( thank goodness we were only having a cup of tea, it was our wedding anniversary ).
Generally the staff need better training, they are not rude or inconsiderate, many must be part timers, and others are overloaded and stressed. e.g. when we originally checked into the hotel, the reception mangeress was having a really heated discussion with someone on the telephone at about 90 decibels ( actually Sybil of Faulty Towers came to mind ).
We paid £90 per night, so it wasn't a fortune by south coast standards, and I dare say you would pay similar in a good B&B, or two star chain. You could stay at the village which is next to a hypermarket out of town, so I don't want to be too negative. I imagine that the issue is that the hotel is full at weekends and in the short high season, then struggles the rest of the time to fill rooms. In my opinion the hotel needs to revamp and extend its health / spa facilities not only to attract guests, but increase income, and room occupancy. We didn't have an evening meal in the hotel, but if the breakfast was any indication of food standard, then a total rethink is needed.
Refurnish, update and push as a conference / wedding / function venue. Conclusion invest or sell up, but change is needed.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank EricFurman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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849 - 855 of 1,267 reviews

Reviewed 22 March 2014

We had a one night stay at the Carlton Hotel in a large sea facing room. It was very clean and tidy. The evening meal we had was very nice and the service was impeccable. The pool and spa was not the biggest but very clean. The outside pool and gardens looked lovely but will not heated until May. Breakfast was self service buffet style and had a wide range on offer.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Pand68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2014

We booked our stay via Groupon and the value for money was amazing.
The room was huge with a sea view via three bay windows with a three piece suite in front of it. The bed was super-emporor size and very comfortable. The very smart bathroom was reached via a corridor.
My wife absolutely raved about the food in the restaurant and while I was not so stunned what I had was perfectly well cooked and presented. We had a free glass of bubbly each to start and the wine was reasonably priced.
Breakfast was quite decent as well. The cost of the night away? Just £79.00 including the food.
If you see this offer again grab it, we will.

Room Tip: The sea view rooms are huge, but probably more expensive.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Stepelson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2014

We decided to head to Bournemouth to celebrate a major birthday and we checked into the Menzies Carlton. This was not our first stay at this hotel, so we knew what to expect. We were given the keys to our room in the annexe, which proved to be a very nice size of room, with a great sea view, but unfortunately it did not have air conditioning. Following a call to reception, it was established that there were no other rooms available, so a fan was delivered, which did help the situation, but fell short of aircon.

In the morning things took a turn for the worse at breakfast, the hotel was busy, as you would expect/hope in August, but the hotel seemed to have overlooked this when arranging the staff rota, or provisioning supplies. When requesting whether more cereal was likely to arrive, my wife was told that they had run out....this turned out to be not the case, as during the course of our breakfast some appeared. This was a relatively low key disappointment compared to some of the other diners that were there with young kids.

Given the official star rating of this hotel and the image that they would like you to believe, this tarnished the stay to some extent. We have since had enjoyable stays elsewhere at "lesser" starred hotels that have far exceeded our expectations and the Menzies Carlton would do well to learn from some of their competition.

Room Tip: The sea view is lovely, but make sure you get aircon in the warmer months.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KennyN1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

Our sea view room was large, in excellent condition, with a big bathroom. It had a balcony overlooking the outdoor pool and the sea. Bathroom was all working well. The bed was large and very comfortable. The downside was it was over the bar but that noise dies by midnight so not a big issue.

Check-in was friendly and efficient. Plenty of free parking. The public areas had some stunning old features: walnut library, great marble art deco fireplace, however, the furniture wasn't really in keeping. The bar was small, but again had great period features. Check out was painless.

In the spa area, the hot tub and indoor pool were both on the small side, and the spa in general needed sprucing up. This would be less of a problem in the summer with the large outdoor pool. The restaurant was in a beautiful room with a pianist, but we ate elsewhere and didn't have breakfast so can't comment on the food.

However, there was a fire alarm the night we stayed. Not their fault I'm sure so I have no issue with that but I was surprised and worried at the lack of staff guiding guests to a muster point, and thought the only note of poor service was that there was no apology for it at check out the next morning.

Overall a real bargain, with plenty of character but still a good comfortable place to stay.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Iestyn1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014

Poor breakfasts, appear to be cost cuts, e.g. buffet service, "out of a tin" preserves, running out of items. Comfortable room, tired bathroom with dreadful bath. Housekeeping first rate, faultless each day. Needs some care and attention. Not 4 star quality. Have been several times before but this was the most disappointing.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Barry P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2014

Recently returned from a two-night stay as part of a 12 strong group. Rooms were magnificent with fantastic sea views. Service was good but dinner on the second night suffered from the lack of a maître d'. Most of the staff were rushing around but they seemed to need a sense of direction. Reception staff and Susie (who helped to organise the trip) were tremendous.

Thank you all.

Room Tip: Sea view rooms just add to the air of relaxation.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank johnburton2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton

Address: East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth BH1 3DN, England (Formerly Menzies Carlton Hotel)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Bournemouth
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Bournemouth
#12 Luxury Hotel in Bournemouth
Price Range: £48 - £180 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton 4*
Number of rooms: 76
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
When it comes to epic locations and dramatic seafront views, nothing gets much better than the Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth Carlton. We’re right in the heart of town, so when you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful view or tear yourself away from the stretch of golden beach, then we’re also walking distance to the town centre, to popular attractions such as Bournemouth Oceanarium, BH2 Leisure Complex and Bournemouth International Centre – a hotspot for major conferences and exhibitions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Menzies Carlton Bournemouth
Hotel Menzies Carlton
Carlton Hotel Bournemouth

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