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Grand Hotel Swanage
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Reviews (1,027)
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All reviewssea viewthe general managerthird floorprivate beachbar menulovely old hotelseen better daysnight breaksome tlcshort breakfabulous viewsroom was clean and comfortablesunday lunchcar parkingthe cliffrelaxing breakfantastic location
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Reviewed 4 August 2009

Luna London's review: "Grandly overpriced" is bang on the money. We stayed in a room with, agreed, a wonderful majestic view of Swanage Bay, but that really was the sole good point of this hotel, charging £170 a night for a double bed and breakfast - daylight robbery.

The website looks amazing, but the reality will disappoint. The bathrooms are in a dire state, it smells old and fusty and the hotel decor looks as if it had a refurb in 1988. Breakfast is mediocre and the staff are eccentric. Parking is problematic. The location is far from central.

There's a great restaurant down the road called Ocean Bay, and Swanage is well worth the stay - there is a 4 star nice looking B&B just down from the Grand, that or as Luna London also states, Corfe Castle village which is beautiful, or the excellent Bankes Arms pub or the lovely Manor House has accommodation in nearby Studland.

This building was probably once grand, it needs a new owner and a few million spending on it and maybe then they'd be able to charge their £170 a night justifiably. As it is, the website may look perfect but trust me, give it a wide berth.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank bramall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2009

First, the pros: great location and wonderful views of the bay, attractive gardens and conservatory. However, they are about the only good things about this place, which shows what a lack of competition can cause. Amazingly, this is apparently the best hotel in the town, so it does not have to raise its game and, boy, does it show. It is probably the worst value hotel stay I can remember: £170 double B&B for what would have been an average-to-poor stay at half the price.

The building is a typical Victorian/ Edwardian seaside grand hotel and has some charm but has been unsympathetically updated over time and is pretty shabby. The staircase and conservatory are pleasing but the rooms, bar and restaurant are tired, gloomy and grubby. Our room was tiny, had cheap, mismatched, pine, hostel-style furniture and a truly terrible bed, which was both uncomfortable and too small. We had a lovely view of Swanage Bay, but the pigeons outside were constantly watching us and cooing loudly from their home on our windowsill, which was covered in droppings and a dead pigeon below it. The gutters were also totally blocked. Neither of us slept properly, either because of the lousy bed, the pigeons' all-night cooing, or a combination.

The bathroom was similarly awful, with a bizarre, enclosed bath, reached through a small arch, dribbling shower, with hot and cold the wrong way round - watch out! Everything was well-used and grubby and there was black mould above the bath.

Perhaps even worse than that was staff morale, which was uniformly desultory, unhelpful and charmless, with the sole exception of the superb duty manager, who was wonderful. For example, on arrival, we checked-in with the owner and asked what our room was like. Her reply was, 'I don't know, I don't remember seeing it'. This is a 30 room hotel! If the owner has not even seen the rooms and cannot be bothered to even pretend she has to arriving guests, what hope can there be for the place? This betrays a total lack of pride, care, concern or respect for guests, quality or staff and it shows in every aspect of this tired hotel. A real case of top-down culture.

Swanage is beautiful and well worth seeing, so, as this is apparently its best hotel, here is my tip: stay in Corfe Castle, which is 20 mins away on the charming steam railway. We stayed at Morton's House, which was great, considerably cheaper and superior in every way.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LunaLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2009

The Grand has the most wonderful view of Swanage Bay from its conservatory. We stayed in a room with a balcony - a beautiful room with wonderful view, but the bathroom!!! Shabby, cramped, the towel rail was dangerously hot all the time and the plumbing is in dire need of updating. The hotel is friendly, although a little old fashioned, but the staff (mostly young and from eastern Europe) would benefit from some training. Food fairly good and varied. Good place for children, particularly the garden, and the staff are generally helpful and friendly with all ages - our party was 3 generations and there were several similar parties. Can't wait for our next visit!

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank branwhite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2009

The Hotel without a doubt has an amazing view over Swanage bay. Great location, with its own pathway/steps down to the beach (a private one I think). At the bottom of the steps is a shop called the 'lobster Pot' which sells beach items and serves snacks and light meals which were very yummy and reasonable. The Hotel has a good sized, well kept garden area where you can sit and watch the sea or sunbathe on the loungers which was really lovely.

Now the downside...... The place is in desperate need of a decent interior designer it is shabby and rather unkept. The fittings and fixtures are cheap and not always clean. We were unfortunate that the sea view rooms were all booked (it was the Swanage Regata week) as the views from them must have been fantastic. Our room was very basic with an uncomfortable bed (divan) which had ripped seams, I was awake all night and a continual generator like noise didnt help! A bottle of water in the room is a usual basic touch that you would expect but alas, no water. During my broken sleep I had no access to drinking water for myself or our daughter (this is a petty point but it really did bother me). The bathroom really was awful, it must have been decorated in the 1970's the ceiling had panels which had dark patches, one area of the wall was covered with paper and tape (I dread to think what was under there!) The shower ran hot and cold (much to the amusement of my partner who could hear me yelping!).

The service at this hotel was also a bit hit and miss. The waitress at dinner was very put out when we took a while to decide on our order claiming she was very busy (the restaurant was only half full on one of the busiest weekends of the year). The standard of the evening food was ok and I did think the breakfasts were very good.

Overall I would not recommend this hotel to anyone. We paid £240 for 2 nights room only which I think is extremely overpriced. However I would highly recommend visiting Swanage, it was my first trip the the area and it is delightful.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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Thank richardandjennifer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2009

Went away for romantic weekend, website shows hotel in different light to what we found.
our room was on 3rd floor sloping ceilings,cold, damp patch in bathroom,ceiling paper starting to fall off,shower screen dirty and for this we paid £170 per night?? .food on friday night Pasta luke warm,vegetables very soggy. Saturday breakfast fine,Dinner different, Soup tasted of pepper not mushroom as stated, mash pot hard in middle, Sunday breakfast porridge quite bland, toms again with loads of pepper on ?? Cleaniness needs sorting in reception, toilet door dirty floor wet due to leaking tap.
asked for cocktail but was told no, all in all not one i would reccomend price very high for room service etc. needs renovation quite dark in areas,

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank hopeitshelpfull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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