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“Poorly run & poor value for money”

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Harbour Heights Hotel
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Poole
Certificate of Excellence
North London
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Poorly run & poor value for money”
Reviewed 26 August 2008

The worst good hotel we've ever visited.

HH is set back 200 metres from the Sandbanks to Poole road and offers lovely, if slightly obscured views across the harbour.

The hotel is well maintained and the food is very good and reasonably priced if you go for the £30 a head 3-course set menu. Unfortunately that's where the compliments end.

£300 bought us b&b in one of the sea facing rooms in the eaves. The dimensions are tiny and the bed was only queen sized as a king wouldn't fit. The walls were so thin we could hear our neighbours talking and when they stopped the TV cables on the roof kept us awake slapping in the wind against the roof.

But what completely ruins the guest experience at Harbour Heights is the staff. They are disorganised, surly and poorly trained:

-- When the jacuzzi wouldn't work, a member of staff said he couldn't fix it because he wasn't an engineer (nor am I which is why we asked for help!)

-- When I asked for a Vodka Martini in a cocktail glass rather than the half pint the barman was offering, his colleague refused: "Vodka Martini is a cocktail and you can only have the cocktails on our list"

-- After finishing our main course we waited over 20 mins to be offered a dessert

-- At breakfast we asked for a sea view table and were told we could not have one because it needed clearing

-- Tea and coffee didn't arrive until we finished eating breakfast and the fresh juice was in fact concentrate

-- At the next table a diner received his eggs long after his partner had finished breakfast, to which he remarked: "I didn't think they were still coming - I had given up all hope!"

-- Meanwhile the chef was shouting at the waiting staff (who were talking to customers) to come and serve the food

-- On checking out, the receptionist stopped serving me for 5 mins to take a phone call. After she hung up and I'd settled the bill, there was no enquiry as to whether we'd had a good stay. Just as well.

These points may seem trivial and probably are if Harbour Heights charged half the price it does. As it is, the hotel is tremendously over-priced, badly managed and ill-served by seemingly demoralised staff.

  • Liked — Location & building
  • Disliked — Service
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mrandmrsfogg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (282)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Northants
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 August 2008

Stayed just for one night whilst visiting relatives in Poole. I wanted to stay in Sandbanks to see what all the fuss was about and to be honest I cant see the attraction.

The hotel itself was ok, although being a Saturday obviously had a wedding party in and on entering reception appeared a little disheveled and needed a good vacuum. We checked in and went to the room which I had booked through Bookers.com for a discounted price. It was an ok room nothing to write home about and definitely not worth the rack rate advertised - we had a nice view of the car park. Room was clean and tidy and beds were comfortable, bathroom small but again ok.

We went down into the bar for a drink whilst the sun went down, we had had an exceptionally fine day for April. However, the tables were full of used glasses etc that I suppose because of the wedding party there were not enough staff to clear. We ordered a bottle of champagne and the staff were courteous if a little slow and the view a little disappointing.

We drove down to the Sandbanks so called 'elite' area, I think this is rather overrated by over exuberant estate agents but I suppose if people are silly enough to pay that amount then that is up to them....not for me though.

On driving back I rang the hotel's restaurant to book a table for the evening, but was told that they were fully booked even for residents!! I found this very annoying and tried a few other places but all fully booked, so my advice would be to make sure you have a reservation before you go.

On the whole this wouldn't be a place I would return to I would much rather stay in Poole, there is a hotel on the quay side I think called the Thistle, even though it was no where near as plush is within easy walk of some nice places to eat and drink, ideal if just staying over for the night. We ate the best fish and chips at a lovely pub called 'the pub with no name' - well recommended.

  • Liked — Breakfast - very good and service good
  • Disliked — Just didn't live up to the hype
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank JTinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winchester, U.K
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2008

The hotel is beautiful with stunning views and it could be an incredible place to stay.

We booked over 20 rooms for ourselves and our guests to stay after our wedding - luckily we did not have our wedding or reception there!!

The whole process was chaos from start to finish and i really wish we'd stayed elsewhere.

The staff and their service let it all down and i really hope that something is done to improve it beacuse it would be nice to go for future wedding anniversarys - at the moment there is no way we will return.

Its totally overpriced considering the quality of service and as i said its a real shame because its a great property.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The service/staff
  • Stayed May 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank girlbritabroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
119 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 June 2008

We stayed at the Harbour Heights on a Saturday night in June. We arrived about 5pm and found a space to park even though there was a wedding taking place in the Hotel. The reception staff were friendly. No offer of a porter but we only had one small bag each. The Hotel has been there there for a long time but has been refurbished in a stylish way.

Although it was very small we were pleased with our room - it had an amazing view of the harbour. The room was too small to spend much time in but the view was really special - marvellous to wake up to. It's a four star hotel so no turn down service but extra towels were delivered immediately when requested.

The bathroom was modern with a good shower.

The views from the restaurant and terrace are wonderful.The serving staff are helpful although one barman had to call a colleague as his english was not good enough to understand our drinks order. Dinner service was a little slow and pressured, presumably because it was Saturday evening and they were also catering a wedding reception. The food was served nicely but was only OK. I suspect on a weekday evening with no function it would be a lot better. I would stay in the Hotel again but possibly eat elsewhere if they had a function on that evening.

Breakfast was good and the hot food freshly prepared.

It's a short walk to the beach but if we were with children the sister hotels, Sandbanks or the Haven might be better as they have direct access to the beach. They also have swimming pools.

Check out was a little slow because of a computer glitch but as friendly as check in.

In summary, a stylish hotel with wonderful views.

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hawtrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England
Level Contributor
54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2008

We stayed at the Harbour Heights on a Saturday night at the end of March. We arrived about 3pm and parked easily, but there were only a few spaces left. Very welcoming reception staff and checked in quickly. The hotel looks quite dated from the outside but inside is modern, contemporary and stylish.

We were so pleased with our room - we had an amazing view of the bay over to Sandbanks, Brownsea Island and Poole. We also had a large balcony but sadly couldn't make use of it because of the pouring rain and windy weather! The room was large with a very big bed, couple of armchairs and table, lots of storage space.

The bathroom was long and narrow, but quite roomy with double sink, power shower (excellent!) and jacuzzi bath. Nice toiletries too.

A few glitches which we had to report : faulty TV remote control and TV would not operate without it , hairdryer in bathroom did not work (there was another in dressing table drawer but had to hunt for it) , and bath plug had broken.

The hotel lounges and bars are very comfortable and the views are stunning. Shame we couldn't sit outside on the beautiful terrace. Thought the bar drinks were reasonably priced. A few of the bar staff did not speak very good English, and got our drinks order wrong and the bill needed correcting.

We decided not to eat in the hotel for our early dinner as we wanted to check out the local area. Receptionist very helpful and booked us a taxi to Poole where there are some great restaurants but we found a few of them closed, out of season I guess. A special mention to Hardy's in the High Street which opened early to let us in from the pouring rain. A fantastic cosy restaurant specialising in fresh fish. Really good quality and value and great service. We would definitely return, shame they didn't open for Sunday lunch!

Breakfast in the hotel was lovely, with a good choice. We noted that much of the produce is locally sourced, and their suppliers are proudly listed in the menus.

Beautiful weather on Sunday so we went for a walk on Sandbanks beach - check out the multi million pound mansions! Really great beach, such a gorgeous part of the country.

Though not cheap, would definitely return to the hotel, or perhaps its sister hotel The Haven which is right on the beach at Sandbanks and has more leisure facilities and a spa !

  • Liked — The location and views
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MaldivesForever23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wiltshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 February 2008

Stay ruined by a serious fight in the toilets and reception area. Relief when the police arrived. Wouldn't stay here again

Stayed December 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank WiltshireEric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin Ireland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 November 2007

I drank in the bar of this hotel many years ago, and decided to spend one of those "0" birthdays with my school years friends at the Harbour Heights.
After reading some negative reviews after booking, we approached the weekend with some trepidation. Well, the carpers must have stayed at some other hotel. From the moment we arrived we were treated incredibly well, the friendly helpful staff doing their utmost to make our stay special.
They went out of their way to accommodate one vegetarian, and the great success of our birthday bash was largely due to the discrete yet attentive service, superb food and drink. The rooms (4 in a row for us to be together) were comfortable, clean and well appointed with wonderful sea views, they even arranged the most beautiful sunset on my birthday!!
I cannot thank and praise Mr Ortega and his staff enough for a weekend I shall remeber for ever.

  • Liked — Superb location friendly staff clean well appointed rooms
  • Disliked — Leaving!
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Philsally
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Harbour Heights Hotel

Property: Harbour Heights Hotel
Address: 73 Haven Road, Poole BH13 7LW, England (Formerly FJB Collection - Harbour Heights)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Poole
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Poole
#1 Luxury Hotel in Poole
#4 Romantic Hotel in Poole
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Harbour Heights Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 38
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whether you're retreating for romance or overnighting on business. Harbour Heights offers boutique and stylish surroundings, paired with panoramic outlooks over Poole Harbour and beyond. Every bedroom is carefully designed for comfort with premium vi-spring beds and jacuzzi spa baths to bubble away in. Many also boast harbour views with balconies to watch the world float by. We want our guests to experience exceptional food in beautiful surroundings. To do justice to the view, Harbar Bistro offers two AA Rosette Awarded cuisine, maintained by Head Chef Loic Gratadoux. When the weather's welcoming, bask in the sunshine with a glass of champagne or light lunch on the terrace overlooking the magical harbour islands. The Harbour Heights Hotel is located just a short stroll away from the prestigious Sandbanks beach and stunning Poole Harbour. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbour Heights Poole
Harbour Heights Hotel Poole, Dorset

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