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“The most abysmal so called "spa" I've ever visited”
Review of Haven Hotel

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Haven Hotel
Ranked #7 of 13 Hotels in Poole
Reviewed 6 September 2009

First of all I want to say that my therapist was lovely and I had a great massage, and to be fair to the staff, they were all friendly and helpful. This review is about the FACILITIES. This is not a spa as we know it today, with lowered lights, the scent of aromatherapy oils and calming music. This is your Gran's worn out 1960's sitting room. The decor is shabby, the carpets practically worn through, the changing rooms a good walk away. And if you think that the pool and sauna area is integrated into the treatment area think again. You have to traipse down a long corridor - with worn out carpet, no windows, but full fluorescent lighting - that feels like a fire escape, chips of paint off the doors etc. The changing rooms are reminiscent of a public swimming pool that has not been refurbished for 30 years. Lots of rust on various pipes in the swimming area. My therapist should really go somewhere else where her skills are matched by the surroundings. I thought going to a spa was all about the full experience.
What is has going for it is the location of the hotel. It's in Sandbanks overlooking the sea. I suppose the owners feel because of the address they don't have to modernise the hotel. Otherwise they're waiting for some developer to pay them extortionate amounts of money and just knock down the whole place.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled solo
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Thank AdeleMK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,500 - 1,506 of 1,558 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Haven Hotel, along with my parents, for a visit to the area for a family party. Having heard so much about the Sandbanks area, and seen the way the hotel described itself, our expectations were high - my dad was very excited about finding a hotel that he thought would be a treat for all of us and his disappointment couldn't be hidden.

With the price of the rooms and the location, I'd expected something of the same standard as one of the Hotel du Vin hotels (the Poole one was full at the time of our visit) but that was not the case. I have no issue with paying a little more for a hotel, especially for a special occasion or a treat, but the price label sets an expectation and that is something that this hotel clearly does not understand.

We arrived at the hotel just as a large wedding party was being welcomed for their wedding breakfast, totally blocking the path to the reception desk, although the hotel staff made no effort to ask them to move. The staff were friendly enough when we checked in but our room was a big disappointment: tiny, with a very small bed, outdated decor that was very much in need of some attention and a bathroom floor that would have looked perfect in student halls but not in a hotel that advertises itself in the way that this one does. Although we had a view of the sea, we were at the side of the hotel, overlooking the tennis court and pool, so we were not quite able to appreciate the location as much as we'd hoped. My parents, who didn't have a sea view, had a bigger room but the standard of decor seemed to be consistent.

It's clear that the public areas of the hotel have been the focus of a fair amount of attention, to the detriment of the bedrooms. The bar was relaxed and modern, with great sea views and a reasonable selection of wines. Because we were attending a party, we didn't have dinner at the hotel but the breakfast was very good - which it should be given that on its own, the room was not at all worth the ticket price. There was a lot of choice on the breakfast buffet and extra cooked options could be ordered at no extra cost.

The hotel has a good amount of parking, albeit with many narrow spaces. However, when there is a wedding, as there was when we arrived, it's very hard to find a space and you have to resort to parking against walls or in areas that leave very little space for other cars to squeeze past you.

Overall, my trip to Sandbanks was a good one but that wasn't the result of my time at The Haven. It may well call itself a four star hotel but I totally fail to understand how it achieved that rating, given the state of the rooms. The leaflet in our hotel room described a level of luxury of which I could see no sign at all, and given the cost of a one-night stay it's all to easy to be disappointed. The experience was miles away from the one I expected - this hotel is not good value for money and I would not stay here again.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KatherineJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 April 2009

My partner and I booked this because there was a 2 for 1 offer - if it weren'f for that we think it would have been a bit overpriced. Having said that, the location must be one of the loveliest in the UK. The hotel sits directly on the seafront -eating on the patio overlooking the beautiful busy harbour was sublime. Our sea view room was very comfortable - one review here says it was warm, well turn the radiator off! The location is perfect for visiting Brownsea Island or just walking along a beautiful beach. Staff were friendly and helpful, but service was slightly ad hoc - drinks seemed to take a while to arrive, as did coffee at breakfast. But that won't put us off coming here again - we will try to come back.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank swamp-pokey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelResponsePoole, Manager at Haven Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 22 July 2009

Dear Swamp-Pokey

Thank you for your review, we are pleased that you had an enjoyable stay with us, and hope that you will visit again soon.

We appreciate the feedback regarding our drinks service not being quite as speedy as you would have liked and will address this with the team in the hopes to improve this.

Our harbour location is certainly one of our main selling points and provides fantastic views to offer the perfect backdrop to a relaxing weekend.

We often run special deals or reduced rates during our quieter periods, although not always as attractive as 2 for 1, so hope that you will keep an eye out for future offers so that we can welcome you back soon.

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Reviewed 5 March 2009

I stayed 1 night for business in Sept 07. The hotel itself is right at the end of the penninsula next to the Punt/Ferry going across the harbour entrance. It is also close to the ferry terminal if your heading across the channel or to The Isle of Wight.

Checkin was fine with the staff being very friendly & helpful. The room lighting could have been better but the bed was comfy and, the room reasonably spacious. The bathrooms have been recently refurbished so no issues there. The windows open although in the evening you may wish to keep them closed until the Punt/Ferry stops running as it is chain driven and, you can hear it clunking on the gears on the ferry. With the window closed it is not too bad however. Only issue was that I was at the far end of the top floor corridor and, the wireless internet did not reach that far so had to go to the lobby to use it which is a bit annoying. The View looks straight out to see and to the Isle which is pretty amazing.

I had breakfast in the restaurant which put on a good buffet & the coffee was better than most other places I have drank coffee in the UK. When will britain learn to make good esspresso? I did have room service. It was promptly delivered, hot and, was quite good.

I made use of the conference/business centre facilities whilst there as well. these are in a separate more modern building but very professional and, the banquet staff very attentive as well.

I would return for business or for a weekend away even if just to checkout the kite surfing that happens on the other side of the penninsula inside the harbour!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled on business
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Thank Phicus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelResponsePoole, Managing Director at Haven Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 12 March 2009

We are pleased that you enjoyed your stay at The Haven, and hope that we get to welcome you back again soon. Next time you book with us please mention that you will require internet access, unfortunately as you say the wireless access doesn’t quite reach all of the bedrooms, however, many rooms also have a wired point by the dressing table. If we know that you need this facility we can be sure to allocate you a suitable bedroom. As for the kite surfing, this can be booked via TWA http://www.thewatersportsacademy.com which is our very own water sports academy next door to The Sandbanks Hotel, what’s more if you mention at the time of booking that you are a guest at The Haven (or indeed anyone of the four FJB Hotels) and show your key card at the centre you are entitled to a 30% discount off most the sports and activities taking place there.

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Reviewed 24 September 2008

A September break for my 90-year-old mother, and it would be hard to find a better spot on the South Coast of England - the sea to the front and along one side, boats of all sizes coming in and out of Poole Harbour, and the long sandy beaches of Studland Bay across the water. We were so impressed by the hotel itself - the layout, the rooms, and fantastic food. Most of all it was the staff who made our stay such a joy: well-trained, efficient, thoroughly courteous and cheery.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Formerly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2008

We have just enjoyed a realy lovely relaxing stay at the Haven hotel, we have visited the Haven hotel a few times and always enjoy our stay the food is excellent. and the outdoor swimming pool must be one of the best in the country with wonderfull views from the hot tub. We just hope we are lucky enough to go to the Haven again soon

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank OxfordshireOliver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2008

This was our fifth stay at the Haven. It is not cheap (it probably uplifts its rates to take into account its stunning location) but it is good.

Our rooms looked recently refurbished and were certainly big and well appointed. They were at the back so did not have the benefit of the views over Studland Bay that make this place so special (we knew that when we booked - rooms at the back seem a bit cheaper).

The staff are friendly if sometimes not quite as efficient as might be liked. Service on the terrace particularly good be better.

The food is good; the cream teas are something to savour. I do wonder though why a hotel of this quality (and is is quality, I struggle to recognise the hotel from some of the other reviews) makes its guests queue up to make their own toast in the mornings!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank steamtrainian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Haven Hotel

Address: 161 Banks Road | Sandbanks, Poole BH13 7QL, England (Formerly FJB Collection - The Haven)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Poole
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Poole
#3 Luxury Hotel in Poole
Price Range: £60 - £154 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Haven Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 84
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Haven Hotel is a luxurious four-star spa hideaway. Perched at the tip of the exclusive Sandbanks peninsula in Poole and surrounded by sea and sand. With direct access to seven miles of Blue Flag beaches and just a couple of steps away from Purbeck over the Shell Bay chain ferry. It’s your gateway to South Coast adventure. Featuring elegant and well-appointed bedrooms with many of which offering ocean view balconies. We believe that these naturally beautiful surroundings deserve food that’s a little special. Highly acclaimed by locals, The Point Restaurant serves a two AA-Rosette awarded cuisine helmed by Head Chef Jason Hornbuckle. When the sun shines, our terrace is an enviable spot for alfresco dining. Why not indulge yourself at the Haven Spa and prepare to be pampered and spoilt? Whether working up a sweat in the gym or relaxing in the outdoor heated swimming pool, the Haven Spa is the perfect place to unwind your mind and reinvigorate your body in complete luxury. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Haven Poole
Haven Hotel Poole, Dorset

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