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“Tired and shabby... 4 star? Certainly not!”
Review of Sandbanks Hotel

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Sandbanks Hotel
Ranked #10 of 13 Hotels in Poole
Reviewed 13 March 2009

I was amazed when I found out that this was, supposedly, a four star hotel... The Sandbanks Hotel is looking rather tired, shabby and unloved...the general areas were poor - the pool, especially, is dreadful - certainly not worth more than two star! My room was adequate, with a beautiful sea view, but there was a whole rabbit warren of corridors and staircases to get to it - and the lift only went as far as the floor below! Not well signposted - very easy to get lost and end up somewhere unexpected. The staff were friendly, but seemed inexperienced and seemed unprepared for routine hotel events - like checking out - and the communal areas were basic. On one of the many staircases, a piece of litter had been dropped and was there for TWO DAYS... Food was unimaginative, with very extremely basic alternatives (like going back in time - but not in a good way) for vegetarian/vegan diets - eg. fruit salad was offered as the pudding option at every meal (supplemented on one occasion - out of four - by sorbet). Breakfast was fine - though the coffee was almost undrinkable. Fortunately, my visit to Sandbanks was as part of a conference delegation - I would have been most upset had I paid for these poor facilities myself!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled on business
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2  Thank etymology
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 March 2009

Thank you for your review and I am sorry to learn that you were dissatisfied with certain aspects of your stay. Do feel free to contact me direct should you wish to discuss further.

Your conference delegation occupied a complete cross section of bedrooms, and I am sorry to note that the room allocated to you was a standard sea view room without balcony, as opposed to a Superior or Executive room. I assure you that we do attempt whenever possible to give complimentary room upgrades to all our clients, but at busy times availability can be limited.

The Public Bars and Lounges were all completely refurbished only last Spring, with new flooring and carpets, brand new sofas, tables, lamps, soft furnishings etc., a new interior access ramp to the beachside terraces and Brasserie, and the installation of air-conditioning and wall mounted plasma televisions. All bedrooms and public areas now also benefit from free wi-fi access.

Your comments regarding signage are noted for the future and we will look at what we can do to improve this. Unfortunately our two lifts do not access the top floor, and it is perhaps worth just mentioning this again to readers who may have difficulties with the short flight of stairs from the second floor to the third. A piece of dropped litter on the stairs is not acceptable and thank you for your observation. It should have been removed much sooner.

In the case of an entire conference checking out, inevitably there can be a delay sometimes, due to the volume of people all checking out at once, and I apologise if this detracted from your stay.

I note your comment regarding food for vegetarians/vegans although this is normally well received. Do let us know beforehand however if you have any specific dietary requirements and we will be pleased to incorporate these into our menu. Coffee in the Restaurant is ground direct from bean to cup.

Readers might also like to know that one of our young Chefs has just won Gold at the Chef of the Year Awards, and further details are available on the news section of our website. Whilst there don’t forget to check out our latest Special Offers also.

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1,732 - 1,738 of 1,792 reviews

Reviewed 19 January 2009

A very shabby hotel dirty stained carpets, shabby furniture. Couldn't use restaurant in the evening as they had a function on.
Brasserie was closed. Pool was tiny and shabby. Could of used facilities at the Haven but they were closed. We complained they moved us to another room that wasn't any better so they moved us to a sister hotel the Harbour Heights which was great and the same price. The only thing Sandbanks has going for it is the view. Don't go there

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KentWilliams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 2 April 2009

This reviewer arrived during a busy residential social weekend, having booked the day before.

They had been allocated a superior sea-facing double room with balcony and king-sized bed at a specially negotiated rate of £65.00 per person per night to include Accommodation and Breakfast.

The room was considered unsatisfactory, and mention made of a recent iron burn on the carpet. We include trouser presses with integral folding ironing boards in all of our rooms, and occasionally an iron will be dropped on the carpet and creates a burn mark. In most instances, we have to replace carpets entirely when this happens, but the work has to be fitted around business levels and as funds allow. Carpets are cleaned regularly .

The reviewer was offered the alternative of a recently refurbished, executive sea-facing double room, with a balcony and sitting room for the same price. This was also rejected.

As we had no other available rooms on this busy night, our Reception Manager therefore contacted our sister hotels, and was able to secure an executive room at our nearby Harbour Heights hotel, who kindly agreed to honour the same price of £65.00 per person for this client, despite that room normally costing considerably more.

I am pleased to note that the reviewer enjoyed their stay at the Harbour Heights, and that we were able to facilitate their weekend to their complete satisfaction.

The point must be made however that there is always a Restaurant available for guests to dine in during the evening. The reviewer is factually incorrect in stating otherwise.

If the larger Sea-View Restaurant is allocated to a residential group booking, then either our Brasserie, or La Mer Restaurant will be open to provide a more convivial and relaxed dining experience for our other patrons. On this occasion La Mer Restaurant was fully open.

For readers interest - The Harbour Heights is a smaller property, set back on the nearby hill, with stunning views over Poole Harbour, whilst Sandbanks is situated directly on, and with direct access to, the superb blue flag beach. Do visit our website http://www.fjbhotels.co.uk for a complete overview of all our properties, including the Haven hotel and the Chine hotel.

Perhaps one of the main points of interest to readers, as you will see from the prices mentioned, is that you can obtain some very competitive deals at the moment. The headline rate you see on the landing page here, tends to steer towards our published prices, and does not necessarily reflect the various deals and discounts that we may be able to offer you. Do therefore look online or contact us direct for the latest offers.

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Reviewed 7 January 2009

We booked in for a one-night stay during the coldest weekend Britain has seen in decades. The room was absolutely freezing. I'm 6 months pregnant and had been looking forward to a cozy retreat after a long walk on the beach. Eventually we got management to bring in extra heaters. The room itself was more like a cheap motel than a 4-star effort. A cheap excuse for a mattress, tired fittings, shabby carpet and tiny TV set. You get the feeling they really scrimp on things: eg batteries for the remote didn't work, no heating in the bathroom. Definitely not worth 4 stars, more like 2 and a half.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Ginger_rocket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2008

This hotel is in a very good location, but is very average and not up to the four star standard it is supposed to be.

I stayed in a single room (330) which was furnished adequately, more Travelodge than four star, but clean and generally ok. The hotel has wifi which is great if you are working. There was no mini bar or safe in the room, but there was a trouser press and iron.

However there were a few big problems during my stay.

Firstly the water pressure in the ensuite was so low the hot water spluttered out of the taps and the shower was totally unusable, it was just a pathetic dribble and would not adjust high enough. I complained about this to reception, but nothing was done and I was not offered a room change. Being able to shower properly is something I expect from all hotels, especially one claiming to be four star.

Secondly there was a function on, which meant that many areas of the hotel were out of bounds and the noise created by drunk people having races down the halls of the hotels and shreiking at 2am meant I did not sleep properly either night.

The atmosphere of the hotel is distinctly snooty for somewhere that in reality is quite an average hotel (with a good location). They insist on dressing for dinner and at breakfast there were as many staff as customers.

This is a real shame as this hotel could be very nice if the rooms were furnished in a higher standard with higher quality bed linen and the hotel embraced the modern traveller. Instead it seems to be clinging on to some sort of image it may have had many years ago and surviving on summer visitors and wedding functions the rest of the year.

I wouldn't recommend this hotel for any single travellers or anyone with a disability (as there are a lot of stairs). Many of the positive reviews of this hotel are probably reviewing the beach and view and not the hotel's facilities.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled solo
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1  Thank Robin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 4 April 2009

Thank you for your review Uksno. I have tried to contact you since your review but you have not replied to my e-mails. Do therefore give me a call if I can be of further help.

The problem with the shower that you mention here was subsequently found to be a faulty one-way valve that was recently fitted as a new safety feature. This has been replaced, and the shower is now working perfectly. I am sorry that we could not offer you an alternative room.

I am a little perplexed by your comment “They insist on dressing for dinner” as we have a fairly relaxed dress code, with our guideline being ‘smart casual attire’ for dinner. I think therefore you may have witnessed the formal black-tie dinner that was taking place at the time of your stay, and perhaps wrongly assumed this was the dress code for residents too.

I would assure you that in keeping with the beachside location and resort style of the hotel, a jacket and tie is no longer a requirement in this modern age, and most guests dress for comfort and relaxation.

I was sorry to learn that you were disturbed by noise in the corridor outside your room at 2am. I assure you that this is not normal, and completely unacceptable when people are trying to sleep. We have staff on duty throughout the night, who will attend promptly following a call to Reception should you find your sleep being disturbed in this manner.

I do hope that in all other respects you enjoyed your stay, and thank you once again for your review

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Reviewed 6 November 2008

I made my first visit to the Sandbanks Hotel this October for Halloween celebraions, mainly on the recomendations from other freinds with families.

The hotel is what seems to be, in orking progress.The bar area quite clearly the start of lovely refurbishments in the hotel. The rooms were comfortable and do not deserve some of the very harsh critics.

The highlight for me and my family however was the entertainment. When we have visited similar hotels in the past we have enjoyed exploring the area, bad weather prevented this. So, we opted to let the children join in the entertainment, that was the only mistake we made...

As we couldn't get them to leave it for the rest of the holiday!!! The entertainers Dizzy Danni, Jimbob and Funky Faye were the most high spirited people I have ever seen! They not only provided amazing daytime childrens entertainment thoughout the holiday (which made us forget about any rain outsaide), but the nightly entertainment was fantastic. They managed to get everyone involved with games for the family, but side tepping any cheesy Butlin's feel. The children and myself couldn't have asked for anymore and will be, without any doubt be long standing guests from this point onwards.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled with family
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Thank LondonCatherine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2008

My husband and I recently had our wedding at the Sandbanks and could not fault a single thing. The day was absolutely perfect. The staff were excellent and extremely helpful, especially the wedding planner Sebastien, who ensured the day was stress-free and well organised.
The hotel lobby and bar areas have recently been refurbished to a high standard. The Sandbanks Brasserie restaurant and terrace has spectacular panoramic views of the beach.
We stayed in a standard room overlooking the beach, which meant waking up to a glorious sunrise!
We would not hesitate in recommending this hotel for people looking for a beautiful location and a relaxed atmosphere.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank DorsetStudent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2008

Fantastic venue, gorgeous setting. The staff were very friendly and polite and very helpful, they can't do enough for you. The hotel was very clean and it has just had a new refurb in the summer and is fantastic. Would definately recommend a wedding there and also just a great holiday in a great location!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled with family
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Thank thisistaria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sandbanks Hotel

Address: 15 Banks Road | Sandbanks, Poole BH13 7PS, England (Formerly FJB Collection - The Sandbanks)
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 ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Poole
#4 Luxury Hotel in Poole
Price Range: £68 - £174 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Sandbanks Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 116
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perched in one of England's most enviable seaside locations, the Sandbanks Hotel is a relaxed and affordable holiday destination. With direct access to the world-famous sandbanks beach - seven miles of prestigious blue flag awarded sand to get between your toes! Our popular beach-side terrace area is a place to recline with a glass of wine.Featuring well-appointed rooms that have been designed for comfort and relaxation. Many boasting either sea views or outlooks across Poole harbour. We're sure you'll agree that when it comes to family holidays, it's best to keep everybody happy. Mum, dad, teenagers, toddlers and everyone in between all need their own piece of holiday heaven. The Sandbanks Hotel is a fun filled staycation location for family seaside holidays. With dedicated children's entertainment during school holidays, an exciting programme of activities and adventure with the Watersports Academy - there are more opportunities for mum and dad to find some relaxation time. Our Seaview Restaurant boasts celebrated chefs and an enviable sea view. Helmed by Head Chef, Wayne Joyce and his commitment for creating good food with local ingredients inspired by our wonderful location. When you need a rest from building sandcastles, Sandbanks Beach Club is the perfect spot for a summertime bite. Located on the terrace, it's an easy option for lunch and dinner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandbanks Poole
Hotel Poole Sandbanks
Poole Sandbanks
Sandbanks Hotel Poole, Dorset
Hotel Sandbanks

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