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“Expensive & having an identity crisis”
Review of Sandbanks Hotel

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Sandbanks Hotel
Ranked #10 of 13 Hotels in Poole
Reviewed 26 October 2009

When I read reviews on here I often think people are overly critical, so I'll frame this review with that information - I'm quite prepared to take the rough with the smooth and don't expect perfection......however.....

This is one of those fairly old 'faded glory' hotels that have been added to and added to. Probably quite plush in its day but now quite tired. My biggest issue with it was the value. I spend over £200 a night for dinner bed & breakfast and have to say that I have stayed at considerably more upmarket hotels for less money. Admittedly I did choose the third floor 'business' accomodation which overlooks the sea and is pretty awesome so I was paying more for that, but if wasn't for the view this would be a decidedly average hotel. There is signage all over the place that is straight out of the 1970s.

It has what it calls a Spa but this is only really a couple of treatment rooms in the basement (no windows and no reception) where you can get a massage and various other treatments. The treatments were good. However, I booked about 2 weeks ahead and they could only offer me a couple of slots despite me being there for 3 days. Presumably zero chance of getting a slot if you just turn up on a Saturday for example? The swimming pool was very poor indeed - more like a local swimming baths in the 1980s than a 4 star hotel pool.

In terms of my comments about the identity crisis, this is a 4 star hotel in a fantastic location, but (for example) the information in the room says no jeans at dinner. We dressed up on the first night but the place was full of jeans, and full of kids running around. The dinner reatils at £26.95 for three courses - so reasonably dear.....and yet you have kids running past the table. I've no issue at all with kids, but I do think you need to jump one way or the other - you're either upmarket and offering romantic weekends for couples at a fairly hefty price, or, you're offering a family weekend break where you can wear what you like and its loss expensive. There were lots of activities for kids too - again great, but not for us.

I was disappointed that the inclusive dinner meal (£26.96 if you pay for it) could be exchanged for only an £18 credit in the Brasserie.

Overall, I felt this place was trading rather too much on its location, was trying to be all things to all people, and didn't do a great job of much of it. The food was good, the view was great, but it was worth £230 a night. We did make use of the option to use the Haven Hotel (same chain - down the road) swimming pool and that was nice. The Haven looked good and probably a better bet than the Sandbanks.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Nick473
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HotelResponsePoole, PR & Revenue Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 29 October 2009

Thank you for your review Nick473 and for your four out of five rating. I think it is perhaps important to point out that your stay occurred over the busy October half-term school holiday period, when the hotel focuses very much towards being a family hotel. This has been a core market for many decades now due to the wonderful beachside location, but I can understand how this would not sit well with your intention to enjoy a relaxing and romantic weekend together.

We do have our own children’s restaurant available during school holidays, and entertainment for children taking place throughout the day, including during dinner, both of which help to significantly reduce the number of children in the Restaurant. I apologise therefore if this detracted from your stay. The beachside Brasserie is another alternative evening dining option, and this is not frequented by children. I would like to assure you that once the school holidays are over, the hotel tends to lend itself much more towards romantic weekends with couples taking leisure breaks and making the most of the wonderful views and location.

Rest assured that your comments about price and value will be taken on board for the future, and we have already reduced the price of a current stay in October from what we were charging last year. Don’t forget also that currently you can upgrade from Accommodation and Breakfast terms to Dinner inclusive terms for only £10.00 per person, and you still have the £18.00 allowance towards dinner in the Brasserie. We are also reducing the price considerably for November.

I think perhaps that one of the great benefits of staying at any of our hotels is that due to the close proximity, you can enjoy the facilities of all, and I am pleased to note that you were able to enjoy the Haven pool also during your stay. Remember also that when Sandbanks is hosting families during the busy school holidays, the nearby Haven and Harbour Heights hotels continue to provide an attractive venue for those romantic breaks, thereby allowing us to offer something for everyone.

Do give us a call if you would be interested in further information regarding any of our hotels and we will be delighted to assist you further.

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1,719 - 1,725 of 1,808 reviews

Reviewed 22 October 2009

Having recently stayed at the Hotel once again whilst on business after a break of a few months, I thought I would give comment on a few points.
I arrived at the Hotel and as always was courteously greeted by the very pleasant Reception staff which is always grateful after a long journey ! They even had all my details on their system, including my car Registration, choice of Newspaper and even the time I would like to get up !! Amazing and much better than I ever experienced at other Hotels!!! However things went a little downhill from here !!
Once in my sea view room, which was a complimentary upgrade from Reception, I was still surprised to see a very old TV and even more surprised to find the quality of reception was appalling, I looked at the back of the TV to see if the Aerial was loose or disconnected (which it wasn’t) but found thick dust !! So I called reception and they sent a Porter to assist (French lad), but this was to no avail as he could not improve the signal (he was very apologetic). I then decided to shower and change before my evening meal only to find long strands of hair in the bath plug (very off- putting).
The food in the main restaurant was delicious and plentiful and I can only imagine how good the fine dining restaurant food is, but can only hope that the service there was better than I received as the waiters were inattentive, I had to ask several times for wine which arrived after my starter and I found the Maitre D (mid 40’s with a moustache) very miserable and didn’t seem to care.
I went to the bar and was served straight away but was greeted by “Yes mate what can I get you” !!. I spent about two hours in the bar working on my laptop using their free internet connection. This is great I would have to pay in any other hotel
As I was going to bed I enquired what time Breakfast started and found that it was at 7.30 still, this I must say is very inconvenient as that extra half an hour in the morning make the difference in getting to work avoiding rush hour traffic. Can “cooked” breakfast not start at 7am?
To conclude, of course I will be back to this hotel to see if my comments have been valued.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled on business
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Thank EmmaLondon1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, General Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 October 2009

Thank you for your constructive feedback. Your observations are very much appreciated, both in respect to your kind comments about the positives aspects of your stay, and also in detailing a number of shortcomings which I should like to assure you we will look to address for the future.

With regard to the television, it would be useful to know which room you stayed in, as I should like to determine the cause of the poor TV reception referred to. Generally we are experiencing good freeview and sky TV reception currently, but please do accept my sincere apologies that this issue arose and we were unable to correct it for you at the time.

You will be pleased to hear that we are in the process of introducing newer flat screen televisions into all rooms, with approximately half of the hotel now completed.

I met with housekeeping this morning to discuss your comments about dust behind the television and strands of hair in the bath plug, and we have taken steps to improve quality control checks to ensure that standards are adhered to. Thank you for bringing these matters to our attention.

Your feedback regarding lapses in restaurant service are much appreciated thank you, and we will do our utmost to address these for the future.

I was sorry to learn that a new member of staff greeted you at the bar as ‘mate’ and apologise for his lack of finesse. Whilst intended as a friendly gesture, it is clearly inappropriate in an hotel environment, as has now been explained. I was pleased to note that service was quick and efficient, and that you were able to make full use of the free wireless internet which is installed throughout the hotel.

Thank you once again for your feedback and for recommending the hotel to others. I do hope that you will feel that we have addressed your comments when you next visit us, and look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards

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Reviewed 7 October 2009

My husband booked us a double room on-line directly with the hotel for my birthday. The room description specified that we would either have a view of the sea and Sandbanks blue flag beach or of Poole Harbour.
We were shown to room 232 which was a very long walk to the other side of the hotel from the lifts. The room was very basic inside and had a view of the car park. The bed could not have been a double. It was very small and so short my husband’s legs dangled off the end. The room looked more like one from a travel lodge than from a four star hotel. After calling down to reception to complain we were shown room 208 which is an executive room. We were told we could have this for an extra £20 per night. It had a sea view but no balcony, which I have since found out apparently all executive rooms should have. We swapped to this room because the thought of the other room for two nights was too depressing and we both would not have fitted into the bed. Apart from the rooms the hotel is nice for a weekend break. It is on the beach and when you get a room with a view it is lovely. Breakfast is really nice and so is Sandbanks as an area. Would advise when booking that you find out exactly what kind of room you are going to be allocated.
The staff were helpful but it would have been nice to have been allocated an adequate room from the start. Especially as they were not even full and a better room was available.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Holidays777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, General Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 10 October 2009

Thank you for your review Holidays 777 and for your recommendation.

I apologise if there was any confusion regarding the accommodation booked over the internet. It does appear from the details we have, that the option to upgrade to a sea or harbour view room was not exercised at the point of choosing your rate plan on the internet, and the confirmation details sent out to you do not mention having a sea or harbour view. The room allocated has a standard double bed.

Where possible we do try to give an upgrade whenever room availability allows us to, but your booking was for two nights, and whilst there was availability on the Friday when you arrived, the hotel was almost full on the Saturday, which unfortunately prevented this.

Room 208 had been set aside for anyone infirm or elderly who might have needed a room closer to the lift, and this was then offered to you as an alternative.

I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your stay and found room 208 to your liking, although I apologise that this particular room does not have a balcony. Whilst we are fortunate in that most rooms here do feature a balcony, there are a small number, including some executive rooms, which do not.

I think your final statement has some merit, and if you are not entirely sure what type of room you might be allocated when booking online, do give us a call, and we will be delighted to take you through the various options and room types available.

I do hope that you had a really great birthday and please feel free to give me a call direct when you next want to come down and stay. I will try to ensure that you get a nice sea or harbour view room with a balcony.

Regards

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Reviewed 6 October 2009

A room overlooking the sea where you can wake to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore is not only to be experienced in far away destinations; it can be enjoyed at The Sandbanks Hotel. Our third visit in as many years was an unqualified success. We did not move the car until we left for home.
My wife and I spent five days sitting on the terrace looking over the sea and our 15 year old son was happy to spend time in the company of other teenagers and participating in the events organsied by the Funsters entertainment team. There was even the hint of a holiday romance!
The seaview rooms at the far end of the hotel have been modernisd and are very comfortable. The bathrooms are well appointed. The staff were polite and efficient and in particular we were made to feel very welcome when we checked in. The food in the restaurant is well cooked and well presented and if you are reasonably early you can have a table with a fabulous sea view.
It's a shame that there is no outdoor pool but we are not averse to swimming in the sea (the beach is patrolled) and we have used the pool at the Haven Hotel just a short distance away, from which the view is spectacular, especially when the ships are heading into harbour.
This is not a cheap holiday option but how do you put a price on not having to scrummage with luggage children and hoards of people at an airport; throw everything in the car and three hours later you're on holiday. Fabulous.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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Thank stargazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, General Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 October 2009

Dear Stargazy,

Many thanks for your great review and for recommending the hotel to others. I am delighted to see that you took full advantage of the wonderful beachside location, and didn’t move the car all week!

The Funsters team are continuing to evolve their activities for teenagers, in addition to entertainment for the little ones, and The Watersports Academy situated alongside the hotel is also very popular with our teenage clients.

The facilities of all our nearby hotels continue to be available to you as part of your stay, and the Haven and Chine hotels feature outdoor pools in summer. The Sandbanks Beach enjoys Blue Flag status for its cleanliness and water quality, and the soft sand here is ideal for children.

Thank you once again for your kind comments, and I am delighted to know that you enjoyed your third visit to us. Don’t forget that you can pick up some very reasonable offers throughout the year, so do visit our website regularly or call us to see what offers we have available.

I look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Regards

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Reviewed 3 October 2009

stayed for 3 nights, harbour view room really nice and great size, bed really comfy and great shower, food fabulous as was service, would definately return here, we were upgraded as it was our anniversary, you can walk along to bournemouth from back of hotel along the beach, the only thing I would change is the lounge area it has no atmosphere and is too bright, could do with some background music, you wont get a better location!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank MrPaulandwife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, General Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 17 October 2009

Many thanks for your comments and I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your recent stay with us.

I note your thoughts about the lounge area being too bright and needing some background music, and I am pleased to advise that we have implemented both of your suggestions now.

Thank you for your kind comments regarding food, service and your room, and I look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards

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Reviewed 24 September 2009

We've been coming to Sandbanks for a couple of years. I love the location, the friendly service, relaxed atmosphere and very spacious family room.

Great place to visit with children!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled with family
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Thank sailorvlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johnb2006, General Manager at Sandbanks Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 17 October 2009

Thank you for your kind comments, and for recommending the hotel to others.

The beachside location is great for families, and during the school holidays the Funsters team provide a real opportunity for you to relax whilst the children are having fun.

Do check out our website for special offers with the half-term holidays approaching, and I look forward to welcoming you back again soon!

Kind regards

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Reviewed 15 September 2009

We had our wedding reception and an overnight stay at the Sandbanks hotel. The staff were absolutely professional and helpful for the entire event. They went out of their way and above their 'standard' duties to make our stay stress free and enjoyable. The service to our room was also outstanding from the bell service to food (which was also first rate). The hotel itself is honored with beautiful views of the beach and ocean and does them justice. The rooms are fresh and clean with good amenities. I would recommend this hotel to anyone!

Steve and Lorna

  • Stayed: August 2009
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1  Thank stevelornamcc
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 - £176 (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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