I hate to write a negative review, especially as I heard this hotel is under new management so feel they should have a chance to put things right. However, I understand they have been in possession of the hotel for 2 years so feel some of the issues I have highlighted really should have been addressed by now. I would like to say there are both positives and negatives to this hotel so I have listed them below so you can make up your own mind.
The hotel is set on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside and sea. It is a very peaceful and lovely setting with landscaped gardens and the views are stunning. There are some nice communal areas of the hotel, which appear to have been recently redecorated, including the bar and the restaurant. Although, I’m afraid it does feel they are appealing to an older clientele. The restaurant menu looked very appetising although we chose to eat in the bar and found the food to be of a good standard - not Michelin star quality but well cooked. The electric fan in the bedroom was much appreciated and the complimentary wine, water and fruit is a nice touch. Also having the use of nice clean crisp white bathrobes and slippers in the room is great. The swimming pool is nice and set at a perfect temperature for swimming. I requested some fresh milk for my coffee in the room and was given a thermos with milk in to last until the morning so found the staff to be very obliging.
There are 3 grades of room: standard, superior and deluxe - we wanted to go for a bit more luxury so went for the deluxe. All I can say is, if this is a deluxe room I dread to think what the standard rooms are like. The extra touches I mentioned in ‘the positives’ and the large bed are the only redeeming features. The bedroom was at least clean but the decor (with the exception of the bed and bed linen) and furniture are very out of date and it felt like I was in a retirement home. The bathroom - first impression... "ewwww" I have uploaded some photos so you can see for yourself but the best description I can give you is it's like using your Grand Mother's bathroom - it doesn't look like it's been updated for many years, smells damp (despite the staff having left the window wide open - obviously trying to mask the smell). There are disabled grab rails on the walls by the toilet, bath and towel rail - none of which match. The basin has a rusty plug chain and the blue rim of the cold tap is missing. The grimmest site though was two crusty looking old manky beige face flannels rolled up in glasses on the shelf above the sink - Yuk!! Even if the management has to update the rooms slowly one by one (which I do understand), surely some of these small things could be addressed in the meantime!?? My husband and I were only staying for a night and had booked at the last minute with a reduced rate. Had we lived locally or had a choice of moving elsewhere, we would have checked out rather than stay. Had I not had a reduced rate, I would have asked to be moved to an alternative room as I felt this was really substandard. The room was ok if you can overlook the decor and wardrobe door that doesn't close but the bathroom is the probably worst I have ever seen in any hotel I have ever stayed in - truly grim!
On another note the hotel manual in the bedroom states there is free high-speed wireless internet access in all areas of the hotel – great! Not great… both my husband I (who are both in IT and always travel with our tech) took out our iPads and went to connect but as there was no sign of any network under our Wi-fi settings, we called reception – as per the directions in the hotel manual. On calling reception the gentleman sounded surprised I had called and said “you don’t need to do anything it will just connect automatically.” I said no, you need to select a wireless network from a list of those available but there is nothing showing on any of our devices (2 iPhones, a brand new iPad and an iPad mini). At this point the chap on the phone advised me to take my device out into the hotel corridor and it should pick up. He seemed quite annoyed as apparently they have only just installed a brand new router. I did say if it connects in the corridor it’s going to disconnect the minute I come back in the room isn’t it? The chap said “no not always”!? So off we trotted into the corridor and there it was - hoorah, we connected but on going back into the bedroom the wi-fi connection immediately dropped- what a surprise. After several attempts my husband managed to keep his connection if he stayed in the room close to the door but on running a speed check was only getting 1.5mb – not exactly high speed. In the end, we gave up and headed to the bar in order to check our emails but got the impression the staff were not overly happy with us sitting in the bar using these devices – even though we did purchase some drinks. Thankfully nobody said anything to this affect or I think my husband may have lost his temper at that point.
Staying on the negative I'm afraid - The 'Dolphin Club': the hotel has a swimming pool, with steam room and hot tub. This for me was the main attraction in booking the hotel as I love swimming and take any opportunity to use a pool if there is one available. On opening the door to the 'Dolphin Club' you are greeted by a dingy staircase with a very old stair lift running down one side – not the best impression. The changing rooms leave a lot to be desired and there was no way I was going to use the shower facilities in here - Yuk! The pool itself seems to be well maintained and is a good temperature as I mentioned in the positives. The 'steam room', which is actually just a shower-sized cubicle for 2 people, is really unpleasant. I went in and reluctantly sat down but when I looked up at the ceiling, really couldn't bring myself to stay in there. The brown stains and dilapidated condition made me wince and wonder what germs I was inhaling! I am sorry to say but in my opinion, this steam room needs to be disposed of and replaced. The hot tub is ok but again seems to be quite old and a bit neglected - the water level was several inches too low as most of my torso was out of the water and this is also backed up by what seemed to be a faint dark line running around the tub. Come on management - this is a really great facility, it just requires some much needed TLC.
Overall - to the management of the Northfield, I would say I appreciate you have obviously inherited years of neglect and problems, that are going to take some time to rectify but I would have expected you to have done more in the 2 years since you have taken ownership and feel there are things which you should really prioritise.
Would I recommend to others? That is difficult... if you don't care about decor and are looking for a quiet place to stay that is pretty good value then yes. I understand they have renovated 10 bedrooms so I suggest you ask for one of these - I did not see one so can't vouch for them personally, but expect my review would not have been quite so negative had I booked one of these. All in all, if you are a younger trendy traveller, I suspect this hotel will not appeal to you.
Would I stay again? Perhaps once the hotel has been totally refurbished. I do wish the new management lots of luck in renovating, what was without doubt once a beautiful hotel in years gone by! It will be interesting to see it in a few years time when changes further have been made. But for me personally as it stands now... no I'm sorry, I would not stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Minehead's Premier Hotel Accomodation for rest and relaxation. Located in the heart of Exmoor's National Park Minehead offers a delightful harbour setting with sweeping sandy beaches and the rugged Quantock Hills. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Minehead
- Minehead Best Western