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“Falling short of its aspirations”

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Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa
Ranked #9 of 11 Hotels in Christchurch
Reviewed 1 December 2011

We stayed on a 2-night break including dinner bed and breakfast. The price was comparable with what we might have paid in an extremely modest establishment, but I think it should be judged by its own, much higher, standards.

At the outset I was reminded why I prefer staying in guesthouses to hotels. Like all the big chains they want your credit card to make sure they can charge everything to it. In this case they even wanted us to PIN for a certain maximum amount. We had trusted them enough to pay up front for our stay without having ever seen the hotel, but they don't extend the same courtesy to their guests. We even had to sign a bill for what we had had at dinner.

I had a few issues with reception. One of the ceiling lights in the room was not working and the receptionist tried to tell me that they weren't supposed to all work at once, a bit of bovine byproduct matched by her assertion that the reason one of our card keys didn't work must have been that it had been carried next to a mobile phone - it hadn't. The light certainly worked the next day once they had replaced the bulb. Another receptionist told us that a nearby ferry ran every day except Christmas day. In reality it had stopped at the end of October.

Our room was a bronze suite, their basic type. It was a good quality business-class room of reasonable size and well-equipped, although no mini-bar. The shower was in the bath and the controls rather complicated. There were some strips that looked like velcro on the bottom of the bath. I assume they were for anti-slip purposes but they were peeling off. The light switches were very complicated; sometimes I felt like I needed a training course to use the room. I found the bed somewhat uncomfortable, hard in the middle and soft at the edges producing a feeling that I was falling out.

Breakfast was good despite occasional small lapses in the service. There was a good range of both hot and cold foods, the quality was good and the buffet was kept well stocked. We particularly liked the orange juice. The coffee was sometimes nice and strong but other times a bit weak.

Our tariff included dinner with an allowance of £28 a head to cover three courses from the fixed price menu, although we were not initially told what the amount was. We were told on the first night that we could make other choices at extra cost but the information on prices of the individual courses on the fixed price menu was not there to know how much extra we would be paying if we made a change. In the event we were reasonably happy with the choices available from the fixed price menu so we just stayed with that and, although some things worked out better than others, we were overall happy with what we had. The wine (at extra cost) was a different matter, however. We chose a bottle of red and when it came it was ridiculously warm, perhaps 25 degrees which is about 10 degrees too much. I complained and was told that it was kept in a warm room and would all be like that. Another bottle was brought and indeed by touching the bottle I could tell it was the same. One was brought direct from the cellar, but that was far too cold. In the end the manager suggested she attempt to chill a warm bottle down to a reasonable temperature. In the absence of any other possibilities we agreed and indeed this proved acceptable. However I would not recommend treating a fine wine in this way and I think it unacceptable that an establishment with some gourmet pretensions cannot manage its wines better. I have never encountered anything like this anywhere else.

The second night's dinner was far less eventful. The full information on pricing was on the menus (not at our instigation I should say) and, as the choices seemed less interesting, we did make some changes. We both chose fish as the main course and it was, to our taste, a little overcooked but not seriously so. We had a white wine that night, so no repeat of the temperature issue.

I didn't use the spa, but my wife did and very much enjoyed it.

Overall we enjoyed our stay but for me the wine issue means I wouldn't rush back or recommend it to anyone else.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank SurreyBogtrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 November 2011

This was my second stay at the hotel. I stayed over in November 2010 and then went back to celebrate my sisters birthday in November 2011. It was her choice to stay over so I went with the flow. As soon as I entered my double classic room (this time staying without my fiancee) I remembered why we didn't have such a great first stay. The classic double room is very small and cosy. I normally like warm hotels but I found the room far too hot both times. Upon check-in they did not have my sister on the system which I thought was very odd. When my sister arrived to check-in they told her that her room had been cancelled...news to us!! Strangely they still had the room available but they didn't give her any form of gesture to say sorry for the mix-up! As it was her birthday the least they could have done is offer her a drink as it did spoil her arrival and stress her out!

The worst part of the stay for me was the lack of sleep. I had guests slamming doors until 3am. I would not expect that to happen in this kind of hotel but it did the first time we stayed over and it certainly did the second time I stayed! This for me is the biggest let down for the hotel. They obviously do great deals attracting the wrong crowd! The room itself is very comfortable it's just a shame there is no way of adjusting the heating and noisy guests!

I'm not impressed with their spa. It's extremely hot and stuffy and their changing room is far too cramped. We overheard several gym members complain and one lady even told her friend 'Oh it's Saturday...Tourist Day!' This is not really what you want to hear when you're paying for a spa break and my mother was not amused! It's also very dark (too dark to read magazines by the pool but they do offer a relaxing room away from the pool but I think it's more for people who have treatments) and there is very little seating area by the pool. It seemed that most people just dump their robes to reserve seats and then walk off for hours to leave others who want to relax with nowhere to sit. This really should be monitored!

The hotel felt short staffed for a busy week-end and there only seemed to be one person dealing with check-ins and check-outs on a Saturday morning causing long delays for everyone waiting to check-out.

To end on a good note the surrounding area (harbour and town) is really lovely and worth making time for. The morning breakfast was also very nice and I thought that the lady serving behind the bar was very friendly and helpful (likewise with the waiter staff).

Room Tip: Upgrade to bronze as they're worth the extra for the romantic harbour view and are far cooler an...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank love29travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 November 2011

This was our second visit to this lovely hotel. We had arrived an hour earlier than check in time due to problems with the car and were given a friendly greeting by the concierge. The receptionist allowed us to check in as, our room became available as we were talking to her. We were on a special dinner bed and breakfast offer and had booked a Bronze Room which was on the ground floor facing the car park although we were not aware of any traffic noise during the night. The room was spacious and had a large comfortable bed and the furnishings were of good quality. The spa was busy as it was a Sunday afternoon and the salt room was out of action. Dinner in the evening was taken in the Harbour Restaurant, the service was good as there were plenty of waiting staff who were attentive and helpful. The offer we were on allowed us £28pp against the menu which would have provided 3 courses and by paying a little extra we were allowed a wider choice. The food was nicely presented and tasty. After a good night’s sleep, another visit to the Spa found it to be a lot quieter than the day before. Breakfast was served in the Harbour Restaurant where, there was a range of cereals, pastries and juices at a self service table (must mention that the museli contained salted pistachio nuts still in their shell –a dental bill waiting to happen!). The hot food is cooked to order and although enjoyable, the chef managed to burn the bottom of both our fried eggs leaving only the yolks edible. Apart from these minor things, this is a good hotel, great location and we can’t wait to return.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank droogieuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 November 2011

We arrived at the hotel with high expectations.We read great reviews and were looking forward to a night away. We paid for the dinner,bed and breakfast deal. We paid to upgrade to a gold room with a view. We were given room 302, we were really Disapointed with the room. The television was tiny and the floor made the most terrible noise when we walked anywhere in the room. We complained and were moved to room 217. This room was much better and had a balcony. We tried to use the television and wi-fi but neither worked in the new room- the tv's and wifi didn't work the whole time we were there- it seems this was the case for the whole of the new block of rooms. We made dinner reservations for 19.30. We were seated and then informed with our deal we could only choose certain dishes from the menu or use £28 per person from the a la carte menu ( which is not alot when the mains all cost over £20) We decided to leave without eating and walked down the road to a local prezzo. We also had breakfast in the morning which was average. On departure we were refunded the £28 per person for dinner and compensated merely £25 for no wi-fi or television. Overall a hugely disapointing stay and a ruined romantic weekend away. We were told by a member of staff that the hotel manager was on annual leave. I suggest the manager doesn't take any holiday ever again if this is the level of service that guests receive during a stay at the hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2011
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2  Thank ChrisM1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2011

Think this is about the 3rd time I have been this year! Done a spa day, a cream tea and then did the Sunday night get away with a group of us which is our second time and was so good that we are going back in January!

Lovely hotel, beautiful surroundings and the best spa I have ever been too and I have been to quite a few!

The Sunday night deal is such a good deal, just hope they dont put they dont realise that and put the price up! The price of a night out you can have dinner, stay and brekkie.

There was a group of 6 of us and we all loved it.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Meesh29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2011

Can not praise the hotel enough.Stayed for two nights.
Everyone said the food was excellent.Simon was so helpful with his attention to detail a true professional. Everyone was pleased with there rooms but to hot, comfy beds lovely linen. A wonderful day to remember.Thank you
J SPARKS

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Jackie s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2011

Very nice hotel, staff, rooms,view of harbour, etc. Only slight let down was length of time waiting for cooked breakfast but I would still go to this hotel again and would recommend it.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled on business
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Thank 4Nige
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa

Address: 95 Mudeford, Christchurch BH23 3NT, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Dorset > Christchurch
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Christchurch
#5 Family Hotel in Christchurch
#6 Business Hotel in Christchurch
#8 Romantic Hotel in Christchurch
Price Range: £100 - £239 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy a fantastic stay at Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa in Dorset. Wake up to incredible views over to the harbour, enjoy a bracing walk across to Hengistbury Head, or hide away at the luxurious Harbour Spa! Make the most of this unique location whatever the season - a change of scenery, warm and attentive hospitality, delicious food, which reflects the very best local produce, and a chance to breathe in the fresh sea air. The Upper Deck Restaurant serves delicious, locally-sourced dishes and is open for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and drinks. Or you can also choose to dine in the award-winning Jetty Restaurant situated within the hotel's grounds. Stay in one of the luxury 64 bedrooms, some with four-poster beds and private garden terraces overlooking Mudeford Quay. All of the bedrooms feature flat screen televisions, tea and coffee making facilities and White Company toiletries. The Harbour Spa is a haven of relaxation. Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment - from manicures and pedicures to facials and specialised massages. Relax in the indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, salt grotto and crystal steam room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Christchurch Harbour Hotel And Spa
The Christchurch Harbour Hotel Christchurch
Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa Dorset

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