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.
- 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