I travelled to the Isle of Wight with my Mum and Wife. We were all very much looking forward to staying at The Clifton, based on all the very good reviews it had been getting. Upon arrival the hotel looked very nice, and the location would be very hard to beat, overlooking the clifftop above Shanklin front out over the channel.
Graham checked us in, a very friendly chap who definitely went out of his way to help you and get you anything you needed, always ready with a smile and a joke. He showed us to our rooms; my Mum was staying in a single occupancy room, which was a small room kinda tucked away at the back of the hotel. Mum was rather disappointed with her room, as it didn't really reflect what was shown on the website for the single room. Rather than the modern looking bedstead and decor, room 4 looked rather tired and dated, with fairly rickety furniture. It was definitely taken into account that it was a single room, and a pretty fair rate at less than £50 a night for such a good location, but it's just worth mentioning that it didn't really stand up to the expectations the website gives. The bathroom was also rather tiny, but it was clean, and the room was well appointed and the bed comfortable enough.
My room with my Wife however was a bit of a stark contrast. We had a sea view balcony room (Room 8), which was very big and comfortable, with fabulous views over the clifftops again, all the way down to Sandown and Culver Down etc. The furniture was a much higher standard in our room, and the bed was very comfy indeed. The bathroom was nice enough, with a large shower cubicle, the water pressure leaves a lot to be desired though, I've seen better water flow from a dried up river!
Of the reviews that have been less than superb I have noticed mention of the owner David not being particularly friendly. I have to say that sadly to begin with we seemed to be experiencing this side. David even made mention in one response that his wife calls it his 'grumpy days', well we must have experienced one of those. I can appreciate that it was the end of the season, and I know that the hotel is closing for the off-season this year, so perhaps this was on his mind and didn't really want to be there. However we are still paying guests (a not insignificant sum of money either I might add) and would expect a friendly service.
First night we ate at the hotel, it was good food and not badly priced at all, we had Graham serving us for this along with another waitress; the next evening we chose to eat out, and returned quite early at around 7:45pm and decided to get a drink in the bar before heading to our rooms. We walked round to the bar to find David shutting up shop, we asked if we could get a drink before he closed up and seemingly quite reluctantly he agreed. My Mum asked if she could get a coffee and a baileys, only to be told that "I've switched all the coffee machines off now". We decided that we would just head back to our rooms, as it was quite clear that coffee wasn't on offer and other drinks were being reluctantly served, before 8pm on a Saturday night. I found this really quite disappointing, after all we are staying in a hotel, and to be quite honest how hard is it to put a pot of coffee on? Either way it left us feeling a little like our custom wasn't particularly welcome, another blow to the good reputation David and The Clifton seemed to be oozing according to TripAdvisor.
The following morning we saw Graham at breakfast and mentioned a few of our disappointments, he seemed concerned and said he was sorry we felt that we weren't very welcome. Now I'm not sure if this was fed back to David, but his demeanour towards us changed after this, and became far more like what we were expecting from the majority of the reviews. As a result I can only conclude that perhaps we were just on the unfortunate receiving end of a rather extended 'grumpy day', those which everybody get from time to time for sure, but when you're running a quality establishment as The Clifton is, with the room prices as they are, you would expect the proprietor to be a little more amiable.
One last thing to mention is the free wifi. From the moment we checked in it wasn't working, an error message coming up saying that the service wasn't connected to the internet and to contact the customer services. I mentioned this on several occasions and it wasn't fixed for our entire stay of three nights. This wasn't a major problem, but again I was disappointed that it clearly wasn't a priority to get it dealt with, and provide a service that is advertised to the paying customer.
All in all however this did little to detract from a really lovely trip once again to the Island, and Graham's service and friendliness more than made up for any other shortcomings. I don't think we will be staying at The Clifton again, instead will seek some self catering accommodation for our next trip, that way all we have to worry about is the level of service we give ourselves.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Clifton’s privileged location on the cliff top offers an amazing sea view and makes it an ideal retreat for those in search of tranquility. The Conservatory Bistro offers a stunning view of the bay which can also be enjoyed from the lovely garden offering the perfect visual tonic to relax and revitalise, perhaps with a good book and an English Cream Tea, or refreshments from the licensed bar. Local is Best……with prime farming land all around us and a host of specialist growers and producers making the most of it, we usually have access to plenty of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as quality fish and meat. The garden opens out to Keats Green and the lovely walk between Shanklin and Sandown (part of the Isle of Wight Coastal Path) with fantastic views across Sandown Bay. This also leads to the famous Shanklin Chine with a pathway down to the sandy beaches. Within easy reach by foot are the picturesque Shanklin Old Village with its thatched roofs, and the beautiful Rylstone Gardens. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- The Clifton Hotel Shanklin
- Clifton Hotel Shanklin
- The Clifton Shanklin, Isle Of Wight