We have just spent seven nights at Hillside and cannot praise it too highly. From the moment we arrived to be personally welcomed by the owner Gert, and given complimentary tea and home made biscuits, we knew we were in for a treat. Having arrived on a Sunday, the hotel restaurant is not open but Gert asked us what sort of food we liked and booked us into a local tapas bar where we had a wonderful meal, and he even offered to pick us up if we felt we could not manage the hill, but we needed the walk as we had significantly overdosed on tapas.
Everything about this hotel speaks volumes about Gert's passion and dedication to making your stay memorable, comfortable and fun. The beautiful house contains many artworks and quirky conversation pieces, and is decorated in Gert's Danish modern style, so all is light and airy, with a multitude of candles each evening giving a gentle glow to the lounges and dining room. The gardens and terrace are lovely to sit in, and there are three Shetland sheep called Harris, Lewis and Barra who keep the grass in the adjoining paddock well nibbled. The six white doves flying round the garden live above the sheep pen, and know when Gert appears that it is feeding time.
The food was excellent, and the well tended vegetable garden below the house often provides the freshest of ingredients for the table. There are three menu options: Vegetarian; fish and "dinner" for the carnivores. Everything is locally sourced and cooked freshly to order, so you are asked to choose at least the evening before. Dinner is served at 7pm and everyone meets up before in the lounges or on the terrace or in the conservatory for pre-dinner drinks and chat. We found it a great way to get to know our fellow guests, share experiences and have a very convivial evening. The food was well executed and presented, and usually served by Gert himself and his helpful staff. Home made ravioli made from local flour, filled with pumpkin and accompanied by a tarragon cream sauce were mouth watering. Fish dishes were fresh, cooked to perfection and complimented by the vegetables accompanying them. A vegetarian starter of a warm roasted pepper salad with local blue cheese was delicious. All the bread is freshly baked. Duck leg confit with a honey and fig sauce was to die for. Desserts also used fresh ingredients, including home made ice cream, and were equally marvellous.
Gert is justifiably proud of his wine list, containing very well-priced and out of the ordinary wines, including a great Barolo. House wines are available by the glass too, and local bottled beers were good, especially the Fuggle-dee-dum! Gert is even planning to brew his own Hillside ale from his own hops. We are not quite sure how he fits it all in, but he does everything with commitment and flair so the beer will certainly be a winner.
Breakfast is from 8-9am, with cereals, fresh fruit, lovely French yogurts, croissants, ham, cheese, and full English for those with any room left after dinner. Gert is happy to provide whatever you ask for within reason, and it made for a very happy stay.
There is no room service, or tea and coffee making facilities in the bedrooms, but they were provided instantly whenever asked for, with freshly baked biscuits and at a very reasonable charge compared to most hotels.The rooms were light and comfortable, with two single duvets provided so nobody could hog the covers. There is a ground floor room available too.
We were really sad to leave this hotel, and are already planning when we can next fit in a trip to Ventnor. If you are visiting the Isle of Wight, you really would not wish to stay anywhere else.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hillside is a charming 18th-century Grade II listed Hotel built of mellow stone and thatch, with panoramic sea views and a southerly aspect. Set within 5 acres, backed by St. Boniface Down overlooking the Victorian town of Ventnor, Hillside's location is delightful in summer, sheltered and cosy in winter. Hillside has 2 eateries: Hillside Restaurant and Hillside Bistro giving super choices for lunch and evening meals of highest standard. Hillside is welcoming individuals and groups. Hillside Hotel is a calm place to relax and enjoy great company and presence. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hillside Hotel Ventnor, Isle Of Wight