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“An absolute gem”
Review of Hillside Hotel

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Hillside Hotel
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Ventnor
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 16 September 2012

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.

Room Tip: Ground floor room is number 12. Room 1 slightly larger but faces the entrance. Sea view rooms have a...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Granjan48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 September 2012

We stayed at the Hillside in Ventnor as a weekend break to celebrate my partner's birthday.

The Hillside in Ventnor is a lovely property offering spectacular sea views from its rooms and we were warmly welcomed when we arrived on a Friday evening in September 2012.

The room we stayed in, Room 3, was very pleasant and comfortable although rather warm which seems to be mentioned in other reviews here. There is a rule which precludes eating or drinking in the rooms, which personally didn't bother us, though it may to others.

We had fantastic breakfasts on both mornings but as there is only a 1 hour window (8-9am) we had to set our alarms to make it. This isn't ideal but given it's a small business it is perhaps understandable.

On the Saturday evening of our stay we had dinner in Ventnor town and enjoyed a few quiet drinks before returning between midnight and 1am. Unfortunately it is not possible for guests to let themselves in after 10pm and it is necessary to ring a doorbell to have the host let you in. This for us made us feel like we had been caught illicitly sneaking back after an imposed curfew.

As a general comment while the staff are very friendly, this friendliness crosses the threshold into generating an uneasiness and the sensation of being under observation.

Check out is at 10am. This is early, especially for a Sunday. But it is important that you take note of this time if you stay at Hillside. After breakfast we went back to our room to pack and shower. At exactly 10am a lady who works at the hotel let herself into the room and knocked on the bathroom door whilst I was in the shower. This was a most disconcerting and unnerving invasion of privacy. At 10.10 as we were in the process of double checking we'd packed everything there was another knock at the room door and another unsubtle reminder to vacate the room by the Stasi doing their rounds.

Mentioned in another review, the typical demographic of guests would perhaps be elder persons. This itself is certainly not a negative but perhaps the excessive observation and the meticulous routine and absolute compliance with an abitrary timetable is not suited to younger people. We are professionals in our mid to late twenties and wanted a relaxing and low key stay but felt we were perhaps putting our hosts out and were perceived as insolent teenagers.

Overall, the hotel is lovely with stunning views, and the food delightful. But the nanny state inclination of the friendly staff is a serious let down. We won't be returning, but then again it could be a good venue for my partner's 65th birthday...



  • Stayed: September 2012
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24  Thank MTC555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2012

Just spent a couple of days in this beautifully decorated and charming hotel overlooking the sea in ventnor. Everything from the rooms to the sheepshed and vegetable garden is immaculate! All overseen by the equally charming Gert who personally welcomed us and makes a great g&t! Food excellent, highly recommended. Will be back

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Alan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

If you want anonymity look elsewhere! This is a very friendly and extremely well run small hotel where great care is taken over details, both inside and out. The rooms are not enormous but quite adequate in size. Decor and furnishing is very stylish. So are the grounds and vegetable garden. The food is very good and great value. The wine list offers all you could wish for. This is place to relax, recharge your batteries and feel good. Don't hesitate!

Room Tip: Go for a sea view.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Alan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2012

We arrived and were greeted by a very polite and helpful member of staff who carried our bags upstairs and gave us a cup of tea. It was served in the luxurious conservatory and we were given homemade shortbread which tasted lovely. The view of the sea from the conservatory was exquisite and was only improved by six white doves flying in front of us! The doves seem to belong to the estate as do three black sheep. There is also a kitchen garden in the grounds and tennis courts nearby. The food was excellent and the interior is very stylish. I highly recommend this hotel and am already planning my next trip. Thank you to all the staff at Hillside for making our trip so relaxed and enjoyable.

Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Emileyb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2012

It shouldn't have taken a year for us to make our second visit to Hillside, and we certainly won't wait a year for our next.

I still rate this as the most immaculatey kept hotel I have ever stayed in anywhere in the world, and possibly the most beautifully designed and the most graciously welcoming. The staff are as wonderfully helpful and charming as host Gert himself.

Sure there are minor failings - I agree about the rigidity of the meal times, and I complained last year about the limited menu choice for dinner and Gert tells me that they are now widening the choice. I hope (like others reviewing here) that he will also woden the choice of times from simply 7pm to 7-8pm!!!

Gert has opened Bistro in Ventnor town since our last visit - we didn't get a chance to try it this time - and I understand he intends to use it as a more flexible dining option for his guests, which would be a very positive move forwards.

I'm looking forward to my next visit.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank AllenKR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 August 2012

Tucked away above Ventnor this homely venue is a cut above the rest, made so by the endeavours of the owners, Gert and Anna, and their wonderful staff. We were there when it was full, yet breakfast time is the only time of the day when you get the feeling of other people sharing the place with you. The food and wine list were spot on, the service exceptional. Despite all this though, the main event is Gert. His enthusiasm for what he does is incredible, the care with which he has put together his establishment evident. Returning there from eating out down the road at the Pond Cafe, the door was opened by Gert himself, as though he were sat waiting for us. We ordered a couple of drinks before bed, he told us to find a seat and he'd find us. He appeared moments later with our drinks, a small table to place them on, several candles and his winning smile. When we left we said goodbye to him and Anna as though they were dear friends, promising to be back soon...which we will.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Stablemates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hillside Hotel

Address: 151 Mitchell Avenue, Ventnor PO38 1DR, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Isle of Wight > Ventnor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in Ventnor
Price Range: £163 - £196 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hillside Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 14
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

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