From the website, I was expecting quite a funky trendy hotel, but when we arrived, some parts of it seemed to be stuck in a time warp. We wondered whether it was a hotel for the "old at heart" from the 80s?
Parking is a NIGHTMARE. Their car park isn't big enough for all their rooms, let alone their deliveries and our very first encounter with a staff member (although we didn't realise he was staff at the time) was being shouted at by "you can't park there" when we thought we had been considerate by leaving a gap for another car to squeezeout past us. But oh no. We were supposed to block them in and Reception would move our car if they wanted to move. We thought we would go and check in and THEN sort out the car issue as it was easier to unload where we were. Why not a "hello, are you just arriving? May I suggest you park your car here? If you leave your keys with us, we'll be very happy to move it later for you."
First impressions were not good. They were redeemed by the availability of Lapsang Souchong tea with our cream tea (and the scones were huge!) but why the officious notice in our room asking us not to eat our own food and drink in our room? Bizarre.
Dinner was a fixed price of £38 per head for 3 courses + amuse bouche and coffee and A petit four (only one per person). Plenty of choice but rather 'nouvelle' in size of portions. However, what really let them down was that the service was DIRE the first evening we were there. Everything was OK until after our main course had been cleared and we were basically ignored. Desserts were brought out to us when we hadn't even been given a menu to look at. Crumbs had not been cleared from our table (and we had to ask them earlier to clear the wine glasses as we weren't drinking any wine) and when we finally got someone's attention to ask them to clean the table, something got lost in translation as they proceeded to clear the whole top cloth and STILL we were left with crumbs..... We then chose our desserts and waited for an age for them to come and when they did, our coffees were not with them (and we had asked for them to come together). So we waited again, no-one came to apologise for this delay. When we very pointedly waved at a young waitress, she just ignored us and went into the kitchen. The whole meal left us feeling very frustrated and we had another night to go. We spoke to the Maitre D' on our way out and he did apologise and we said we expected to see an improvement the following evening and he should ensure the young waitress had more training.
The hotel is in a fabulous spot and some elements of our stay were great. The beds were very comfortable, and the standard of the food was very good. Bathroon was tiny and they don't provide bottled water due to 'environmental reasons'. Why not provide a carafe of tap water though? However, their lack of service with a smile really let them down. Even in the garden, you have to go inside to the Bar, or Reception to order anything you may wish to eat or drink outside. If the weather isn't great, there are not many options of places to sit inside unless in your room. Wi-fi seemed to be non-existent except for one spot on the first floor landing. Why Hoover around at 8 am when your guests are just coming down for breakfast?
I gather that the hotel has been in the same family ownership for 25 years and I think it shows. On the one hand, they are trying to be very smart, almost stuffy, with the service, but I don't think they have the right balance.
First impressions count, and with our experience in the car park as we arrived, we shan't be returning here in a hurry.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Georgian Dower house built in 1735 with large garden, panoramic views across Lyme Bay's Jurassic UNESCO World Heritage site coastline and the famous Cobb harbour. Pathway to beach through gardens. Treatment room and Gym. Sea view restaurant with attentive service. Delicious food using seasonal local produce. Total Seaside Chic. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Alexandra Hotel Lyme Regis
- Alexandra Lyme Regis
- Alexandra Hotel And Restaurant Lyme Regis, Dorset