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“Unique Location - Shame About The Marketing”
Review of Burgh Island Hotel

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Burgh Island Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Burgh Island
Certificate of Excellence
Winchester Hampshire
Level Contributor
79 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Unique Location - Shame About The Marketing”
Reviewed 4 June 2012

This is an hotel that is very definitely worth a visit. The location is stunning and almost unique as you have to park you car in garages on the mainland and take a Land Rover or Sea Tractor to get to the place. The first thing you need to know is that the preferred means of getting to the island is by Land Rover which picks you up from the mainland garage and whisks you across the wet sand seamlessly to the hotel. The less preferred route appears to be via the sea tractor a- a sort of shed on stilts with wheels that grinds to and fro across the beach when the tide is in. The problem for us is that the paperwork suggests you have to get there at a certain time - when the Land Rovers can run - which is not exactly correct as the sea tractor is usually there - OK the conditions might be really bad and it cannot operate but heck it was June! We nearly killed ourselves to get there by the deadline not realising there was an alternative!
The hotel itself is amazing - it is made of concrete when it was still an experimental material [like the Dorchester and the Hearst Mansion in San Simeon] and the material lends itself so well to art deco. It is a bit faded here and there but then it is 80 odd years old. Our room [Jessie Matthews] was smaller than we expected but comfortable. The steel windows are a style feature of the whole building but are old and often drafty but we were fine. We were expecting a lot more art deco furniture and other stuff around the place and it has that Fawlty Towers feel about it which a lot of British stand alone hotels have but is not a point of criticism. The food is excellent and the wines affordable. Dressing for dinner is a great idea and the band on some nights are very good at recreating a thirties feel. The staff are super friendly and Gary the barman is exceptional. Pricing for the place is on the high side when you look at the whole package although food is included which we thought was a marketing error as it makes the place Ritz or Savoy priced and this place is definitely not a Savoy or Ritz. It is a quirky English hotel which is interesting. The Pilchard Inn which is part of the hotel is fun but again a bit on the pricey side [Crab Baguette £6] although there is an apartheid segregation between guests and the public which means you can always get a table and what the heck it was a great experience sitting there watching people misjudge the deceptively fast tide coming in and have to wade across rather than spend £2 on the sea tractor ride [a great experience].
Many guests are repeats and i can see why - this is cruising on dryish land - good food and wine, good staff and no chance of the captain running it onto the rocks! I think the marketing could do with managing expectations better - the bit about getting across the sand for a start - and making it clearer that the place is a bit of museum piece and not a state of the art Fairmont Hotel where the owner has just spent £500 million doing it up. It is romantic and it is quite different and unique. Something I was very pleased to do - once.
I got the impression one or two other guests were disappointed and I think the bad reviews I have seen on TripAdvisor are not warranted but again I would blame the marketing and poor management of people's expectations.

Room Tip: Go for a suite if you like a lot of room to roll about in.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Rumpole70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (327)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2012

ive always wanted to stay on the island hotel right back from the early 70s when i was a child .And wow the wife bought us a two night stay for my 50th birthday last july and what a suprise,Picked up on the mainland and the dream started two fantastic nights pure peace fantastic hotel from breakfast to evening meal with your own pool pure bliss. will be back for sure . this year back to our converted barn on folly hill just looking

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank moamingmerlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
119 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 May 2012

We spent our honeymoon at the Burgh Island Hotel and swore that we'd soon return. However, circumstances of life, including parenthood, served to delay that return until March 2012, when we returned for our tenth wedding anniversary.

Ten years ago it seemed perfect and our concern was that the new owners (they had acquired the hotel only a month before) should leave it well alone. Well, as they say, if it ain't broke...

We had read that several million pounds had been spent in the intervening years and our concern was that we'd find ourselves arriving at some gauche theme park rather than the perfect gem that we remembered fondly through newlywed eyes.

Upon arrival however, what we found was the same perfect gem. There were some obvious little additions here and there - a new bar, some murals of 1920's scenes and the decor seemed very fresh - but these have only served to provide a little more sparkle.

Two things that definitely hadn't changed (and long may it remain that way) were the lack of televisions in the rooms and, most importantly, Gary McBar. Upon our arrival I encountered the world famous Palm Court barman and all round great bloke, undertaking a spot of gardening below our balcony. Now in his twentieth year at Burgh Island, I can only assume that if the current owners chose to sell up, Gary would feature in the list of fixtures and fittings.

We had chosen to stay during a murder mystery weekend only because this coincided with our anniversary. However, the Saturday evening entertainment proved good fun and served to get the guests talking to one another.

The food was wonderful and during the meal on Friday evening we asked if we could keep a copy of the menu. At the end of the meal we were presented with a personalised copy that they had prepared for us.

We really couldn't find any fault with our stay. It really is the perfect destination for that special occasion.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
3 Thank Richard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 May 2012

It has taken me until now to write my review as I have been on such a downer since returning from such a truly fantastic weekend!

My husband & I were guests at our close friend's 50th birthday at Burgh Island (27th April 2012) - we have been visiting the hotel for over 20years - eventhough we have visited many other hotels & countries we still keep coming back as it is truly magical - nowhere else is quite the same!

The hotel, food & staff (they can never do enough for us!) just keep getting better! (the beef on the Friday was gorgeous! And we had the most fantastic evening on the Saturday dancing to the band!)

Special mention to Gary - who is just legendary! Keep those cocktails coming!!!

Can't wait to go back as soon as possible!

Room Tip: Over the years have stayed in almost every room but our favorite's are the Garden Suite, Noel Co...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Allison H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 May 2012

We spent our 40th Anniversary weekend here and were not dissapointed. The rooms are shabby chic everything in 30's style, beautifully warm, lots of hot water, gorgeous views and lots of fun. The dinner dance was lovely, food excellent and the staff complimented the setting with their superb service. Loved the cocktails, would have liked better weather but you can't have it all. Well done Burgh Island Hotel

Room Tip: Try The Noel Coward Suite
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jim K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 May 2012

Just as amazing as we anticipated. The hotel fully lived up to expectations. An eccentric art deco 'palace' on its own island. From the moment you are met 'on land' by a member of staff to transport you over the sand or sea, depending on tides, you feel very special. The service was superb. Very friendly staff who clearly enjoyed working in such an unusual setting. Food, especially the dinners, was excellent. The main rooms, the Palm Court (which is the bar), the Dining Room, are all still 1930s, and are wonderful. Our room was on the small side, but the bathroom was enormous! But this is the delight of the place! It defies normal hotel principles, by being zany and eccentric. Our wardrobes and clothes drawers were all in the bathroom! One wall was all mirror, and the opposite wall completely glass windows on to the balcony!
I suppose you could feel disappointed if you were unaware what you were going to, but providing you read about Burgh Island first, then you could not be anything than delighted. You can 'feel' the 1930s history and past guests all around you. We spent the three days waiting for Hercule Poirot to appear!!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank robindoclambert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Devon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 May 2012

Having been given this as a Christmas present from my husband I was very excited to be visiting Burgh Island. We arrived mid week to thick fog ad rain but it made it more exciting and atmospheric. Because of the poor weather conditions the sea tractor didn't run but we were picked up in the hotel land rover after ringing. Our car was parked in a private gated car park uncover. We didn't have to lift a finger carrying our bags and by the time we had checked in it was off to our room. We were booked into the "Fruity" Metcalfe room with lovely views across the causeway. Even though the hotel looks a like it needs tarting up in some areas I think this kind of adds to its charm. Only little bits like window frames and damp in the public loos need sorting. We went to the Pilchard Inn and had a drink in the private area which was welcoming with the log fire roaring. Then we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the lovely pink 30s pink bath room. We got ready and went for cocktails in the bar which is set in a wonderful room.
It was lovely everyone had dressed up and their best evening wear. I wore a black cocktail dress others had long dresses, so anything went as long as you dressed up. The men also looked great in their black DJs.
The food was ok and there was a group playing sounds from the era.
The next day for breakfast was set in another room which was light and airy and had a lovely breakfast. I must add that the staff were very friendly and a pleasure to talk to.
We left the next day which was a shame as we would have like to have spent longer but maybe next time. We also had a lift back to the car on the sea tractor which was a great finish to our break away. I'm so glad we actually went to stay and if you get a chance do it.

Room Tip: "fruity" Metclafe has a great view on the top floor with balcony, no shower but a lovely d...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ErmerP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Burgh Island Hotel

Property: Burgh Island Hotel
Address: Bigbury-on-Sea, Burgh Island TQ7 4BG, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Burgh Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Burgh Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Authentic Art Deco hotel on its own private tidal island. Frequented by Agatha Christie, Noel Coward, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, amongst others. Join our famous guest list for lounging on our sunny terraces, a snug pint in front of the fire in The Pilchard - our 14th century inn - cocktails at sunset and black tie dining every night. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Burgh Hotel Island
Burgh Island Hotel Devon

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