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“Unique experience, but at a price!”
Review of Burgh Island Hotel

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Burgh Island Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Burgh Island
Certificate of Excellence
St Albans
Level Contributor
90 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Unique experience, but at a price!”
Reviewed 20 July 2014

The surroundings are undoubtedly spectacular, as are many of the interiors, the furnishings and the ornaments. The staff are almost universally friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. The ambiance is however totally dependent on those factors and the "soft side" of guest relations, which one would expect to be honed at 5 star prices are most definitely more three star.

The suites although pleasant are small and cramped, the widows and paintwork have seen better days, the opportunity to impress was missed at every turn, with no complimentary tean and coffee in the rooms, no fresh flowers anywhere in the whole of the hotel. Yes there was a "turn down" service but it would cost little to leave a couple of chocolates or something as well!

The "gift shop" was an apology and no real souvenirs worth purchasing were available. The opportunity to entice guests to stay for longer than one night was missed at every turn, and the comments of many of my fellow guests was indicative of that. "What an interesting place, no need to come back!"

You don`t need to be Einstein to work out that if people are prepared to pay £500 a night then IF treated as 5 star guests they are likely to buy more and be more complimentary...

That having been said, the beds were comfortable, the surroundings fascinating and the food was good. Was it worth £500 a night? Sorry, it might have got closer but as it stands, no.

Room Tip: Web site pretty informative- rooms priced as to size and views
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank StAlbansPadre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
I'm so sorry St Albans Padre but this is not the right hotel you are reviewing. 1. Fresh flowers are literally everywhere, all the time and delivered and prepared weekly and daily. Reception, bar, loos and tables - fresh flowers r us! 2. Fresh tea and coffee is brought to your room 24/7 on request. 3. Chocolates are in the room each night. 4. All rooms are repainted yearly. 5. We don't and never have had a "gift shop" - we're not peddling souvenirs but memories!
In all seriousness, we're you in the right hotel? The only comment I can work out is about the staff, for which thanks, but even that doesn't seem quite authentic
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (327)
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English first
Wigginton
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2014

Our friends who live in Dartmouth,had stayed at Burgh Island seven years ago and asked if we should like to join them for Sunday Lunch. We were delighted so it was booked and we received details of where to park and instructions for getting the tractor or four wheel drive across to the island. Although we followed the instructions to the letter we waited at least ten minutes for a car and on a blowy Sunday in our finery it was not the best start. However our driver was friendly and very pleasant and delivered us in style although I did think the electric gates and locked front door were a bit over the top for a small island off Bigbury. Was it to keep out unwanted guests or was there a high crime rate out here I wondered?
We had cocktails in a "conservatory" which was very pleasant although I did feel that the bar man ,(Gary?) who brought over the drinks was rather foolish in pretending that he remembered our friends.
The restaurant had little ambiance, mainly because very few tables were occupied but the food was served efficiently, although I did feel we should have been asked who was going to taste the wine, The three different breads were interesting and the starters all attractively presented although the Pecorino Flan was certainly not a flan as we know it as it did not have any pastry.
The main courses were also well received and apart from the risotto which was a little "glutinous " and the sea bass was "rather a small helping" all was fine.
The sweets were, we all agreed, the best part of the meal. The soufflé was hot and very light and the pistachio macaroon a very good texture.
Coffee was served back in the "conservatory" and was good and strong but we all felt a little underwhelmed by the meal as a whole .We then walked in the grounds and admired the fabulous views across to Bantham and Bigbury. It is without doubt a very interesting hotel and well worth the visit but we felt that for the cost it was not value for money. In most places for the price we paid you would have olives or other nibbles provided before lunch, an amuse bouche before the meal and petit fours with the coffee. Perhaps the best way to experience the hotel and it's food is to stay, dress up and have dinner and dance the night away?

Room Tip: Sorry we did not stay, just went for Sunday lunch
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Jan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Thank you for your review Jan and I'm sorry that the food was not to your taste. You obviously have a very specific ideas about your food and we are always happy to accommodate requests for different presentation or menu tweaks. One of the big things about a stay at Burgh (and I agree; the best way to experience it is to stay over) is the privacy and calm of the place. When we bought the Island, we inherited an "open house" tradition that literally had day trippers walking through the Palm Court (it's not really a conservatory, is it?) taking photographs of our guests en route - no one would pay money for that, would they? So, our Sunday lunch is a good way of tasting the experience but I hope that you will dive in head first next time. (Sorry about mixed metaphors there but I couldn't think how better to phrase!)
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Wareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2014

We have just returned from a fabulous trip to Burgh Island. I have wanted to visit for a long time so this was a fulfilment of a dream.
From the moment we booked to the time we set foot back on the main land, we were treated with the upmost politeness and courtesy. I can't fault any of the staff, whether driver, cleaner, receptionist, waiter. They were all a credit to the hotel.
The food was outstanding - very well done to the chef! The evening meal was a wonderful experience.
We stayed in the Fruity Metcalfe as I wanted an easterly view which was stunning. Loved the bathroom with its double aspect views.
The whole stay was extremely relaxing - just what I wanted!
If there is one tiny criticism that I have it would be one for the owners. Some of the paintwork is looking tired and unloved. However, this did not spoil our visit and should not put anyone off staying at this wonderful hotel. I hope to return soon!

Room Tip: Look at the descriptions. Can recommend an easterly view but am sure others are as good. Staff the h...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 233julier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Thank you Julie for your lovely review. In fact, you don't need to let me know about any paintwork needing attention; our three man permanent maintenance team takes even more pride in the building than I do and will be onto it as soon as the rotation of tasks allows (this has been a hard, hard winter and they had a lot of catching up to do). "Fruity" Metcalfe would be delighted that you enjoyed his eponymous room; he's a shadowy figure among the glitterati of the '20s and '30s and, we felt, deserved his minima above the door. Did you enjoy the authentic pink bathroom suite?
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England
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

With significant birthdays approaching, we accompanied friends to Burgh Island to make some enquiries about a weekend celebration at the hotel. Our friends had just returned from Rheims looking at its Art Deco treasures and were seriously enthusiastic about a full Art Deco "experience" at the hotel. We were seriously disappointed when we got to the island. Plenty of No Entry signs, a firmly closed automatic gate, no O2 signal (out of your control) and a ludicrous explanation at The Pilchard that the hotel was too small for genuine enquirers to be allowed in. The impression was one of active hostility. Having worked as a senior manager in customer service for the last 30 years, this and your posted responses to less favourable comments on TripAdvisor, smack of arrogance, smugness and complacency.

Plenty of people living in Devon recognise and appreciate high quality service when they see it and are willing to pay for it, but the "You can contact us by phone, email or by completing our on line form" advice is just not good enough. If you don't want to be overrun by casual sightseers , and I can understand this, why not introduce a system where potential guests can visit, at a mutually convenient pre-arranged time, to meet staff and see what you have to offer. This wouldn't be practical for many of your visitors from further afield but would be a significant improvement for "locals". But perhaps you are more interested in reinforcing your apparent exclusivity. If this is the case, you should have the integrity to say so.

Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
21 Thank huxhams14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Hey, steady on Huxhams14! When did you no doubt considerable experience as a senior manager in customer service give you licence to rock up at The Pilchard Inn on a summer Saturday afternoon and demand immediate access to the hotel so that you could consider booking a room in two years' time? You may call me any sort of names but my first priority is to our current guests and to ensure their privacy and relaxation, my second to running this business as a viable business setting down foundations for future years and not as a generic tourist attraction for sightseers. Of course we are happy to take meetings and show-rounds at a "mutually pre-agreed time" but even you use the words mutual and agreement, none of which was present in your approach.
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Wiltshire
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2014

Stunning! Food, service, location, history and atmosphere. I live in Devon so why have I not been to Burgh Island more often? The price is not eye watering, some of the cocktails are...beware Gary behind the bar, his Margaritas are killers. If you want to wallow in Art Deco and imagine that your fellow guests are stepping off the page of an Agatha Christie murder mystery, then Burgh Island is an ideal destination.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WiltshireKaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Thank you for your lovely review and for having a ball! You're right - we're just an hour from Exeter (for example) and so why don't the Devonians come and stay more often? Calling all locals to don your evening gowns and celebrate a little bit of Mrs Christie's magic on your doorstep. Now you've found us, pop back anytime.
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Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 July 2014

This weekend, we joined our friend and his wife to celebrate his 70th birthday (their 3rd visit). Well what a place to celebrate...This was not a two night stay in a lovely looking hotel, it was an experience which included, delicious food (both diner and breakfast) gorgeous cocktails, dressing up in our best finery, great music from Pennies from Devon and fun dancing all finished off by falling into a wonderfully comfortable bed with lovely crisp white linen. There are some wonderful touches and quirky aspects which we thoroughly enjoyed.The staff were delightful and provided excellent service. We felt like we were at a weekend house party and had a ball.

P.S. Special thank you to the chef and restaurant manager for catering so well for various food allergies.

Room Tip: Sea views are lovely so if you want one, check which rooms have them.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Louise W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Thank you Louise for your lovely review. Trust us; food allergies are so frequent these days that it is a pleasure to be able to offer our guests a personalised service and to ensure that you all enjoy our gorgeous local Devon produce. There's plenty of it and the variety is astounding. We're just booking bands for next year so I will pass your especial thank to "Pennies.." I'm glad you caught the house party atmosphere and we all hope you will join the party in future whenever you need an escape.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 July 2014

It was about 4 years since our previous stay at the Burgh Island Hotel. Would it still live up to our high expectations, we wondered. Yes, it certainly did. The whole stay was a total pleasure from beginning to end. The staff are probably the friendliest and most welcoming of any hotel staff I have come across, from the moment we arrived and were met immediately in the car park in Bigbury Bay to go across in the Land Rover. Many of the staff were familiar from the last time (which says something) - it is clear that there is a great atmosphere there. Their attention to detail is amazing - how did they remember, without prompting, my dad's food allergy from over 4 years ago, and then modify everything they served him (where necessary) to avoid it?

The experience of staying here is pure escapism to a different era. Leave the modern world with its mobile phones and internet behind you for a couple of days (you actually sort of have to as there isn't great signal coverage), relax and enjoy the moment. In the evening, have one of the great cocktails mixed by the fantastic Gary behind the bar and then go through for a delicious dinner in the dining room, with 30s style entertainment on a Saturday. I could get used to this...

Thanks to everyone at the hotel who made our stay perfect. An unforgettable way for my parents to spend their Golden Wedding anniversary.

Room Tip: If you want Art Deco style, go for one of the rooms in the main hotel. For a more modern take on thi...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mike N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OwnerBI, Owner at Burgh Island Hotel, responded to this review, 30 July 2014
Thank you Mike for your lovely review and we are all delighted that your parents' golden wedding anniversary went off so well. I wonder how many of us "could get used to this"..... I could! I am intrigued that you stayed with us four years ago - you must have seen some changes, including the refurbishment of the Mermaid Pool and the new bespoke beds? Certainly our staff are generally long term and skilled in recognising faces - I think Gary "McBar" can put a cocktail to a face faster than a name. We'll see you soon, I hope.
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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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