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Haddon House Hotel (Westbay)

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West Bay, BRIDPORT, DT6 4EL. Tel: +44(0)1308 423626 Fax: +44(0)1308 4273. Stars: 3.

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      05.02.2001 04:32
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      Being self employed, my husband and I have a huge problem with holidays. If we're working, we can't spare the time to go and if we're not working, then we can't afford it. Add to that the fact that I can't fly for medical reasons and suffer from horrendous sea sickness and you'll have some idea of the problems we face. We both desperately needed a break, but were struggling to agree on where to go. I fancied a health farm - he said no way. He wanted somewhere with a golf course attached - I said no way. Situation stalemate. Then we read a couple of opinions on Dooyoo about Dorset (thanks, Lamorna!) and our minds were made up. We found the Haddon House Hotel, West Bay, on the Internet, having initiated a search for Bridport and West Bay. Their website wasn't the most detailed I have come across, but it showed several pictures of the hotel exterior, bedrooms and public rooms, all of which looked nice, so my husband rang for more details. The staff were able to answer all his questions satisfactorily, (although he was a little taken aback to be asked for a 50% deposit on the cost of our two night stay) so he booked. We found the staff very friendly and helpful on our arrival - and, in fact, throughout our entire stay. Our double room was comfortable, pleasantly decorated and spotlessly clean and equipped with limited satellite television, hairdryer, stationery,trouser press, telephone, controllable radiators and clock radio. We had a well stocked beverage tray with coffee, tea and chocolate. There were also a variety of lights which could be dimmed - ideal for groping your way to the bathroom in a strange place in the middle of the night. All the rooms are en-suite and there were loads of fluffy towels and good quality complementary toiletries. The water for our showers was piping hot too. However, the best was yet to come. Hungry after our journey, we went down to the dining room on our first ni
      ght and chose dinner from the table d'hote menu which was absolutely superb - possibly one of the best meals I have ever eaten in a restaurant. What's more, there was plenty of it (none of your nouvelle cuisine here!) and we eventually left the table for coffee in the bar wishing we had worn something with an elasticated waistband! The three course meal offered us an excellent choice of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, prepared in imaginative and delicious ways - my husband ordered Pork Medallions and was amazed to find five of them on his plate which was full before the addition of the three different vegetables and two types of potatoes which subsequently arrived at the table. Much to his delight, the dress code was 'smart casual' - no need for the despised tie to leave the suitcase for the entire weekend. Breakfast was just as good - again, possibly the best I have ever eaten. Ice cold fruit juice,followed by cereal,grapefruit or prunes, a fantastic English fried breakfast (plus a load of optional extras like black pudding and saute potatoes and with other options such as kippers available), toast and tea or coffee. Believe me, this hotel managed four consecutive meals that my husband couldn't find any fault with, which is more than I have managed in nearly 10 years of marriage! The hotel has a mixture of public rooms which cater equally for smokers and non-smokers and, while it doesn't have many actual facilities (no swimming pool, snooker table, fruit machines etc), it has everything you need for a quiet, realxing break.We found the staff extremely courteous and friendly (although to be honest, we did hit upon an unusually quiet weekend) even to the extent of walking to the shop in the pouring rain to pick up our ordered newspaper which inexplicably hadn't arrived.Small pets are also welcomed. Opposite the hotel is a links golf course which offers reduced green fees to residents and there is plenty to do
      in the vicinity including swimming, horse riding and even a night club (although our advanced age precluded us from trying the latter). Within a short walking distance are the pebble beaches of West Bay with their fantastic cliff top walks and the famous fossil beach at Charmouth is just a short drive away. (We spent a morning there looking for fossils and found a few small ones - we also spent a small fortune at the beachside fossil shop!) Bridport and Lyme Regis are also within easy driving distance. We had a wonderful time and came back relaxed and refreshed. The cost for two people for bed, breakfast and evening meal for two nights was a very reasonable £145. And, if this is too much, the hotel is also open to non-residents both for bar snacks (which definitely aren't the bog standard scampi and chips) and meals in the restaurant. Oh...you're wondering about the title? Well, it happens every time, doesn't it? You go down to breakfast in a hotel 100 miles from your home town, and you see someone you recognise. But you don't recognise his 'wife'... Haddon House Hotel, West Bay, Bridport, Dorset - Tel: 01308 423626 or 425323

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