“ Exeter Road, Bournemouth, BH2 5AH. Tel: 01202 557363. „
I like to look at consumer views before staying in hotels and read dodgy things about this hotel on another site. Unfortunately by this time my Mum, Dad and I had already booked a five day / four night stay in the hotel from 5th – 9th December. I must admit that the opinion did place doubts in our mind and we were extra careful about the correspondence that went between the Hotel and ourselves – and this was just as well! The issues: Every three months we stay in Bournemouth for varying amounts of time. Normally our Christmas stay is affected by the fact that so many Christmas parties are taking place and invariably the residents of Bournemouth hotels are shoved into a corner with the rowdy partygoers and condemned to a meal of Turkey. When we had a delightful lunch at the Hermitage in July we therefore took the opportunity to grab a brochure and upon our return home we began a series of correspondence with the hotel by letter and email asking for one double and one single superior sea-view room on the proviso that a full menu would be available and not the usual ‘turkey’. What happened: We received confirmation of our booking and discovered that the wrong dates had been confirmed, we telephoned the hotel and they said they’d send the correct letter of confirmation. This did not arrive and so I chased it via email. Eventually all seemed ok… ~ ~ Arrival at the hotel ~ ~ We always try and arrive in Bournemouth at 9am latest. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to book in until 1pm or 2pm, but my Mum asked the receptionist if it would be ok to leave the car in the hotel car park. The first bad vibe came at this point – the receptionist replied without even looking up or acknowledging my Mum. Umm… We then went about out business and returned to the hotel to check into our rooms. First we all trooped up to my room that was lovely (description later). In comparison my Mum and Dad’s ‘superior’ room was cramped. This obviously annoyed my Dad and he decided to take it up with the ever so friendly lady at reception. She huffed and puffed and said we hadn’t booked superior rooms but she’d look into it. She asked for half an hour to look into it. Once Dad relayed this information to me I thought that it might help her to know the background i.e.: emails, wrong letters etc. I approached her at reception and she showed me the correspondence. At this point the phone rang so whilst she was distracted I looked through the file and saw our original letter that stated “superior rooms”. The minute she realised I’d seen that she literally snatched the file from my hand. She asked for some further time to try and sort the matter out and we decided to leave the hotel without unpacking and try and explore our options. ~ ~ Second arrival at the hotel ~ ~ We returned to the hotel at 4pm and fortunately the grumpy lady who had occupied reception all day was no longer there. She had been replaced by a very friendly and accommodating receptionist named Sarah. Sarah explained that superior rooms were not available. She asked if I was happy with my room – which I was and then she explained that there were two other twin rooms available and that she’d gladly get a porter to show us these if it would help. Both the rooms that we were shown were better than the original room and we happily checked in and unpacked our luggage. I stressed to Sarah that we had effectively wasted an afternoon worrying about this and that hopefully the hotel would compensate us in some way for the various mistakes that had occurred. She took care of this and reduced our tariff by £4.50 per person per night, which was acceptable to us. It is at this point that all of our problems and negativity is removed, as the remainder of our stay was wonderful. ~ ~ Hotel and it̵ 7;s location ~ ~ The Hermitage Hotel, Exeter Road, Bournemouth. BH2 5AH (TP 01202 557363 and Fax 01202 559173) was established in 1920 although the hotel actually dates back to the 1860s. The hotel has 77 bedrooms some of which are being refurbished at the moment. The front of the Hotel overlooks the Pavillion Gardens with Bournemouth Pier and the eyesore Waterfront complex in front of you. To the right is the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) and to the left is a pathway to the great shopping centre via the famous Bournemouth Balloon. Traditionally we have stayed in Poole or Christchurch during our Christmas stay but decided to try the Hermitage after the delightful lunch we had there. Due to it’s close proximity to the shops we thought it would work out cheaper as we wouldn’t have to pay for taxis to get us from the other areas. I was more than happy with the view from my room until I went up to the fourth floor and saw my Mum and Dad’s view – lovely! ~ ~ Facilities ~ ~ All major credit and debit cards (except Diners) are accepted by the hotel. Pets are at the discretion of the manager – except of course for guide dogs, although due to the nice hotel furnishings I wouldn’t even ask if Tzar and Merlin (My huskys for those who don’t know) could attend – they’d probably ruin the place! It is interesting to note the hotels promotion of the BIC across the road. Residents can obtain a free swimming voucher to use at the complex and the room information books also detail the concerts and activities that are going on over coming months. The hotel has ample car parking for residents, but when there are functions on I did notice that residents tend to get blocked in with the double / triple parking system that operates. I must say that the reception area does hold the keys of those cars causing the obstruction in case residents wish to access their vehicles. Child mi nding is available but through local agencies rather than from a service run inside the hotel, which I would not be comfortable with myself. The usual newspapers are available and are left outside the door in the morning. I didn’t order one myself but walked past plenty on my way to breakfast. A Night Porter facility is in operation and he can be contacted for light refreshments and alcoholic drinks after hours. The Hotel Room Brochure did state that satellite television was available but this is not something that was accessible from either of our rooms. We were limited to BBC1&2, Meridian, C4 and then BBC Radio 2&4. It is unusual in Bournemouth not to have a local radio station through the TV, as this is a good source of information to residents with regards to local events. ~ ~ Room Service ~ ~ The room service menu was better than many hotels that I have seen. It clearly stated that all food was prepared to order and that a wait of 20minutes would apply. The hotel provided a 24 hour room service menu and one which obviously applied to when the restaurant was open as your could only choose meals from it during the following hours: 12 – 2 and 5:30 – 8:30. The 24-hour menu had a selection of teas, coffees, cakes, sandwiches, and pastries with the most expensive sandwich being priced at £4.50. Sandwiches all came with crisps and salad, and looked very tasty. Wines, Spirits and Beverages can also be served to your room 24 hours. The light meal room service menu offered delights such as: ¡ Home Made Soup and half a baguette £2.50 ¡ Caesar salad with mixed leaves and croutons topped with Avocado and Parmesan Cheese £4.75 ¡ Sauted Supreme of Salmon on a bed of mixed leaves with an olive oil, red onion, tomato, baby capers and a chive dressing with new potatoes £8.95 ¡ Plain omelette, fries and salad £4.25. Extra toppings of Ham, Tomato, Cheese or Mushroom at 50p each. I believe from memory that there was a £2 supplement for each order from room service. ~ ~ Room Décor ~ ~ The majority of the rooms appear to have beige and pink walls with wooden furniture. This is finished off with Dark Blue (but not navy) bedspreads, curtains and carpet. My Television was fixed to a bracket on the wall that led to easy watching from the bed. Both our rooms had two chairs and a coffee table that looked out the window to the lovely view. A few other hotels in the area only beat the view. More than adequate supplies of tea, coffee and biscuits were provided, together with a trouser press, iron and hair dryer. The bathroom provided a safety mat for the strong and powerful shower and grab handles in the bath. Usually the higher up your room is in a hotel the lower the pressure and heat from the shower, but even on the fourth floor the shower was good. There were two dispensers of Lux shampoo and shower gel by the shower and washbasin, which was a nice touch. Compared to some hotels I have stayed in the quality and comfortableness of the room was more than adequate. The rooms were well cleaned and had double-glazing to drown out the noise from the noisier nights at the BIC or from the Pier. ~ ~ Bar / Restaurant ~ ~ A small bar menu is available in the lounge / bar area. The mood in here is quite subdued and quiet. Drinks are reasonably priced and service was prompt and efficient. A Maitre’D escorts you to your table in the restaurant and this will then be the table where you take all of your meals over the coming days. A waitress silver service is provided and all of the catering team are more than helpful and willing to accommodate your needs. I found that the food was very well cooked and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. This freshness was noted as well when we observed that each morning the fruit and veg, poultry and meat delivery vans arrived. What w as very impressive is the level of service we received on the Friday night bearing in mind that the hotel was catering for 200 plus people at a Christmas Party. We were treated brilliantly - a sure sign of a good hotel restaurant! I am not going to go into detail about the menu available as samples are available from their website at www.hermitage-hotel.co.uk. As part of our winter warmer deal we could choose anything from the Winter Warmer menu and then pay supplements for anything else. They have a very full and extensive wine list and examples of prices are below: Colombard Chardonnay £11.95 Chianti Leonardo £ 14.95 Cotes Du Rhone £10.95 I personally do not know if these prices are competitive or not, but I do know that I enjoyed a good drop or two! ~ ~ Breakfast ~ ~ The traditional selection of fruit juices and cereals were provided with a waitress service for your hot food delights. The menu clearly stated that all food was cooked to order and by the time we had devoured our choices from the cold table our cooked breakfasts were appearing. The breakfast was lovely with the selection of toast (white and brown) being presented in a beautiful basket each morning. ~ ~ Price ~ ~ My four night, half board stay cost me £203.28 which included a bottle of wine and a few pounds of phone calls. The daily rate was £42 after the £4.50 discount and this was for dinner, bed and breakfast. ~ ~ Overall opinion ~ ~ This is not a hotel for those expecting nightly entertainment but more for those wanting quiet and relaxation. My family and I wanted a nice relaxing hotel with good views that was central to Bournemouth. It was a pleasure to come back to the hotel after a hard days shopping and to be waited upon hand and foot. Yes there was a slow and relaxing atmosphere, but that was one that we enjoyed and we are certainly not OAPS. Apart from the two awful staff on rec eption (not Sarah) the whole stay was wonderful and we would definitely return again.