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Ullswater Hotel (Bournemouth)

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The Ullswater Hotel, Westcliff Gardens, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5HW. Tel: (01202) 555181

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      09.06.2002 23:22
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      It has been a long half term at work since Easter. Eight long weeks, including the SATs tests, and because Easter was early and they pushed half term back a week because of the Jubilee, it seems a long time since we had a break of any sort. So hubby and I decided on the spur of the moment that we would go away for a few days in Jubilee week. We didn’t want to go abroad, and we couldn’t go until Jubilee Tuesday, owing to the fact that we were Chinchilla-sitting for our beloved daughter, so we chose Bournemouth. We’ve been there many times before and love the area, and we can be there in less than three hours. So, wanting to go to a hotel that we hadn’t yet been to, I logged on to trusty old Smoothhound. I spent a happy couple of hours browsing, and sending off e-mails to check availability, and then I came across this one, near the bottom of a list of over one hundred hotels. The Ullswater. At first, I simply glanced at it, passed it by, and then went back. I noticed the “specials” link, so thought I’d have a look. And there I found it. “Late availability”. As it was Wednesday, and we wanted to travel the following Tuesday, I clicked the link. Due to a cancellation, we have the following late availability at these fantastic prices... JUNE SPECIAL JUNE 3RD TO JUNE 8TH 3 Nights Only £93.00 4 Nights Only £119.00 5 Nights Only £145.00 All rates are for Dinner, Bed & Breakfast I had a quick glance at their normal rates, and found that if we booked for five nights, we would be saving almost £100 between us. Not wanting to miss the boat, I got on the phone, and within 3 minutes had booked a twin, en suite room from Tuesday 4th June to Sunday 9th June, at an even better rate than quoted above! Just £139 each for five nights, dinner, bed and breakfast. That works out to less than £28.00 per night each. With some of the other places I <
      br>< br>< br>217;d sent e-mails to, it would have cost that just for bed and breakfast! Our reservation was confirmed in writing within two days, together with a map showing exactly where the hotel was, and we prepared to travel on the Tuesday. WHERE IS THE HOTEL? The Ullswater is situated towards the west of Bournemouth in a quiet side street, just one hundred yards from the beach. The pier and main shopping and theatre areas of Bournemouth are less than a ten-minute walk away, as is the Bournemouth International Centre. It is close to, but not right on top of all the main amenities that Bournemouth has to offer. It is also close to the Durley Dene Chine. From any major route into Bournemouth, follow the signs to the Town Centre and then to Westcliff. The Ullswater Hotel is situated in Westcliff Gardens just off the main Westcliff Road. ABOUT THE HOTEL (according to their web-site) There are 42 bedrooms, all en-suite, with remote controlled televisions, direct dial phones, tea and coffee making facilities, and radio alarms. All rooms are centrally heated, so the hotel is open all year round. There is a cocktail lounge and bar, where guests can have a pre-dinner drink, or relax after their meal. There is also a games room, with a snooker table and table tennis for those who want to have a game or two. Each floor is served by lift, and there is ample free parking space for guests. For those with children, high chairs are provided in the dining room, cots in the bedrooms, and reception operates a baby listening service free of charge. The restaurant is spacious, with plenty of room between tables. The menu is varied, offering traditional and European menus, and the chefs, who have both been at the hotel for six years, use fresh, local produce wherever possible. The hotel has been run by the same family for over twelve years, and many of the staff have been the
      re for the s ame amount o f t ime. SO WHAT WAS IT REALLY LIKE? FIRST IMPRESSIONS When we arrived, at around 3.00.pm, there was just one parking space left at the front of the hotel. For a largish hotel, there was, in fact, very little parking space available, just about a dozen spaces in front of the hotel itself, with the rest being on-street parking. Luckily, whilst we were staying there, a large coach party was there too, so parking wasn’t much of a problem. However, I can imagine that during the peak summer months, it could be a real problem, with several hotels competing for the same street parking spaces. The Ullswater is one of the older, red-brick buildings on the outskirts of Bournemouth Town Centre, and is similar to many others in the vicinity. Although it is situated in a quiet side street, it is in fact, quite close to one of the busy Bournemouth roundabouts, which gave rise to quite a bit of traffic noise, although this was not unbearable. Reception is manned all day, and there is a night porter, should you have any urgent requirements during your stay. Formalities on registering were speedily, efficiently and politely carried out. Once booked in, we had no need for cash within the hotel, as everything was simply signed for, and paid for at the end of the holiday. We ordered a newspaper to be delivered daily, and this was always outside our door before 8.00 am. There was a lift to all floors (The hotel is three stories high). It was one of the old fashioned sorts of lift, with an inner concertina type gate. Mostly it worked efficiently, so long as people remembered to close the gate on leaving the lift. The door on floor two did not always shut properly, so on occasions the lift would not function until somebody went and closed it. We tended to walk down and use the lift up, as we were on the third floor! When we first arrived, I was a little dismayed to find our
      room right opposi te the lift, but during o ur stay, I can honestly say we were not aware of the lift at all once we were in our room. The room we were allocated was perfectly adequate for our stay. We had a twin room, with a spacious wardrobe, dressing table, an armchair, a stool, a remote controlled television, tea and coffee making facilities, two bedside tables, a direct dial telephone and a radiator, should we need it (we didn’t!) The en-suite shower room/toilet was rather small, although the shower cubicle itself was more than efficient, and easy to use. THE STAFF All the staff, from the girl who cleaned our room (extremely well) right up to the manager, were very friendly and efficient for the whole of our stay. If we required anything, it was there as soon as we requested it. The waitresses were always jolly and friendly, even when they were obviously rushed off their feet. On the day England played Argentina in the World Cup, reception was inundated with requests for sandwiches, drinks etc, but our orders were all ready within 15 minutes, in spite of everyone obviously wanting their refreshments at half time!. On booking out, our bill was ready and waiting, all fully itemised, and all completed with a minimum of fuss. The staff were unobtrusive as they went about their various tasks, and the hotel was kept spotless at all times. THE DINING AREA, AND THE FOOD Although on the web site it says that in the dining room the tables are laid with plenty of space between them, we found that in fact, they were quite close together. This didn’t bother us too much, as it’s quite nice to sit and chat to your fellow guests, but I can see that some people might find some of the tables a bit too close together. Breakfast was the usual sort of thing you would expect. There was a good choice of cereals, fruits and fruit juices to help yourself to, followed by a
      cooked breakfast, plen ty of toast and marmal ade, and a ch oice of tea or coffee. The only thing missing (for me at any rate) was any HP sauce! Breakfast was served between 8.30 and 9.30, so we didn’t have to be up at the crack of dawn! On the evening dinner menu, there was always a choice of three starters, and a choice of three main dishes. For example, one day you could have the soup of the day (which was different on every day of our visit), or prawns served with avocado on a bed of lettuce, or a glass of fruit juice, followed by roast beef with all the trimmings, or poached rainbow trout with a parsley buttered sauce, or duck breast served with plum sauce. The vegetable selection varied each day, with at least 2 on offer, and there were always two different types of potato. All the vegetables were served in a tureen on your table so that you could help yourself to as much or as little as you wanted. If you are vegetarian, special meals will be prepared on request. The dessert table was temptation itself! There was always a different hot pudding with custard on offer, or cheese and biscuits or plain ice-cream, as well as at least five options from the cold dessert table: trifle, cheesecake, fresh fruit salad, gateaux, (stopping now before I start drooling!) Tea and coffee, should one require it, could be served either at the table, or in the residents’ lounge next door. There was also a very comprehensive wine list, which could be ordered by the glass, half bottle or bottle. I really must compliment the chefs. We thoroughly enjoyed every meal we had during our stay here. OTHER FACILITIES. For two evenings whilst we were there, the hotel laid on some evening entertainment. This was basically a chap on a keyboard singing 50’s and 60’s numbers one night, and one with a guitar doing the same the other night. Don’t expect Sunday Night at the London Pallad
      ium! There were pl enty of boxed games in the lounge, including Trivial Pursuits, Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble. We had a couple of games of Scrabble (I won!) We also used the snooker table downstairs in the games room one night (he won!) The bar closed each night at 11.30pm. We never made it to that time. In fact, apart from the one night we went out to the theatre, I don’t think we made it beyond about 10 pm any night! The web site says that the hotel is less than 10 minutes walk away from the centre of Bournemouth, and all its facilities. I suppose you could walk it in that time, but I would say it was nearer 15 minutes unless you walked very quickly indeed! It was, however, only 100 yards from the sea. In fact, we could see the sea from our bedroom window. TARIFF AND SPECIAL EVENTS AT THE ULLSWATER The normal tariff for this time of year is £32.00 for bed and breakfast, or £37.00 if you wanted evening dinner as well. This rises to £35.00 and £42.00 at the height of summer. We paid £139.00 each for 5 nights bed, breakfast and evening meal, which equates at just less than £28.00 each per night. A real bargain! The hotel does regular Murder, Mystery weekends, from Friday night until after lunch on Sunday. This includes a complimentary cocktail, dinner, dancing and entertainment, the murder mystery bit, and all meals. The cost is £79.00 per person. In October, November and December, you can book a Turkey and Tinsel break, either from Monday to Friday morning (cost from £79.00 - £112 per person, depending on the week booked) or from Friday night until Sunday (cost £68.00 per person) This covers bed, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening dinner in all cases. During the winter months, four night breaks, including afternoon tea and dinner cost from £98.00 - £112.00. Quizzes, dances etc, are laid on for the evenings. Children are catered for at the hotel, with the
      youngest child being accommodat ed and fed free of charge. All u nder 2’s are free , with discounts of 75% for all 3 – 4 year olds, 50% discounts for all 5 – 12 year olds, and 25 % for all 13 – 16 year olds. The free accommodation is dependent on the child sharing the parents’ room. High chairs, cots and special meals are available if required. WOULD I RECOMMEND THE ULLSWATER? For a pleasant, relaxing break, the Ullswater was ideal. For the price we paid, it was excellent. If you are looking for a basic, reasonably priced, good value hotel, close to Bournemouth Centre and the beach, then I think you would have to go a long way to beat it. However, if you are looking for an all action, bopping the night away sort of holiday, then you would do better looking elsewhere! We found our stay there very pleasant indeed. It was comfortable, with good food, and service. Our room was comfortable and clean, maybe somewhat on the small side, but adequate for a short stay. There were larger rooms, but these were obviously given to those guests who were paying the full amount, which was fair enough. Hubby also insisted on hanging our England flag suspended on an eight foot garden cane out of our window! Thank heavens they didn’t object! We would definitely go back there, especially if the sort of offer we got is repeated. In fact, I’m looking into getting a group booking for a Murder, Mystery or a Turkey and Tinsel weekend later in the year! You can’t go far wrong with the Ullswater. Website. www.ullswater.uk.com E-mail enq@ullswater.uk.com Tel 01202 555181 Fax 01202 317896

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