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Westcliff Hotel (Sidmouth)

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1 Review

Address: Manor Road / Sidmouth / Devon EX10 8RU / England

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      06.06.2009 10:03
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      18 Comments

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      Highly recommended

      ==Background:==

      When I was growing up the family holiday was something we all really looked forward to, the highlight of the year. In those days foreign holidays tended to be exotic and expensive and Sidmouth was one of our preferred destinations. This was in the early 1980's and we used to enjoy staying at the Westcliff Hotel in Sidmouth. Now 25 years later my parents and myself wanted to wonder down memory lane and see what the Hotel was like in the present day.

      ==Booking:==

      I booked our holiday on the Hotels web site (details below). I found the web site, very simple to manage and the information was both interesting and helpful within it. It also gave you a good flavour for the hotel with all its facilities, plus very good pictures of the hotel including its rooms, its gardens and its wonderful views supported it.

      The web site looked very professional and easy to work my way around. The only negatives were: I found the tariffs a little confusing to understand and when I came to book the rooms I got my confirmation and it kept duplicating them. So thinking nothing of this when we arrived at the Hotel I found they had two doubles and two singles in my name instead of the double and single I thought I had ordered. After a worrying discussion the management agreed we would not have to pay for the additional rooms (thank goodness!!).

      You can of course use a more traditional method of booking such as letter or the telephone, and having spoken to people at the Hotel who had done this, it may still be the best approach as you can tailor you're stay more effectively against your requirements and needs.

      ==About the hotel:==

      The Westcliff Hotel is part of the Crest Harbour chain of Holiday establishments. It is a 40-bedroom hotel all with en suite facilities. Features in the rooms include colour televisions and tea and coffee making facilities. It has single, double, twin and even family rooms.

      Other features of the hotel are its 80-cover restaurant, while it gardens and views look breath taking both on the web site and in real life too. The hotel has three stars and a very appealing small outdoor heated swimming pool. As well as a games room, a wide screen television room and a nine hole putting green.

      ==How to get there:==

      Sidmouth is a small, unspoilt but popular seaside town on the South Coast of Britain in the County of Devon. It can easily be accessed from the Midlands and London via the M5. Our trip from London took about four hours and is approx 180 miles, while it is 3 hours away from the Midlands.

      ==Tariffs:==

      There are at least three different tariff rates according to when you plan your stay. However the hotel also offers weekend breaks at varies times of the year. I will not bore you with the prices here you can go to the web site to find all these but they seem to cover everything. You have the option of how long you wish to stay with additional discount available out of season and for those staying longer than one week. You can also choice if you want just Bed and Breakfast or Dinner, Bed and Breakfast. Lunch being served not in the restaurant but the Bar area and there is an additional charge for this.

      ==Other Landmarks:==

      These include the Sid Vale Heritage Centre, Ladram Bay, Sand House, Okehampton Castle, Castle Drogo, The Dartmoor National Park and a huge Donkey Sanctuary. Plus a beautiful cricket ground in the heart of the picture postcard town of Sidmouth.

      ==My opinion:==

      --The Hotel:--

      Back in the 1980's the Hotel was a family run business, this meant there were many personal touches to enjoy, which we took for granted. For example every week there was a putting, table tennis and mini tennis competition for all residents. There was also a Disco and a Water Polo Game. These are sadly things of the past and I think reflect in the fact this hotel attracts fewer children now. As now the Hotel is run purely as a business.

      From the moment you enter the spacious car park you are impressed. The Hotel looks attractive with a very new, well designed Reception Area. The Hotel has many attractive features not all of those would appeal to all, but something for everyone in my opinion. They even have a computer access point from where you can excess the Internet free of charge. I sadly could not use my computer as to my knowledge as it does not have Wireless Access.

      I must admit I was a little disappointed with the Hotel disabled facilities. Gaining access to the garden or the swimming pool area was via steps and I felt that a ramp could easily be incorporated to help this situation. When I booked I asked specifically for a Ground Floor room as my father has trouble getting around these days. On the positive side there were disabled parking bays in the specious and free car park nearest the Hotel and also a compact lift.

      --The Facilities--

      I was impressed by the range and the quality of the facilities available to all those staying at the hotel. The outdoor swimming pool was surprisingly well used considering this was May Bank Holiday. Partly I think because it is heated and also the fine Holiday weather we enjoyed.

      The Games room by contrast disappointed me. While this was not attached to the main Hotel it had both a pool table and a table tennis table these appeared to have seen far better days. It had a shabby, neglected look to it and in my opinion did not attract the younger cliental because it was off the beaten track, not advertised and it looked like it needed new equipment and a spruce up of the room.

      The Gardens of the Hotel were superbly maintained with some attractive and well-stocked flowerbeds. It high position on the hill provides guests with breathe taking views of Sidmouth and the Sea, which is only yards away from the Hotel.
      Other features include a nine hole putting green and a lovely football pitch size field, that is ideal for children and adult to play a variety of games, should they feel the need to run of their indulgences.

      --Bedrooms:--

      These were decorated to a high specification. The rooms were both light, bright and attractive in presentation. I checked out both a single and double room and they had all the facilities I expected. The beds were soft and comfortable with plenty of pillows and bedding. I like the information they had in them about places to visit in Sidmouth, this I found interesting and useful, plus a welcome pack. There was evidence of ware and tear where paintwork was flaking a little but the general impression as far as this aspect is concerned was positive.

      One feature that did disappoint me was neither the single nor the double I looked at had a bath both just had showers facilities. I know showers are better for you and save water but I do like to relax the strain of the day away sometimes. On investigation I found that some of the other rooms had both and so maybe I should have requested it when I booked it originally!!

      In general I was impressed by the rooms appearance, it was bright, light and very welcoming. They for me had everything you could need to enjoy your stay. The television is always a nice feature although I was disappointed the teletext on mine did not work and I did not have a trouser press!!

      --Bar Area:--

      It was very airy, inviting and clean. It made you want to sit in this charming area and talk to the other friendly customers. The bar was well stocked with lots of choices of Wines, Beers and Spirits. The prices were quite reasonable too for a hotel with just £3.00 for a pint of larger. This is less than some Pubs down my way who charge a lot more than this for the equivalent brands. They offer a waiter service and you can charge all this to your room. Which can be good and can be bad as you can easily run up a big bill, as I must admit we did. The temptation when helpful kind people ask you if you would like anything it in my case anyway to think about it and then say yes.

      There was also a coffee and tea waiter who again was very accessible throughout the day and always obliging with his services.

      The only feature that I noticed that detracted from this area was a few of the comfortable chairs and sofa's needed recovering as there was a considerable amount of ware and tear to a few of them, but most the rest looked brand new.

      --Food:--

      Breakfast- There was plenty of choice to choose from. With you helping yourself to the cereals and juices, while your tea/coffee and hot breakfasts were being cooked. The quality was good and the presentation always excellent. I am quite old fashioned and I like my breakfast to be cooked for me rather than having to go up and help myself. The quality was evident and it added to the professionalism of the hotel.
      Lunch--This was not included in our package, but an optionary extra, that we took up a couple of times. It was popular with residents and non-residents alike and again with lots of choices and competitively priced Bar Snacks to help keep people satisfied. The standard price for a jacket potato with filling was £5.75 and it was presented well and tasted great. Judging by the uptake of particularly non-residents who choose to have their Lunch here the reputation of the Hotel for their food was very high.
      Dinner-- Their was a choice of the normal Dinner menu that changed every night or the a la Carte Menu that was not included in the cost. I didn't try the more expensive a la Carte menu but it looked and sounded quite lavish as well as expensive. The normal menu was superb, with a four course Dinner if you wished. With each course there were at least three choices plus a vegetarian option too. The food was always presented well with quality ingredients used that tasted wonderful. There was always a different range of vegetables with your main course and plenty of them.

      Overall- Excellent, cannot fault the food for quality and taste. We found that by having a decent breakfast and a good Dinner we did not need the Lunch option really.

      --Staff:--

      Always available and ready to help with advise and answer any strange or weird request any guests had. Over the course of the days we got to know, recognise and form a friendly relationship with them. They were always on hand and all appeared experienced and helpful in their roles. Their work from the outside world perspective looked busy but they always seemed to enjoy what they were doing and had a smile on their faces. This made the Hotel run like clockwork.

      --Overall:--

      My impression and all of the guest I spoke to was very positive. They all seemed to be regulars who come back year after year, which in itself tells a story. This Hotel certainly is not cheap and in the town of Sidmouth I could find several that were cheaper, but I'm sure they don't offer the same quality holiday experience. At the end of the day I was pleased we choose to go back and very happy that the Hotel was as good as I remember it from all those years ago!

      ==Hotel Details:==

      Address: Westcliff Hall Hotel
      Manor Road, Sidmouth, Devon.EX10 8RU
      Telephone: 01395-513252
      Email: stay@westcliffhotel.co.uk
      Web site: www.westcliffhotel.co.uk

      ==Conclusion:==

      I know I don't have much experience in staying at Hotels, but I can at least recognise quality. This Hotel had it in abundance, I could not wish for a better environment and facilities to enjoy my holiday. For me the only thing the hotel lacks is a gym or a fitness room, but I'm sure there is enough other facilities to help keep you fit as it is.
      I could not commend this Hotel highly enough as a wonderful place to stay in an unspoilt and very quaint and beautiful town of Sidmouth. With breathtaking views and fabulous facilities for all the family to enjoy.

      Thank you for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

      @CPTDANIELS June 2009.

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