Moonfleet Manor Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Moonfleet Manor Hotel Weymouth
Family friendly, but not luxury, at a luxury price
We stayed here for three nights with our kids, aged 4 and 1, to get a break for the whole family. Moonfleet Manor has a fantastic location overlooking Chesil Beach and great facilities for the kids: indoor swimming pool, play area for the younger one, games room, climbing frame, sandpit etc.
We stayed in a deluxe room because the regular doubles were booked up. It was spacious and comfortable. The furniture was colonial/Asian in style and worn-in (sensible with so many kids around and not a draw-back). One suggestion: in the height of summer, blackout curtains would have helped the kids and us to sleep beyond 5.00am!
Service at the hotel was acceptable. Staff were friendly, but this is not a luxury hotel in the sense that the level of staff training is not what you might expect. The dinners, which my wife were able to enjoy on our own, thanks to the listening service, were good to very good, but not exceptional. Again, the service was fine but not brilliant. The breakfast buffet was fine.
Don't come to Moonfleet Manor expecting to be wowed. The hotel is great for the family with young kids and this part of Dorset is beautiful, but it is expensive for what you are getting. It's a unique concept and guests are paying the price for the privilege. That being said, we would go there or to one of the sister hotels for a short break.
Book this place with your eyes wide open
My daughter and I stayed at the Moonfleet Manor for 5 days recently. I now understand what's behind the conflicting reviews about this place. We enjoyed our stay - especially the lovely location - but it's a pretty mixed bag of a place.
First of all, I think the "Luxury Hotel" characterization is misleading. Sure, you can pamper yourself in the spa, but it takes more than a big check-out bill to make a hotel a luxury establishment. So, I think, the first "eye opener" is not to expect a luxury hotel - but certainly you can expect a large, comfortable seaside inn with many amenities.
A second thing to know when deciding whether to go here is to know that this hotel is overflowing with babies, pre-schoolers and dogs. Sound friendly? Well, it is. But you'll need to accept the kind of furniture, fabrics and carpeting in your room that anyone in their right mind would use when welcoming families with those babies, pre-schoolers and dogs. Another reviewer used the term "frayed gentility", but I'm not sure that's fair. "Homey and worn" is more like it.
On the other hand, the hotel's web site doesn't brag _enough_ about the location. The seaside walks are gorgeous. If you like strolling through the English countryside, you'll not do much better than this. Absolutely lovely.
Along with the above-mentioned lack of formality, alas, comes a certain carelessness: on our first night, we dutifully showed up in the lounge 20 minutes before our dinner reservations as they request everyone to do, but didn't get in for over an hour (the dining room manager apologized with a complementary after-diner drink). Also, we were continually promised a newspaper in the morning but never got one, the lights in our hallway and in our bathroom flicked on and off annoyingly, etc.
Another shortcoming was the (mostly continental European) waiters' inability to accept the fact that we Americans need(!) coffee before - or at least WITH - breakfast. They seemed quite disappointed that we didn't want to bring our coffee out to the lovely veranda to sip it after breakfast - and they unfailingly delivered the pots of coffee and tea after we were through eating. (And, unfortunately, the coffee was quite weak, unlike the coffee you typically find in the nicer English establishments.)
And speaking of liquid refreshement, if you enjoy British beer, you may find it quite unforgiveable that the Moonfleet offers just Stella Artois on tap - and even that very non-British beer is offered only in the recreation room, across the courtyard from the main building. In the lounge, they carry about 5 canned and bottled beers - three of which are British. I resorted to visiting the local inns and pubs for an occasional taste of the locally-brewed ales.
We stayed in the original building, by the way. The room was large, with a fairly nice bathroom (despite that overhead light that flicked off occasionally!) And it was pretty quiet, even though the kiddies were running around: those good old thick walls kept the noise out quite nicely. I didn't see the interiors of any of the rooms in the new section, but the building looks dreadful on the outside - sort of circa 1970's college dorm. I know that another reviewer didn't like the newer section and felt you should try to stay in the original building. Having done just that, I agree.
Most of the staff was very attentive and everyone was very courteous.
The best piece of advice that I can give, though, is: do NOT pay full price. I really think the high price is there to justify that "Luxury" self-characterization. Ask about low-season rates and take advantage of those times.
I'm hoping you get a feel for this place with all its appealing traits and its flaws. I don't regret at all staying there, but will probably not stay there again. On the other hand, if you have tiny tots and a dog or two, then you may be looking for a lovely place to stay at as a family.
A lovely relaxing four days
What a lovely place!! Full of ambience. We had a very relaxing time, beautiful room, extremely comfortable bed, lovely Duvets etc. The staff are very sweet and funny! The children took the hotel dog for a walk! The food...Oh the food was fab!! The kids either ate with us or in the children's dining room. We had dinner alone sometimes, while the kids were watching a video in our room wth the listening service turned on. It felt very safe. Great games room....the children didn't want to come home. Definitely going back soon! not stuffy and posh.... just a very happy place with good service.
We were looking for luxury, as advertised and it just didn't meet expectations. The kids loved the activities (aged 3 and 5 ) but everything was in need of refurbishment and it seemed very over priced for what we got. It all looked shabby. The service was very poor. We gave up on room service and ended up getting things for ourselves! The staff were vague and unhelpful and no apologies were forthcoming. The bed was very uncomfortable and small. TVs were tiny, radio didn't work and the kettle was archaic. The food was good but not exceptional. We've just arrived back after a three day break and we feel in need of a holiday!!
We have just spent our 3rd short break at this relaxing, cosy hotel with our 3 children, aged 6, 3 and 18m - they did not want to come home either! They loved the swimming pool and the huge indoor games area. We loved the relaxed ambience, not having to worry about the children being noisy, boisterous or messy and having a few hours to unwind beside the open fires with the children safely looked after in the children's Den. Evening dinner was excellent with no additional babysitting cost due to the babylistening service - how nice to have three meals without the kids! Our room was large enough for the 5 of us with 2 Z beds and a travel cot. Staff were always happy to help. Now it's back to reality until we've saved up enough to go again! Definitely recommended.
We spent two nights at Moonfleet Manor and had a great time with our nearly one year old daughter who we were able to keep well entertained despite the nasty weather thanks to the huge playroom and indoor heated pool. We found Neil's Room to be very comfortable and were surprised about the hugeness of it. The highlight was the excellent food in the evenings - very impressive. Never had too much contact with the staff but reception were friendly and welcoming on arrival, and the manager made sure we were happy. Main thing is we were able to relax in the evenings thanks to the baby listening systems in place! Recommended to tired parents who don't have easy access to babysitters!
Not great value for money
The formula that seems to work so well at its sister hotels (Fowey Hotel, Woolley Grange etc) doesn't seem to quite gel here. Firstly, our rooms. There were pleasant enough on the inside (though very small), but were housed in what looked like The Crossroads Motel. The main rooms of the house and the restaurant are beautiful though and the food is delicious. What I thought the whole experience lacked , was any sort of personal touches and the staff, whilst OK, were quite impersonal in the way that they dealt with us. I think that this formula can only justify its high price by keeping things relatively small and by offering personal highly friendly service. As it was, we felt like one of many on an expensive conveyor belt. The kids playroom is fairly grim looking too , as is the swimming pool complex. All in all,I felt this place needed to do much more to justify its price tag and I woudn't go back.
Spent a wonderful weekend here with my husband and 2 daughters (aged 8 and 6). We stayed in Maximillian, which had views over the Fleet lagoon and rolling countryside (although, had only 1 small wardrobe). Perhaps our expectations weren't too high (had read some critisisms before we arrived). There is a lovely atmosphere about this hotel, with just enough wear and tear to make the place feel comfortable. The staff couldn't do enough for us. Although, the pool area was dated, it was immaculately clean, as was our room and all other areas of this hotel. The sports hall was a real bonus, especially for children around the same ages as ours (parents seemed to enjoy this area too!). Our girls loved the dog Spicer and tried! to take him for a walk a couple of times. We would highly recommend a break here.
Fake shabby gentility
Just what we thought: "better be worth the money". Alas, apart from the food at dinner, it wasn't. Faux, shabby gentility in the style of a stately home-cum-gentleman's club (the marketing pitch) is no substitute, if style wins out over substance. A luxury room turned out to be an attic garrett overlooking the car park, stuffed with a few shabby antiques (wardrobes that didn't work and a bed - whilst attractive - that was so uncomfortable that we took it in turns on our son's Z-bed in the corner). Swimming pool dank and uninviting; 'sports hall' cavernous and echoing. No non-smoking lounges (unfortunate when you have children - which everyone does.) Well-meaning but somewhat amateurish staff. The one saving grace was the food at dinner - of extraordinarily good quality - even if to get in there we were required to be in the lounge 20 minutes before our booked time and did not sit down until 40 minutes later on busy nights. But they mixed up our tables and lost our wine and breakfasts were disappointing (clearly a different chef). Worn out and in need of major investment: avoid.
"This had better be good" were my husband's first words when I told him where we were going and how much it was going to cost! Moonfleet isn't cheap, but I have no complaints about the value for money that our trip to this beautiful and very comfortable hotel represented. The price you pay is a room rate, so you can squeeze all your children into one room, and pay only for the dinners that they eat. The dining facilities were very relaxed, without the adult menu having to pander to the tastes of the junior customers. The indoor sports hall was a godsend as the weather was against us on our trip, and there was ample space for the children to run off steam. The pool area was a bit disappointing though - definitely in need of an update. All in all a relaxing and luxurious trip, that we look forward to repeating in the near future.
TripAdvisor Reviews Moonfleet Manor Hotel Weymouth
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