The Haven Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Haven Hotel Poole
Good downstairs, terrible upstairs
We stayed in the Haven for two nights in September to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It is very expensive for what you get, particularly the rooms. We had booked a sea view room, but on seeing it, asked for another room as it had not changed since I last stayed at the hotel some 17 years ago with my parents. The staff didn't argue at all, and quickly showed us some other rooms but there were none others with sea view available, and in the end we took their suite which they gave us for the same price. This still wasn't great and had a very 80's feel to the decor. The rooms at the rear of the hotel have recently been refurbished and modernised - they need to do these for the rooms with the sea view, and then they might be worth the price. Having said that, a great location, great views from the bar, and enjoyed the food in the restaurant, with friendly and helpful staff.
Priceless views, overpriced!
Two-night stay, August 2005; the view: sea, sky, boats and beaches from the balcony were priceless; The 'spa': medium sized outdoor heated pool, steam, sauna, hot tub, plus gym was relaxed, well maintained with a beautiful sea-edge location.
But this is a hotel, and the room's important, too. What a shame! The (reasonably) smart, authentic old school English theme of the ground floor lounges starts to falter as soon as soon as you get to the staircase.
Inside the 'executive' sea view double room the noise of rattling polystyrene ceiling tiles was only reduced because the tiny windows couldn't be opened to let in the breeze and sound of the sea (or fully enjoy the wonderful view); the lumpy bed and cheap bathroom were mean sized, co-ordinated in fussy décor; deficient in-room entertainment a blessing given the wafer thin walls.
Add to this the frosty service, somewhat sterile ambience and prices comparable to lower-end room rates at some of the world's best hotels and what could be ordinarily regarded as quibbles aren't quite so easy to overlook.
What A View
The Haven Hotel is located by the ferry on Sandbanks. Marconi used it when testing, now what would it be, radio links I guess. & there are some splendid pictures & plaques in the public areas. You feel important aarriving at the Haven because you can bustle past the waiting lines for the ferry
The sea view room have an incredible view over the entrance to Poole harbour- its one helluva view watching all the boats return to port on a sunny weekend evening. A wonderful experience
The bar & lounge attract the property developing classes & their swells which gives the impression of being on the set of Howards Way although on previous visits I have fallen foul of restrictions about ordering afternoon tea at 2.50 & being told thaty no order could be taken until 3.(I bet that never happened to Howard). There are 2 restaurants- a very swanky one where you are allowed to sit by the window & the economy class one where you are set back from the window but still have good views of the harbour entrance. I thought the food excellent & particularly enjoyed the eager younr waiter slipping on the polished floor & dropping a bottle of beer at my feet.
A very British hotel (don't suppose its independent but it felt that it could have been) complete with slightly dodgy art & faded carpets in the corridors
and, I was surprised to find, very good value.
Definitely one to stay at especially if the alternative is battling with the bank holiday traffic home
The Haven, so very nearly Heaven..............
Great staff, a truly memorable, professional and courteous welcome. We made our way to our executive room number 214 @ £280.00 per night bed & breakfast, and it was a bit of a let down. There is no way this is an executive room. Very dated decor. Polysteryne ceiling tiles, chipped furniture, a pokey bathroom and curtain's like your granny's! The bed, a standard double. (4 feet 6 for American readers.) Comfortable but not big enough. I would have expected better. Perhaps a fruit basket, flowers, comfortable chairs, a cd player, mineral water, executive lounge, that kind of thing.
This room has a balcony with a great view over Poole Bay. Perhaps that is what makes it executive, as I cannot think anything else would. You even get plastic furniture on the balcony, but alas no cushions.
The leisure club was a real plus, but the service here was poor. My wife had to make her own coffee, as the waiter said he would be back in 5 minutes and never reappeared. At least this way it was free! I enjoyed my swim and the use of my ONE free towel. How generous. Extra towels are 20p! Come on Mr. Butterworth (owner of FJB Hotels) this is just plain MEAN after the £280.00 we had just forked out. There were signs requesting that we should not use the hotel towels, which is fair, but that policy is taking it too far. How about a nice robe and 2 towels. It will hardly break the bank.
The bar service was reasonable, and the restaurant better. They give residents a 10% discount on food, soft drinks and champagne, but the staff were not always sure of this which was surprising and a minor irritation.
The food was divine. Fabulous wine list and the Ruinart champagne not to be missed. Breakfast was another direct hit, and generally it was a great place to stay. The views and public areas are truly wonderful. Just a little fine tuning required. Or why not just go for the food and try another hotel for better comfort/value for money?
Expensive and Uprofessiona
Just back from 3 days away and had a great time on the Sandbanks beaches. It did help that we were close to the beach at the HEAVEN HOTEL but apart from the location, this hotel has little going for it....
We arrived on Friday lunchtime and had lunch on the beautiful terrace of the La Roche restaurant. Food was good but the service terribly slow and disorganized (waiters either nowhere in sight or 3-4 offering the same service i.e. drinks order after the order has been taken...etc) for the price (GBP 74 for a one course, no drinks lunch for 3 adults and a child). I should have known that matters were not under control when returning from the Ladies Room I found one of my guests struggling to explain to the Maitre D' that he was not in charge of the bill (bill which I hadn't asked for as we were waiting for more friends to arrive to join us for coffee).
Anyway, when our friends did arrive (at a "shameful" 3pm) we were told that we had to bring our own coffees/ drinks from the bar as we had settled the bill in the restaurant.
The same disorganization continued for the duration of our stay in everything to do with the restaurants (saved only by the fact that the food was very good). It seemed that the staff was sufficient in numbers but sourly lacking training and team spirit or accountability (was impossible to tell which waiter was in charge of what tables or who did what but it was very easy to get a "I don't deal with this" answer) ...
The hotel rooms if they don't have a sea view - which ours didn't - are facing either a parking lot or overlooking the roof of kitchens etc. Not sure which is worse. The 3rd floor rooms, BE CAREFULL as most of them do not have an elevator and it's a rabbit warren as to how to get to your room. This floor seems to be the management's preferred choice to park the families "out of the way" - we were two families with a toddler each , one pregnant woman and two 70 year old grandparents.... Negotiating the stairs was not fun. It was however easier than one other tourist I saw struggling down a narrow staircase with baby and car seat . Even so there was no service to help with luggage on either arrival or departure.
A previous reviewer mentioned that the rooms should be priced per room rather than per person and they are very right as it's misleading! The cheaper double room is (B&B) 250GBP. For this you get a decent size bathroom, clean and well fitted (even if lino on the floor it's not my favourite, it was clean and anti slip) an smallish double bed and a good size area to sit and watch TV. Rooms are large but very old style and with carpets which have seen better days.
For the duration of our stay there was no cleaning service in our room at all.
What did become a problem was the way we were shamefully overcharged at the check out -bills we never signed for were assigned to our room, newspapers offered were all of a sudden charged (though there are newspapers in the reception area for guests to read, if you accept the offer to receive one on your doorstep, you are charged for it but this is not mentioned anywhere). There are some perks in the package but nobody actually points them out for you and you have to fight for them every step of the way - which makes the whole experience quite tiring.
When we pointed to a senior receptionist that we were overcharged and that some bills didn't belong to our rooms she dully took them off but it was all with a bit of a humph and no apology was offered.
TAKE ADVANTAGE :
i)If you are staying in the hotel and have not prepaid for your dinner/lunch, you should receive 10% discount of the food (not the drinks) you eat in the restaurants . This doesn't happen automatically and you have to ask for it before you sign the bill in the restaurant.
ii)If you are using the pool the hot beverages are included in the hotel/leisure centre membership price - nobody actually tells you this (unless you find out from helpful fellow guests)
The entire place smacks of arrogance and quite a bad atmosphere between staff and guests. It is clear that the staff is overworked (we saw the same poor tired girls breakfast, lunch and dinner) and under trained ( when we asked for digestives one evening we were told that they were out of these but they did have some other .... biscuits if we wanted some!) on every occasion we asked for details about main courses the waiters simply did not know and had to go back to the kitchen often taking over 20 minutes to come back with an answer . This can be dangerous at times!
One of our party has a heart condition and we have asked for decaffeinated coffees. Thankfully I was there when one of the waiters was explaining to a junior how to make decaffeinated coffee by adding water to a small amount of regular coffee. I have challenged her on this and mentioned that we need this for someone with a severe heart condition yet she was simply telling me that this is the way it should be! My friend suggested that we look a the beans that they were using and surely they were regular coffee beans.... We could have caused severe health problems should we have listened to this particular waitress. I was convinced that we would have a manager with an apology come to explain to us what they are going to do for this mistake not to happen again. No such luck!
In short, we had a good time as we were a group , the weather was glorious and decided not to get too upset about things but ultimately at the Heaven you certainly don't get what you pay for!
Great beaches, wonderful food.
We are from the sates but have lived in England for 8 years--why no one mentioned the Haven and Sandbanks to us before this summer, I have no idea, but we've been missing out.
Only two hours from London by train--and then 15 minutes from Poole, the sandy beaches at Sandbanks were a great surprise. We went over one of the hot sunny weekends in July and upon arrival at The Haven the staff were very pleasant, and the beaches right on the doorstep. You have access to the beach directly by the hotel pool (which was very crowded--apparently you don't have to be a guest to go to the pool) and that is the best thing to stay there for. Location, location, location. Because The Haven is at the far end of the beach, there are not thousands of children--and there is a great place to swim in the ocean with breakers in the water to calm down the waves. Really very wonderful.
The hotel staff were very pleasant, and the food outside at the restaurant was fantastic. If we went back we would most certainly have dinner there--as you can get a great deal on the food included in the stay price. We went to The Storm on the Quay and they were sold out of crab at 7:30 on a Saturday night! A bit disappointing.
One thing to remember--the rooms are great, but there is no air conditioning--so if you go on a hot weekend and have a back room, it can be a wee bit stifling, but I'm sure most rooms have a wonderful ocean breeze.
This is a spectacular hotel, in the sense that it is spectacularly badly run. Don't even think of trying to book a room by email: such messages go unanswered. The pricing looks typical, until you realise it is per person, making it twice as expensive as you might expect. The common parts are decorated in truly poor taste, and there is cheesy background music everywhere. It's not uncommon to find buckets catching rainwater in the corridors, or stains on the ceilings, which at the price point is amazing. The food is acceptable but not great, and pricey too.
But this is also a spectacular hotel in terms of location. It has the best site in an area of Britain that has become known for having the most expensive housing outside London, with good reason: Poole harbour is the most idyllic spot. The hotel is surrounded by sea on three sides.
So much do I like this area that I visit once or twice a year, each time grinding my teeth at the frustration of watching such an amazing asset being so squandered.
A fantastic family weekend
We've just returned from a fantastic easter Bank Holiday weekend at the hotel. The location is superb, food is excellent and the staff are friendly, helpful and efficient.
The Haven manages that rare combination - it's stylish and grown up, with plenty of scope for pampering, but it's also relaxed about the kids.
Our 4 and 7 year old boys had so much fun they refused to leave!
We'll definitely be going back
The best in the west
We have just returned from a 3 night stay at the Haven, my wife wanted to get away from London for a few days, she wanted luxury, pampering and plenty of shops to give my credit card a bashing. We looked at several options before we choose the Haven, it seemed to meet the first two of our requirements and I found out when we arrived that the third was going to be met with a vengence.
We arrived on a cold and wet evening, but as soon as we were inside the warmth of the staff swept the outside weather aside. We eat on the first night in the La Roche restaurant which overlooks the sea and enjoyed as good a meal as you would find in the top London restaurants at about half the price. the next day we had a hearty breakfast before the shopping started in Bournemouth. On our return we tucked into a real cream tea then into the sauna and steam room which overlook the beautiful beaches of Sandbanks. Dinner again in La Roche was memorable for all the good reasons.
The next day my wife enjoyed a full day in the Spa which included a Bowen treatment something which she had never heard of, lunch was served in the Club lounge which was OK but not as good as La Roche. On the third night we went to Chewton Glen for dinner which was certainly no where near as good as the meals we had had at the Haven and the bill was nearly as much as the cost of staying athte Haven.
We left after lunch on the Sunday relaxed and pampered. The only thing I would say is that some of the rooms were not as good as the one we had 221 but we heard from Anne the receptionist that work was starting on the mOnday to refurbish the rooms at the back of the hotel and on the big dining room, if the refurbishment is as good as the rest of the hotel the Haven will really be the best in the west.
The best hotel in the area, but not worth the advertised £260 per double room per night - That's £520 without an evening meal!
The Haven should give an honest impression and price the rates "per room" like every other hotel.
We stayed in the Savoy for less!!!
TripAdvisor Reviews The Haven Hotel Poole
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