“ Address: 25 Bath Street / Southport / Merseyside PR9 0DP / England / Tel: 01704 530214 „
Bath Street could not be much closer to the "action" in Southport. Between the world-famous Lord Street and the much improved Promenade, it largely features the town-centre architecture for which this much-loved seaside town is famous: Victorian terraces of single-fronted houses that have either been combined to make enlarged restaurants or else unchanged, run as privately owned guest houses. Few here remain as private residences and amongst those that aren't any of these is the Conservative Club, where my late Labour voting father-in-law used to take great joy in playing snooker. Standing out amongst the classic architecture is the Andora (sic) Guest House. It's a single bay terraced property whose traditional full height bay windows have at some time in the past been replaced with a dark brown, square, wood finish bay on a brick base, boldly displaying the sign that lets you know you've reached your destination. Not sure how they managed to get away with that: Sefton Council is very sensitive about maintaining the traditional feel of the area. Once again we were in Southport for a family reunion, this time to be with my mother-in-law, pretty much a year to the day from when my father-in-law passed away. Unfortunately our usual choices of places to stay, including the local Premier Inns lodge, were already fully booked and many of the others of which I knew but had not previously used, were also. Some hadn't even bothered to respond to my request for a room to be reserved. As time was getting on I methodically checked through the list on the BedandBreakfasts.co.uk website, a very useful place to get instant information about room availability for small guest houses, and eventually came across the Andora Hotel which, from its photos, looked decent enough and had the advantage of being close to where we needed to be. The website booked us a double room at the cost of a non-refundable full payment in advance of £57, including bed and breakfast. "Let's just hope nothing prevents us from travelling", I thought, as I looked out the window at the falling snow! Bear in mind though that if you pay at the hotel itself and pay by any form of card, they make a surcharge of 5%. If you are arriving by car then you need to be aware that the Andora doesn't have a wealth of parking space. What once would have been the front garden has been paved over. There is space for four cars but the two closest to the building will be boxed in by those closest to the road. Beyond this the guest house is up a few steps. The entrance passageway behind the locked front door immediately lets you know that this is a comfortable and well-maintained place with agreeable decorations and a warm welcome. The warm welcome extends to the owners and you feel that you may have made a good choice. After signing in we went up to our room (2) on the first floor. There is only stairs access, as is common on these older types of properties, converted from what were undoubtedly originally family homes. Our room was tastefully decorated though somewhat on the small size. A built-in wardrobe (with a sticking door!) was behind the door to the room and a chest of drawers alongside the bed, providing enough space for our needs. Next to the wardrobe was a shelf with facilities for making tea and coffee. Above this, on a bracket was a widescreen TV with the full range of Freeview channels available. What there isn't is a hair-dryer, so remember to take your own. Next is the shower room with toilet, wash basin and shower, containing an electrically heated shower. Once again, the door to the shower room had a sticking door! The shower room and shower cabinet were clean, in good order and benefited from an extractor fan to remove steam. However, what the room didn't have was any form of heating and, at this time of year, emerging from the shower was a distinctly chilly experience! You wouldn't want to stay in there too long. No such problem with the bedroom itself. The window is double-glazed and there is a radiator large enough to keep the room as warm as you would want. The bed was firm, comfortable with attractive bed clothing. We got a very good night's sleep and were not disturbed by noise from other rooms or from the streets outside, despite the town centre location. Breakfast was served in the ground-floor lounge/breakfast room. What was a little strange was that although we were asked whether we wanted tea or coffee, we weren't asked if we wanted a full English breakfast, it was simply delivered to our table! We had eaten out the previous night and so weren't exactly starving. However, it would have been nice to have been asked although we did make a good attempt at what was nevertheless a tasty, well-filled plate. We also weren't asked if we wanted brown toast or margarine: only white bread and butter were on offer. Indeed, all the preserves were the usual individual portion packs but, other than the missing margarine, most of the traditional jams were available. In addition you could select cereals from a buffet, along with orange juice. The Andora was perfectly satisfactory for our short stay and, apart from the minor niggles I have mentioned, we would have no problem in recommending the guest house to other visitors, especially at their superb value for money prices. If you were staying any longer you might want a larger room but I don't know if any are available here. If not then there is a wealth of hotels from which to choose in Southport but you will probably end up paying far more than at the Andora.