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Hilton Hotel (Southampton)
Member Name: rachelwestall
Hilton Hotel (Southampton)
Advantages: Close to Winchester, central Southampton and New Forest
Disadvantages: Rooms in need of a revamp plus air conditioning.
Hilton Southampton Hotel
Twenty One years ago whilst studying to be a teacher at King Alfred's College, Winchester I met Mr Right! Eighteen months later we were married. After three children and nineteen years of wedded bliss, surely this must mean a romantic mini-break to celebrate?
Thanks to our good old Tesco vouchers we were able to get away for two nights. We wanted to stay in Winchester, but were unable to book anything using hotel vouchers. The nearest place was Southampton, only a few miles a way from Winchester and also close to the New Forest and other attractions (good shops!), so I booked the Hilton Southampton.
We have always enjoyed stays at Hilton hotels. Whilst not plush or unique, they offer a good quality of accommodation that is far superior to a Premier Inn or Travel Lodge and as I had read the blurb about the hotel on the Hilton Website I was convinced we would have a lovely time.
The photograph of the hotel shows a wooden chalet style building that looks attractive set against a woodland foreground ( It looked pretty - it's not the photo that Dooyoo have used!).....
'Unwind in the wooded landscaped gardens of the Hilton Southampton hotel, an ideal base for exploring England's South Coast'.
~How to get there~
I wish I had read the directions and studied the location more closely before booking....
The hotel is close to the M3 and M27 intersections. It is 2 miles from Southampton Airport and 4 miles from the city centre. We followed directions from The M3 - we exited at Junction 14 onto the A33 you have to double back on yourself, passing the hotel on the left. At the next roundabout, take the third exit just past the Garage (taking care not to rejoin the M3) bear right over the flyover into the hotel entrance.
Address for SAT NAV puposes ...
The hotel doesn't claim to be a luxury resort, but we expected a good standard of accommodation and comfort. We were paying with Teco Clubcard vouchers . The total cost of two nights stay at the hotel, staying in a Delux room was £260 including breakfast - If you were paying cash, I would say this was expensive). Although we were not paying cash for our stay we did not expect Hilton standards to be compromised.
On arriving, my heart sank. I had already realised we were close to two motorways but I was now looking at an eighties style hotel building with the main entrance overlooking a grotty car park. The website photograph had been very cleverly done!
We parked outside the hotel and my husband went in to check in. We had arrived a little early and our room wasn't ready. In fact we sat around for almost and hour and a half waiting for our room to be available. We didn't mind as we had books to read and relaxed in the bar area.
We were on the 5th floor and took the tiny lift with our bags. By now we were ready to find our room and relax. I was looking forward to a bit of luxury, but how disappointed I was.
The room wasn't huge but contained all the usual furniture- bed, desk, two cahirs, wardrobe and draws. However everything was old and tatty. The décor was dated and worn. The bed was poorly made and the bedding was worn and the duvet cover even had a small hole in it. I felt we had arrived at a motorway Travel lodge.
Far worse for me though was the noise from the motorways. The window was wide open so I went to close it but couldn't! By now I was feeling a bit grumpy and sent himself down to see if we could move rooms. No chance - the hotel was full, but someone from house keeping came up to sort out the window. Once shut most of the noise of the roads was almost blocked out.
The room contained the usual mini bar (do not touch unless you want to spend a lot of money!)and tea and coffee making facilities.
The bathroom was in a similar condition to the bedroom - worn. It had the usual bath with a shower over, sink and loo. There were plenty of complementary shampoos etc, but no towels. It took two calls to housekeeping to get some! ;O(
I took a couple of deep breaths and made a decision to enjoy the stay despite my disappointment. :o)
The weather over the two days we were in Southampton was typical for our English summer - overcast and not too warm. Bearing this in mind we were shocked when we returned to our room later in the evening, to find the temperature to be almost sauna like. We looked for an air conditioning dial, but found none. No wonder the window had been open. My poor husband was becoming a frequent visitor to reception! He came back to tell me there was a fan in the wardrobe that we could use to cool the air. We dually put this on - It felt like we were camping! The fan didn't do much and made a clunking sound, but the noise from the roads was too great to have the window open.
After an uncomfortable night (hot and noisy)my downtrodden husband visited reception again the following morning, but basically there was nothing we could do.
This is almost as important as the room. This is the high point for my husband who always tries to ensure he eats enough food to make sure he has gets his moneys worth!
Each morning we had to wait a few minutes to be seated. We were then asked what drinks we would like and we were happily sent in the direction of the buffet... There was the usual selection of cereals, fruits, cold meats etc along with with pastries, croissants and breads. There was also an industrial toaster - one where you put the toast in and wait for an age for something resembling dry bread to come out. I think they should bring toast to your table.
My husband loves the cooked breakfast. The usual suspects were on offer of bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans, and hash browns.
All in all, a good way to start off the day. Most definitely no need for any lunch - a great money saving ploy! My only complaint with the breakfast is that the coffee is cheap and nasty. I like a good cup of coffee and the Hilton weren't serving it!
~The Leisure facilities~
After that huge breakfast we felt that we ought to make an effort and do a bit of exercise, so we headed down in the lift to the pool and gym.
The leisure club, has a 13m indoor pool with a sauna and steam room. There is also a small gym. Around the pool there were a few chairs and sun loungers. The front desk provided us with towels. The changing rooms were small but clean, with plenty of lockers.
On returning to our room we found two vouchers for complementary drinks at the bar. We assumed this was because we had complained about the room. It was a nice thought, but didn't make our stay any more comfortable.
This was very easy. A bill was put under our door. We couldn't do a quick check out as we needed to pay using our vouchers but the transaction was smooth. My husband also mentioned again the troubles we had experienced with our room and filled out a feed back card about our stay.
~Worth a Visit?~
I would not recommend this particular Hilton Hotel. While the staff were courteous, we felt we were fobbed off - maybe they hear the same complaints all the time.
On our return home we wrote a letter to Hilton Customer services outlining our concerns. Subsequently we have received a letter of apology from the hotel, with an offer of a complementary upgrade should we ever visit the hotel again (not likely!). I also received a very lovely bouquet today, which was a nice gesture, but not enough to make me want to revisit the hotel.
Summary: One Hilton hotel to avoid.
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