Newest Review: ... itself had the added security of a coded lock. We had one key card between us, as is the case in most places, but we weren't asked if w... more
A wonderful place for a quiet getaway
Norton Manor Hotel (Winchester)
Member Name: Elioclya
Norton Manor Hotel (Winchester)
Date: 14/12/05, updated on 14/12/05 (937 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful place, friendly staff
Disadvantages: A bit remote
The hotel is somewhat out of the way - one of its few major bad points - being about 20 minutes away from Winchester itself, but the setting and its beautiful scenery more than makes up for this. I wouldn't recommend travelling by anything other than car however! Winchester is also a really lovely place with lots of interesting spots to see, so it's well worth a visit in itself.
There were lots of designated parking spaces at the hotel, and we had no trouble at all parking on the Friday night. However it was much busier on the Saturday and Sunday and we had to park a good way from the reception area (not good for me in my ridiculous high heels...!)
The main hotel is fairly modern in appearance. It reminded me of a very high-end Travelodge for some reason, but it was nice. The manor itself however, which is in fact an old manor house converted into hotel bedrooms, is beautiful.
The hotel has a very long driveway with a very unusual 21.2 mph speed limit. The drive runs through fields which at night are taken over by the rabbits.
On entering the hotel, there is a smart neat reception which leads through to a very nicely furnished lounge area. The staff on reception were both professional and friendly, and very helpful.
We actually chose this hotel because we had a voucher to be used at one of the hotels in the group, but prices seem to range from £90 to £150 per night.
Because we were staying in the manor house, we had to drive to our rooms from the reception, which was a bit annoying in some ways but on the other hand meant that we could park close to the entrance and also have a bit more privacy. The manor itself had the added security of a coded lock. We had one key card between us, as is the case in most places, but we weren't asked if we wanted another one.
The manor house itself was truly beautiful. We went in to the entrance hall to discover a piano, tapestries and beautifully embroidered chairs (which we didn't dare sit on!).
There were no signs once we'd entered the house, which was a little confusing at first, but we soon figured out that the bedrooms were upstairs and I think that to include signs would certainly detract from the wonderful feel of the entrance area. There was a wide impressive staircase with a red carpet; the stairs were a little uneven but this is understandable when you consider that the manor house is 300 years old.
When I entered our room I was truly taken aback and couldn't believe that I would really be staying there! It was a very large room with lots of space and big windows, with proper shutters on the outside. It also had a four poster bed and beautiful old fashioned furniture, to the extent that I really did begin to feel a bit like a high-class lady in her manor house!
The furniture included a TV, a lovely soft velvety armchair, a blocked and carpeted fireplace with an ornate mirror above it, huge wardrobes and a beautiful desk.
The bathroom too was really nice, and the bath was both very deep and really relaxing, although not very wide. Unfortunately there was also no proper shower; although there was a shower attachment fitted to the taps there was nowhere to hold it up. However the bath filled very quickly and once in a while it's no hardship to relax with a nice hot bubble bath!
The TV had the four basic channels, excepting Five, then also had Euronews, 5TV and two European channels which we couldn't understand. You could also choose to watch Pay TV, although this was scheduled rather than movie-on-demand which is easier.
The bed coverings weren't great – although the pillows were fine, the cover was not particularly attractive and the sheets didn't really reach the pillows.
As we were in the manor house this was a premium room, so I'm afraid I can't comment on the cheaper rooms.
Dinner on Friday night was really well done. It was beautifully presented but unfortunately really wasn't my kind of food as I'm something of a fussy eater. The menu consisted of four options for each of starter, main course and dessert. I had pepper and tomato soup, which was very nice, and we were offered extra bread rolls which I appreciated as often this is overlooked. The main course was lamb cutlets, which I didn't enjoy, but it was good food nevertheless. Pudding on the other hand was truly delicious and much more up my street – white chocolate tort!
Breakfast is one of my favourite things about hotels, and it was truly excellent on Saturday. The cooked breakfasts were done to order because there weren't many people in, and there were plenty of other choices, including yoghurts, cereals, and most importantly pastries – pain au chocolats, croissants and cinammon whirls. On Sunday the extra people meant that the cooked food was served as a hot buffet, which wasn't nearly so good; by the time we reached the dining room they had run out of bacon, and there were also no pastries, which was a shame.
On Saturday night we decided to order room service. We could either choose from the restaurant menu, as I did, or from the ordinary room service menu. I had steak and ale pie and chips, which was really well done – the chips were especially good and I'm fussy when it comes to those! We also ordered paninis, which were nice although best eaten immediately!
My boyfriend had the club burger, which he really enjoyed. Room service charged an extra £3 for the actual delivery, but as we were on a dinner, bed and breakfast tariff the food was included in the price of the weekend (in this case free!).
On the Saturday we decided to check out the swimming pool. The changing rooms were okay but fairly average, and the lockers, which required a pound coin, came with really large, annoying and uncomfortable plastic wristbands!
We didn't use either the gym or the sauna but the swimming pool was lovely – it was the perfect temperature and had steps all the way in which was nice. We spent over an hour and a half in there, which as I don't usually enjoy swimming that much must be good! We meant to go back on the Sunday morning but were too lazy to head over from the manor house.
The jacuzzi was also really good. It wasn't really very big but it was a nice size for just the two of us.
When our keycard didn't work we called reception and they sent over a replacement without asking for any ID or even a name – we'd never seen the guy before! So that wasn't
exactly very secure...
Our waitress on the friday night was really friendly and attentive, but on Saturday morning we stood waiting in the restaurant for nearly 5 minutes before anyone bothered to take any notice of us.
On a slightly off-topic but still vaguely relevant note, we saw a yellow bird that looked like a giant bumblebee, although with proper bird-like wings – I am dying to know what it was, so if anyone has any ideas from that very vague and useless description I'd love to hear from you!
One interesting although somewhat random point is that the rooms in the manor are named after flowers! We were in Daffodil, and as you can tell it's a nice room!
All in all we had a really wonderful weekend away, and the little things I've pointed out really didn't make any difference – in fact I only really noticed them when it came to writing this! It's definitely somewhere to go if you want a nice break. Thanks for reading!
~For more information go to http://www.qhotels.co.uk
Summary: A wonderful place for a quiet getaway
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