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A Country House Hotel by The Sea
Priory Bay Hotel (Isle of Wight)
Member Name: RichPrice
Priory Bay Hotel (Isle of Wight)
Date: 02/04/07, updated on 02/04/07 (460 review reads)
Advantages: Comfort, Views, Ambience, Food
Disadvantages: Not Inexpensive
The Priory Bay Hotel is an independent 3 * Country House Hotel located by the sea on the Isle of Wight. I stayed for two nights midweek, whilst on business. It has a website (www.priorybay.co.uk) which has lots of details about the hotel (incidentally – the website refers to the Country Hotel by the Sea - they borrowed the idea from me not vice versa…), including tariff although I discovered that when I telephoned the hotel to book that I was offered a principal room for the same price as a standard. It is a small hotel, 7 Principal Rooms, 9 Standard Rooms and two family suites. The Priory Hotel is one of those establishments that would, if bigger, be 5*. As a small hotel they don’t have the resources for 24 hour room service etc
That said the hotel is not inexpensive, 2007 tariff for a single person starts at £70 per night low season rising to over £175 per night peak season. I stayed Low season and thought that the hotel was excellent value the high season prices are expensive. The hotel also provides catered and self catering accommodation in cottages on its’ estate. Dogs are not allowed in the Hotel but are permitted in some of the Cottages.
The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, the Manager seemed to know all the guests by name within a few hours of checking in. The Hotel is housed in a lovely building with lots of character and history, not to mention some superb views. My Room was delightful, a large airy, well decorated, well furnished (Excellent quality large ensuite, with soft fluffy towels and good quality complimentary toiletries) with digital TV, even a DVD player. It also had complimentary bottled water (in my view one of the hallmarks of a good hotel). The Room was immaculate and spotlessly clean with great views out toward the sea. Somewhere I have some photos I took, through my bedroom window, of the Solent. It was really well furnished with a lovely, comfortable, double bed, an assortment of comfortable armchairs, desk, wardrobe etc. Above all it had lots of character. The Room was a corner room which was an added bonus. The hotel proudly asserts that every room is different and has its’ own character. I can say that in my view that is true, my room literally oozed wall to wall charm and character.
The Hotel had an atmosphere of rest and relaxation. Staying on business meant that I missed out on the relaxation, I didn't have time to walk in the grounds or on the private beach or play golf. The Hotel has its own outdoor pool but it was a bit chilly at that time of the year – so I didn’t bother
The Hotel has the reputation of providing some of the best food on the Island. Indeed it has won awards for its' cuisine.I have to say that I would agree wholeheartedly with that. I checked in just in time for afternoon tea, proper home made scones. It actually has four restaurants. The Island Room (the A La Carte – where I ate dinner - serves classic cuisine - a small menu - cooked to perfection); The Brasserie (Basically the Bar and Terrace - quite a wide menu with some interesting looking dishes); The Bay Restaurant (Where I breakfasted – although in the summer its’ possible to eat on the Terrace) and The Oyster Bar (Which is a separate restaurant/ café overlooking the beach – when I stayed it was low season and unfortunately closed, although I understand that locally it has an excellent reputation for fresh seafood).
The Hotel has an excellent bar, prices are, I’m told, average for the Island. They seemed pretty reasonable to me. It has very comfortable and cosy furnishings. All of the public areas of the hotel are maintained to a high standard. The whole place is full of character. There is even a Churchill connection – to find out what it is you’ll have to visit
Dinner in the restaurant (the Island Room) was a dining experience. The Hotel does a Dinner option on Bed and Breakfast for an extra £25. I had the main restaurant menu which was about £30 (plus wine) for three courses, although that sounds expensive it wasn't. The menu is fairly limited in terms of the number of dishes but the food is awesome. As I've said before I prefer a hotel to have a small menu and cook it well rather than a large menu which is cooked averagely, here I am pleased to say it is the former. The food was absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection.
I had a breast of wood pigeon starter which was outstanding together with a gorgeous lamb dish followed by an awesome hot soufflé which was cooked to perfection. The food was all cooked exceptionally well using local ingredients with some of the vegetables from the hotels own gardens. The wine list was impressive not just for its' variety but also for the fact that it included a wide range of half bottles which for a lone diner is ideal. The wine list is extensive but is not exorbitantly expensive.
Breakfast was another culinary delight. Not a hot buffet but instead freshly cooked high quality local ingredients, the sausage was delicious. It also set me up for the day
It is difficult to find much to criticise. I checked out with a nice feeling of having really enjoyed my stay. OK there is no sauna or gym but you don't need them. The location is a bit problematical, the directions seem more complicated than they are. I found the place without any real problem. That said the disabled facilities seemed somewhat limited. The hotel seemed very child friendly.
If I ever have an excuse to go back to the isle of Wight I'll be staying again (although perhaps not peak season...). Do I recommend it – most definitely!!! If you are looking for a really lovely, relaxing, restful place, with awesome food to stay this is the place to stay. In fact its’ one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.
Priory Bay Hotel is located at Priory Drive, Seaview, Isle of Wight, Telephone 01983 613146
Summary: A Great Place For That Special Weekend Away
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