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UPDATED: The case of the non-refundable deposit!
Whitworth Falls Hotel (Southport)
Member Name: grahamt
Whitworth Falls Hotel (Southport)
Date: 28/08/06, updated on 28/08/08 (547 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent value for money
Disadvantages: A deposit is required and is NON-REFUNDABLE
I did give this one some thought before deciding to give it a try. It is further from the Town Centre and also the location at the north end of Lord Street which is always the reason for our visit. As usual, the concern is that the walk back to the hotel is more than a quick dash and so, should the weather prove unfavourable, precautions in the form of an umbrella would be needed if a soaking was to be avoided.
The hotel has its own website (http://www.whitworthfallshotel.co.uk/) and its home page contains a picture of the front of the building, which proved to be an honest and true representation of the premises. Typical of many Southport buildings that have at one time been private houses, it is a three story, double-fronted detached house with bay windows on either side of the front door, which is reached from the car parking space by a flight of steps.
The website has a variety of links. The Facilities link shows the hotel's bar, dining room, lounge and reception, all good likenesses of what you will find in practice. The only thing you don't see in the pictures of the bar is the family parrot, who entertained us at breakfast, the bar being right next to the dining room.
The Accommodation link shows examples of a couple of the many bedrooms. None of those shown are the one (Room 8) that we occupied but ours was similar, being located at the front of the building, overlooking the road.
There is a link to an online booking form but the link to room rates next to it does not work. To find out their charges you have to email or phone them. They will probably require you to provide a deposit to secure the room and here was the only annoyance that I experienced during the booking process. They asked for the deposit to be provided by way of a cheque. Now, I can't remember the last time I wrote a cheque! I couldn't even remember where my cheque book was. I eventually found it and posted off the deposit (£20) by snail mail.
The reason that proprietor, Paul Thorpe, gave was that people are reluctant to give credit card details over the phone. I must say that that is far from usual and certainly not my own experience. I would have preferred to have been offered the alternative, especially as final payment by credit card is offered. I did suggest PayPal!
There is also a Map link showing the location of the hotel in relation to the centre of Southport. Lathom Road is not a main through route and so there is no extensive traffic passing by so. Even if you are, as we were, at the front of the building, you should not be disturbed by traffic noise.
Our room was a double with en suite. The décor is simple but clean and in good condition. The room provides a decent amount of room and, to my wife's satisfaction, a full length wall mirror. The furniture is all simple polished pine, including the bed, in matching units and perfectly adequate for our needs. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided.
There is a small wall bracket mounted TV, which provides only terrestrial TV channels. I must admit this does continue to surprise me. With the imminent closure of the analogue TV service I would have expected hotels to at the very least have started to provide Freeview digital TV but this is now the third Southport hotel we have tried that hasn't. Still, we weren't here to watch TV!
The en suite provides a shower rather than a bath but, as we are both "shower people", that is not a problem. The shower is gravity fed and may appear somewhat "weak" for those, like us, who are used to power showers. However, were still able to enjoy an adequate shower. My wife was unable to get the shower hot enough but when it came to my turn I discovered that it was just that the temperature control was quite stiff and a degree of force enabled hot enough water to be delivered.
The décor is in good condition and, unusually, has a suspended backlit ceiling. The room has a wash basin and toilet, as would be expected. Shampoo and shower gel is provided though, to be honest, I couldn't tell the difference between them! However, they were both perfectly fine for our needs.
Once again, the room has no extractor and you have to open the double-grazed window to let out the steam, OK during the summer but a less than welcome requirement in cold or windy weather. Fortunately neither condition afflicted us during our stay.
We had a very comfortable night and went down the following morning to enjoy our included breakfast. The choice is wide with cereals plus, if desired, a full English as well. Supplies of tea, coffee and fruit juices are available as is toast and jams. There could be no complaint about the quantity of what was on offer. I decided not to have cooked breakfast as we had eaten well the previous night at a local restaurant and so I wasn't especially hungry.
The Whitworth Falls charges per person rather than per room for their accommodation. Our Saturday night stay cost us £28 per person and so can be considered exceptional value for money in view of the quality of what was offered.
UPDATED - August 2008
I have just discovered an issue with this hotel which means that we will no longer be using it during our frequent stays in Southport. We recently intended to visit our relations and, as usual, booked in to the Whitworth Falls for the duration. Subsequently we had to cancel and gave about three weeks notice. I became concerned when a cheque for the refund of the deposit was not forthcoming and queried it with the proprietor.
I was informed that deposits are NOT refundable, no matter how much notice you give. The proprietor advised that this is stated on the brochure. However, I booked through the website and by email and phone and nowhere (at the point of writing) does it say so on the website, nor was I advised on the phone, that the deposit would not be refunded in the event of a need to cancel!
In consequence I can no longer recommend this hotel and suggest that if you were considering using it yourself, that you take this into account when making up your mind.
Summary: Decent accommodation at a excellent price, so long as you don't have to cancel
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