The Winchester Royal Hotel Location map

We stayed at this hotel in July 2003 for the duration of our seven day visit. First let me say that the staff were unfailingly helpful at all times and were obviously striving hard to please. Our room was on the ground floor overlooking the garden and so was fitted with net curtains. Sometime in the first few days the rail holding the net curtains fell down when I tried to draw them. I reported this the same morning and when we returned to the room that afternoon it was back in place where it stayed for the rest of the visit.

The hotel's marketing promotes the fact that it is an historic building but what they don't appear to say is that it has a modern wing and this is where our room turned out to be. We don't much like modern buildings although there was little wrong with our room. It was well appointed, of a good size, and had a seating area with two, rather small, I thought, armchairs. One noticable minus point was that the net curtain was grey when it should have been white - inexcuseable really for something so easily put right. The room did have a view over the garden for which we paid an extra £20.00 per night. Quite a nice garden but not worth that sort of money in my opinion and I would have been perfectly happy in a similar room which overlooked some rooftops and have paid less for it.

The garden was about 100 feet by 50 feet including a terrace, with tables and chairs, onto which both the bar and the lounge gave access. There was a flower border along one side, some island flowerbeds at the far end and the rest laid to lawn.

We had breakfast and dinner each day in the hotel restaurant and we could not fault the food which was of the highest standard. What we could fault was the service which was abysmally slow at times. I complained to the duty manager after a few days and he apologised and told me we would not have to wait again. For the next two days the service was as it should be but there were only 3 or 4 tables occupied and that could have explained the prompt service. On the following two nights we were back to slow service when the restaurant became busier again. So much for the manager's promise. Friday night, our last night, was the busiest night of all but service was prompt. So what was going on? I'm inclined to think that the fault lies, not with the restaurant/kitchen staff themselves, but with under-staffing and that on a friday night, which would probably be their busiest night, they put on extra staff.

After we had been there for about 5 days I was asked to contact reception which I did and was then asked to pay my bill to date because it had gone over £500.00. This, they said, was normal company policy. However this 'condition' was absent from all the documentation I received from the hotel including the terms and conditions in their brochure. This is the only hotel in Britain that I have ever visited that has such a condition and I find it totally unacceptable.

Would we recommend this hotel? Well - no! I think that you will have to make your own decision bearing in mind the following:

* Willing staff - unfailingly helpful.
* Excellent food - slow service.
* Good accommodation - none of the rooms I saw were cramped.
* Well situated for sightseeing.
* I wouldn't have a garden room again - not worth the extra money.
* You will be asked to settle your bill every time it goes over £500.00.

Pity really as this could, so easily, be a really nice hotel.

The hotel's own web site.

NOTE: This hotel was part of the Marston Group when we stayed there but it appears to have changed hands since and is now part of Forestdale Hotels. I don't know what effect that might have.

Comments for the Winchester Royal Hotel, Winchester, Hampshire, Great Britain
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