Advantages GORGEOUS SETTING, EXCELLENT QUALITY OF SERVICE AND FACILITIES
Disadvantages POSSIBLY A BIT MORE EXPENSIVE THAN WHAT I AM USED TO
|Value for Money|
We recently decided to have a weekend away, and had heard a lot of good things about Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset, and as it was relatively close, decided to head to the area we had heard so much about.The area, which is a peninsula for all of you that enjoy geography, is famous for being the home of multi millionaires, who seem to gather along the narrow stretch of land at the mouth of Poole Harbour.
Some of my friends had previously told me that run down bungalows are snapped up for literally millions of pounds, demolished and then replaced with pop star styled mansions behind towering electric gates and security cameras. I recall that Piers Morgan even did a documentary for the area, highlighting the notoriously wealthy residents and their properties.What I had not realised was just how small and residential the peninsula actually is. There is a one way road looping around the headland, about a mile long, and the traffic is either heading for the Swanage car ferry at the end, or having a nose through the previously mentioned security gates. There is simply no other reason to go there unless you are staying overnight.
On our visit, we stayed at The Haven hotel, which is right next to the ferry terminus at the harbour mouth.I must mention that Poole Harbour is an undeniably spectacular sight. It is a vast and natural harbour, and during our stay, was full with boats of all sizes, pleasure seekers in speed boats and on jet skis, dozens of kite surfers close to the shore and local fishermen in wooden dinghies.
After passing the grand entrances of various neighbouring mansions, The Haven’s appeal did not feel as stunning. The hotel is on the seaward side of the peninsula, taking in views across the English Channel and the Swanage headland. Poole Harbour is the other side, so to enjoy the views you would need to get out on foot.The hotel itself gave a stately feeling, with a touch of the 1930’s Art Deco period, and with it being located on the edge of the waves, almost felt that you were actually sailing in a classic ocean line once you were inside.
After we had checked in, we headed to our second floor balcony room. It really was worth paying for the sea views rather than those over the car park. The hotel itself has a total of 82 rooms, and are split into different types, which are:-Inland Rooms
The prices range as follows:-Accommodation & Breakfast
Inland Room (no balcony) – £100.00 to £145.00
Harbour View (with balcony) or Sea View (no balcony) – £115.00 to £160.00
Sea View (with balcony) – £120.00 to £165.00
Executive Sea View (with balcony) – £150.00 to £205.00
Suites – £140 to £195
Inland Room (no balcony) – £120.00 to £165.00
Harbour View (with balcony) or Sea View (no balcony) – £135.00 to £200.00
Sea View (with balcony) – £140.00 to £185.00
Executive (with balcony) – £170.00 to £225.00
Suites – £160.00 to £215.00
We spent ages deciding whether to head out into historic Poole Old Town, with its picturesque medieval and Georgian architecture, or venturing on to the Brownsea Island in the harbour itself for a bit of nature spotting.
The room itself was modern and we loved the fluffy robes and slippers and there was a small sitting area in front of the flat screen television, and it more than met our needs. But to be quite honest, it was the lovely view that grabbed our attention. We were simply entranced, and to gain access to the view, it was a simple thing of just opening the full height sliding patio doors which led out on to the decked terrace which had a toughened glass edge. Lazing in our robes on wooden steam ship style recliners, with glasses of cold beers in our hands, we spend ages simply watching the toing and froing in and out of the harbour, from tiny private boats to huge ferries from France.
In the end we went to the hotels bar to look over the evening menu.After sitting on our balcony for a while watching the tide travel beneath us, we felt as if we had gained our sea legs by the time we headed downstairs. In the cocktail bar at the front of the hotel, which overlooks the Swanage ferry, the feeling grew of being on board a beautiful old liner.
The hotels La Roche restaurant offers an a la carte or a two or three course set menu (for £21 or £27.50, which I felt was extremely good value for the standard on offer). On the night we stayed, the Prix Fixe menu included Cornish squid, Rosary goats cheese, fillet of stone bass and aged roast rump of beef with desserts including vanilla crème brulee and a selection of English cheeses.From the a la carte menu I chose crab and avocado with coconut and coriander salad and lime dressing as a starter for £12.50. During the stay, the balmy summer evening and with us sitting at a window table, with the flavours of the dish and the atmosphere, gave the feeling that we could have been at sea on a Mediterranean cruise. I would not be surprised that the setting would by just as spectacular on a stormy winter night, when no doubt the Channel waves crash over the terrace wall.
To follow I ordered aged fillet of beef, with sauté potatoes, shallots and girolle sauce for £28.95. It was perfect and lived up to the hotels price tag.My partner, being adventurous, chose something she had never tried before as a starter: smoked eel fillet. Served with new potatoes, horseradish cream and watercress salad at £9.50, she was very happy with the choice.
To follow, she was served with roast rack of lamb with a herb crust, coco beans, violet artichokes and Merguez sausage for £25.75. It was beautifully presented and the meat was cooked to melt in the mouth.We pushed ourselves to the culinary limit with a bitter chocolate delice with white chocolate mouse and exotic fruit salsa for £9.50, and a vanilla panna cotta with steeped peaches and hazelnut crumble for £8.50.
Then there was the cheese and biscuits to share for £12.95 and coffees with little truffle chocolates for £4.15. Overall, it was a little bit more than what we would usually spend, but we were on holiday.Fit to bursting, we went back to our balcony and slipped into drowsy food comas.
The following morning we joined the throng for breakfast, and unfortunately there was no orderly queue at the buffet, and if anything, we baked under the morning sunlight at a sea view table. Feeling a little bit worse for wear after over indulging the night before, we should have had sunglasses and cooling fan on hand.We took a stroll around the peninsula after breakfast, following the shoreline of the award winning Blue Flag beach, to blow away the cobwebs. My partners plan for the day was to experience the recently refurbished Harmony at The Haven Spa, which is attached to the hotel but also open to non residents.
There are plenty of treatment rooms for an indulgent experience, a sauna and steam room, massage shower, an outdoor poolside lounge on the edge of the beach with day beds, and a saltwater outdoor pool together with an outdoor hot tub and a poolside bar and grill.There is also an indoor hydrotherapy pool, with jets and whirlpools to ease aching muscles, and a Jacuzzi. We didn’t know where to start.
After an hour or so of dipping in and out of the various pools and tubs, we donned our white robes over our swimwear to sit poolside for healthy salads at lunchtime. We then booked in for treatments in the therapy rooms, with my wife drifting off to sleep having an hour long facial.I can thoroughly recommend The Haven for a weekend break or a week long escape. We found nothing at fault and plenty to praise, from the gorgeous setting to the standard and quality of the service and facilities.
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment
Situated on the Sandbanks Peninsula of Poole Harbour, this elegant hotel features a leisure centre, 2 restaurants and panoramic views of Poole Bay...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked