I hate the pressure of booking a good hotel. Generally because I’ve had 2 experiences in the past where we’ve arrived to find the hotel hasn’t received our booking or has ignored it. But also because when you go away you want it to be hassle free and however much you plan you can’t always get everything right. I also mostly book last minute when it’s just N and myself going away. Our latest break was to Portsmouth where we stayed at the Queens Hotel in Southsea.
My requirements for a hotel are that it’s child friendly, has free wifi throughout, parking (ideally free) and is within walking distance to either the seafront, or city centre for dinner. I had hoped to find a hotel with a pool because N hadn’t swum at all this summer, but as we’d left it late to book there wasn’t anything available across 4 days in the south of England with a pool (or at all in most places).
The Queens Hotel is an Edwardian built building and looks quite spectacular from the outside. There’s plenty of parking spaces, although some are a strange shape if you’ve a larger car. We didn’t struggle for a space during our stay. N was quite taken with the covered drop off place by the entrance – not something he’s noticed before in hotels.
The staff are really friendly and helpful if you’ve any questions. We left the car there signing the car park form, while we went off for a couple of hours before check in time. They do have gardens, the bar and afternoon teas so there are non-hotel guest visiting frequently. It’s a perfect location for a hotel if you’re going to be spending time going to the beach and walking because you don’t have to worry about fighting for parking spaces along the esplanade.
The entrance lobby is quite spectacular in decoration with stunning painted ceiling and décor. Certainly a lovely place to sit and relax, or have afternoon tea.
We were on the 3rd floor with a sea view, overlooking the garden. It wasn’t too noisy a room – traffic quietens down overnight (apart from one night when a car decided to park in the entrance to the Southsea Common car park across the road with his engine running and playing loud music for some time. We could hear people coming and going from their rooms next door, and one guy went to the corridor in the middle of the night to chat loudly on his phone, but otherwise the hotel’s quite quiet.
It’s undergoing refurbishment, and the inside around the rooms does look a bit tired. The rooms themselves were ok. The bathrooms were nice, we could open the windows nice and wide to look out, and as well as the comfortable twin beds there was lots of wardrobe and drawer space. It would have been nice to have a slightly bigger room to fit in a comfy chair. There was the desk/dressing table and a chair but it wasn’t really comfortable for sitting in in the evening when N was asleep or for watching tv. The wifi was all included as well, and it was easy to access having been given a code when we arrived.
There were 2 issues for me. The lack of plugs. We couldn’t find any that we could access without pulling the beds somewhere else (which were in use by the lamp), so there were only 2 by the desk. Nowadays people need more than that. And the hair dryer. For a decent hotel like this one I expect a proper hairdryer. Especially when it says online you can request one. But the room already had one in….one of the hideous wall attached ones that are useless, in the bathroom. So I was the smeggy person going down to breakfast with semi dry hair after I gave up each morning. I also found it strange that the toilet roll holder was above the cistern behind you. Ok for adults, but children have no chance of reaching it while sitting down.
Breakfast was good although a slightly more limited choice of continental compared to larger hotels. But there was the usual choice of full English breakfast items, and pastries, yoghurts, cereals, fruit options for those wanting cold breakfasts. N was happy with his cooked breakfast each morning, and I had plenty of choice for my cold preference, and we had a bit of fun with the toaster which semi toasted one side at a time, until we managed to work out moving it to toast both sides and turning it up. The restaurant staff were always friendly and chatty as much as you wanted.
We didn’t make use of the bar or lounge but the areas downstairs looked comfortable.
Overall we had a lovely stay. Yes, it would have been nice to have a hotel with a pool, and it would be interesting to see how the refurbishment changes it once it’s complete, but it was a great location and we had quite a good deal.
Have you stayed in Portsmouth hotels, where would you recommend?
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