More about The Bull Hotel
Good overall, but probably wouldn't return
I chose the Bull as I wanted to treat ourselves to a boutique hotel experience in this area. I have no real complaints, but I feel it came short of my expectations somewhat.
My first impressions were that I didn't feel our welcome was particularly warm and felt the communal areas were less plush that I was expecting.
We stayed in the Stars room which was beautifully decorated. The bed was out of this world. I was dissapointed with the bathroom as I was hoping for a full length bath and as somone else has commented on here, I thought the notices regarding the toiletries were unnecessary.
We had afternoon tea and cake in the bar which was delicious and well priced. Staff were polite and unobtrusive. We had been traveling all day and were enjoying reading magazines by the fire when the room filled with smoke and we subsequently found out a chimney fire had started. The owners and staff were naturally panicked but made sure all residents were safely out of the building. We were offered complimentary drinks on our re-entry to the hotel, but again I didn't feel any warmth toward the guests from them.
Dinner in the restaurant was very tasty and well priced, service was faultless and there was a great ambiance in the dining room. Similarly breakfast provided an excellent selection and I enjoyed sharing my leftovers with Lulu.
Overall, I enjoyed the stay, but I'm not entirely sure the prices reflect the standard here and I probably wouldn't recommend it on that basis.
My girlfriend and I stayed at this cute little boutique hotel for two days in early August. They were pretty busy, so we ended up staying in different rooms each night. Both were extremely comfortable, especially the beds which were fantastic, and fitted with those Egyptian cotton sheets with what seems like a million thread count. The decor in the rooms was fabulous, quirky and filled with character, yet neat and tidy; so much better than the anonymous feel of a lot of modern hotels. Nicky, the co-owner, who I understand designs the decor, certainly has an eye for detail. We had a shower (big enough for two) with our first room, and a large comfy bath with the second. Both bathrooms had an ample supply of fluffy white towels, and Neals Yard shampoo and shower gel.
There is a super little courtyard (which somehow feels like it is in France) outside the comfortable bar, where we had lunch. I had an extraordinarily good home-made pork pie, and my girlfriend tried the chicken terrine. I tasted some of her terrine, and it was so good, I had it as a starter that evening when we ate in the hotel restaurant. They have a new chef there, and the guy is quite simply a genius. My g/f started with the melon and tomato salad, which was delightfully refreshing, then went on to a brilliant dish of hake wrapped in parma ham, served on tagliatelle with lemon and chilli. I plumped for a tender and flavourful fillet of lamb, cooked perfectly and served with a wonderfully dark and savoury sauce nicoise, on a bed of finely sliced, chargrilled, mediterranean vegetables. We polished off with the raspberry and white chocolate creme brulee, which was just gorgeous.
Breakfast was equally good, a full English in a relaxed and comfortable environment. The breakfast bar had a collection of cereals from a local producer (whose name escapes me); so much more original (and tasty) than the standard array of Alpen and Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
The staff were a credit to the hotel, warm, friendly and dedicated to ensuring that we had a good time. Bridport itself is a lovely little town, with a very interesting Saturday bric-a-brac market where we pottered for a couple of hours.
Overall, a great couple of days at a wonderful hotel. I can't fault it and we will definitely be going back.
Noisy and over-priced
We visit this beautiful part of the country every year and, as my wife was heavily pregnant, decided we would splash out for excellent accommodation.
We paid £140 for our room and, after looking at the photos on the website and reading a couple of reviews in national newspapers, expected the Bull to be a top-notch hotel.
I was very disappointed. Our room was small and the furniture in it was a real hotch-potch.
The staff at the hotel were all very young and seemed more interested in chatting among themselves than looking after their guests.
But the worst problem was noise at night. The Bull is on a busy high-street, and the owners haven't invested in double glazing for the rooms that face onto it.
So drunken revellers, traffic and the setting up of the Saturday market (which began at 5am) ensured that my wife and I got hardly any sleep.
As an earlier reviewer said, the Bull is a real missed opportunity.
An expensive boutique hotel should not have small, poorly furnished rooms, inexperienced staff or major noise problems at night.
From a land down under
Having left the warmth of Sydney to arrive in coldest England it was an absolute pleasure to walk into The Bull Hotel and receive the same warmth i had left behind in Australia.
The staff were so nice and made you feel very welcome from the moment you walked through the door. As for the rooms, they were out of this world and extremely comfortable with the coolest interiors.
All of this contributed to one of the best NY Eve's i've had which took place in the Grand Ballroom and Venner Bar upstairs. I can't recommend this place enough, if your ever down in Dorset then this is where you need to be for great food and hospitality.
Richard Briggs, Sydney, Australia
I stayed in the fuscia flock room overnight in early March. A gorgeous mahogany four poster bed dominates the bedroom and in agreement with an earlier review, it is one of the comfiest beds I have ever slept in. Double doors open onto the bathroom which contains a beautiful free standing bath and a chaise longue.
My partner and I went for a walk along the jurassic coast and then drank chilled champagne in our room. Very decadent for a Monday! Waking up in the morning to the sound of seagulls only enhances that lovely 'by the seaside' feeling.
The website might lead you to believe that the hotel is somehow 'stuffier' or smarter than you actually find it. But I much preferred it in reality. The delightful sense of vintage, shabby chic and the warmth of all the people who work at the hotel make the Bull a firm favourite.
Don't stay here if you want formal, London standards of service - do stay here if you want bright, friendly local staff and an atmosphere as relaxed as if you were staying in a well-off friend's house. Do also look for the vintage touches such as the old-fashioned calling bells lining the upstairs doors!
With the additional attraction of a good restaurant serving gastro-pub food and a decent wine list, this hotel is an absolute joy.
Lacking attention to detail
The website promises a lot at The Bull Hotel but unfortunately the reality isn't all it's cracked up to be. For my wife and I this was somewhat disappointing considering it was our first night away together without our children for 2 years! The list of issues starts here - 1. The room I had booked for a nights stay was booked in their records for a whole week later. Luckily for us the room we booked was vacant for that night but it was a slightly worrying start! 2. The hotel itself is in an old listed building which naturally has its own quirky nature but we felt that it was still pretty shabby - some parts of the building just haven't been renovated properly or with the right quality you would expect when you are paying these prices. 3) Our room - a suite on the top floor was nice - fun wallpaper, etc, but lacked attention to detail - there was an ENORMOUS proper cobweb (not just a few wispy bits) in the TV area, dusty telephone and generally not as clean as perhaps it could be - what I would call 'top clean'. 3) The bathroom is stated as luxury on the website. It isn't. The water pressure from the shower was PATHETIC - a big disappointment - and lino on the floor isn't luxury, nor are council issue white tiles. The towel rad was also particularly dirty - where it hadn't been dusted properly it had become almost sticky. 4) The website states Neals Yard toiletries. Well don't expect to find a good range! We had hand soap and some shampoo for dry hair??!! wheres's the shower gel?? When we asked for some, we were told sorry but there wasn't any, and the staff seemed unable to think laterally and come up with an alternative! 5) The welcome letter talks of a Room Bible with all the local info, etc. Our room didn't have one and when we asked for one - were told that the last guest took it and no we couldn't have an alternative copy!! Bizarre. 6) The car park is wierd - feels like a dodgy parking lot not a hotel car park and isn't sign-posted at all. The back entrance into the hotel isn't particularly pleasant either - dead hanging baskets on the ground piled up and an open sandpit thats just asking for cats to visit if you know what I mean!! On the plus side, the evening meal we had was good, the breakfast good but service a bit erratic (one waitress trying to do everything). Overall - trying to be what it's not - but if they bothered to have better attention to detail it really could be quite fun. A missed opportunity.
Could try harder ... no soap..
I had found the hotel through Newspaper reveiws and had a look at their website which was very stylish full of beautiful shots of the hotel and surroundings, please take these with a pinch of salt as they are very staged.
We arrived late on Friday evening for a three night stay over teh bank holiday weekend.
The first impression set by the car park is not good, it is small, which in itself is not a problem but a lot of the spaces are taken by cars in various stages of disrepair, or by cars that cannot be owned by hotel clientele, so we left our car wondering if it would be ok ... it was.
the back entrance to the hotel which they describe as a stable block or courtyard and can be seen on the website as looking pretty and flowery and complete with dog.. is again not the full picure, if the camera was to pull back from the table top with tastefully set shot of the frothy coffee and paper you would see the uncleared tables the doorways full old boxes,unemptied ash trays, glasses from yesterday not cleared away, and the actual entrance into the hotels is so unassuming you wonder if you have got it right, there is not even a handle to push.
Our room was the Gold Double Deluxe and is just as the shots on the web... but what you dont see are the following ...
NO soap ... we asked more than once for some form of soap (which they dont supply...) we were given a bottle of shower gel.
NO tissues or cotton wool, so to remove face make up you can use toilet paper.
NO complimentary snacks, biscuits, or fruit (double deluxe room ? )
NO FREEVEIW was found on TV
This room is in the first floor at the front of the hotel and the simple roller blinds at the bay window offer no privacy at all, you have to have them down most of the time which means being in semi darkness... not good, we thought that a simple frosting of the bottom window panes would have meant privacy without the need to have the blinds down.
The big issue is also the lighting/mirrors and power sockets, these have nt been thought about at all, the lovelly antique miror in the bathroom is not clear and not reallt suitable as a bathroom mirror, the main mirror in the bedroom is as far away from any power sockets as it is possible to be which is really annoying.
The room is very close to any street happenngs whether that is the street market being set up on sat morning, or late night arguments between locals.
The room is also next door to the hotel toilets, I was awoken on sunday am at 7.30 to them being cleaned.
We had to ask for tea bags and milk and teaspoons as none of these were replenished.
I was ignored by two peole at the front desk whilst trying to get tea and milk... blood boiling at this stage...
Oh and we had cold showers on the Sunday late am
We decided to eat the hotel on sunday evening, and it was obvious that there was a staff crisis, the girls were flying around trying to keep plated spinning,service was very erratic,ignorant forgetful, polite, all of these.. but just not good.
our wine was not cool enough, the glasses were warm, I asked for some ice and were told they did not have any, but we were given a cooler bottle of wine even though we had poured out of the first one.
Glass was broken by the the bar man who made only a half hearted attempt to clear it up, which reminded us of the squashed tomato that had stayed on the restaurant floor for hours on the friday evening we had arrived.
This lack of care was also seen with table tops that were so sticky it was awful...
The food we had at dinner was awful and my meal was removed from the bill, it bore no resemplance to the menu description, and i had specifically asked if there was any issues with the menu that night, was everthing available ? and we were told yes.
However the breakfasts we had on Saturday were great, the kippers were fab as were my poached eggs.
the breakfast we had on monday was less good, over cooked, and my bacon was so hard it must have been thrown in a deep fat fryer, the ruby grape fruit was a disgrace it was so old and dried out it was inedible, but the grapefruit we had on the sat was fine.
I do not make comments like this as a norm in fact this is my first reveiw, i just felt let down by the Bull.We spoke to Nikki the owner as we paid and left and all she could offer was that these were not normal and did not usually happen... which was no help and did not make us feel better.
The hotel has fanatastic potential and has very many attributes, tthe decor is great we have the same wallpaper at home,our bed was fab, those kippers on Saturday were tops, its just that they let themselves down with little but important things
Bridport market was nice to look around, do not bother with the rope museum.. a bit dry... Snooks the hat shop was great too
We ate the Riverside restaurant on Saturday down in West Bay and it was the best seafood meal we have ever had... we should have booked there for both nights.
We walked from Beer to Branscombe and ate lunch at the MASONS ARMS which was FAB.
Beware of £50 cancellation fee
I recently had to cancel my booking at this hotel and despite giving them SEVEN WEEKS notice I was charged £50 on my Visa. They have a very rigid cancellation policy – if you cancel and cannot re-book, they keep your £50 deposit, end of story. I am sure they have their reasons for doing this, but I have never come across such mean-spirited cancellation terms. I think that seven weeks is a very reasonable notice period – most hotels would accept 24 or 48 hours. I am afraid this has left me with a very low opinion of this hotel and its management. I hope they enjoy spending my £50.
We booked two nights at the Bull Hotel for our wedding anniversary, and really enjoyed it. I was a little bit worried beforehand by some of the reviews on here but needn't have been. The car park is a little bit 'odd' I'll admit, stuck around the back of the hotel and a car repair place (!), but we found spaces in it throughout the course of our stay and never had a problem. The owners and staff were really friendly and we loved the 'shabby chic' nature of the place - it was laid back, yes, but that made it all the more relaxing. For example, the owner came around the bar area with a baking tray (no need for 'posh' presentation plates here!) of delicious canapes for people to help themselves to, whether they were dining in the restaurant or not. This happened on both nights of our stay and it was a nice touch. Plus, the food in the restaurant was excellent (we dined there on one of the nights), as was breakfast.
We stayed in the red four poster room and loved it - the roll-top bath in the middle of the room was fab, and the shower in the bathroom was also clean, spacious and powerful with a full range of Neal's Yard toiletries. We had a great night's sleep on a very comfy bed both nights, despite the room being over the main street and the fact that we live in rural silence in the middle of nowhere, so are not used to street noise. I would, however, make sure you aren't in the room next to the top of the stairs (can't remember the room no.) as you would get noise from the restaurant and bar, and it is also next to a toilet.
Basically, if you are used to high-end London chic and crisp service then you won't find it here. But you will find relaxed friendliness that made a lovely weekend break for us.
third time even better!
We have just got back from our third stay at the bull hotel and still really enjoy it. We were checked in by the same receptionist as on our previous visit ( 1 year ago) and she recognised us - a great start. Admittedly she wasn't at reception when we arrived but fair enough, she was checking someone else into their room. This time we tried the Silver Family room which was plenty enough space for us ( two adults with young children) _ the children loved playing on the Wii in the TV lounge, which left us in peace to read and absorb the very buzzy atmosphere of the hotel. the management didn't even seem to mind the children scootering around the beautiful ballroom. it's not all super polished the bull, but that's what we love about - great rooms, delicous food and a personal service. We booked our fourth visit on the way out the door!