Take advantage during refurbishment - cheap rates!
My husband and I stayed at the Norton Park Hotel for 4 days over the Easter weekend.
We were not told prior to the trip that it was currently a building site (I feel we should have been), although we weren’t really bothered as we managed to get our room for only £50 per night (we booked the day before going) and no work was carried out whilst we were there due to it being bank holidays and the weekend for our entire stay.
I have since read somewhere that the refurbishment was supposed to be completed by April, but from the looks of things they’re nowhere near finished.
The hotel is set on a very large estate, is very secluded and nice and quiet. I don’t think it’s a place you can stay at if you don’t have a car as it is kind of in the middle of nowhere. It’s quite a drive down a long small road off the motorway and we did start to think our sat nav was playing tricks on us!
The reception area (don’t know if it’s the old one or the new one) was nice and we found all the staff very friendly. Can’t fault them at all (although a couple of the staff members at the pool area seemed new and inexperienced).
We never had dinner at the hotel, although the dining room and bar looked very nice. The complimentary breakfast was good and for only £3 you can have it delivered to your room at a time of your preference.
You also get a free newspaper (The Independent) delivered every morning, which is great if that’s your type of newspaper (it’s not mine).
The normal rooms are quite compact (unless you’re willing to pay a lot more £ for a suite). But the décor is really nice and modern and very well thought out. They only have showers, but it’s quite a big one. The bed was very comfortable with nice pillows (not those rock hard things a lot of hotels seem to love). I can’t really comment on the view, because it was of a huge mountain of sand and building equipment! You get free tea and coffee making facilities, although we found them rather overprotective of the sugar and had to ask on several occasions for more! The hairdryer has a button which you have to press the entire time you’re using it which did get quite annoying, not what I’d expect from a 4 star hotel, so take your own if you can. You also get a fridge, iron and ironing board and trouser press. We did think they would supply shower gel and we didn’t take any, but they don’t, so remember to take some.
There are teething problems with the refurbished rooms which I think need to be dealt with and which I wrote on my comments for the hotel:
TV reception is fuzzy (may have just been ours though)
Can’t adjust TV volume up or down (I think they may have done this on purpose to limit noise, but I don’t have 100% hearing and couldn’t hear a thing).
The lights get extremely hot and really hurt if you touch them. They need caution signs on them.
Even though it was only April it got quite hot at night and with an £11 million refurbishment, I feel they should have invested in air conditioning. I had to get up twice to open the windows wide in the night, and being on the ground floor, didn’t exactly feel as though this was safe. I have stayed at hotels where a fan is supplied with the room, so suggested they put one in each room.
Could smell damp.
The pool area was really nice and is definitely the best part of the hotel. It’s very modern after the refurbishment. The pool is heated (although not greatly, probably cutting down on costs due to their £11 million refurbishment) and they have a sauna, steam room and 2 heated sun loungers. There’s also treatment rooms for massages etc, and although we didn’t get one, the prices looked good, though this may go up once the refurbishment is completed. The pool got very busy with kids and babies in the afternoon, but if you generally avoid 2pm - 5pm you should find it relatively non-busy. The hotel does actually encourage guests with small children not to use the pool after 5pm. Also, the pool is accessible to the public (members) and not just hotel guests.
We used the gym a couple of times and thought it was great. Very modern equipment, lots of choice and very few people in there.
SHOP AROUND before booking this hotel as we found massive variations of price for the same room types.
Take your own hair dryer.
Request a room away from the ground floor if you like a lie in. It can get a little noisy on the ground floor with people walking by and talking loudly.
The hotel is still advertised in places as having a Jacuzzi, but it doesn’t have one.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay, nice hotel, nice atmosphere, lovely pool area... no major complaints at all and the building work didn't affect us in the slightest. If I'd paid a lot more I probably would have been annoyed it looked like a building site.
I would go back to this hotel (would like to see what new facilities they have once the refurbishment is completed); although I doubt I’ll be able to afford it!!!!!
Very poor. Would not stay there again
My partner and i stayed at Norton park on a 2 night dinner, bed and breakfast package. We got a very good deal which i presume is due to the building work going on at the moment.
We knew before booking about the work going on and this didn't really effect us. It was a bit of a pain navigating the man made walkways to reception and the restaurant but that was the least of our complaints!
On the first night of our trip we stayed in the manor house which looked lovely from the outside and the wooden staircase impressive. However the room was dated and could have done with some refurbishment. The paint in the bathroom was peeling, the shelf above the sink was broken and i would describe the decor as shabby.
On the second night we were moved to the new building due to some plumbing problems in the manor house. This room was nice, newly finished, warm, nice colour scheme but a bit small.
On arrival to the new room there was only 1 towel so i rang housekeeping and there was no answer. I then rang recption and it took over 5 mins for them to answer the phone. After that i then waited approx 30 mins for them to bring another towel!
On our arrival we got the impression that some of the staff were new. They didn't seem confident on what to say, they didn't ask if we would like to make dinner reservations or if we would like a newspaper.
The breakfast food was nice, a selection of hot and cold buffets with fresh food. However the staff again seemed new and unsure. On our first morning we were finished our food by the time our coffee and toast arrived. The room was also freezing. I would advise anyone going to the restaurant for breakfast or dinner to take a warm top. With all of the building work going on there is a chilly draft. Also watch out for members of staff talking your plates away before you are finished. It happened on more than one occasion where they tried to swipe the plate away when we still had food on it. Very rude in my opinion.
When we first arrived to use the gym there was noone on reception so we just went ahead anyway. The gym is all new and quite impressive. However it can get a bit busy after 5 when members from outside the hotel come in.
The pool was a little cold but the sauna, steam, ice fountain and thermal loungers are a must!!
Would i go back??? No. At the end of our stay we just had to laugh because from start to finish this was not the type of hotel experience we expected. The staff got our bill wrong nearly every time we signed for something and the reception staff on check out didn' even ask if we had had a good stay
First Impressions aren't everything
You may well have read other reviews highlighting the fact that there's a lot of building work going on. That's true but most of it now seems to be external walkways and landscaping. It's still a trek through the corridors to reception though including a scaffolding walkway and steps - if you have heavy luggage, follow the instructions in the car park and check in first. Inside the rooms have all been refurbished or are newly built. Standard rooms only have showers rather than baths. The standard rooms are well furnished but are relatively small. Rooms in the new wings are larger and have baths. They share the same furnishing and colour scheme. The room service menu isn't that extensive and you may have to wait for the phone to be answered as reception acts as the switchboard. I haven't used the leisure facilities but they look impressive. Well worth a stay. If you're visiting Winchester you'd be better off out here in the countryside if you're happy to drive in. Not only will the room be cheaper at current rates, the quality of the room will be much better and it will be quiter. Hopefully the room rates won't become unrealistic when the rebuild is complete.
Building site, badly understaffed. Avoid till finished!
I stayed here as part of a wedding party for one night and was wholly unsatisfied with the services offered and the condition of the site. I arrived with the groom and he was appalled that having booked the hotel in September/October the previous year, and promised at the time that the hotel would be complete by February this year, it was still in such a state in early May.
There are piles of dirt, bricks, pebbles and equipment lying around all over the place. The 'brand new reception' is lovely but rather a shame that the signposts to it still lead you through the entire hotel lugging bags, rather than pointing you round the corner from the carpark to the front door (which is where it now is).
The hotel feels woefully understaffed. Given that there were upwards of 50 people in the wedding party and apparently several dozen more in another group staying there that weekend, the bar at lunchtime was staffed by a single barman, and the kitchen (staffed by one cook) swamped by a whole DOZEN requests for sandwiches and paninis which took over 30 minutes to arrive and were extremely disappointing - a cheese sandwich with picalilli dip costing £6 consisted of boringly regular sliced bread like you get from the supermarket, with a sprinkling of grated cheese, no picalilli, some crisps and a bit of tomato and lettuce on the side. My friend's panini was burnt.
The hotel is split into two blocks. Getting from one to the other involves scaling a very unsafe-feeling set of scaffold steps. If it had rained they would be extremely slippy.
The hotel cannot deal with all its guests having showers in the morning - at 9.15am on Sunday morning I was faced with a trickle of barely lukewarm water.
The hotel cannot accomodate all its guests for breakfast at the same time. Or rather, it can, but it doesn't have the staff to deal with them. We all queued up on the stairs (not very safe!) to get in to the restaurant, because the two staff on the floor were having to deliver tea, coffee and toast as well as clear empty tables, while a limping gentleman tried to keep control over the hungry guests on the stairs who were unable to understand why they couldn't be seated.
I can't fault the staff I did meet, though. They were all very friendly, very giving and calm. There just wasn't enough of them!
Overall, this hotel should NOT be operating in its current state, although I daresay once it is completed and it has more staff available it would be very pleasant.
Travelodge On The Somme
I was interested to see reviews from August 2006 saying that the hotel was a building site. IT STILL IS!
They had 2 wedding parties booked in for last Saturday - I was with one of them. Now, is it really beyond the intelligence of the manager to work out that this means lots of people will be booking in on Saturday morning and that therefore you might need more than one person on reception.
To get to my room was a long trek across mud, then up a slipopery, dangerous scaffolding staircase, into a building that was only partially carpeted and plastered.
The room itself was small and dark, but at least clean. Perhaps the single thing that annoyed me most was a sign saying "If you would like a bathmat, please ask at Reception". WHAT??? What sort of four star hotel doesn't give you a bathmat? Especially when you can't open the shower cubicle without dripping water all over the floor. There wasn't a bath, by the way, just a shower.
For £95 a night this is an appalling rip off.