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All reviews cellar bar chesil beach century manor garden room dorset coast stunning sea views walking holiday pretty garden our room was spotlessly clean this lovely hotel quiet location fish and chips long weekend an evening meal fresh milk three nights biscuits
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Reviewed 11 October 2018 via mobile

Myself and family eaten here a few times whilst away and we were not disappointed. We had eaten here the year before and standards had not slipped, the food was still great as were the staff. Can’t wait to come back again next year.

Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family
Thank Whitmore177
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 September 2018 via mobile

My partner and I stayed here for 2 nights, having visited last year. We made a point of returning after having a wonderful time previously. I can honestly say this time was even better. The setting and the hotel are lovely, service is excellent and the food is great. Our room was spotlessly clean and quiet with sea views. The hotel is near all the local spots to visit and is ideally situated for visitors to Dorset. Would highly recommend a stay here!

Stayed: September 2018, travelled with family
Thank Claire B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2018

We stayed here for a few nights with views over the front garden and down towards Chesil, beautiful view. Nice restaurant, good evening food, good wine list, decently kept beer form the cellar bar, good outside seating, particularly the guest's terrace at the back which overlooks a paddock. Breakfast options are few, the full English only and could do with some alternatives, fish for example. Not a cheap place to stay in August but very enjoyable.

  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank jamesgandolfini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 September 2018

After the improbable throng of Portland Bill, it was a delight to arrive at The Manor to such a warm welcome and a change of the room booked to one with a sea view. Tea in the peaceful garden, a stroll down to Chesil Beach, a tasty dinner - all much to be enjoyed, but the highlight was waking up to a view of the sea. I have never before experienced that in 50 years of holidays and it really makes a difference.

  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Follifan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2018

This is going to be a long review…

I struggled – I was tasked with finding a perfect holiday for my deaf, nonagenarian Father, my fussy depressive husband and my exuberant 17 year old daughter – something to please all. Oh and I have limited mobility too, so ‘piece of cake’…... The only tips I was given were that it had to be somewhere new and by the sea.

I combed thousands of hotels and none fitted the bill. We all like quiet gentility, but that is where the similarities in our tastes end. Most of all, finding good food that is not in the modern style with 100 pretentious ingredients you have never heard of, but not something akin to school canteen food is really hard. I knew Dad wouldn’t enjoy either style, but would want imaginative and well cooked, recognisable food.

Then I came upon the Manor House. This looked as near perfect as it could be and in a really lovely part of the world. I rang them and was in luck. Three rooms were available, with a sea view for my Dad and a Super king bed for us. Perfect.

I booked – and then I began reading the reviews.

I was left with the impression of hoteliers who were arrogant and unsympathetic to their guests (and indeed the hotel’s responses came across as defensive and arrogant rather than listening or customer focused), really poor service with long wait times and mediocre food. My stress levels went up another few notches. Long waits and arrogant staff and my Father would be not amused.

I hope this review sets the record straight.

My first contact with the owner was really positive. He assured me that just one flight of stairs lay between me and bed (a struggle but possible) and advised that the room my Father would have, had two steps down to the bathroom – a concern, but Dad was happy. By the time the booking came through, the owner had managed to re-jig the rooms to give my Father a level room and the best sea-view in the building. I can’t say how much we appreciated this. So a great first impression.

Our trials were not over. My husband’s leave was cancelled, so he needed to work while we were away and on the way to the hotel, down a single-track road, our exhaust was damaged. We arrived far from in a holiday frame of mind, and expecting chilly weather, only to find there was also no mobile signal in this remote spot – a necessity for working. I felt the clouds gathering...

There was a disabled unloading area and my husband went to book-in. The hotel kindly advises not unloading until you find your rooms as there are several ways in. The owner himself showed my husband the rooms, opening the fire door to give me fairly straight forward access via a robust fire escape with good hand rails.

The rooms were stunning. Simply furnished with real wood and really sympathetic to the old building.

We had room 11 which overlooked the pretty garden. A bright and spacious room with a large solid desk and just enough of a mobile signal for my husband to work, plus good Wi-Fi (phew!). The room was in shades of cream with muted reds for colour and a lovely bathroom with a corner bath and a powerful, thermostatically controlled shower. All the linens were bright and fresh, toiletries were provided and ample hanging space and hangers.

All the rooms have King size or Super king beds which is really excellent. My Father had room 2 with the best sea-view you could ask for and a lovely walk-in shower. My daughter was up on the 2nd floor with an attic style room and also a shower, but a big bed and she was happy – absolutely loved the hotel. We could all see the sea.

And this hotel has an extra special touch. They provide a fridge with fresh milk on the landing, so that you can make tea and coffee (with a choice of teas) in your room and enjoy tea and biscuits without the nasty little long-life capsules that make everything taste strange! Plus they supply bottled water which they replace every day.

Would we have changed anything? Well the place is not really for the disabled. There is a step up here and two down there and uneven floors, but then this is an old building and there is nothing they can do about that (just hoping they might find a way of building a disabled annexe over-looking the sea, or installing a lift!). The beds were very soft for our taste – good quality certainly, but soft. The only thing I really would change is room 11’s head board – a pretty wrought iron affair on which I repeatedly bashed my head!

The hotel is nestled in the village above the sea and must have one of the very best locations. The gardens are pretty and everywhere has the appearance of being well cared for. The views are amazing. The place is stunning and a real sun trap – and the cool forecast was totally wrong giving us hot and sunny days. Throughout the building there is interesting art and tasteful additions which have been painstakingly sourced and installed, such as the Victorian radiators. A little corner of heaven.

And so to the food. The hotel likes you to book for dinner and breakfast, but this needs to be made more obvious, as lots of people turn up at once. Better for all if people do book, to give the chefs a chance, as they also take non-residents for meals in the bar. This place was busy all day with non-residents enjoying drinks, tea and food so this is a challenge.

We booked for 7.30 and I had the Kendall Mint cake in my bag in case the waits were really as long as the reviews suggested.

My Father had already found the cosy cellar bar – out of reach for me as the steps were too steep. You can reach the cellar bar with fewer steps by going round the terrace, but I am not fit enough for that. (I would also caution that the public ladies room is built only for modestly proportioned ladies, having tiny cubicles, so be prepared!) The lounge where you could also take drinks is the least exciting room in the house. Uncomfortable chairs and sofa and a rather dated appearance, I would guess that this room is less often used than others especially now that the hotel has an attractive garden room on the same level as the bar. This is the only part of the hotel that could do with a make-over and perhaps be made into a residents only bar, for enjoying a pre-dinner drink and coffees after the meal – some low lighting and comfortable seating being required.

We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in our room and went to find the restaurant through the charming stone-floored, wood-panelled hallway. The restaurant is quite lovely. It overlooks the sea and the terrace, is light when the sun is up and sensitively lit after sunset. Wooden tables adorned with candles, spacious and peaceful. Again the furnishings are sensitive to the building and the nooks and crannies are interestingly filled.

We were given a round table at the back of the room which still gave a good view of the sea (there was also a private alcove for celebratory parties). We were straight away brought menus and offered drinks by a dark-haired, very professional and friendly waiter.

The menu is quite small, but with a good variety nevertheless. We chose halloumi fries with chilli jam, smoked mackerel pâté and soup, followed by Halibut with parmesan, leek and courgette risotto and carrot purée, battered Hake and chips, steak pie and a burger.

The service was impeccable. OK the restaurant wasn’t very busy, but we had no wait. The pâté was gorgeous served with hot granary toast, the haloumi fries were delicious too and the soup though OK was not strongly flavoured enough for my Father though perfectly drinkable.

The pie was much enjoyed, the burger was good and the fish and chips pronounced ‘excellent’. I had the halibut which was out of this world. I tasted the carrot purée to start and was shocked by its sweetness, but when combined with the risotto and fish this was a perfect balance. I am a risotto lover and this was quite simply the best I have eaten. There were green and yellow courgettes and it was really well flavoured plus beautifully presented.

We finished with a chocolate and orange mousse and a shared Manor House Sundae. Both delicious.

Coffee and tea were brought to us in the lounge and again we had no wait – nor should I say did we ever feel hurried. We felt rather that nothing was too much trouble.

Breakfast was fairly simple. Cereals and muesli with flaked almonds, yoghurt and a berry compote pronounced delicious. Filter coffee was available from the buffet along with juices, and pots of tea were brought to the table. A new waiter was present on the second day, Ryan, who appeared to lend his hand to most things in the hotel. Though perhaps not as formally trained as the previous night’s waiter, in him the hotel has a real gift, as he truly seems to care about all the guests and was really friendly and welcoming, always going the extra mile.

Hot food is cooked to order and there was plenty of choice, though if you were wanting kippers these were not offered. Again breakfast came quickly and was really well cooked and tasty. The hotel also makes its own mini croissants which were delicious, but the pièce de résistance was the toast! How do they make toast that is so hot and crispy – and plentiful! Ryan was there topping up anything that was needed and clearing plates quickly, without ever being too obtrusive.

On the second evening, the hotel was very busy and we did have a long wait. This time two waitresses were overseeing the restaurant and they were not so readily friendly - perhaps anxious as they would be the ones facing any complaints about the wait? We tried tomato and mozzarella salad – not so good, too little mozzarella and too many lettuce leaves, Dover Sole goujons which were excellent, mackerel pâté and the same soup. This time my daughter had the soup and really loved it.

Then we had fish and chips which were excellent, with really light batter that was crisp throughout (pronounced the best fish and chips ever eaten), belly pork with oriental vegetables that was good and fillet steak. The last of these was a masterpiece. The steak was beautiful accompanied by excellent Dauphinoise potatoes, locally grown kale and a large mushroom stuffed with bacon and blue cheese. Again the balance in this meal was excellent and two others in our party ordered it on our third night. One of the best meals I have ever eaten.

Later the tall darker haired waitress warmed-up and became friendly and I think that the restaurant perhaps lacks a manager supporting them especially when it is busy. Ryan came up and joined the girls later and the atmosphere lightened and again we felt well looked after. An apology for the over 40 minutes wait would have been good, but the ambience was such that it didn’t really matter.

On our last night, the dark-haired waiter was back, we had a different assortment of the above, plus the cheese board which was also excellent. I should add that the wines were also much enjoyed. And no wait!

Reviewing the service as a whole, the menu states that the kitchen can cope with 15 covers at a time. I think if booking was emphasised and this took into account bar meals too, then the wait might be avoided. Other than that, perhaps a bread basket and apology during the wait? People come in seeking bar food en masse, which is an issue if you have a restaurant with guests who have booked. I think the hotel is getting there though and I think the ‘arrogance’ is more a nervousness as they seek to enhance their business and feel defensive.

As to the standard of the food. Everything I ate was extremely good. We had one tough steak and one less exciting salad, but overall it was superb and well worth waiting for. We are Londoners – London is fast and we are not good at waiting. When locally sourced food is well-cooked to order and beautifully presented, then we need to slow down and appreciate it. Would be good if in addition to the main menu there was a daily changing menu – a new soup and starter each day, plus a couple of new mains and it would be perfect.

I think the staff have taken notice of the reviews. The barman, the gardener, the waiter, Ryan who is a waiter and does the rooms and the taller waitress are all making the effort and going the extra mile. The Owner popped in one night to see if all was well and he might do well to do that more often and to smile – have a laugh with the guests and not be too serious. The sandy haired waitress was also far too serious and cool, and obviously focussed on ‘the business’ rather than her customers. We felt she was more senior perhaps as she also checked us out, but please lighten up and remember to ask the guests if they are having a good time - realise your guests are the business.

The Manor makes much of being a family owned hotel, but nowhere could I discover what the family is called, or which of the staff were family. To the owners I say, be visible! Relax a little and enjoy your success. Get to know your guests more and bring your personalities to the hotel - and do get someone different to respond to reviews, as the existing responses really do you no favours. At the end of the day, the customer is always right and perception is everything.

I highly recommend this hotel from our experience. I think it is excellent and on its way up. I believe the reviews will get better and better and that this is a place to watch.

Room Tip: All good rooms - room 2 for the best view
  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Drragon555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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