For all those luxe lovers out there, this one is for you. Sumptuous accommodation at low rates. Secretly, we all lean towards the nicer things in life but quite often settle for the mediocre to avoid lavish spendings. Harbour Hotels let’s us experience the upscale lifestyle in a more relaxed setting whilst not breaking the bank either.

Harbour Hotels have continued to expand across the coastal, country and now city hot spots with the new prime locations in Bristol, Brighton, Chichester and Guildford. Exciting plans are in place to grow the luxury hotel group, venturing out with more onsite favourites including HarSpa and The Jetty, an award winning seafood restaurant.

The outside of the hotel is quite grand, almost having a eminent feel to it with it’s Georgian-like architecture. The foyer is clean, bright and spacious, perfect for escaping the typical English weather. You can relax knowing that there is a roomy entrance awaiting you. The reception approach is very welcoming. Again, if you have rushed to the hotel and feel quenched, hot and sweaty, complimentary iced lemon and lime water is readily available for you at the reception. We arrived at 8pm in the evening and the Receptionist gave us a tour of the Hotel facilities, I’m not sure if this is something that they do for every guest but they kindly went the extra mile and showed us directly to our room. I thought this was very accommodating service, in fact slightly conducive to the expected service of a 5 star hotel, not a 4 star. It gave me the impression they are striving for nothing but excellence. You will also be offered a wake up call or a morning newspaper delivered to your room.

Our room for the night was perfectly set with the most luxurious bed and a modern en-suite bathroom, a real touch of elegance. Special touches included the complimentary decanters of gin and sherry. Little extras like this really can make your stay more special. The mini bar was exceptionally generous, so much to choose from should you want a midnight snack. Your very own Minimax coffee machine with an assorted selection of coffees, this being in addition to your hospitality tray with Cadburys Hot Chocolates. Anything I fancied, it seemed they had it there for me. Our bathroom was stocked with The White Company amenities, making showering an absolute treat surrounding myself in aromas of Rose, Jasmine and Neroli.

For dinner we dined in the Hotel’s famous seafood restaurant, The Jetty. Our table was not ready for us when we arrived, although I must admit they were very accommodating in seating us at the bar and attending to our every need until our table was all sorted for us. 20 minutes later, we are seated to our very own ‘Alice In Wonderland’ looking booth. It was just the two of us, so the booths made us look so tiny, I couldn’t help thinking of the Queen of hearts in her throne. The booths are super cosy and comfortable, perhaps a little too comfortable to eat your dinner at though. The Jetty restaurant features original Bristol blue windows alongside a vibrant colour palette. Throughout the entire hotel you get a feel for contemporary combined with Georgian historical features. You start to understand that they respect the original features whilst recognising change and the need for modern excellence. The Gold Bar, the hotels very own late night bar and lounge has a huge cocktail menu, in fact it’s a book and it is so aesthetically pleasing for all you cocktail connoisseurs. Many, many different spirits and fabulous concoctions at the ready. I tried the Garden Gate which looked beautiful with its sprig of thyme cascading from the top of its Collins glass. Refreshing to taste, notes of elderflower, rose and of course juniper berry thanks to our good friend, Hendricks. I could have ordered so many of these cocktails if it wasn’t for most of them being double figures with no sign of a happy hour.

I wanted the Chateaubriand for my main, but unfortunately they didn’t have any left. Our lovely waiter did kindly offer to check for certain what the kitchen could do, but it seemed with such a late night booking, all of the cuts of steak had been and gone! Perhaps an earlier slot would be ideal for next time. I opted for the Fish and Chips instead. Shortly, we were brought a seashell containing fresh breads and salted butter, followed by a cheeky scallop that I had ordered. Just to note, the scallop had more kick to it than I thought! Admittedly, between our scallop starter and the main, there was a considerable 45 minute wait however eventually it arrived and the plate came out piping hot, as was the food on the plate. Very delicate piece of cod fillet, beautifully fried in a not-too-sweet batter. Fluffy fat chips and tasty skinny fries, bodied together with a side of lovely smashed peas and gherkin enhanced tartare sauce. The dessert menu looked divine but regrettably I was too full to even attempt any. I remember one dessert being The Jetty Sandwich, containing chocolate, peanut butter and coffee. Three of my favourite things but boy would this have been heavy on the tummy. Abort.

We slump back to our room, having over-indulged, and now it’s time to relax. I didn’t wake up once through the whole night, not a single disturbance. The air con is so discreet you barely notice it is even on. Our room was in the middle of the building so we had no window view to admire.

Now onto your favourite part, the Spa. I was so excited for this, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Spa is located down in the original bank vaults, creating a secluded atmosphere for that perfect escape. As soon as you enter, every sense is touched, from the intensely relaxant music playing in the background, to the pleasant incense aromas that encompass you.

The reception team were very welcoming and lead the way for me so I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I began with filling in a short consultation form where I also helped myself to complimentary iced lemon water, before being lead through for a mini tour of the facilities and left to relax in my own way. Whether that be in the dim-lit relaxation lounge, a giant sized sofa with endless pillows to curl up into and drift away or to simply bathe in the spa.

You can use the bath robe, slippers and towels provided if you wish to. The towels are generous but the bath robes are modesty enclosing only. The changing facilities are well equipped with lockers with keys, no coin needed. ESPA shower amenities are readily available to use should you forget your own. A trusty swimsuit dryer is also available to make your day a little easier for you. I was told my therapist would come and find me for my treatment instead of me having to come back to reception. I thought this was a lovely touch, collecting me from where ever I happened to be instead of having to wait in a reception staring at the clock.

Above you can see how they have furnished perfectly around the original bank vault doors, creating history and a sense of mystery to your spa day.

The 40 minute bespoke massage was sublime, rich in aromatherapy techniques with reinforced forearm pressures around the shoulders and glutes. The treatment rooms are brightly lit, small and compact. I happened to book just in between the transitioning period from ESPA to HarSPA body treatments so they were still using the ESPA body oil collection. Through using my olfactory senses, I chose my perfect oil, Soothing. An aromatic body oil to help relax a busy mind. Sandalwood, Rose Geranium and Frankincense help unwind with its soothing and restful properties. Myrrh helps ease the mind, while Sweet Almond Oil deeply nourishes for beautifully supple skin. Later, a 30 minute ESPA facial to awaken my skin after a long bathe in the spa. My therapist Molly, was extremely friendly and I could resonate with a lot of the advice she was giving me on my skins needs. The ritual followed was of a superficial technique, perfect for encouraging circulation and awakening neglected skin. The spa facilities themselves consist of a swimming pool of 1.1m depth, hydrotherapy pool, sauna and menthol steam room with a single shower. You will also find another giant cosy sofa. The area is quite compact due to being the original bank vaults, so it can get a little too cosy at times. I counted 14 people at one point, that may not seem a lot but in such a small space it soon becomes a little cramped for space. Upon booking I had been informed that there was a lot of day retreats booked in and so it was expected to be lively, this was nice of them to let me know, being a hotel guest I could prioritise when I felt was best to use the facilities should I wish to avoid the busy period.

{I apologise for the shoddy pictures! It was overly crowded on my visit, making photography a real struggle.}

Certainly, for anyone looking to experience authentic luxury at a rate that is affordable for them, I would definitely recommend this little treasure. The Spa itself is most suited to groups who wish to get together for celebrations, although booking is subject to availability. It also has excellent detox facilities too. The steam room was very strong in menthol essence, perfect for decongesting blocked sinuses. All in all, from one element to the next, you really do get a sense of being taken care of at Harbour Hotels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s