Time for a hotel check, this time looking at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Southampton.
Location: The DoubleTree Southampton is located about 4 miles outside Central Southampton, as a low rise building over five floors. It is located near the M27/M3, or a £12 Uber ride out that far.
Check-in: Check-in was pretty much nothing short of omnishambles, with the hotel making the mistake of overbooking on the day of check-in, with the front desk staff trying to work out what to do… and struggling at best. In some cases, check-ins taking over 30 minutes to complete to allocate a room.
It seems that two wedding parties and a coach load of tourists are enough to overload the hotel, with some people being sent to the Holiday Inn Southampton to act as an overflow hotel. Whilst this is four miles away, if you’re at a wedding for a weekend, or seeing friends – this is less than ideal
Cookies were offered at check-in, and a room assigned… eventually.
It’s worth noting that the reception queues this didn’t improve at any point during the stay, with queues regularly glimpsed at any time of the day.
Even at 8 pm at night.
The Room. The room contained a queen bed along with a rollaway bed laid out. It was almost as if the room had been turned around too quickly, without checking who is staying in the room next and their requirements.
The bed itself was pretty passable and comfortable, with the air conditioning working. This was helpful during one of the hottest bank holiday weekends in the United Kingdom. It didn’t help in some rooms that the air conditioning had failed, and pedestal fans had been installed to provide airflow.
The bathroom had a bath/shower combo, with a set of bottled amenities. At least the towels were dry in my room – unlike some rooms which had wet towels on the rails when the occupants entered.
Tea and coffee amenities were in the room at least.
One thing to note was the number of plug sockets in the room, with USB outputs, allowing fast charging of phones and battery banks.
Breakfast: The negotiated rate included a buffet breakfast. Whilst this was a mixed buffet of hot and cold items. Hot items included baked beans, hash browns, tomatoes, bacon, sausages, and eggs. The cold section included fruits and cold cuts, as well as cereals.
Cold beverages such as orange juice and apple juice were on tap, however, hot beverages were controlled by the waiting staff… who did a very good impression of not being visible, or only appearing for a few seconds before vanishing again.
As a wedding venue: It seems that the staff were very passé with the fact there was a wedding, with coordinators taking their time to turn up, and taking a lot of time to manage situations where time wasn’t an option, with the wedding breakfast feeling rushed.
And here’s a few more things that the bride spotted along the way (and these are the ones that are “safe” to publish)
- The front desk not knowing about the dayroom to be used as a Bridal Suite (or at one point – not even knowing about the bridal suite)
- The Health and Safety hazard that is the red carpet to welcome, guests
- A wedding planner/site manager whose professionalism wasn’t the level of I wouldn’t expect for a venue of this sort.
- And there are little things, like placing of candles, placards on foods with allergies, some very non-compliant handling off food.
I’ve got the full bridal list of issues that happened (that could well end up in a follow up post) and frankly, I wouldn’t want to organise anything there – let alone a wedding (one of the most important days of your lives).
Sadly, it wasn’t just bride or myself noticing this – it was a lot of the guests too… and that makes it so disappointing.
Overall: At an agreed rate of £92 a night, The Doubletree Southampton wasn’t exactly cheap for a hotel that had trouble organising itself and failing in basic hospitality needs.
Considering the DoubleTree brand is meant to be an “upscale” brand, this hotel failed to impress at all at any level. As a venue to have a wedding at, it seems to be a half-hearted thing, rather than a priority.
And the Doubletree failed at the most hotel needs to specialise in – hospitality.
Thus, I can only give this hotel that I rarely use in reviews: Not recommended.
There are too many flaws and inconsistencies to recommend a venue like this to anyone organising an event or even wanting a restful night away.
Thankfully, there appears to be a reasonable amount of hotel stock in the Southampton area (if you’re starting a cruise there) and there are additional options if you need a hotel in the area.
Editors note: Images of the wedding venue in use kindly authorised by the Bride and Groom for editorial use.
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