I recently stayed at the Hilton at The Ageas Bowl, which is located just outside of Southampton in an area called West End. Part of the Hilton Hotel chain, this state-of-the-art hotel opened in 2015 to much fanfare locally. Boasting 171-bedrooms, former cricketer Sir Ian Botham’s first-ever restaurant Beefy’s, a luxury spa and an 18-hole golf course, there is a lot to look forward to in terms of facilities. The hotel also has rooms which overlook The Ageas Bowl, home of Hampshire cricket.
In addition to the facilities, Hilton at The Ageas Bowl offers cruise, park and stay packages which I’d heard were very good value, and it was these packages that I was keen to find out more about (more on these later). The hotel’s location (just off the M27 junction 7) means that it’s only a 20-30 minute drive to Southampton docks.
Upon arrival check-in was very smooth and I received a friendly welcome from the lady on reception. Guests have access to a secure car park, which isn’t far from the main entrance. We stayed in an Executive Room, which afforded the most spectacular view of the cricket ground. My husband was particularly excited by the view, as he’d just been to watch the England 5 day Test Match at The Ageas Bowl only weeks before our stay.
The room was extremely comfortable, modern and clean with a king-size bed, chair, flat screen TV, robe and slippers, tea and coffee making facilities and plenty of storage space. The bathroom was finished to a high specification, with built-in speakers, a walk-in shower and plenty of space for your toiletries around the sink. My favourite feature was the spacious balcony, which had two comfy chairs and glass partitions, which meant you didn’t have a restricted view of the cricket ground.
There are a number of Deluxe Guest and Accessible rooms available at the hotel. For those travelling with children, you might want to consider a Family room or Suite (maximum two adults and two children). There are also a number of interconnecting rooms, which the hotel will be able to tell you more about. Children under the age of 12 stay for free and children under the age of 5 stay and eat with an adult for free. Children aged between 12 and 17 are charged at a child rate. You will find more details of the accommodation options here.
We were keen to explore some of the hotel’s facilities so we grabbed our swimwear and headed down to the eforea spa. Guests can relax outside on a lovely terrace area, which has a hot tub and sofas – perfect when the weather is nice. We opted to try out the hydrotherapy pool, which happened to be empty to our delight! The pool is a great place to relax, with a number of cooling jets and enough space to have a quick swim if you wish to do so.
Around the pool you’ll find feature showers, a sauna, two different steam rooms and an ice fountain. There are plenty of beds scattered around the room so you shouldn’t have an issue finding somewhere to lie down with a good book. The spa also has a lovely café, a salon and nail spa, fitness suite and treatment rooms. Guests have to pay extra for spa access but it is a great place to unwind. Spa entrance is charged at £25 (Monday-Thursday) and £35 (Friday-Sunday) for hotel guests.
If you fancy a round of golf, green fees start from £30 for visitors (Monday to Friday) or £35 on weekends. Buggies and trolleys are available to hire for a fee. This is a par-69 parkland course and it can be found on the other side of the hotel car park. Off-course facilities include changing rooms, American Golf pro-shop and a clubhouse.
After our visit to the spa we had a drink and some snacks in the Executive Lounge, which is a lovely perk for those staying in an Executive Room (entrance is included in your room rate). Guests can choose from a number of inclusive light bites such as spring rolls, cheese and crackers, chicken wings and canapés. This can be washed down with a complimentary beer, glass of wine, spirit or soft drink from one of the lounge’s many drinks fridges. This was a lovely quiet, chilled out room – a great place for a pre-dinner drink. Guests can also make the most of a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning.
We opted to dine in Beefy’s, Sir Ian Botham’s first-ever restaurant. This stylish eatery is ultra modern, with a bar area at one end and a restaurant that dominates the other. We stayed at the hotel on a Friday night and the restaurant was fully booked, so it’s worth pre-booking a table.
The menu had a good selection of dishes and main courses ranged in price from £11.50 to £65 (Chateaubriand). Classics included fish and chips, fish pie and burgers. There were also four different types of steak to choose from. I opted for the slow braised beef cheek (which was delicious) whilst my husband had the sirloin on the bone. Unfortunately because the restaurant was very busy service was slow, although I imagine it’s much quieter during the week.
Lakeview Sports Bar
After dinner we had a drink in Lakeview Sports Bar, which is opposite Beefy’s. This was busy on a Friday night but there wasn’t an issue getting a table. The 60-seater bar has an extensive wine list, and serves bar meals (think burgers, sandwiches and salads) as well as afternoon tea. It overlooks the lake on the golf course. Food is served between 11.00am and 10.00pm daily.
After a comfortable sleep on the king-size bed, we headed back to Beefy’s for a buffet breakfast the following morning. Although the restaurant was busy with guests, there was plenty of seating and food was replenished regularly. You could choose from a hot buffet or cold options such as fruit, yoghurt and muesli. For a small additional fee you could enjoy specialist dishes such as Eggs Benedict. Our breakfast was nice and the quality of the produce was good, particularly the sausages. As well as white bread there was wholemeal available (which is the only bread I can eat at the moment) and there were no issues getting a decaffeinated coffee.
We really enjoyed our stay at Hilton at The Ageas Bowl and the hotel proves that you don’t need to stay in the centre of Southampton to find plenty going on. I really felt like I was having a night away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and I can imagine a stop overnight would be a great start to any holiday. I would recommend a stay here before a cruise if you want good quality, high-end facilities and value for money. There was very little I could fault!
Cruise packages start from £147 for a one-night stay pre-cruise in a standard room (including breakfast) plus parking, dependent on dates. Guests can park for 8, 15 or 21 nights. Any additional parking over these times is charged at a rate of £15 a day. Guests are transferred by taxi from the hotel to and from the cruise terminal. Dinner can be added to your package for an additional £15 per person and you can opt for a B&B rate or a B&B&D rate. Pre-payment is not required and a stay counts towards your Hilton Honours points. Full details of the cruise packages can be found here. You can contact the hotel directly on 02382 020900.
Although my stay at this hotel was complimentary, all views and opinions are my own and I was not paid to write this post.Follow me on social media