The Terrace Bar and Restaurant
Cruise Advice

Hotel review: Solent Hotel and Spa

I was recently invited to review Solent Hotel and Spa’s new Cruise and Stay packages. The hotel is situated on the outskirts of Fareham in Whiteley, just off the M27 (Junction 9). It lies eight and a half miles from Southampton’s main cruise terminals.

The four star hotel boasts 171 rooms in total – 117 at the hotel and 54 at its recently opened Lodge at Solent. On-site facilities include a swimming pool, spa, gym, restaurant, pub and parking. Most of Solent Hotel has benefited from a recent refurbishment of its facilities including the restaurant, rooms, pub and spa area.

Solent Hotel and Spa
Solent Hotel and Spa

In August 2016 Solent’s sister hotel Lodge at Solent opened. It offers a slightly cheaper alternative to the main hotel.

First of all, let me highlight what the cruise packages include:

Lodge at Solent – £159 per night

Lodge at Solent
Lodge at Solent
  • An overnight stay in a Standard Double or Twin room
  • Continental breakfast
  • Return transfer to and from the port (Southampton approx. a 25/30-minute transfer each way)
  • Complimentary long stay car parking for up to 15 days

Solent Hotel and Spa – £199 per night

Solent Hotel and Spa
Solent Hotel and Spa
  • An overnight stay in a Signature Double Room
  • Full English breakfast
  • Complimentary use of the spa and leisure facilities
  • Return transfer to and from the port (Southampton approx. a 25/30-minute transfer each way)
  • Complimentary long stay car parking for up to 15 days

Our room

We stayed in a Signature Double Room in the main hotel (part of the £199 cruise package). It was very spacious and had recently been redecorated. I understand there are still some rooms awaiting refurbishment, although I don’t know how many exactly.

Our room
Our room

The bed was very comfortable and we were grateful for the air-conditioning as it was a hot weekend. A large TV was mounted on the wall opposite the bed which featured all of the standard UK Freeview channels.

Tea and coffee making facilities
Tea and coffee making facilities

There were tea and coffee making facilities and the ample fridge held fresh milk and complimentary water. Inside the wardrobe we found robes, slippers, spare pillows and a hairdryer.

The bathroom consisted of a sink, toilet and bath with a very powerful shower and complimentary toiletries.

The bathroom
The bathroom

I really liked the décor of the room which was tasteful and modern. It was very quiet, which surprised me because the hotel isn’t far from a busy main road and the M27. Overall I felt that the room was good value for money and you could happily stay in it for more than one night. There was plenty of space to move around and a separate seating area meant you didn’t have to sit on the bed all the time. We slept well and the bed linen was crisp and fresh. The room was very clean and I couldn’t see anything that was broken or unfinished.

Spa

The spa can be found next to the restaurant in Solent Hotel. Upon entering the spa reception area, there is a good-sized swimming pool and a closed off seating area on the left and a gym, changing rooms and treatment rooms along a corridor behind the reception desk.

Swimming pool
Swimming pool

The swimming pool looked lovely and you could swim lengths when it wasn’t busy. Unfortunately the pool was full during our stay as there was a wedding on that day. Numbers are capped at 30 people. Close to the pool there is a large hot tub and some loungers to relax on. At the far end of the room there is access to an outdoor terrace area. This was one of the largest hotel pools I’ve seen for a while.

Hot tub
Hot tub

The gym was surprisingly big and had a great selection of equipment such as running machines, weights and cross-trainers.

Gym
Gym

There are eight treatment rooms in total, including a double treatment room with private hot tub for couples. A manicure and pedicure station stands close to the main spa entrance.

The Terrace Restaurant and Bar

As I mentioned earlier, Solent Hotel’s restaurant is one of the many areas that has benefited from the refurbishment. It serves AA Rosette British food with a Mediterranean influence. The evening menu had plenty of seafood, char-grill items and rotisserie fare. There is also a Chef’s Table starter and main option, which allows guests to select fresh seasonal food from a buffet point in the restaurant. If you want something less formal, there is a bar snack menu too.

Terrace Bar and Restaurant
Terrace Bar and Restaurant

Although it’s a big restaurant, The Terrace has been cleverly divided so it has lots of cosy corners and separate eating sections. Outside there is a lovely undercover area, perfect for dining al-fresco.

Hot breakfast buffet
Hot breakfast buffet

Breakfast consisted of two tables of cold buffet options such as pastries, toast, yoghurt and cereal. The hot section served up standard English breakfast items like sausage, beans and egg. The quality of the food was good and we had no complaints. Breakfast was extremely busy but that may have been because there were wedding guests staying at the venue. That being said, we didn’t have any issues getting a table or food.

Cold breakfast buffet
Cold breakfast buffet

Lodge at Solent

A Standard Double room
A Standard Double room
A standard double room
A standard double room

Lodge at Solent can be found adjacent to the main hotel and it was opened in August 2017. Although the rooms were a bit more basic than those in the main hotel, they were trendy, large and extremely comfortable. I would be more than happy to stay in one. In-room facilities included a 40-inch TV, walk-in power shower, tea and coffee, an iron and hairdryer, air-conditioning and a USB charger point. Both the hotel and the lodge offer free Wi-Fi to guests.

Bathroom
Bathroom

If you require two rooms then I recommend booking one of the four sections of the lodge that allow you to block off the rooms from other guests. These unique areas give you your own front door with a hallway, perfect if you are travelling with family. Family rooms also feature a sofa bed. All Lodge at Solent rooms are dog-friendly (a £20 supplement applies).

Separate front door
Separate front door

Parson’s Collar Pub and Kitchen

Parson's Collar Pub and Kitchen
Parson’s Collar Pub and Kitchen

Guests staying at the lodge do not get complimentary access to the spa facilities. They also don’t get a full English breakfast in the Terrace Restaurant. Instead they have a continental breakfast in the pub next door – Parson’s Collar Pub and Kitchen. The pub, part of Thwaite’s brewery, belongs to the hotel group. It serves up hearty pub fare, alongside wood-fired pizzas and award winning cask ales. There’s also a Jude’s ice cream stand, which is great for children. Parson’s Collar has been refurbished recently and has similar décor to the Terrace Restaurant and Bar. Guests staying at the lodge can dine in the main hotel if they wish to.

The pub has a very nice beer garden
The pub has a very nice beer garden

Disabled facilities

Both the hotel and the lodge have specially adapted rooms along with hearing loops, vibrating pillows and brail menus. The lifts in Solent Hotel are quite compact, so do keep this in mind if you are using a wheelchair.

Car parking

The on-site parking for both venues is large and we had no trouble finding a space. Guests choosing a Cruise and Stay package can park wherever they like within the car park.

Surrounding area

The hotel is situated close to the popular area of Whiteley Shopping Centre, which opened less than five years ago. It boasts a number of large high street retailers, a plethora of restaurants, a cinema and four hours free parking.

I go to Whiteley a lot, as it’s a nice alternative to Southampton City Centre. If you don’t want to dine at the hotel then it has lots of options and it’s only a fifteen-minute walk.

Alternatively head to the pretty marina of Port Solent, just off Junction 12 on the M27. This picturesque spot has an array of restaurants and cafés, which come alive at night. Parking is free and there is a cinema close to the marina. It’s worth the drive as it is a beautiful spot on a summer evening.

If you want to venture slightly further afield, head to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth or Ocean Village in Southampton. You can find out more about things to do in Southampton in my pre-cruise guide to the city.

The verdict

I was really impressed with our stay at Solent Hotel and Spa. I think the Cruise and Stay package is excellent value for money, particularly when you consider how much cruise lines charge for parking. If you want to extend your stay then it’s possible to book at a Best Available Rate. Being a local, I know Whiteley very well. It was nice not staying in Southampton city centre, which can get very noisy and congested.

Solent Hotel entrance
Solent Hotel entrance

Both the hotel and lodge are more upmarket than many of Southampton’s chain hotels and the recent refurbishment means that everything is fresh and contemporary. The only parts that I thought needed updating were the corridors and the lifts in the main hotel, but this was just a small thing really. I really liked Solent Hotel’s foyer area with its dramatic wood panels and scattered seating areas.

If you do book the hotel and you want to ensure you have a refurbished room then I suggest you specify this when you speak to the hotel (there is no guarantee you’ll get your preferred choice though). Keep in mind that weddings are very popular, so it’s possible you may come across a wedding party during your stay.

If you want to find out more about the cruise packages at the main hotel, call reservations on 01489 880000 or visit solenthotel.co.uk. To find out about Lodge at Solent cruise packages call 01489 880035 or visit lodgeatsolent.co.uk. Full payment is taken at the time of booking and is non-refundable.

Although I was invited to review Solent Hotel and Spa, I was not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own. I always try to provide honest reviews that cover both pros and cons. 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. As a number of off-peak cruises are longer than 14 nights, it would be helpful to include the additional per day car parking fee. Thank you for this and your other reviews, your “blogs” are now a MUST READ.

    1. Hello Ron,

      Thanks very much for your comment and I’m delighted you consider my posts a must read. I don’t have any additional parking rates to hand, but I am sure you would be able to negotiate these with the hotel if you contact them directly. It is something I will keep in mind for any future hotel review posts though.

      Anna.

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