The Holiday Inn Winchester recently underwent a £2.5 million Pound refurbishment and Mr B and I were invited to stay in one of the 131 bedrooms this week to see for ourselves how fabulous they are. We received a complimentary stay with dinner, bed and breakfast in exchange for our honest review.
Where to start though? The hotel sits just five minutes outside Winchester with easy access to major roads to the south coast and the picturesque towns of Sussex. It is the ideal spot for you to stay as you explore locally for a few days, switch off from the outside world for a weekend with your partner, celebrate a hen do, or break up a journey before cruising from Southampton. If you are doing the latter the Hotel even offers a package that allows you to stay, have dinner and leave your car for up to 28 days with a shuttle to and from the port ahead of your cruise. Just one of many offers you can pick from, others include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast, Spa packages and a Stay and Cycle Package. (see links at the bottom of the post for links to them all).
The lobby is open plan making it the perfect place to enjoy a drink with friends after work, or to hold a work meeting over a coffee. There is even a place to work for the day if you want to, complete with charging points and plug sockets and a printer. And if you want to hold a larger meeting there are conference rooms for that too.
Hotels are, at the end of the day, all about the bedrooms though, right? We stayed in an executive room which meant we had a king size beds, upgraded complimentary toiletries and a safe for our laptop. All rooms come with complimentary wifi, an en suite with a bath and shower, tea and coffee making facilities, a flat screen TV and 24 hour room service. Family rooms come with two double beds (and space for a cot) and accessible rooms have furniture that can be easily moved to make access easier, wider doors, emergency pull cords, and a full wet room (there is no bath). All these rooms have been really well thought out and even with Covid measure still in place (ie there were no throws, cushions or magazines) they were well appointed and we had one of the best night’s sleep we have had in a hotel ever. There were plug sockets next to the bed (I am sick of staying in hotels that dont do this, I dont want my phone charging on the other side of the room overnight!) and the curtains were so thick there wasn’t a hint of light coming through them. Nor was there any traffic noise, or in fact noise of any kind all night. It was bliss.
The restaurant was also open plan and the service friendly and efficient. As with the rooms there are lots of dining offers too, such as 2 for 1 pizzas Monday to Thursday. There is also an offer where two people can dine for £39.99, including two courses and a drink each. There is a Sunday lunch menu, a steak night special and children under 13 eat for free if staying in their parents room. All offer such great value for money. Bruce had a fabulous burger and you will never guess what I had:
Heck yes, a fabulous fish finger wrap because I am obsessed with fish finger sandwiches.
The next morning we were treated to a superb breakfast (included with the bed and breakfast offer, or available to buy the cooked buffet at £14.95 or the continental is £7.50). And although it was a buffet there was no feeling that the food had been sitting around for hours. There was no evidence of the cutlery having sat around for hours either. I hate it when you see hours old bean juice on a ladle when you arrive to serve yourself, there was no sign of that here, everything was spotless and again the service was friendly and efficient. Bruce declared the fried egg one of the best he has ever had in a hotel.
We nipped off after breakfast for a few hours at nearby Hinton Ampner National Trust Garden and then came back for an afternoon in the Ana Spa We were treated to wonderful treatments using Elemis products and whilst we were waiting (we arrived early) we were shown to the above darkened room to relax on a gorgeously comfortable bed. From there we each taken to our treatment room. After our treatments we were able to use the thermal suite comprising a spa pool, sauna foot spa and steam room. Everything was spotlessly clean and well looked after (no wet towels left around etc). Guests of the spa are all given slippers, a robe and a towel and if you are there for the day you get lunch too. It is peaceful and attentive and it really is a little haven down in the basement.
Though to be honest the whole hotel is a little haven in the Surrey Hills.
For spa offers click here
For dining offers click here
For room information and prices click here:
A couple of things to note: make sure you register your car at reception or Parking Eye who manage the car park may charge you for parking. And if you plug in the alarm clock next to the bed make sure the person before you hasn’t set the alarm for 6.45am if you don’t need to be up early.