Back again at our favourite Douglas hotel.
My husband & l returned from our seventh stay at this hotel last week. When we first holidayed here in 2010, it was part of the Hilton chain. Now it has reverted to its original name and is part of the Great Western chain.
This hotel is definitely the most unattractive-looking building on the Central Promenade, being built in the 1960s, but nevertheless it has a lot going for it. For starters, unlike the majority of the lovely old Regency-style hotels that grace the Promenade, the Palace Hotel has a decent-sized car park at the rear. A £4.00 per day fee has recently been introduced to curb abuse by non-resident short stay parkers. Most of the other seafront hotels rely on street parking only for their guests.
The Palace is ideally situated overlooking panoramic Douglas Bay. The main entrance is at the back of the hotel and the best rooms are at the front. Do pay a little extra for a sea-facing room on any of the three floors. The rear-facing rooms overlook the car park and some are positioned directly above noisy extractor fans outside the kitchens.
The staff at the hotel are mostly friendly and helpful. Some have worked there for several years and it was good to see so many familiar faces on our latest visit. If there is a queue at Reception when you check in, do be patient. Nearly all the guests are arriving from mainland Britain, either via Ronaldsway Airport or the Central Ferry Terminal, so necessarily reach the hotel at the same time.
The guest bedrooms are quite snug with small en-suite bathrooms. The majority of the sea view rooms have sliding doors and little French balconies, a bonus on a hot day. Each room is equipped with a large portable fan for use during exceptionally warm periods.
The Paragon Restaurant, situated on the 1st floor, has superb views across the bay. The food here is excellent with plenty of variety. The serving staff are pleasant and helpful. It may be a good idea to book a window table for your evening meal if you intend to dine at 6.00pm. We did.
There are a number of interesting old photographs of the hotel and surrounding buildings for guests to look at. These are now displayed in the Reception area just inside the front door on the left. There is also a plaque giving information on the building of the Casino in 1966 and its official opening by Sean Connery, and the hotel opening the following year.
Daily newspapers can be purchased nearby. There is a newsagent in a little row of shops as you turn right on leaving the car park. The horse-drawn tram will actually drop you off outside the hotel if you ask the driver at the start of your ride.
The adjacent Casino is open to interested guests and there is also a Leisure & Fitness Centre, with a pool, adjoining the hotel. The hair salon, The Rainbow Room, is run by Diane, a delightful Scottish lady, and is accessed from the rear car park. Be warned - it is popular so book ahead. The salon is open every day except Tuesday & Sunday.
The two of us were joined this time by our son and daughter-in-law, just for the weekend. It was their first visit to our favourite island. They flew out from Liverpool to Ronaldsway Airport late on the Friday afternoon. We met them at the airport in our car. They were very impressed with their short stay at the hotel and tell us that they intend to return next year for a longer one.
We also plan to return to the Palace Casino next summer as long as a sea view room is available. less