Our family group took two family suites and one double room to accommodate 2 families of four and one pensioner. The rooms were pretty good, in particular the two family rooms had lots of space and comfortable beds, albeit with a slightly over-bright green emergency light that could be an annoyance for the more sensitive types during the night.
Staff were extremely friendly, in particular those staffing reception and the place was perfectly clean and warm - one room had a faulty radiator so was a bit too warm, but that was soon fixed. The hotel has a fabulous location, right on the seafront with great views, and is rather quirky. The fact is that it is actually 3 seperate but adjacent hotels which were merged together some time ago. This give is an unusual higgeldy-piggeldy layout, which to be quite frank we loved - it just made the place more interesting.
There were a few annoyances. One of the reasons we chose the hotel was for the pool and spa facilities. We went to use these on the first evening after a long journey, only to find that the facilities were not available to guests until just before we would expect to be sitting down to pre-dinner drinks. The reason was that private swimming lessons were underway - I do find this highly unacceptable and something I have never experienced ever before anywhere in the world. When we did get in (the next afternoon), the facilities were slightly dated but perfectly ok and the sauna & steam room were fine.
By biggest issue was actually in an area that should have won some big points. We dined in the restaurant on the first evening, and it has to be said that the food was delicious. Everyone agreed that not only was it very good, but that it was terrific value for money. The down side was that the waiting time between courses was verging on extreme, which saw us wait for 45mins after ordering to receive our desserts. That might have been forgiveable if it weren't for the fact that diners were encouraged to eat early, and by 09:15, the 9 of us were the last guests in the restaurant.
Another bug bear was that the fabulous traditional victorian open lounge area with bar, did not have the bar open on the first two nights that we were there, and it only opened up when a huge party of 3 coaches turned up loaded primarily with Octogenarians, who then took up every seat in the said lounge. That said, there is an adjacent modern bar whcih can be entered from the hotel, and when a particular beed ran out, the barman volunteered to go to the other aforementioned bar to get my chosen beer from the barrel in use there - pretty good service in my book.
So all in all, we had a great time. This was a trip down memory lane for us as an extended family, taking my brother and I back more than 35 years to a series of happy holidays in Southport as children. The WiFi was good, service generally excellent, but a few points (particularly the Spa availability & restaurant service) which could be improved upon. Nevetheless, we thought our stay very good value for money and I would consider coming back to the hotel, but hope they've brushed up on a couple of things by then. less