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All reviews ivory room elegant rooms beautiful boutique hotel xmas market cathedral green bathroom facilities fabulous stay free standing bath exeter cathedral full length mirror minutes walk away comfortable bed little touches lovely room lovely atmosphere limited parking quiet area
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Reviewed 15 September 2018

My wife and I stayed here for one night, having brought our son who is starting at the University, in a nearby small room.
We had a very friendly welcome upon arrival around lunchtime, an offer of tea and were shown our rooms which looked good and spacious, although without a wardrobe. After exploring the nearby quay and even closer city centre, we were looking forward to dinner in the restaurant.

Dinner was a disappointment. The dining room is a nice old fashioned room, but the chairs are not very comfortable and perhaps partly due to it being half empty, there was no atmosphere. There were 2 nicely presented dishes on the table with softened and shaped butter for the bread. When the bread arrived, it comprised of 3 postage stamp sized toasted slices of a (admittedly delicious) mini-loaf. The waitress said "if you want some more butter, just ask" We replied straight away that we would need more bread not butter!

The menu was quite limited - the Seasonal menu has had 3 starters (one vegetarian), none of which appealed to any of us, so we went straight to the mains. There were 4 options: steak, belly pork, a T-Bone of Lemon sole, or a vegetarian option. Now i've eaten a few fish in my time, but I have yet to find one that possesses a T-bone, All we could assume was that this was less than a whole Lemon Sole, (and if it was a whole Lemon sole why not say so on the menu) so I opted for the Belly pork. My wife and son chose the steak off the very limited standard menu. The belly pork was a huge disappointment. Leaning towards novelle cuisine in trems of size and presentaion, it lacked flavour, there was no crispy crackling that you would expect with belly pork, a tiny amount of apple sauce, and no gravy, the whole thing was somewhat dry and very disappointing. The only option for vegetable accompaniments on offer were new potatoes or savoy cabbage for £3 extra - some glazed carrots, brocolli or green beans would have been very welcome - and we would have been happy to have paid the £3 extra for them. The steaks were the pretty good.

Desserts were priced steeply at £8-£9 each, but due to the lack of atmosphere, disappointing main courses, small portions and high prices, we decided to go for a walk in the city center, We went into the nearby Carluccio's and had a nice dessert and good coffee in a much better ambience with far more comfortable seats for about half the price. Southernhay have simply not got the restaurant right and it is no wonder it was half empty, when there is so much good competition nearby at lower prices..

The room turned out to be the biggest let-down however. After turning in at around 10.30, it was impossible to sleep due to noise (music and voices) form the bar area. I phoned reception who turned immediately down the music in the bar, but this hotel has poor sound insulation and the voices and sound of clatter just travel right through the ceilings to the rooms, coupled with single glazed sash windows and the chatter of people walking past, it wasnt until midnight that we had any silence.

The bed, whilst appearing very attractive, and with a very comfy Vi-Spring mattress, had a curved wrought iron headboard with huge gaps, which caused the way-too-soft pillows to fall down behind the mattress and through the gaps, so there was no way to retain decent support from the pillows, and made it equally uncomfortable to sit up in bed reading.There is no air conditioning, and heating was not on, - it wasn't exactly cold, but the room was definitely a couple of degrees below ideal, especially after stepping out of the lovely shower. For a "boutique" hotel, this just wasn't a way to get a good night's sleep in a cozy room.

There are sevarl good points, not least the location, a lovely breakfast and the fact that the staff are friendly and try hard - they offer to bring fresh milk to the room,for example. But due to the headboard and sound insulation, I would hesitate to return. If I did, I would book into an alternative restaurant for dinner,where I could choose from a menu with wider options.

Room Tip: Try asking if there is a quiet room
  • Stayed: September 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Elizabeth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deborah C, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 18 September 2018

Hi Elizabeth. Thank you for your extensive review. We take your comments (positive and negative) very much to heart as the holistic experience matters to us. We’re working our way through them now and seeing where we can improve. One point to make, if I may, is that Uni drop off (and to some extent graduation....it comes round very quickly!) can be tremendously stressful for parents and we all try extra hard to go the distance for you at this time. I’m sorry you felt aspects were not to your liking but I would hope that you will pop back over the next 3 years and get to know us.

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Reviewed 28 August 2018

I picked this hotel because of its location. It is only a five minute walk to the Cathedral. The hotel has the perfect combination of being a historical building but with wonderful new bedroom/bathrooms. Very comfortable. I am not a breakfast person but the breakfast here was I think the best that I have ever seen. Beautifully presented and lots of choice and a good price. If visiting Exeter this is well worth a look.

  • Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Susie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deborah C, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 29 August 2018

Thank you Susie, we’re very happy that you noted the historical and functional mix. I’m not a breakfast person either but sometimes.....I’m tempted. Your time in posting and your comments are appreciated.

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Reviewed 27 August 2018

Please do not bother eating here, there are far better places to eat in Exeter, that offer better quality food, better service, better value and management that are interested in feedback.. it has sadly seen better days

Stayed: July 2018, travelled with family
Thank Gavin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deborah C, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 29 August 2018

Gavin, Gavin, please can you move on from this? We get it; you didn’t like your celebration meal with us. We have also got all six of your posts on public forums (from FB to TA to booking.com) about your dissatisfaction. We’re truly, madly, sorry that your birthday meal wasn’t as anticipated and have tried to respond to your complaints. But please, breathe deeply and let it go now.

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Reviewed 22 August 2018

This review is on behalf of my very well travelled parents in law , to whom I had recommended this hotel . They wanted me to write a review for them as they had such a wonderful time. The service and staff on property were so welcoming and friendly and they were made to feel very at home when they arrived. The room, especially the bed and furniture were excellent and complimented the well cared for feeling in the whole hotel. Above all, their highest compliments went to the team that looked after them, who were all attentive without being intrusive and made their stay a real pleasure.

  • Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Kathrin C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
deborah c, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 August 2018

Dear Kathrin, you have also contacted us direct with these comments and so I sincerely appreciate your also taking the time to post in this forum. It was an absolute delight to welcome your parents in law here. Sally (who was the key Manager on duty during their stay) is especially happy and says that this is what makes her job so fab. A “well cared for feeling” is spot on what we are aiming to deliver. Many thanks.

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Reviewed 20 August 2018 via mobile

We were two couples staying 2 nights and we found all the staff (front desk, bar, dining room, cleaning) very helpful and pleasant. The decor is interesting and makes for good conversation. The "open plan" bathroom concept took a bit of getting used to and the hooks on the wall rather than a wardrobe means I would not stay for more than 2 nights. Parking was a bit of a pain. However, all in all, it was a unique stay that we enjoyed and we would recommend this hotel.

Stayed: August 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank LucyK1303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
deborah c, Owner at Southernhay House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 August 2018

Thanks Lucy, we enjoyed welcoming you all to the hotel. It’s absolutely true that we have hooks for hanging clothes rather than wardrobes (space being a premium, as well as listed building considerations). I’d suggest for longer stays taking a larger room, where we can supply a clothes rail. Bathrooms are all different, as several reviewers have mentioned. Please always ask us on booking if this is a concern or consideration; we’ll match you up!

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