Opened in October 2017, I had the pleasure of visiting Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa within it’s first month of opening. The hotel has introduced 5 star luxury design to the marina and with it’s nautical inspired interior concepts it still maintains a boutique feel.
One of my favourite things about the hotel, which I kept noticing throughout my stay was the little touches, that could be found all over the hotel as well as in the rooms. The Lonely Planet coffee table books, the lemon & cucumber water dispensers strategically placed on tables with nice views, I could imagine the designers walking around the hotel and noting where would be nice to sit…and what would our guests like to do when they sit there?
My magnificent room had some fantastic examples of these well thought out touches. There was the complimentary sherry & gin in Crystal glassware so elegant I had people messaging after I posted photos on Instagram stories saying they needed to know where they could get their own versions! There was The White Company toiletries & the delicious sweet treats & welcome pack left for my arrival, every aspect of the stay managed to find that difficult balance between maintaining top quality but still being cool.
My room also had fantastic views over the marina from it’s own personal terrace, and despite not visiting in the Summer, I made use of the winter blankets to sit out at midnight with a glass of Sherry and truly appreciate the tranquility of the area at night.
You might think that the staff knew I was a blogger and treated me differently, but from check in to leaving I noted how staff interacted with guests; everyone is important, everyone is an individual. From the barman who mixed a special cocktail to my tastes, to the staff member who turned up with a fresh duvet at 1am when I came in from my balcony and spilt a drink; every one went out of their way to make my stay that bit more comfortable and that bit more special. This even included an evening knock to ask if I would like a turn down service, after a quick google it turned out, yes I would like one, thank you.
Even without staying, the hotel is a top food & drink destination for the city, and I must admit I did take advantage of this. HarBAR on 6th is a stylish rooftop bar and eatery with views over the Solent. It’s trendy without being pretentious and as with every aspect of the hotel, a great deal of thought has gone into the individual pieces decorating the area, including an original welcome home flag displayed in the corner, and the Sailor Jerry artwork framed pictures.
We dined downstairs in the The Jetty restaurant, eating what my dining partner described as “one of the best meals he’s ever had.” Genuine quote. Award-winning Chef Patron Alex Aitken is a clear draw to the restaurant, it’s such a pleasure to see someone getting so much satisfaction from what they do. Despite the restaurant being fully booked he still took the time to speak to guests, delighting them with stories of his love for foraging and inspiration for the dishes. I had the pleasure of trying the tasting menu, in all it’s seven course glory, accompanied by a wine pairing including a De Wetshof Estate Bon Vallon Chardonnay which is so delightfully fruity and will most certainly be making an appearance in a wine glass near me again soon.
The ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible and the seafood dishes change depending on what is caught in the area by their trusted fishermen, but with the regional produce the courses also drew inspiration from Alex’s travels; a particular favourite of mine was the slow cooked pork belly with plump grilled prawns, lime & ginger sauce, with it’s nod towards Singaporean cuisine.
I went for a 40 min massage in the Spa area as well as testing out the sauna, steam room & relaxation room. Even my treatment was incredibly personalised with my masseuse discussing which oils I would like, how I’d like to feel after the treatment and her recommendations. Everytime I interacted with a staff member during my stay it felt like no request or query would be too awkward or too difficult to undertake.
For me, my stay was luxurious and exciting yet still relaxing, and is up there with one of the finest hotels I’ve stayed in worldwide. Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa is definitely setting the bar for 5* stays and I’m sure others will be rushing to keep up.