The Maritime Hotel
Southwell Park, Portland, Dorset, UK, DT5 2NA
There's nothing like getting away from it all for the weekend, so when we see great deals on sites such as Travelzoo, Groupon and Wowcher, we Sassistas are quick to take advantage of these hot offers.
One such break was spent at The Maritime Hotel on the island of Portland near Weymouth in Dorset. Never having ventured past Chesil Beach, first time going on to the island was quite an eye opener. It’s not a big island (6km long by 2.7km wide) but there is so much there – we were expecting just the hotel, a castle, a couple of lighthouses and flocks of seagulls. How wrong we were (except for the seagulls!). Villages, churches, quarries, pubs and hotels nestle amongst the fields and on the clifftops, but there is still a sense of wildness and isolation. The weekend we visited was very windy and, being so exposed, we certainly had the cobwebs blown away.
The Maritime Hotel is set on top of the cliff just outside the village of Southwell overlooking Portland Bill and the island’s main lighthouse. A former weapons testing site during the Cold War, it’s façade is certainly imposing and unusual. Don’t be put off by the external images you will find online.
Inside it is beautifully decorated, modern, fresh and very comfortable and plush.
There were four of us in our party so we had two rooms, one being a Standard King room (room 329) which overlooked the car park and the other a Sea View King room (room 330). Both were pretty much identical, the sea view room being slightly larger and with the obvious benefit of the view, although the standard was plenty spacious enough. The beds were very comfortable, the bathrooms luxurious and designed well with a good powerful shower, and iron and ironing board and a decent hairdryer were supplied. The only slight negative was that the safe required a £20 returnable deposit so we didn’t actually bother to use it as we were staying just the one night.
The restaurant is set above the entrance area and has stunning views out towards the lighthouse and over the sea. We had a three course dinner included in our deal, and despite the hotel being fairly full, we were still able to get a table at our chosen time. The bar was busy, but again, we were able to get seats while waiting for our dining table.
The menu choice was fairly limited. To start there was salmon, calamari, tomato soup or terrine. Three of us had the salmon which was served flaked, in a cocktail sauce on a bed of salad greens which was very enjoyable and not too large so didn’t spoil our main course. One of us chose the tomato soup which certainly looked delicious and apparently also tasted good, if very ‘tomatoey’.
For our main course we had a choice of pork medallions, seabass, lasagne and a vegetarian option. We chose the pork medallions which were served on a mustard mash and with a mustard based sauce – although the mustard flavour did not come through and the dish as a whole could have had a bit more flavour and seasoning.
The dessert menu offered toffee apple crumble, toffee waffle cheesecake, pineapple upside down pudding, a lemon flavoured dish, ice creams and a very pricey cheeseboard. Both the toffee apple crumble and the cheesecake were delicious.
Breakfast the next morning was also good with the usual range of cereals, fruit, cooked breakfast and toast.
This is a bit of a quirky hotel and we would certainly recommend it for location, value, friendliness and comfort. The staff were lovely and helpful and nothing was too much trouble. If you really want some R&R the hotel also has a spa. It's also a delight for dog lovers as it's dog friendly and there are loads of great places to go walkies nearby. There are a couple of pubs just a 10 minute walk away if you fancy having a few drinks elsewhere – just be prepared – you may have to brave very strong winds!