I came across the Botleigh Grange Hotel by accident. We were about to celebrate my uncle's 90th birthday at a restaurant in Botley and needed an overnight stay. Botleigh Grange appeared on my search engine results as reasonably priced and close to our destination. It is an historic, well appointed, country house hotel in its own grounds less than 8 miles by car from the centre of Southampton. The original parts of the building date back to the reign of Charles 1, and Oliver Cromwell not only stayed there, but was great friends with the owner.
To be honest, my expectations of the hotel were not great. The trip advisor reviews were very mixed and their breakfast inclusive rate for a double room was very inexpensive. We paid £68 for both of us. We were very pleasantly surprised to discover that this was such a great hotel. I then found out that they also offered 21 nights free parking and a taxi to Southampton as part of one of their cruise packages. Alternatively, guests who do not need parking can simply book into the hotel and arrange their own transport. Obviously their rates vary, according to demand, but, if you are seeking an out of town venue, I would definitely recommend including this hotel in your searches for a pre-cruise stay.
So what can I tell you about this hotel?
The rooms are spacious and well furnished, albeit with older furniture in keeping with the decor. We had a standard double room, and there was plenty of space.
The bed was extremely comfortable, and there was a traditional, but spacious ensuite bathroom.
During our stay, the main restaurant was closed, but there was a bar menu which served a quality menu of freshly cooked food.
The inclusive breakfast consisted of a continental buffet and cooked English. It was freshly prepared and served by friendly and efficient staff. I was particularly impressed with the wide corridors and ample public spaces, although I imagine the hotel would feel much busier when hosting a wedding or conference.
The lifts appeared large enough for guests with mobility problems, and there was a portable ramp to cover the few steps in the internal porch, if needed. I didn't get a chance to try out the spa, but its use (though not treatments) was included in the cost, and the pool looked very inviting.
The rear patio contained well lit tables and chairs with heaters.
The hotel campus was accessed from an imposing long drive with fields of horses on either side, and the adjacent business parks were well landscaped and tucked behind hedging and trees. We were delighted by the two large lakes at the back of the hotel gardens.
So if you are looking for an 'out of town' pre-cruise stay with a bit of historic personality that won't break the bank, then go online and check out the Botleigh Grange Hotel. It definitely exceeded our expectations.