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Reviewed 28 June 2018

I chuckled when reading other reviews, as I recognised similar issues. This is an amazing place from the point of view of historical interest and well worth a visit just for the experience. Our room was great and we didn’t have any mould. However the food/catering doesn’t justify the price. We had a discount voucher and if we’d paid full price it would have been upsetting. The ‘sumptuous’ buffet lunch was late and we were very hungry. It was nice but not huge & was served in a small alcove so although we were only 16 people there was a lot of queuing. We had to guess what one dish was (warm chicken curry) as no-one told us & it wasn’t labelled. The crusts on the bread were tooth-breakers which gave us a laugh. There was no dessert, but afternoon tea was accompanied by precisely 16 little cakes. Again very nice but the cakes arrived before the tea/coffee & weren’t covered so it was ‘watch the fly’. Dinner was preceded by an appetiser but it was a bowl of pea soup with a piece of haddock in it & as it was served in the lounge bar it was a precarious operation. At the table the starter was the deconstructed ham, egg & chips. The ham terrine & poached egg were excellent but the chips let it down. They were hand made veg crisps which could have been lovely but were burnt & limp. The main course was also mixed - we had a really beautiful piece of steak on a disc of smoked mash, but the only accompaniment was a pile of sweetcorn, which looked as if the chef had just opened a tin. However, the dessert of berry soufflé was delicious. The fire pit was a great idea but the smoke was unbearable after a while. Other guests told us they’d complained about the scum and dead flies in the hot tub, so that hadn’t been sorted following previous reviews. At breakfast, as per another review, we were given menus then told at the ordering stage there were no pancakes. Why didn’t the chef make some? We were given burnt brown toast without being offered another option, then they said they’d run out of bread. This was astonishing considering the regular boat trips & staff being shipped on and off the Fort. Perhaps I’m being very nit-picky but these problems made the trip poor value for money, even at a considerably reduced rate. The waiting/bar staff were charming, intelligent young people but often seemed ‘all at sea’ when with a bit of training and guidance they would have been a lot more confident and efficient. We had a great time, but PLEASE get your act together!!!

Stayed: June 2018, travelled with friends
3  Thank Liz S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2018

Booked this as an anniversary treat for hubby, an engineer and it didn't disappoint. Fabulous weather no doubt helped but we had an amazing time. Celine, ( manager) Tilly Rose, Anisa, Jack and the lovely chef (sorry no name) were wonderful and catered to our every need. Our room (Captain Cook) was fab and we drifted off for a really good night's sleep, listening to the waves outside.
Food was great and plentiful. Any little issue was promptly dealt with.
Previous reviews talked about mould in the rooms, yes a little but you are out in the middle of the sea!!
We had use of the hot tub and fire pit and several games' rooms.
The one downside was that despite having asked specifically at the Solent Fort's office they failed to mention that our car park should have been issued by them for £15 rather than pay at the car park which was £23.
However we would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. Look for offers though as you can pay less than the website.
All in all a fantastic stay and so different.

Stayed: June 2018
1  Thank Belinda A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2018

We have just returned from our visit to Spitbank Fort and I wanted to write and thank Abby - our Host/Manager for the evening.
She did an exceptional job of making us feel welcomed and thoroughly spoilt!!

We arrived and checked in on GunWharf Quay and then were sent away until 11:50 when we reconvened on the dock. We were very fortunate with the weather but in inclement weather this wouldn't have been very pleasant. I was surprised that Solent Forts don't offer an area with tea/coffee or restrooms for you to wait.
There were a lot of people gathered at the gate - as some were going on other boat trips around the harbour, and then our boat was called and this was for both forts and day trippers to the fort.
The journey was great but people with mobility issues may find transferring in and out of the boat tricky.
We were greeted, warmly, as we arrived with a glass of Kir Royale and welcomed by Kyle, the manager. he was lovely and very informative. We were given approx 1/2 hour to roam before we met in the bar. Kyle did a fantastic job of telling us the history surrounding the fort and showing us around. It was fascinating.
Then lunch was a small buffet with communal tables - luckily we met some very lovely people - which definitely made the stay even more enjoyable.
Following lunch we found our rooms which were HUGE and well appointed and as the weather was beautiful we sat in the hot tub. As some reviewers have mentioned it was slightly scummy ( probably due to all the suncream) and there weren't any bubbles. But there was a bell to summon the bar service which was amazing!! They even bought us tea and cakes ( as per other reviews - the cake was very dry and a bit of a disappointment)
Time flew and suddenly it was time to meet in the bar for pre dinner drinks and canapés.
The meal was lovely - we had goats cheese salad , seabass and creme brûlée before we went to the fire pit with rum and marshmallows.
Abby looked after us brilliantly - it was this personal service which made us feel special, and we will definitely be returning, and recommending it to friends. Abby even arranged a plate of cheese for us to enjoy around the fire.
The next morning breakfast was served at 8:30 and we departed the fort by 10:30.
We had a lovely experience and wanted to stay for another night as one just didn't seem long enough.
A few tweaks that I felt could have improved our stay would have been if we both bars had been staffed all the time- which ever bar we went to a sign always stated that it was closed but the other one was open and there are a steep flight of steps between them. We didn't manage to get a drink at the crow's nest with it's beautiful views which was disappointing. Also in the morning after breakfast a flask of hot water where we could have made coffees/teas to enjoy whilst we waited an hour for the boat to pick us up.
I do so hope that Abby and Kyle will be there next time we come!! Thank you so much for making our trip so enjoyable!

  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank Anna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2018

We had booked a one night overnight stay at Spitbank as part of my husband's 65th birthday celebrations.

We checked in at the Solent Forts office at about 10.40 am and were then free to roam until 11.50 when we were told to be back to board our boat. We duly returned at the appointed time, but did not actually board the boat until 12.15 pm. Having already given out names in at the office, we were then called forward en masse to give our names at the entry of the gang plank. As there were probably about 100 people waiting to board, I felt that this could have been done more efficiently, perhaps with the use of boarding cards?

The journey over was uneventful and on arrival we were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, which was very pleasant. Our overnight bags had been taken from us, so we just had our hand luggage with us. It would have been nice to be able to put this in our room on arrival, but we were not able to do this until much later in the afternoon.

Shortly after our arrival we were offered a tour of the fort. We were split into two groups, those that were staying overnight, and the day visitors. Those that didn't want to take part in the tour were able to go an watch the very importand England match in the Crow's Nest bar. Our group was led by Marie-Claire, a very bubbly and informative host, who seemed to know her stuff - although the other group, led by Kyle, seemed to have a longer tour, so I did wonder whether they were given more information than us - but it is probably just because the group was so much bigger.

Timings seemed to be quite fluid onboard the fort, and lunch, which was due to be served at 1.45 pm was probably nearer to 2.30 pm. It was pleasant, although the roast dinner could have done with being quite a bit hotter.

We were supposed to have tea and cake during the afternoon, but due to the lateness of lunch we didn't get this, although several of us asked, as we had been looking forward to it. Answers varied from - we're just getting it ready - to - we're going to serve it with your dinner. It turned out that it was served with dinner, but it was really nothing to write home about (it was just a small chocolate brownie which was really quite dry), and we would have expected a dessert with dinner anyway.

Dinner was a buffet of beef stroganoff and a meat and fish platter, which was fine.

We spent the evening socialising with the other guests. We looked at going into the hot tub, but weren't really sure how clean it was, as others have said, it had a few insects floating in it and a film of what I can only suppose was other guests' suncream on top, so we decided to give it a miss.

Marshmallows were available at the fire pit, and some guests were given a tot of rum to have with their marshmallows, but we weren't the lucky ones there :(

Our room was lovely (Admiral Milne suite) and we were fortunate to have a fan, not all rooms had these. My husband slept very well, but I didn't, but that wasn't the Fort's fault! I got up at 4.30 am and went to watch the sunrise, which was well worth doing.

We meet for breakfast at 8.30 am and I decided to have the pancakes with bacon. I was disappointed to be told, when my order was being taken, that there were no pancakes available. I feel that we should have been told this when being given the menus, as once you have chosen your food it is ingrained in your mind, and that is what you really want! I went instead for the full English breakfast, which was very nice. There were also cereals and croissants available, although we had to ask for jam, and by the time this came out, the croissant had been eaten.

We then had an hour or so to wait until the boat came to collect us and take us back to Portsmouth.

My biggest gripe about this trip was the parking. On check in, I presented my ticket, only to be told that the company do not offer discounted parking. I was sure that I had read that they did, and told them that, but they said that they used to, but they don't any more. I wasn't certain if I had seen it on the website or on a Trip Advisor review, so didn't pursue it, but was not happy to find, when talking to other guests, that they had been given parking discount.

I went and asked again on returning to Gunwharf and was given it. I asked why I had been refused the previous day and was told that they used to offer it but too many people took them up on it, so they have withdrawn the offer. I asked why some were given it and not others, and they said that as the Fort staff had told people to claim it, they were having to honour it. I pointed out that it was still showing on their website, but they said that it wasn't - it used to be, but not any more.

However, it is still showing there today!

So, all in all a very pleasant stay, but I would have expected more for the amount that it cost.

  • Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Aileen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2018 via mobile

My partner and I spent an overnight stay on Spitbank Fort last week having previously been to the bigger sister Fort, No Mans Fort, last year. The comparison was inevitable and it would have been better had we done the two visits the other way round.

Everything went smoothly from registering at the Solent Ports Office at 11.30am to arriving at Spitbank around 12.15pm where we were greeted by staff with trays of bubbly.

The young gentleman in charge gave a very good tour and talk about this small folly which was never used in battle but had all the necessary equipment at the time.

The staff were very helpful and went out of their way to help.

Coming to facilities, being that much smaller than No Mans Fort meant that there was no shop, entertainment area or beauty spa and the fishing equipment was severely limited. There were no flies, the hooks had no barbs so we couldn’t catch any fish and only one reel was usable - a great disappointment as we had enjoyed this so much on No Mans Fort and took our catch home for supper the next day.

The room we had was nice, clean and big enough but again in comparison the room at No Mans was superior.

The buffet lunch was very good and the evening meal was “different”. The full English breakfast was a little disappointing as the poached egg tasted strongly of vinegar, the bacon was smoked and hard and the sausage was solid meat and not succulent at all. I had to give mine away.

During our stay we had 6 diet cokes and 3 brandies and the charge was just over £30.

Overall this was an expensive overnight stay and slightly disappointing but the views were spectacular.

Stayed: June 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Valerie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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