Southampton Harbour Hotel
With a super chic aesthetic that has dashes of the Hamptons, here's what you need to know about Southampton Harbour Hotel - the city's only 5* spot.
I love the countryside, honestly, I do, but sometimes I still yearn for the glittering lights and hubbub of city life. So, when the opportunity to take a look around Southampton’s only 5* hotel came up, I grabbed my stilettos and off I trotted.
The luxury Southampton Harbour Hotel opened in 2017 to a lot of excitement – both locally and nationally. Part of the Harbour Hotel group (particularly known for its yachty/nautical themed locations across the south of the UK) the hotel’s super modern design and location in the trendy Ocean Village area of the city, meant it quickly became a destination spot for the well-heeled cosmopolitan types of Hampshire and beyond.
With 117 rooms, a luxury spa and wellness centre, cinema room, award-winning restaurant and its own rooftop bar, you could easily head for a city break here and not actually need to leave the hotel.
Modern is the buzzword here. With dazzlingly white interiors and huge glass walls throughout the hotel, there’s a glowy, bright feeling throughout – even on the rainiest of days.
The architecture of the building also has a decidedly marine feel to it, with the hotel itself designed to resemble a super-yacht. You definitely get an ambience of a super trendy London hotel here, but the whole place feels decidedly unpretentious and accommodating, whatever walk of life you’re from.
The rooms here really are rather gorgeous. Super contemporary, with bright touches (the orange is daring, but a stroke of genius in the design stakes) there’s also a range of wonderful buttons to dim the lights and set the mood. Oooh errr!
On arrival guests are greeted with some complimentary gin and sherry (big tick right there), 400 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy robes and even some very interesting reading material.
If you really want to push the boat out (ho ho!) then take the chance to stay in one of the 10 suites the hotel has (split into Marina or Deluxe types), each one has with its very own balcony overlooking the marina where you can see yachts coming and going throughout the day.
One of the big draws to the hotel is its impressive spa facilities and I certainly know a few local celebs are members of the gym here. The spa has seven treatment rooms, lap pool, hydrotherapy pool, mud rasul, sauna, and steam room, with both an indoor and outdoor relaxation area topped off with a juice bar (that also serves gin, yes!)
My neck and shoulder massage (£65 for 40-minutes) was just what the doctor ordered. With the quiet sound of seagulls and waves in the background (no cliche whale music here) and a heated massage table, I came out of the treatment a good few inches taller than when I walked in, and a lot more relaxed.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The food here was an absolute highlight of my stay. The hotel has two options for dining on-site, the award-winning seafood offerings of The Jetty and the more relaxed HarBar on 6th. Opting for The Jetty, headed up by renowned local chef Alex Aitken, I was not disappointed.
The restaurant itself was lit beautifully (you know the kind that makes every selfie look magical), and the staff were attentive, personable and incredibly knowledgable.
Very much on the seafood theme, I started with a few Poole Bay Oysters served with Champagne and Caviar. They were absolutely delicious and even my dining companion, who is usually suspicious of the famous molluscs, declared them ‘incredible’.
Following that, I chose a starter of Jetty Sashimi (above) which came with sea bass, tuna, scallop and salmon, accompanied with wasabi, miso, ginger and fennel kimchi. The fish was incredibly fresh and melted in the mouth, absolutely nailing the concept of how sashimi should be.
For my main, I chose whole roasted Sea Bream with chilli and garlic served with greens and Beurre Blanc. Sea Bream is one of my all-time favourite foods and this was particularly excellent. The Beurre Blanc was rich but didn’t overpower the delicate flavour of the bream, and the greens were doused in butter (the best way to serve kale in my book) and went with the dish perfectly.
The dessert menu was brought and while the ‘Oops! I’ve Dropped My Ice-Cream’ sounded amazing, we were far too full to partake.
When it came to drinking the selection was super eclectic and downright quirky, with a Greek wine that had a bouquet of fresh basil and a dessert wine that came from, of all places, Canada.
After dinner, we popped for a nightcap at HarBar on 6th, and enjoyed Isle of Wight Mermaid Gin and a good old boogie with the young and beautiful of Southampton before retiring.
OUT AND ABOUT
Being a city location, you’re pretty spoilt for choice of things to do here. If you’re after a sneaky shopping trip you’re not too far away from nearby West Quay which has a decent selection of shops including John Lewis and the Apple store.
For culture, then definitely worth checking out is the recently opened God’s House Tower. This ancient church has been converted into a contemporary art gallery with some fascinating exhibits from local talent. There’s also the Southampton branch of the super-trendy Hants bakery, Hoxton Bakehouse, inside for a cheeky little pastry on your stroll.
If you fancy jumping in the car and exploring a little bit outside of the city limits, you’re a mere stone’s throw from the New Forest and the Red Funnel ferry terminal over to the Wight is just a couple of minutes drive away.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
GOOD FOR: A city break without heading into the Big Smoke, a romantic occasion for couples or a place to go for a girly weekend of shopping, eating and getting into mischief. Also, if you don’t fancy staying the whole weekend, the rooftop bar and restaurant is the perfect antidote to the chain restaurants nearby.
NOT FOR: Traditional country vibe seekers – this is sleek, modern, and achingly city-chic.
THE DAMAGE: Foodwise it’s pretty good value with starters at The Jetty hovering around the £8 mark, mains at around £25 and around about the £8 for dessert. An overnighter here will set you back around £240 for a small, cosy double right up to £555 for one of the Deluxe Marina View Suites. Expensive, but you’re getting 5* here so it’s worth the splurge.
Southampton Harbour Hotel, 5 Maritime Walk, Southampton SO14 3QT. Tel: 023 8110 3456