Over the last couple of years, I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels across the country. Because you have a glamourous jet set lifestyle and are always travelling you may ask? Um… Well no… Because we have been through the first of our wedding phases (another is on its way in 2014) where every weekend seems to be a different wedding and requires an overnight stay in a remote part of the country.
Therefore we have stayed in various types of establishments from plush country manors, all low ceilings and wood beams, to cosy b&bs with home cooked breakfasts, right through to fast no service required Premiere Inns. Some we have been treated to a posh room by the bride and groom (I’ve been bridesmaid once, GB best man and usher a few times) others we’ve got discounted rates due to the group booking and some we have just treated ourselves to budgeting it into the cost of the wedding.
Of course what comes with staying in this many places, and with the prices not always correlating to the same standard, is that you lose sight somewhat of what you can actually realistically expect from a good budget hotel. (What do you mean it doesn’t have a freestanding jet spa bath? I paid 70 English pounds for this room!) so with our stay at The Ship Hotel I really put the ‘Can you expect luxury for under £100?’ query to the test.
Chichester is a fairly affluent area, being the home of Goodwood and the racing so finding a budget Hotel to begin with was tricky, The Ship Hotel was smack bang in the centre of town (unlike any of the others under £100) so I wasn’t expecting the cheaper price tag to equate to anything great but when I saw the photos online I was pleasantly surprised. Surely there was going to be a catch?
The Ship Hotel is located on North Street in central Chichester, just two minutes walk from the central cross and the hustle and bustle of the shops, Theatre and Cathedral. For us it was perfect as it meant that I could drop my stuff off in the morning when we first arrived, easily take in the sights throughout the day, and go out for a few drinks in the evening knowing that we didn’t have far to get back. There are cute pubs on either side, plenty of restaurants to choose from (I recommend Bill’s) and a couple of rather interesting furniture shops next door.
The Hotel itself was originally a Georgian Townhouse and has been revamped into a modern Hotel with 36 rooms all named after different admirals who would have stayed here while sailing the Channel, There is also a restaurant which serves a choice of inexpensive meals and a bar. The design has aimed to keep some of the original features, the large opulent staircase being the most evident one. Annoyingly while we were there, there was a number of boxes in the landing at reception so it was difficult to get the photos I had hoped for from the top of the staircase. Having sparked up a conversation with the manager on the Sunday before we left, we learned that they are due to expand the Hotel even more, and build an extension where the car park is now (hence the boxes, which held the new furniture for the rooms).
Having stayed in various Hotels I’ve developed a bit of a checklist as to what I look for when I first enter my room and it goes a little something like this… Is it clean? Is the bed comfy? What’s the bathroom like? Is the shower powerful? Can I make a cup of tea? Is there a full length mirror? All very important factors in an overnight stay I believe. Our room at The Ship was cosy and cute and ticked the majority of those boxes. The bed wasn’t overly comfortable – It was a double room but they had put two single beds together to create a double, something I know many Hotels do nowadays so that they can swap between a twin room and a double easily but a major bugbear of mine, it means what would be a comfy bed ordinarily, turns into one you both roll into the middle of all night. And although the bathroom was lovely, clean and offered miniature shampoo sets (yay!) the shower could have done with a bit more oomf! But these are really minor gripes – the room was nicely decorated with all mod cons, had a big wardrobe and a good sized full length mirror for me to practice making vine’s of my outfits (a must) and it was lovely and warm (nothing worse than being too cold).
Although we didn’t eat dinner at the Hotel the night before, we did have breakfast in the restaurant the next morning which was given a royal thumbs up from me as soon as I saw that they served boiled eggs and soldiers. The breakfast of champions in my opinion – it was cooked to perfection too with a runny yolk and hard white! We didn’t have to check out until 12pm and the staff were extremely friendly and agreed to keep our bags at reception to allow us time to enjoy the town before getting our train home.
Considering it’s location, The Ship Hotel is extremely good value. I booked on laterooms.com so managed to get a double room for one night with breakfast for £70 which I was happy to pay for the level of service we had received and the standard of the room. It’s the perfect setting, if like us you are only visiting Chichester for a weekend as you don’t need to travel further afield than the centre of town. All of the sights are within walking distance and anything you should need is to be found nearby. The staff are friendly, the rooms are well kept and the food is tasty. So can you find luxury for under £100?* In this case yes. Thanks to The Ship Hotel for a lovely stay.
You can find out more and book rooms at The Ship Hotel on their website here and also check out Number One Chichester if you are looking for something a little bit special (a separate private cottage adjoining the Hotel)
*Having looked at the website if you were to book a room direct rather than through a discount site it may be more than £100