Had a ‘getaway’ weekend. Stayed in Southampton overnight. Booked the De Vere Grand Harbour via Hotels.com. When we got there, the wind was blowing a fearsome gale, and dark clouds threatened overhead. We were glad to get inside. There was a wedding going on in one of the function rooms, it was very busy. We got to our room, then went down to the atrium bar for a while, it started to rain hard, so didn’t venture out into town to look around.
The huge glass triangle at the front of the hotel houses the atrium bar, and we watched the foliage outside being blown to pieces. We had a meal in the hotel restaurant. It wasn’t cheap but it was incredibly tasty and beautifully presented. Well worth it. However, I felt the room standard let the place down a bit. The bed wasn’t very comfortable, the duvet seemed cheap and a bit heavy. The loo paper was just the sort that our office supply has, bargain basement. The bathroom door didn’t shut properly. There was also a noticeable lack of attention to the dust build up around the various model ships on display in the public areas – just how hard is it to find cleaners who can do their job? Or may be its the supervisors that fall down on the job. The worst let-down was the lifts. There are 3, one glass one that comes down into the Atrium, and 2 on the other side. One of the 3 was out of action, on a weekend when the hotel was full. The other, for some reason or other gave out a verbal notice that it was overloaded when there were only six people in it – 13 was the limit – and refused to move until people got out. So spent ages waiting for the lift, going up to come down, and when we didn’t have any luggage, doing the stairs. Shame, considering the price of the rooms. The staff were super though.
We did have a nice view from our room, overlooking the harbour. The Holiday Inn was opposite and we could see one of the several huge cruise ships moored up.
Cruise ship at Southampton Docks and clouds looming.
The cruise ship left the dock before the light went, and I didn’t envy anyone sailing in those conditions.
On Saturday evening after our meal we went to Hamble le Rice for a gig by Ben Dlugokecki and his band. It was very popular, standing room only. Enjoyed the event. I think its a shame he isn’t more widely known.
I only took my Samsung compact EX1 with me, and it performed pretty well. I even got some video footage. Shine On Ben!
There was supposed to be a Waterlitz free event over the weekend, but the storm and winds on Saturday meant it couldn’t go ahead. On Sunday morning, after a super buffet breakfast, we went up to it (we could see the container man from the hotel bedroom) and I got a shot of it.
The show apparently went ahead on Sunday evening, but we had returned home. A report in a local paper seemed to indicate that the show had mixed reviews, some people stayed despite the rain, others were baffled and less than enthusiastic. Shame, it it had been on Saturday evening we could have seen it and drawn our own conclusions.
The free extravaganza, by a French theatre company, lit up the skies over Southampton Water after sunset – but the audience of thousands that braved the rain was left divided.
Some hailed it as a great show, if a little bizarre. Many were left baffled, and others went home early deriding it as rubbish.
On Sunday, we went to Beaulieu Motor Museum. It was only a short journey, part of it through the New Forest. The weather gods smiled on us, it was a fabulous day. Beaulieu was packed, there was a custom hotrod show and a custom motorbike show in addition to all the other displays. Had plenty of eye candy to enjoy.
Just one of the vehicles. It was decked out inside, super paint job outside. The live music by a Beach Boys tribute band added to the holiday feel. I can’t help but feel that most of these cars hardly ever see the roads – most of them are too low to the ground to be able to negotiate the many ‘traffic calming’ road humps. Mind you, it was apparent that Southampton has the most traffic lights of any city in Europe, and far more traffic lights than road humps.
Its probably obvious that I am attracted to the red cars! Beaulieu has a ruined abbey and a mansion. There’s a lot to see. I didn’t know that in WWII Beaulieu was one of the secret places where they trained SOE operatives for covert missions in occupied Europe. There was a special exhibition about that which was worth exploring. The Motor Museum houses all sorts of vehicles. There is a James Bond-themed exhibition including some of the beaten up and wrecked vehicles from the films, as well as some of the water and underwater vehicles. We had a ride on the overhead monorail and enjoyed the Top Gear show with a selection of the nutty projects from the shows – and on that bombshell I’ll say gooodbye until next time …