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Hillside Hotel 3.5

Ventnor, Isle of Wight, England

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Review Summary

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  • Set in a charming 18th-century house with literary history
  • Located just outside quaint Victorian resort of Ventnor
  • Hillside location overlooking the English Channel
  • Immaculately presented minimalist interiors
  • Extensive collection of modern art and sculpture
  • Bathrooms have under-floor heating and luxury toiletries
  • Most rooms have lovely sea views
  • Free full cooked breakfast (though only in one-hour window)
  • Fine dining on-site from homegrown and local produce


  • Overly rigid rules and timetables
  • Minimalist interiors can feel cold
  • No children under 12 allowed (a pro for some)
  • Beds can feel small

Bottom Line

The 12-room Hillside Hotel is an upscale, guesthouse-style hotel occupying a charming thatched-roof country house on a hillside overlooking the Isle of Wight resort of Ventnor. Interiors are striking with pristine white minimalism punctuated by numerous splashes of modern art -- but while the feel is high-end and service attentive, the hotel's rigid rules and timetables can be a little trying. However, sea views from most rooms and the lovely peaceful gardens are superb, and while rates are high by any standards, the property has got something a little more special than most. 

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Charming thatched-roof Georgian villa with immaculately presented art collection

The Hillside Hotel occupies a grand but charming Georgian villa built from local stone and topped with a quaint thatched roof. It was purpose-built as a hotel at the turn of the 18th century; the poet John Sterling was once a resident and often visited by such esteemed writers as Thackeray and Dickens. The property is more about art than literature nowadays, featuring an extensive private art collection of largely contemporary Scandinavian paintings and sculptures as well as some pieces by local artists. Colorful abstract works stand out against pristine white walls and are complemented by elegant Danish furnishings and natural wood floorboards. The guesthouse's minimalist interiors are maintained immaculately by the Danish and English owners, though they do insist on rules to ensure they're kept as such. A sweeping staircase leads up to the rooms, while a sunny rear conservatory opens up to a lovely garden with woodland and sea views. The atmosphere is refined and peaceful. 


Hillside setting just outside Victorian resort of Ventnor on the Isle of Wight's southeastern coast

The hotel is set on a hillside just outside of the town of Ventnor on the southwest coast of the Isle of Wight. The property backs onto picturesque National Trust land at the foot of St Boniface Down while it is a five- to 10-minute walk into the Victorian seaside resort's with its bric-a-brac shops, tea rooms, and its unusually mild micro-climate. It's just over a half-hour drive from East Cowes -- the island's northern ferry terminal with connections from Southampton. Alternatively bus services connect via Newport and take around an hour. 


Rooms with extra comfy bedding, under-floor bathroom heating, and sea views -- but strictly no drinks

The hotel's white minimalist interior design also extends to the 12 bedrooms, which feature woolen carpets, elegant Danish lighting, and colorful contemporary artworks. Bedding is particularly comfy with Vi-Spring mattresses, crisp white linen, and goose-down pillows and duvets -- though beds might feel a little small for some. Free Wi-Fi extends to all rooms and bathrooms provide under-floor heating, heated towel rails, and good quality toiletries. There are no in-room tea/coffee facilities or minibars -- in fact no drinks are allowed in the rooms. Most windows look out over the pretty gardens with sea views in the distance. In addition to the main building, adjacent Hillside Stables and Hillside 30PS in town provide apartment accommodation for a family or small group.


Excellent breakfast, fine dining, and evening drinks -- all to a rigid timetable

The Hillside Hotel provides an excellent continental or full cooked breakfast each morning that is included in the rate and can be enjoyed overlooking the garden -- though it's only a one-slot and finishes early. Its Hillside Restaurant offers fine dining with a Modern European menu with Scandinavian touches and includes ingredients grown in their own gardens -- though dinner is only served at a specified hour. Guests can enjoy drinks in the lounge or newspaper room -- though only after a certain time -- and while they both have log-burning fires the ambience is urbane rather than cozy. 

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151 Mitchell Avenue, Ventnor PO38 1DR, United Kingdom

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