On an April morning in 1912, the goings-on at Southampton's The Grapes Public House distracted four crew members of the ill-fated Titanic. The lucky lads missed their sailing. The present-day hotels in this international cruise ship port, at the confluence of the rivers Itchen and Hamble 75 miles southwest of London, could work the same sort of magic. Their historic and luxurious accommodations might entice guests to extend their Southampton stays.
DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel
A glass-atriumed, four-star Automobile Association establishment, the DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel has 173 rooms and suites. A six-minute walk from waterfront Mayflower Park, the hotel has satellite TV, PlayStation and free Wi-Fi in all rooms. Upgraded rooms have balconies -- some with waterfront views -- robes, slippers and seating areas. Suites may include double balconies, Jacuzzis, designer toiletries and four-poster beds. Paid parking is available. Guests unwind with sessions at the fully equipped gym, heated indoor pool or on-site luxury spa. The glass-fronted No. 5 Restaurant transforms fresh, local ingredients into classic British cuisine with refreshing contemporary accents. The sun-filled Royal Bar and Atrium serves morning coffee and pastries, light lunches and dinners, and traditional afternoon tea.
Mercure Dolphin Hotel
Southampton's Mercure Dolphin Hotel is an English Heritage Grade II-listed establishment dating to the mid 15th century. Extensively refurbished in 2010, the hotel retains Georgian bow windows present when 18-year-old Jane Austen visited in the early 1800s. One of half-a-dozen ghosts may entertain today's patrons. The Dolphin’s 90 accommodations have flat-screen televisions. Upgraded rooms offer robes, designer toiletries and magazines. Wi-Fi is available for a fee. The hotel greets children with coloring books, crayons, stickers and candy. Paid parking is available; guests taking advantage of the hotel's Cruise Break park free for up to two weeks. The Signature Restaurant features international cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. Guests desiring quiet nights can request rooms away from the neighboring nightclub.
Accommodations with sleek, contemporary furnishings, broadband Internet access (fees apply in some rooms) and a fitness center with heated indoor pool await guests of the Novotel Southampton. The pet-friendly (fees apply) hotel accepts two children younger than 16 at no charge sharing a room with two adults. Kids also get free breakfast when eating with two paying adults. Paid parking is available. Elements Restaurant serves dinners of international cuisine. The bar offers lighter meals and snacks. The three-star AA hotel is a two-minute drive from the West Quay Shopping Center. Mayflower Park and the Harbour are four minutes away.
White Star Tavern
The five-star AA White Star Tavern, a one-minute stroll from the Grapes Public House, has boutique accommodations on Southampton's Oxford Street. Surrounded by quaint shops, the Tavern has four upstairs rooms. Standard amenities include Egyptian cotton bed linens, roll-top baths with luxury toiletries, over-sized towels, stocked mini-bars, bottled water, cookies and complimentary Wi-Fi. Paid, off-site parking is available behind the hotel. The hotel’s two-rosette AA restaurant serves organic, seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Seared Shetland scallops with Spanish black pudding and celeriac puree is a typical dinner entree.
- Queen Mary 2 image by P-FJessulat from Fotolia.com