Once again we were welcomed into the bosom of the establishment by the staff, duly checked in and pointed in the direction of our room (we clearly looked the types to be able to find our own way there as there wasn't any offerings of a show-around).
Our room was just splendid, if not just a touch generic ... but after The Manor, that was something of a welcome relief. Cool, muted colours and all the necessities were present and correct, so we were perfectly comfortable.
What we liked about our time at The Royal, most honestly, was the people. We've rarely been welcomed so fervently anywhere we've reviewed (or stayed!), and we do get around a fair bit!
The folks we encountered at The Royal were courteous, helpful and smiley ... very smiley! Maybe we've been city living for too long, but it seems that the smiles were abundant, and possibly even, dare we say it, mandatory? But, saying that, they seemed genuine. You can definitely tell that the staff like to work at The Royal.
When we stayed, the hotel was hosting a Vintage Weekend. So, to our utter delight we were duty-bound to dress in retro garb for cocktails and dinner. How utterly spiffing! My darling man looked a picture in his tail coat and white dickie bow, and I managed to not embarrass him too thoroughly with my attempts at 40s glamour, too.
The Royal is renowned for its food, having row upon row of awards displayed proudly around the foyer. Now, I'm afraid to say that I struggled a little with my food. Whilst my fresher-than-fresh lobster Thermidor starter was definitely worth dying for, I'm afraid that I didn't strike gold with the rest of my meal. However, it's of note that my dining companions had far better luck, and all that I spoke to could do nothing short of rave about the culinary delights they had encountered. I genuinely think I was just a touch unlucky, and having spoken at length to notorious island food bloggers Matt and Cat, who take their reviewing SO seriously they only do it in secret and have never accepted a freebie in their lives, I can safely conclude that my misfortune was an isolated incident.
In no way did the food put any sleight on my evening ... not least because between courses we were utterly delighted by a fantastic young, debonair sleight-of-hand magician. He was marvellous, and we were duly marveled.
The rest of our time at The Royal passed in a splendid haze of good company, appropriate music and glorious port. So, that's why I have to admit to it being something of a haze. Hehe.
Would I return to the Royal Hotel? Absolutely. If you're looking for a larger-scale hotel on the island that will treat you like family, then you've found it in The Royal. We had a darling time and are, as we speak, planning our next venture across the waters.
Rooms at The Royal start from £175 per room off peak, £195 peak season per room. All images are our own or taken from The Royal Hotel's website. Our stay at The Royal Hotel was complimentary but this ahas in no way affected our review.
Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy with Red Funnel. Vehicle Ferries run regularly around the clock from Southampton, which is within easy reach of the M3 and M27. Return Red Funnel Vehicle Ferry travel to the Isle of Wight starts at £35 for a day trip. For further information and reservations call Red Funnel on 0844 844 9988 or visit www.redfunnel.co.uk