One of our favourite travel destinations on this planet is the Isle Of Wight. It has so much to offer a family and for us in particular, it is less than 3 hours from door to stepping foot on the island.
We have tried to spend once every year on the island for many years now and it’ll definitely be a long term tradition that we do. This year we went in August and enjoyed incredible weather (I’m still catching up with those blogs posts… oops!).
Then a few companies invited us over to review their Christmas experiences. Of course with restrictions, we had concerns that this wouldn’t be able to take place. But thankfully travel for work is allowed and obviously, I can’t do my work from home. So we bundled the car and off we went.
One of the companies involved in making our trip happen was Premier Inn hotels. They kindly gifted us a three-night stay in their Premier Inn Isle Of Wight Sandown (Merrie Gardens). This is specifically my review for our hotel stay and the Christmas experiences will be coming very soon!
This hotel is located just 20 minutes from the Wightlink Ferry terminal close to Sandown beach. Specifically, the hotel is right next door to a KFC restaurant, Merrie Gardens pub & restaurant, a Morrisons and ALDI supermarket.
I had some concerns about it being located in a bit of an industrial area of shops, but actually, we had a peaceful stay with no traffic noise. Our room overlooked the KFC drive-thru but we couldn’t hear anything either.
One of the fabulous things about the Isle Of Wight is that it never takes longer than about 40 minutes to get somewhere. So although it’s initially super close to Sandown beach, it is also close to all beaches on the island.
Of course, there’s also loads of fun attractions to do or see whilst there. I will say that the island is quite seasonal. Most things are only open during school holidays or weekends during the winter so make sure to plan ahead.
As with all Premier Inn hotels, the check-in time is from 2pm. We arrived at around 5 pm. There was one man ahead of us and we waited in a socially distanced queue.
I was pleased to see that they asked for guests to wear masks in communal areas (corridors, the restaurant and lobby) and they had provided hand sanitiser too. The check-in desk had plastic screens up to protect the staff.
The lady assisting us with check-in was polite and sorted our key cards out. It was quite a basic check-in, she didn’t let us know of any safety procedures but did hand us a piece of paper which had everything you needed to know listed. Ultimately, all you need is a key card and to be pointed in the right direction to your room.
I will say that this was the only time that we ever saw anyone at the reception desk area.
We’ve stayed in a lot of hotels over the years. Most hotels only allow four guests in a room and as a family of five, we have always found it quite tricky to stay in the UK. Especially now that our daughters are each needing their own beds.
Usually, to get around this, we have to book two rooms and our family splits between them. This is obviously so inconvenient and so usually we’ll end up in an Airbnb instead.
I had absolutely no idea that some Premier Inn hotels have interconnecting rooms available. All you have to do is phone them up to check if they have them and get booked in. The Isle Of Wight Sandown (Merrie Gardens) had an interconnecting room available and it has absolutely changed our hotel experience.
The hotel room had everything you could need- a kingsize bed with a single bed, a desk area with TV, the bathroom had a bath with shower overhead and shampoo/shower gel, towels, hairdryer and plenty of storage space. A kettle was provided with mugs, tea/coffee and sugars/milk. I’m still so sad that hotels never provide hot chocolate but I thought ahead and took our own. I found it slightly odd that only two glasses and mugs were provided in each room despite it sleeping three or four people.
For us the best bit was that there were two rooms identical.
This gave us all the space to move about. Our daughters had their own space to spread out, get their toys out and make “hotel suitable” noise. Hubby and I didn’t need to hide away in the bathroom at night waiting for the girls to fall asleep. I know this will be too familiar to those who have children.
We all slept so well during our stay, something that never happens. Elsa in particular always feels quite unsettled during hotel stays but this one went smoothly. She enjoyed sharing a bed with her big sister most.
As part of their COVID measures, the usual maid service has changed slightly. You have to request if you would like them to come into your room and clean, otherwise, your room is your room for the duration of your stay. Everything was absolutely spotless when we arrived which put our minds at rest.
We had three nights, and on the second morning, I felt like I wanted to have the towels changed, bins freshened up and beds made. I tried to find a staff member in the morning, but there was nobody available despite me pressing a button for assistance. I did wait around for about ten minutes but nobody showed so I just decided to not worry and leave our room as it was for that last night.
As I said earlier, I never saw a member of staff in the Reception area throughout our stay or any cleaning staff actually. They were clearly little magical elves working away as everywhere was spotless!
However, there was definitely staff in the breakfast restaurant which we’ll move on to now…
I’m not entirely sure what to call this area. It’s laid out like a restaurant, but isn’t because it isn’t open all day long. Just for breakfast – the most important meal of the day of course!
We had been kindly gifted breakfast for all three mornings of our stay. You can book in advance as part of your stay or book when you arrive at the hotel and pay on the morning.
When we checked in on the Friday, the staff member asked us what time we’d like to be booked for our breakfast. We picked 8am on all three mornings.
The tables are arranged socially distanced, with plastic screens between them. Staff are all wearing mask (except one on the second morning but of course she may have been exempt!). There’s two hand sanitisers on each table.
It’s completely table service including the continental breakfast options. There was two staff members attending to everyone, however the restaurant was never busy. The most we saw in there was 4 tables full (one of those was ours).
Each morning that we ate, cutlery was brought to our table and we was greeted by friendly and very attentive staff. In fact we felt so looked after during our meal. If we needed more juice, they were dealing with it before we even realised we needed more.
The food was delicious!! We all had an unlimited hot breakfast and was able to pick exactly what we wanted and how many of each. Elsa went for just sausages with toast, Eva could have scrambled egg with sausages and Freya… well Freya was definitely giving Hubby a run for his money. She ended up having three breakfasts each morning.
It was a delicious and smooth experience. The thing that impressed me the most though, and it’s probably a bit weird, is that I watched a family leave and instantly one of the staff members cleaned the area from top to bottom. I’m certain there were no germs left on the table!
Check out at the hotel is 12pm. This was absolutely perfect for on Monday and allowed us to be more relaxed as we packed up our belongings. It’s simple to leave too, just pop your keycard into the box in the reception area.
We genuinely had a wonderful base for a winters adventure on the island. The interconnecting rooms allowed us space to relax and there’s nothing like a Premier Inn bed!
I filmed a little room tour in my first Isle of Wight video, and hopefully the playlist below works correctly for you.
Disclosure: Our stay was gifted to us.