It is fair to say that The Seaview Hotel is nothing short of an Isle of Wight institution. For many years now it has been winning awards for its accommodation and dining. It is also the ‘home of the crab ramekin’ – a kind of cheesy, crabby, pot of goodness not to be missed.
However, on a more personal level it is special to me for two reasons. Firstly, it was the location of my introductory experience to my wife’s, ‘Family Christmas Do’ (a legendary affair and real baptism of fire for any fresh faced young boyfriend being introduced to the future in-laws!).
On that day I was familiarised with a game that I have taken part in on many subsequent occasions. So in turn, I feel at this point it is my duty to introduce you all to ‘The Generals’. If you visit this establishment and happen to be male (sorry girls, I don’t make the rules), when taking a trip to the loo you will find a picture of 5 Generals (it’s that kind of place, just go with it). Anyone who can return to their table and recite the names of all of the generals, and the poem dedicated to them, word for word, has clearly not drunk enough and must go to the bar immediately … alternatively if you return and fail to recount the names and poem word for word, then this can only mean that you have clearly not drunk enough and must go to the bar immediately. Warning: this can be a very costly game for both your wallet and liver!
The second reason is that it was the place that Hannah and I spent our first night as a married couple. It was the perfect place to end our big day, and now that I know that they provide dog friendly rooms, a return visit for all three of us may be on the cards next anniversary (hint, hint, Hannah!).
So this is a place with much sentimental value. But aside from all that, for me, it has always been the back bar – ‘The Pump Bar’ – that has been my favourite part of The Seaview Hotel. The rest of the hotel is very sophisticated with the large main restaurant serving up dishes good enough to be awarded a ‘Michelin Bib Gourmand‘ for 2016, and the less formal ‘Naval Bar’ at the front of the hotel serving bar food in a room modelled on a naval wardroom. But it is when you step into ‘The Pump Bar’, with its open fire, dartboard and local ales, that you step into the real heart of this hotel. In fact, with the wooden floors, seafaring paraphernalia on the walls, and the crackle of the locals’ banter, you begin to feel that you could be in the heart of a vessel voyaging across the seven seas … (especially if you’ve been drinking with The Generals for too long!).
Now that I have visited with Grenson there is a third reason for me to love this place. Because it was here that Grenson made my dreams come true! As I enjoyed my pint of Yates’ Undercliff Experience (one of the many fine ales from the Island that will no doubt be mentioned in full over the lifetime of this blog), Grenson quietly, and without any fuss, curled up at my feet and had a little nap. Thus fulfilling my one desire when deciding to get a dog – that I’d be able to go to pubs with him and he’d be the type of dog that would quietly, and without any fuss, curl up at my feet and have a little nap.
And here is the picture to prove it!
Admittedly we weren’t in leather chairs by an open fire, and I didn’t have a packet of scratchings (that’s the full dream – see Hello post), but you’ve got to leave room for improvement I suppose?
As for The Seaview Hotel, finding any room for improvement there would be pretty difficult if you ask me.
The Man and The Dog.