The Terrace Rooms & Wine

Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Book from Book from £180 per night

Expect big things from this trendy wine hotel on Ventnor seafront, with an incredible wine cave, a stunning terrace and beautiful rooms with views

It’s late October in the UK and we’re in short sleeves and sunglasses, looking out across the Channel, sipping crisp rosé on a swish seafront terrace. Ambient lounge music sets the mood, Bampton House scent perfumes the air, and the sea looks almost inviting. “It’s National Champagne Day!”, exclaims Ali the wine manager. So, naturally, we toast the occasion. That’s how things roll at The Terrace Ventnor.

This spanking new hotel is the latest venture from ambitious chef couple Ashley and Tom, who also run a successful sister restaurant in Yarmouth. They bought a derelict 19th-century mansion clinging to the slopes of Ventnor seafront, stripped it bare, and fashioned five achingly stylish guest rooms, all with heavenly sea views and restored Victorian grandeur. Downstairs is a swish sociable space with the star attractions: a wine cave packed to the rafters with bottles from all over the world, and a stunning all-glass dining terrace for sampling the vintages in style.

Days begin here with extravagant four-course breakfasts (genius!), then mornings roll into afternoons when cheese and charcuterie boards complement the wines. Tastings, free for all hotel guests, happen daily and are pleasingly informal affairs - both wine connoisseurs and novices welcome. Dinner could be innovative dishes from Tom’s set menu, or you might head into lovely Ventnor, which was known as Mayfair by the Sea in Victorian times and is now the Isle of Wight’s foodie hotspot. It’s a hard life!

Highs

  • Sea views from all rooms, and the hotel is south-facing so you get sunshine all day (weather permitting)
  • The all-glass restaurant terrace overlooking Ventnor seafront is a showstopper, and it has a retractable roof for warm days
  • The wine: Ali the wine manager is passionate and friendly, and the impressive wine cave is stacked with bottles from all over the world - daily tastings are complimentary for all guests
  • The food: cheese and charcuterie platters for pairing with wine, and amazing four-course breakfasts
  • With its balmy microclimate and blossoming food scene, Ventnor is our favourite place on the Isle of Wight – come soon before word gets out

Lows

  • No twin rooms
  • Kids and dogs are only allowed in the annex room (6), which is separate from the main hotel and isn’t quite as charming as the other rooms, but you still get a sea view
  • Dinner is Thu-Sun, Nov-Mar only, and breakfast is only served between 9-10 (can be earlier on request), but we enjoyed the excuse for a lie in!
  • The communal areas aren’t staffed in the evenings, though Ashley and Tom are only upstairs if you need them

Best time to go

Anytime from early spring to late autumn would be a lovely time to visit Ventnor. The town benefits from its own microclimate, so it's often a few degrees warmer here than it is in the rest of the country. And with the Isle of Wight being the sunniest place in the UK, you've got a good chance of decent weather. Note the seafront can get very busy in the school holidays.

Our top tips

Join the coastal path from Ventnor seafront and walk west to hidden Steephill Cove. It's a gorgeous fishing enclave, inaccessible by road, with cute seafood shacks and rock pools. Stop for coffee or a crab sandwich, then sink into a deckchair to admire the view.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Romantic
  • Boutique Wine Hotel
  • 6 rooms
  • Restaurant & bar
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Most of The Terrace’s rooms are on the first floor of the mansion, restored to preserve their Victorian grandeur. Pretty tilework, wood panelling, vibrant artwork and beautiful woven rugs add texture, colour and a contemporary feel. You get super-kingsize (and super comfy) Hypnos beds dressed in White Company linens, as well as wine fridges for stashing your purchases from the cellar.

Rooms 1, 2 and 3 are front-facing, so they look directly out to sea. Room 1 has the best bathroom, its beautiful Victorian arched windows offering a dual aspect - talk about a loo with a view! We stayed in Room 2 and basked in the golden sunshine that poured in - it warmed the room so much that we were able to sleep with our windows open, drifting off to the soft swooshing of waves. Room 3 is the honeymoon suite with a chaise longue and an inviting claw-foot tub positioned between its two windows. Rooms 4 and 5 have side-sea views but they make up for it in style. The former is the smallest room but we were charmed by its blush colour scheme and cute window seat; the latter is spacious and has a raised dressing area and a good-sized bathroom.

There’s a sixth room out in the annex, which is separate from the main building. It's designed for those with dogs, but it's also got a sofabed that can sleep a child. The annex lacks the character and charm of the main house but still comes with that dreamy sea view.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

When a hotel names itself after its dining terrace, you know you’re in for something special. We were astounded by the light-filled, glass-walled space, which hovers elegantly above Ventnor beach.

Breakfast begins here at a very leisurely 9am (or earlier on request). The concept is unlike anything we’ve seen before: four whole courses of sweet and savoury delights. The first course was pastry: chorizo and fennel sausage roll for meat eaters; beetroot and ricotta roll for veggies. Next, homemade toasted soda and nut bread with butter and jam. Then poached pear with coconut granola and honey. And, finally, a variation on the Full English: toast with Isle of Wight tomatoes, bubble & speak topped with crispy bacon, and a poached egg in truffle sauce. Simply divine.

The Terrace is open to the public in the afternoons, when locals come to sample the wines of the day. Cheese and charcuterie boards are the perfect accompaniment – think gooey Brie, Cheddar and a ripe Gorgonzola, paired with a punchy South African chardonnay. Set dinners take place Thu-Sun, Nov-Mar only and showcase island produce. The menus are innovative and change daily – chef Tom promises to never cook dull British classics, so no fish and chips or roast dinners to be found here.

For eating out, Ventnor has a variety of good options. The Smoking Lobster is popular with islanders, and its sister cocktail bar, The Drunken Lobster, is a good place for nightcaps or Asian tapas. For food with a view, head up to Castle Haven in Niton. We ate at Cantina and found it charming: friendly service, excellent food, great prices.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Shop in Ventnor's boutiques or browse its galleries - the town and its surrounding villages are home to many artists and sculptors
  • Relax on the sandy beach, then have a seafood lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants along the front
  • Stroll around the Ventnor Botanic Gardens, where tropical and Mediterranean species flourish thanks to the town’s unusual microclimate
  • Head up to East Cowes and spend the day at Osborne House, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s private residence, now run by English Heritage. Allow time to stroll around its flower-filled gardens, too
  • Hike or drive up to St Boniface Down, the highest point on the island, boasting panoramic views out to sea and towards the mainland, plus lots of lovely walks
  • Explore Harvey Browns, a huge modern farm shop with butchers, cheese and veg departments and a lovely lakeside cafe
  • Surfers should hit Compton Bay, which offers some of the best surf in the south of England
  • Spend an afternoon in pretty little Yarmouth, which has some cute art galleries to browse, luxury yachts to marvel at, and Ashley and Tom’s first restaurant - also called The Terrace - to dine at

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Most rooms at The Terrace are designed for adults, but Room 6 in the annex does have a sofabed for kids. Bear in mind, however, that this is a wine hotel, so the vibe is sophisticated and not ideal for families.

Family friendly accommodation:

Annex room 6 allows kids and has a single sofabed. There are no baby cots.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The Terrace is located on the seafront in Ventnor, on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

By Air:
There are no airports on the Isle of Wight; the nearest are Southampton, Bournemouth and Heathrow.

By Ferry:
There are frequent sailings from Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington to the Isle of Wight; most take cars, some are foot passenger only. Book early for the cheapest fares. We'd recommend the Lymington-Yarmouth route as it's cheaper and quieter, and the drive from Yarmouth to The Terrace is a very scenic road along the island's south coast.

On the Island:
You'll probably want a car for exploring the island. If you don't want to bring your own car, you could hire one - see our car rental recommendations. There are regular but slow buses from Ventnor to Newport or Ryde (via Sandown).

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Southampton 40.0 km SOU

Other:

  • Beach 0.2 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

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