Hotel Review: Hilton Bournemouth, Bournemouth in Dorset
With a recent title as the UK’s fastest growing digital economy, a Football Premier League team, good university and miles of golden beaches, you can understand why Hilton Hotels chose to invest in Bournemouth.
Only 30 minutes from the airport and two hours from London, it’s predicted the Hilton will appeal to those looking to stay in Bournemouth for business. “The amenities you expect, and the extras you deserve,” trumpets the marketing blurb. The fact it’s a mere 8-minute drive from the Railway Station is also a plus.
Arriving after lunch, it makes perfect sense to start with Afternoon Tea, so we head up to Level8ight Sky Bar. We’re met with an array of fluffy scones, buttery biscuits and aromatic tisanes, (pronounced Tizz-Anne,) ladies and gentlemen, Afternoon Tea Skybar Style.
As we polish off this first wave of sweet treats, out come savoury finger bites, squished with creamy Ratatouille, Chicken, Beef and Salmon – delicious on all fronts.
Level8ight Sky Bar is designer territory, with a variety of seating options. A long bar dissects the room with private banquettes, or you might want to move onto the terrace with a bunch of noisy friends.
After pre-dinner drinks we head back down for dinner. Schpoons & Forx restaurant, created and overseen by chef Matt Budden offers guests the best of British with the obligatory “contemporary twist”, of course.
Fresh, seasonal sharing plates sit happily with dishes baked in the tandoor oven. Before ordering, we take a peek at the open-plan kitchen. Ironically, I typed open-pan a second ago and it fits perfectly. Our meal was definitely ‘open-pan’, with an almost rock n roll decadence lingering.
My dining companion, Rob, ordered a starter of Mushroom on Toast. Not just any old mush’ on toast, however, but a delicious soy and ginger version….Schpoons & Forx Style. I decide New Forest Risotto was my way forward…wisely, as it turns out. Utterly delicious.
For my main, I chose Tandoor-Roasted Chicken, (Mango Chutney, Pickles etc.) which I found waaayy too sweet. Version 2 arrives in double-quick time and is infinitely more palatable. Sometimes simple really is best. Rob settled down to attack a shark-sized, “perfectly executed” baked Mackerel.
A dessert of Coconut Pavlova with passion fruit and lime tastes as good as it looks, or a good as it gets. Can’t quite remember what my sweet-toothed companion thought. To sum up, there’s a humorous, but defiant, message on the back of the menu. “We might be a restaurant in a hotel, but we’re NO hotel restaurant”. Quite.
Don’t forget to savour one of the best cocktails ever, at Level8ight. Come on, peeps, it’s what the ‘mixologists’, here, train for. Created in Florence by Count Camillo Negroni and now one of the most popular cocktails in the world’s best bars.
Breakfast buffet isn’t the largest, but does do the job. There’s no omelette station’, for example, so if you need a protein boost focus on fruit and yoghurt, instead.
To round off my stay, a wonderful massage was had in the Spa. Consisting of relaxation lounge, 4 treatment rooms and a 20m pool, the Eforea Spa offers a range of therapies based on Acupressure, Trigger Point Therapy and Swedish Massage. It also boasts a gym, steam room and a sauna.
I chose a shoulder, neck and scalp – followed by a deep tissue body massage. To say it hit the spot is an understatement. A blissed up, more relaxed and focused version of me rose from the table, spiritually and physically. Conversely, you might want to skip the gym, grab your cozzie and hit the beach.
Soul-feedingly wonderful. Food, service, vibe, location – top notch. Housekeeping even posted back my new, stripy toilet bag, left in the bathroom.
Remarkably, it didn’t come with an ‘admin fee’ – just a jiffy bag with a brief note saying “with compliments”. My kind of language, my kind of people.
Address: Terrace Road, Bournemouth,BH2 5EL
Phone: +44 (0)1202 804 775
Images courtesy of Pellier Photography