Christmas in an hotel was a new experience for us and we selected The Connaught. What did we find?
Location: Excellent being just 350 yds from the top of West Cliff (wonderful panoramic coastal views), the "Zig Zag" (scenic walk) the lift down to the beach and a gentle 10 minute walk to the Pavilion and Gardens. In the opposite direction a 10 minute walk via St Michaels Road will see you at M&S and a little further the principle retail centre of town.
The Property: Set in a large garden corner plot with loads of parking the Connaught comprises two mature units; the main facility and reception and with additional accommodation in a separate annexe. Our room was on the first floor of the main building. I thought the main public rooms a little dated although comfortable and with plenty of natural light.. Access to bedrooms was via a narrow'ish stairway but a small lift was also available. The fitness suite is brilliant with a great pool (note for mums and dads - the bottom slopes rapidly so watch out for children) steam room, sauna etc.
Staff: Without exception, from arrival to departure, they could not do enough for us. Always smiling and friendly but without sacrificing professionalism. We were offered assistance with luggage both coming and going and the programme for our three nights ran seamlessly
Our Room: Small but with all the essentials. Flat screen, radio, dryer, complimentary tea & coffee
and a nice surprise touch the Christmas gift of a box of scented candles. The bed was ok but had a spring mattress rather than the increasingly common memory foam or topper. The en-suite while bright and clean, however, was really too small for an extended stay (think one step up from cross channel ferry) or people of a larger build! That said I have no doubt that had we asked we would have been moved and I say that because we had an e-mail before arrival from the MD who invited us to alert him to any problems with the room. This was followed up by a telephone call from reception once we had checked in. I suspect that the hotel knows this will not suit everyone. The room was always well serviced.
Dining: In a word faultless. I understood the kitchen was catering for 140 covers and they managed this with great aplomb. The service was slick and the food well prepared and presented. Sadly, I can't comment on the Grand Christmas day Gala Buffet Dinner (I'm sure it was superb) because I simply had no room for further food at this early stage. It was like an eating marathon! One very slight niggle was that we were unable to obtain our favourite gin (Gordons) so we had to "make do" with Bombay Saphire.
I'm sure there are swankier and smarter Bournemouth hotels but the Connaught offering overall is very decent. Would we go again? Probably not but that's less to do with the Connaught and more with a preference for smaller more intimate gatherings. But hey, Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas, well done the Connaught.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This AA 4 star BEST WESTERN PLUS The Connaught Hotel is Trip Advisor's No 1 Bournemouth Hotel with a magnificent spa, an award-winning double rosette restaurant and 54 beautifully decorated en-suite bedrooms, including 3 junior suites, 6 executive rooms, superior, standard and single rooms, some with their own private balcony or terrace. The hotel is centrally located on the West Cliff and is less than 500m to the town centre, with all its bars, clubs and restaurants, the BIC, Pavilion Theatre, pier and beaches. Free WiFi, Free Parking and Free Membership of the Spa and Leisure Club await you. The Bluewater Spa offers 2 gymnasiums, an 18m swimming pool and spa pool, a luxurious, fully tiled eucalyptus steam room, a superb sauna and a beauty and 3 massage therapy suites, to include a double. After a relaxing day in the Spa enjoy a fine dinner and top class wine in our award-winning, double rosette restaurant, Blakes, where Nick Rutigliano, the Maitre d', and his team will serve you with superb food, freshly prepared by Ben Nicol, the Head Chef. The hotel was again awarded the highly coveted Silver Shield in 2013 by Green Tourism for Business for its contribution to the environment and local community. Trip Advisor has once again awarded the 2014 Certificate of Excellence to the Hotel, the Spa and to Blakes Restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Bournemouth
- Bournemouth Best Western