First of all I would like to say that as a frequent visitor to Bournemouth, I have stayed at countless hotels in the town over the years and one thing has always struck me about pretty much all of them. The fact that whatever the star rating, they all seem a bit on the tatty side. Dont get me wrong, Bournemouth is a holiday town and is blessed with many beautiful parks, beaches, an enviable climate and many, many hotels, but, like I say, they do seem to be trading on past glories somewhat.
I booked the Connaught as I'd seen the website and, of course, checked Tripadvisor as I always do. My wife and I were booked for one night to visit relatives in the town and celebrate my birthday. The website and majority of views reflected on Tripadvisor bode well for our stay so we were confident of a pleasant visit.
First impressions were that of a hotel possibly still in transition. The Connaught, I understand, is one of the oldest hotels in Bournemouth and it appears it is being gradually brought up to date in terms of what the 21st century hotel market demands.
Our room was a standard double in the main hotel and sadly seemed to one of the rooms yet to be updated. It was clean enough yet was very dated and tired looking. Bit of an eighties time warp with a battered portable TV on a stand, complete with equally battered remote control, faded framed prints on the wall, and one of those old radio things set into the headboard. The bed was lumpy and noisy and did feel as though a spring would give way any second. So slightly disappointed there. I think I would specifically ask for one of the refurbished standard rooms if staying there again - they all cost the same after all.
Good points however were the spa and pool located in the basement of the hotel. A lot of money has clearly been invested in this and along with a decent sized pool, there is a steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and well equipped gym . We made the most of our short stay and the fact that it's unlimited use was all included in the price of the room.
I think the thing that redeemed the hotel for us chiefly, however, was the hotel's excellent restaurant 'Blakes' . The service, decor and ambience seemed a world away from our tatty bedroom and we felt as though it belonged to a much higher grade of hotel. The food itself was superb - beautifully presented and superior quality food and wine . I can see why it has already won several awards.
I have to say that overall, therefore I would recommend The Connaught Hotel. I hope that the next time I stay there that they will have brought it fully into the 21st century and a long way from the grimmer aspects of faded glory so prevalent in some of its counterparts in the town.
- 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