Going swimming in Bournemouth doesn’t have to mean the sea – there’s a range of hotels with pools if you’d rather spend private time by the water. Choose from outdoor pools to lounge by and top up your tan, or softly lit, heated indoor options open all year round and ideal for diving into after a relaxing spa treatment.
The rectangular underground pool at Hilton Bournemouth is tastefully lit and great for bashing out a few lengths or, alternatively, just soaking in. It’s part of the eforea Spa & Health Club, which is probably the best of its kind in Bournemouth, with a full-service salon offering tanning, waxing and a wellbeing package, not to mention a sauna, steam room and bubble pool. LEVEL8IGHT Sky Bar on the eighth floor of the hotel has a terrace with great views of Bournemouth, fresh seafood and a variety of small plates, as well as a delicious afternoon tea from noon each day.
You won’t find a better placed hotel pool in Bournemouth than the one at The Cumberland, right in front of the art deco facade which sits atop cliffs in East Cliff. It’s a great place to spend a day on a lounger if you aren’t keen on braving the beach rush. The hotel has plenty more attractive features, including sea-view balconies with many of the rooms, two excellent dining options – the Ventana Grand Café and Mirabelle Restaurant – and great decor, all pop art prints and bright colours inside and purple mood lighting outside – perfect for summer nights.
From The Connaught Lodge up on West Cliff you can walk to the city centre or the picturesque West Cliff Gardens, which wind down gently to the beach. The pool is actually found at its sister hotel, the adjacent Connaught Hotel and Spa, and there’s a hot tub and sauna as well. Nearby Tiien Thai is a classy spot for Thai food, or try The Cliff Top Restaurant if you prefer modern European cuisine.
There’s a 10m x 4m (33ft x 13ft) indoor heated swimming pool at Riviera Hotel, which also has an air-conditioned gym, bubbling spa bath, shower and relaxation room. You’ll find the incredible views across Bournemouth Bay pretty relaxing, so take a stroll to the nearby Argyll Gardens. There’s the Cunarder Conservatory Restaurant and The Bridge Bar & Grill for dining. Try one of the pizzas with home-made organic dough topped with freshly produced tomato sauce “made from chef’s unique recipe”.
The pool is 18m (59ft) long, heated, indoor and perfect for laying next to on a wicker lounger after a spa treatment. The Connaught Brasserie is highly recommended, particularly the steaks, which are locally sourced. There’s also the Gin Bar, which boasts more than 60 varieties of gin; try the Bulldog gin with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, pepper and a grapefruit slice.
Marsham Court is located on East Overcliff Drive, one of the great roads for hotels in Bournemouth, meaning it overlooks the sea and is close to the beach, as well as the centre of town. The pool is at the front of the building and is a total sun trap – perfect for tanning in the summer – and it is heated if the weather’s a bit chilly when it’s open between May and September. Other highlights of Marsham Court are the rooms with a sea view, excellent afternoon tea and the range of special interest breaks on offer, from arts and crafts to bridge, dance and even Scrabble.
The Durley Dean is an attractive Victorian red-brick structure but the underground pool is all modern – it’s curvy, stylishly lit and open year-round. It forms part of a spa complex which includes a sauna and gym, while there’s a range of treatments on offer. For dining, there’s the No. 28 restaurant and lounge bar. Meanwhile, nearby West Cliff Gardens has a pretty, zig-zag walk down to the beach.
The indoor pool at Best Western Hotel Royale is a traditional wood-framed one, with plenty of room for the kids to splash around while you relax on a lounger. The East Cliff hotel also has sheltered gardens, great for taking the sea air on a quiet walk. Chalet accommodation is perfect for family retreats and there’s the Royale Grill Room and hotel bar if you get peckish, or would like a drink but don’t fancy the short walk into town.