If you do like to be beside the seaside, these handpicked Poole hotels – bookable on Culture Trip – will have you going to bed with sand between your toes.
With soft golden shores, gently lapping surf and postcard-perfect views to the Isle of Wight and Old Harry Rocks, British beaches don’t get much better than Sandbanks. When temperatures soar, work on your tan; when skies turn grey, stroll along the promenade nibbling fish and chips. At the end of your day, check into a local pad walking distance from the sea, so you can wake up early and do it all over again. Here’s our pick of the best hotels near Sandbanks Beach, Poole.
You’ve come to Poole for the sea, and you want to be able to see it. Enter the Harbour Heights Hotel. It gets its name from the prime position: at the top of Dorset cliffs, looking down to sparkling blue waters. Sandbanks Beach proper is only a 1mi (1.6km) stroll, and other stretches of sand, such as Shore Road Beach, are half that. On warm evenings, settle onto the terrace, taking in the sun and an Isle of Wight tomato and burrata salad, before retiring to your white- and blue-dressed room.
Grovefield Manor lets you make the most of all the local sands: it’s situated almost exactly halfway between picturesque Sandbanks Beach and urban Bournemouth Beach. A three-minute walk from the waters at Branksome Chine, this brick-fronted building channels old-school hospitality with chandeliers in the breakfast room, silk drapery and wooden furniture. With just nine guest rooms, it feels gorgeously intimate, despite the events space and buffet breakfast.
From the outside, Edwardian-era Washington House Hotel might channel old-world British seaside vibes. But step within and you’ll discover a distinctly 21st-century update, with eclectic furnishings (button-back headboards meet shimmery throw-pillows) and an airy vibe. A continental breakfast is included, so you can fortify yourself ahead of a big day on the beach. And after working on your tan, there’s an array of globe-trotting restaurants to choose from – all within a five-minute walk.
If you like your beach break with a side of restaurants, bars and activities – everything from zip-lining to mini golf – then it makes sense to base yourself near buzzing Bournemouth. But the on-tap fun is not all there is to love about the Green House. This eco-friendly hotel has gone big on sustainability. They generate their own electricity on site; furniture has been made in the UK using sustainably sourced wood; and the restaurant serves organic produce where possible. Rooms are still stylish, though, with vegetable-ink-printed wallpaper and rolltop bathtubs.
Quaint Poole, to the west of Sandbanks, has a cute old town core – there are quayside restaurants, boat cruises to nearby Brownsea Island and atmospheric old smugglers’ pubs for filling your days. And when you book into the Merchant House, you’ll be right near it all, as well as an easy bus ride from the blustery beachfront. The breakfast is a highlight, so come hungry: homemade sourdough bread, oozy eggs, fried veg and baked beans are all part of the spread.
After a room with an ace sea view? Marsham Court Hotel delivers. You’re only steps from the sands at Bournemouth, so close that it feels like you can reach out and touch the sea from your bed. Book a spacious family room, and those views will come with a sizeable terrace for sipping morning cuppas, two beds and a seating area for planning out your big beach day. There’s a plush pool space, too, and when you don’t feel like heading out, on-site bar and restaurant the Retreat dishes up afternoon tea.
No wonder Hotel Miramar is a big hit for weddings. With its sea views, private balconies and glam, country-house vibe, it oozes the kind of romantic atmosphere that makes for great photos. On the East Cliff in Bournemouth, with panoramic views to the Purbeck Hills and Isle of Wight, the location has something to do with it as well – as does the attractive brick-fronted exterior, rambling lawns and multitude of dining options. The al fresco terrace, too, is another win; perfect for sunny morning brekkies.
There’s a contemporary feel to this Bournemouth-based hotel, despite the setting in a grand old manor house. From the deep blue accent walls, to the containers of sweets on the bar – all the way to the soft lighting – it feels like something you might find in a big city. Which, given the owners are from London, makes sense. After a long day surfing or splashing in the waves, return to sip an aperitif in the bar before hitting the restaurants of Bournemouth for dinner.