Where to Stay in Bournemouth for a Local Experience
Bournemouth's beaches stretch for miles | © Russell Hart / Alamy Stock Photo
When the Victorians made Bournemouth their bolthole by the beach, little did they know it would still be a seaside favourite more than a century later – with a 7-mi (11-km) stretch of sandy yellow coastline, a zipline on the pier, surfing and adventures out into the Dorset countryside. From the east and west cliffs to quieter Boscombe, here are Culture Trip’s picks for where to stay, if you fancy exploring this city’s unique shops, hipster bars and decent restaurants.
Royal Exeter Hotel
Courtesy of Royal Exeter Hotel / Expedia
Way back in 1812 when something called “sea bathing” was becoming a thing, Captain Lewis Tregonwell invited his city friends to this luxurious property whenever they fancied a dip. He conveniently built the Royal Exeter Hotel a short walk from Bournemouth’s sandy beaches. The location’s grandeur hasn’t faded over the years and it still features original castellated towers, solid-wood four-poster beds and champagne cocktails mixed at BarSo. The on-site restaurant – 1812 – serves up a new food concept, tocco, which combines the flavours of Southern Italian street food with the uber-chic tapas bars of Venice.
The Green House
Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Villa
Courtesy of The Green House / Expedia
This hotel may be called The Green House, but it’s not made of glass or full of ripening tomatoes. Instead, this award-winning boutique hotel prides itself on delivering eco-friendly luxury. The 32 bedrooms are brightly decorated with contemporary statement wallpaper, Bose iPod docking stations and organic goose-down duvets – and if you’re after serious luxury, pick a super king room for a Victorian roll top bath. Chefs at the Arbor restaurant cook delicious meals with ingredients sourced from local organic farms and fish fresh from the trawlers.
Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse
Courtesy of Derby Manor / Expedia
From the outside, Derby Manor could be mistaken for an unassuming Edwardian guest house, but inside, this hotel is hiding glitz levels that reach somewhere between a Hello magazine cover shoot and The Burj Al Arab in Dubai. The family who run this property recently refurbished it with the gusto of lottery winners, adding deep pile carpets, crushed velvet headboards, bespoke wallpaper, chandeliers and Versace-inspired furniture. But with the sweeping staircase and cavernous rooms, it works. The enormous peacock in the restaurant is literally Instagram gold.
Langtry Manor Hotel
Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Langtry Manor Hotel / Expedia
The Langtry Manor Hotel is a place with a history. Built in 1877 by Edward VII for his mistress Lillie Langtry, it served as their secret love nest. Illicit past aside, the property has bags of charm and retains many of its original features including balconied bedrooms, ornate fireplaces, mullioned windows and elegant staircases. After a deep sleep in one of the four-poster beds, order Langtry’s full English breakfast, or eggs done any which way from boiled to benedict.
Chain Hotel, Spa Hotel, Hotel
Courtesy of Hilton Bournemouth / Expedia
Reassurance comes with this well-known brand, and Hilton Bournemouth will offer everything you need for a comfortable stay in town. It’s a ten-minute walk from both the city centre, beaches and Bournemouth Gardens, and has an in-house spa and health club. Kick back in the evening with a signature Bournemouth Pier Martini from the eighth-floor rooftop bar and enjoy sweeping views of the city. The centrepiece of the lively Schpoons & Forx restaurant is the tandoor oven, where British classics such as slow-cooked lamb shank and roasted cod get a spicy makeover.
Courtesy of The Coach House / Expedia
This beautiful bolthole in West Cliff, Bournemouth, was a dance school before owners Madelaine and Karl converted it to fulfil their dream of opening a B&B by the sea. The couple live next door and are on-call for guests in all four apartments, which are a ten-minute walk to the beaches and the city centre. The accommodation choices range in size, but apartment one is popular thanks to its king-size bed, south-facing balcony and large sun-spliced kitchen.
Independent Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
Courtesy of Amarillo / Expedia
The promise of uninterrupted peace is delivered at this award-winning guest house in a quiet residential street between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers. It overlooks the pretty Knyveton Gardens and isn’t far from the Russell-Cotes museum or the beach and the towns of Poole and Sandbanks; Christchurch and Mudeford are just a short drive away. All rooms show a flare for contemporary design, with bold pops of colour among the comfortable furnishings, and you can fuel up on a delicious cooked breakfast, included in the price, before you head out in the morning.
Sea Road Apartments
Courtesy of Sea Road Apartments / Expedia
Sea Road Apartments serves as a popular bolthole for couples who use this as a base for adventures such as cliff walking, snorkelling and diving. It’s also in close proximity to the O2 Academy Bournemouth and Shelley Theatre for live music and culture. The kitchen is fully equipped for cooking, and there’s a comfy living area and private bathroom with complimentary toiletries.
These recommendations were updated on December 18, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.