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My review of the impressive Hilton Bournemouth hotel

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This is my review of the new Hilton Bournemouth hotel.

I spent last weekend in Bournemouth playing golf with friends.  Part of the reason for choosing Bournemouth for our golf trip this year is that I wanted to take a look at the relatively new Hilton and Hampton by Hilton hotels.  When I offered to book all of our rooms on points, my friends were happy to go along with the idea!

We split ourselves across the two hotels.  A review of the Hampton will follow in a few days, once I have twisted the arm of the person who agreed to write it.  This person once spent 90 consecutive nights in a Marriott ‘Residence Inn’ so he knows his way around 3-star hotels.

You can find out more about Hilton Bournemouth on their website here.

Overview

The Hilton and Hampton by Hilton hotels are part of the same mixed use complex, which includes private apartments.  Some apartments are built into the Hilton and there is a separate lift inside the lobby.  They appear to come fully furnished, so if you like the look in the pictures below then you can literally buy it.

Whilst you might think of Bournemouth as a touristy seaside town, it actually has a lot of financial services activity to justify a ‘business’ hotel.  Big employers include JP Morgan, Nationwide Building Society and Liverpool Victoria.  It also has The Bournemouth International Centre, a major conference venue, which is literally 30 seconds walk from the Hilton.

The hotel is not aimed at the family holiday market.  There are no rooms with bunk beds or built-in kids beds, for example, and no rooms take more than two people.  On the night I was there, there were a lot of adult groups staying including a few stag / wedding parties.  I would expect that the cheaper Hampton next door attracts the boozier crowd however.

Bournemouth is a sprawling town with no real gap between Bournemouth, Christchurch and Boscombe.  The central location of the Hilton is a real benefit, as many hotels are further up into the town in converted Victorian buildings.  It is a 3 minute walk from the lobby to the pier and beach although very few rooms at the hotel have a view of the sea.

The picture below shows the Hilton, with the Hampton curling around the corner at the right.

Hilton Bournemouth review

Check-in

Hilton has really raised its game with its recent UK openings.  London Bankside was a sign of what it can do when it tries, and Bournemouth follows a similar pattern.  The hotel looks fantastic, basically.  They have even managed to make the corridors look attractive, using different fonts for the numbers on each room and lining the corridors with different shaped mirrors.

It is a real triumph of modern design.  I doubt the furnishings are substantially more expensive than usual but they are very well chosen and really give the place a lift.  Most are from Ted Baker, and there is an option to buy any of the cushions or bedding that takes your fancy.

If you are arriving by car, both hotels share a car park which is also open to the public.  The overnight rate for hotel guests is £11 per day midweek and £13 at weekends.

My room at Hilton Bournemouth

I was upgraded, as a Hilton Diamond, to a one-bedroom suite.   These sit on the ‘prow’ of the building (far left in the photo) and are the only rooms which actually face the sea – although, as I was on the second floor, I only got the tiniest glimpse.

Looking at the comments on my Instagram posts from the hotel, a suite is certainly not guaranteed as a Diamond at Hilton Bournemouth.  The fact that I was only there for one night, on a Saturday in October, would have worked in my favour.

There are big issues with some rooms at this hotel due to noise.  On the 8th floor is the Sky Bar, a very classy – and very expensive (£49.50 for four drinks, including service) – bar.  This causes disturbance at weekends.  The 7th floor is apparently the main one to be avoided.  There was no disturbance at all to my 2nd floor room.

As you can see, the decor was very smart.  Here is the bedroom:

Hilton Bournemouth review bedroom

and

Hilton Bournemouth bedroom review

And the living room:

Hilton Bournemouth suite

The suite came with a second loo and a coffee machine.  There was also a kettle.  The mini bar was, oddly, empty although some water had been left out.

Whilst not photographed, there was a desk in the bedroom.  I chose to work from the dining table instead.  Whilst I was entitled to high speed wi-fi as a Diamond member, I took the standard free service as that is what the average guest would get.  The speed was excellent and, whilst not being officially high speed, I was still able to stream YouTube.

Here is the shower:

Hilton Bournemouth suite bathroom

The only issue was the very odd brown stain on the floor of the shower.  It looks like someone used the wrong sort of cleaning products.  Whilst this is only an aesthetic problem, I was surprised it hadn’t been fixed.

And the rest of it:

Hilton Bournemouth suite bathroom review

Toiletries were the standard Roth ones found in almost all Hilton hotels.  They looked a bit drab in such a modern space, in the same way I felt they looked out of place at Hilton Sa Torre in Mallorca.  The packaging needs a serious redesign.

With big wrap-around windows, the suite was a very impressive space.  Apart from the mark in the shower cubicle I genuinely had no complaints.

Note that, as this was not an official review trip – I paid for my room – I wasn’t in a position to ask to see other rooms for comparison.

The Executive Lounge at Hilton Bournemouth

As a Diamond member, I got automatic access to the Executive Lounge.  If you are Hilton Diamond (and you can still get a match from any other top tier hotel status you have) then this is a good enough reason to stay here.

Hilton Bournemouth executive lounge review

Situated on the 2nd floor, this is a well designed space.  I popped in briefly during happy hour (6pm to 8pm) when there was a mix of cold snacks plus hot chicken wings, vegetable samosas and wine and spirits.  (The photos were taken earlier when there was no food out.)

Hilton Bournemouth executive lounge review

Whilst I had breakfast in the restaurant, I also visited the lounge to see what was on offer.  The breakfast was not as extensive, of course, but certainly nothing to complain about.

All in all, it is definitely one of the better lounges you’ll visit.  If I had one niggle, it is that the seating was arranged for larger groups, whilst I would imagine most users are (on business days) solo travellers and, at weekends and the summer, couples.  You may find yourself having to share a table during happy hour.

I had a small issue with the lounge wi-fi.  If you try to log in to the wi-fi outside of your room, you cannot log in by room number.  You are asked for a general password instead.  I had to track down a member of staff to tell me what this was.

Breakfast

I didn’t eat in the Hilton Bournemouth’s main restaurant, Schpoons & Forx, but the hotel was promoting it – and the chef, Matt Tebbutt – heavily which seemed promising.

The breakfast buffet the next day was not the biggest I’ve ever seen but certainly did the job.  There was no egg station so you were restricted to pre-cooked scrambled or poached eggs.  A bit more pre-cut fruit would also have been welcome.

Hilton Bournemouth breakfast review

I have seen comments from others that it can get very busy over breakfast.  However, at 9am on a Sunday it was no more than 30% full as you can see:

Hilton Bournemouth breakfast review

The Hilton Bournemouth Sky Bar

Here is a photograph of the Sky Bar.  It was dark when we were there so you don’t get a picture of the view!

It is a classy but expensive – and fairly noisy – place.  It is not the sort of bar where you would sit and unwind with a newspaper and a glass of wine at the end of the day – you would need to head to the lounge for that.

Hilton Bournemouth Sky Bar review

Spa

I didn’t have time to visit the spa, but it does appear to have a decent pool from this official picture:

Hilton Bournemouth spa pool review

Conclusion

Hilton Bournemouth is a smart, modern hotel with impressive rooms, a decent executive lounge, good food and – if you like that sort of thing – a pricey designer rooftop bar.  The spa pool also looks good.  Just be careful to ask about noise from the bar before taking your key from reception.

It is a million miles away from the depressing 1970’s Hilton properties still found in many UK cities (I am not looking forward to a Hilton Brighton stay next month!).  If they keep up this standard of new openings then the future is bright.

The cash price obviously moves around a lot depending on season, day of the week and whether there are any big events at the conference centre next door.   The maximum price for Hilton Honors points is 50,000 per night (the Hampton is capped at 30,000) although you will pay less off peak.  We paid 28,000 points at the Hampton and 45,000 at the Hilton.

Our review of the adjacent Hampton will appear in a few days.  The Hampton is cheaper, both in points and in cash.  If you are Hilton Diamond, I would take the Hilton due to guaranteed lounge access and the spa.  If you are Hilton Gold, I would also be tempted to take the Hilton as you’ll get free breakfast and it is a smarter property.  If you only have Silver or no Hilton status, the cheaper Hampton – with a free (but crowded) breakfast – may be more tempting.

The Hilton Bournemouth website is here if you want to find out more.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (67)

  • Kevin says:

    Don’t dread the Brighton Hilton too much. I stayed there this year (we got a very good rate on Hotwire). Some of the public areas are very old fashioned but our room was fine. Breakfast was excellent with a lot of choice – someone even came round with a tray of freshly baked cake.

    • John says:

      Yes, the Brighton Hilton building itself is all right, but if arriving on a weekday between 4-6pm make sure you do online check-in or else spend 20-30 minutes in the queue waiting for the very inefficient front desk.

      The breakfast food was excellent, but my last experience there was marred by a racist staff member – which won’t affect Rob as a white male.

      • RussellH says:

        Even if you check-in on line, do you not have to still wait somewhere to pick up a key? Or do they have a separate key pick up desk?

      • Brian says:

        There are people who are racist towards white males, you know…

    • Leo says:

      This is my main work use hotel. I think it’s fine. Usually same if not higher cash price than the Grand next door. I prefer the Hilton’s breakfast and breakfast room. Doesn’t hurt to ask for a refurbished room. I’m not sure I agree too much with public areas being outdated – the Bar is good and refurbed a couple of years back. They have supposedly done the pool too although I’ve not been in. The main dining room and stairs are period decor but well maintained. Agree that check in can be lengthy but there is a separate Honors queue roped off now. In general hotels in Brighton are poor value IMHO.

  • Neil says:

    I really don’t like the design of the rooms and the hotel. To me it looks gawdy and odd. I wouldn’t stay here.

  • Chris says:

    Wish! What’s not to like about the Hilton Brighton? (Except maybe the parking but hey)

  • Chris says:

    Woah! What’s not to like about the Hilton Brighton? (Except maybe the parking but hey)

    • Rob says:

      No idea – just has a bad vibe from some I know who have been. However, I know someone who despises all Brighton hotels so much that he stays at Gatwick when working there ….

      • David says:

        There are some gems down here (I live here)…but the Hilton isn’t one of them. However, I’ve stayed in much worse!

      • Brighton Belle says:

        Kemp Town hotels are the place to go for a memorable experience…. But you have to like black leather

  • TripRep says:

    “If you are Hilton Gold, I would also be tempted to take the Hilton as you’ll get free breakfast and it is a smarter property”

    Is it continental or full breakfast?

    Do they give it free regardless of your MyWay benefits? I’ve known some friendly places to give free breakfast even when you have 1000 points selected. (They are on my list to come back and revisit)

    • Rob says:

      It is only buffet (apart from some eggs to order) so I imagine you get the lot. I did, as Diamond.

    • JamesB says:

      Are we supposed to choose a myway benefit? So far I’ve never failed to get the points and also the breakfast. Where there is a lounge I have always had choice where to take breakfast too, I’ve never experienced any special gold or diamond menus or contibental breakfast anyplace.

      • Rob says:

        Conrad New York has a separate status card menu, but they only do a la carte with no buffet.

      • Alan says:

        You’re meant to get one or the other, as Rob says some hotels are generous and give both. Equally I’ve known some that will only give you a breakfast voucher if your MyWay status is set to breakfast (they offer to change it at checkin). I think the default is 1k points, so that’s probably why you’re getting them. If course if there’s an Exec Lounge and you get upgraded to an Exec floor as Gold then they can’t tell if you go for breakfast or not so would be fine to stick with points. Some have vouchers/lists for breakfast though so that wouldn’t work universally.

        • JamesB says:

          Thanks, I will need to have a look at my settings. I’ve stayed at 11 Hilton properties this year so I’ve obviously been very lucky or hotels in general are good at recognition.

          • Alan says:

            TBH I normally find it’s the US ones that are more anal about vouchers and limited menus. A couple of London ones are picky too, but as you say many don’t mind so best to leave it on 1k points then just change it at the hotel if they’re not going to give you breakfast.

  • TripRep says:

    Rob – nice review, I’d stay there based on it (obvs on a deal price).

    Also as your not naturally from the south, you need to get yer sen back up t’ North next year like, reet fancy posh new Otel maybe wi’ view oor Big Dipper in Blackpool, great for seeing ‘luminations come next ortumn. 😀

    http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/new-hotel-is-transforming-key-site-on-south-promenade-1-8526693

    Also whilst its scrictly not a Seaside view, I keep meaning to try out the new Doubletree at Queensferry, Edinburgh. Some rooms look out to the Firth of Forth with views of the new Queensferry crossing. I was meant to stay there after my Maldives trip but BA’s delay meant we spent the night in LGW Hilton instead.

    • Alan says:

      Would highly recommend the boat trip to Inchcolm island from South Queensferry if you’re in the area – excellent views of all 3 bridges up close and the island (complete with Abbey!) is fascinating.

      Can’t wait for the Queensferry Crossing to go 70mph (once repairs done on the Forth Road Bridge), hopefully will reduce the current bottlenecks.

      • JamesB says:

        Thanks Alan, I never knew about this so we will give it a try soon.

        • Alan says:

          No probs, lived here for years and only got round to trying it recently! Two companies run trips, only a small gift shop on the island so I’d recommend taking a picnic 😉

      • Jimmy says:

        Curious….what has the speed limit on the new bridge got to do with the road repairs on a completely different bridge?

        Thereafter, is there a timescale for going 70mph? Is it currently 50 or something?

        Are the current bottlenecks going down well with the locals? I’ve not seen any press on the bridge since it opened.

        Thanks

  • John says:

    Coincidentally, we also stayed in Bournemouth last weekend, but at the Marriott. Probably one of the worst rooms I’ve had in years – reminded me of one of those ‘private hotels’ round the back of Paddington Station that I used to have to stay in when I was a student. Still, thanks to Amex Platinum / Marriott Gold we got breakfast, free drinks, free car parking, late check-out and, apparently, a room upgrade thrown in, so I guess for £83 it wasn’t the end of the world.

    But I wouldn’t go there again…

    • Alex W says:

      Thanks, I was going to ask about this marriott hotel as a possible summer holiday for a couple with small child. Sounds like it should be avoided!

      • Michael C says:

        I looked into exactly the same, Alex. Came to the conclusion Hilton would be better, but you have to fit them into existing beds. They have twins but not sure how wide they are! We were looking at squidging into one large bed!

  • TripRep says:

    Another gooid hotel review with seaviews, good to see the review title appropriately updated.. 🙂

    https://headforpoints.com/2017/06/28/review-trump-turnberry-starwood-luxury-collection-resort/

    • Andrew says:

      Bit bracing compared to Bournemouth.

      Would rather be staying at the Fairmont in St Andrews. The MacDonald’s just along the road is also a good seaside stay.