Going urban in Bournemouth
It bodes well for a hotel visit when you get a recommendation before you step through the door, especially when it’s from a traditionally stoic Dorset cabbie.
“The Urban Beach Hotel is just what Boscombe needs,” my man behind the wheel enthuses. “Good food, good crowd – really laid back and accommodating.”
I considered asking Mr Cabbie to put a few words on paper, save me some typing time in terms of the review. But I decided to keep an open mind and, while not actively look for faults, at least find something to balance this fervent intro.
Well, it was a struggle. The Urban Beach Hotel has got effortless cool down to an art, with friendly service and luxurious rooms to compensate for a lively bar/restaurant and occasionally loud clientele.
The set up is a bit disorientating at check-in, as the arrivals desk doubles as the restaurant reservations area. However, having only 12 rooms, you get a really private and personal service. Manager Helen showed me to my room personally and even adjusted the radiators for me.
The room itself was stunning. Room 2 (http://www.urbanbeach.co.uk/rooms/rm2.html) is hugely spacious, almost embarrassingly so for a single occupant, is a light and airy, thanks to a vast triple aspect window. It features a king sized bed and fully stocked bathroom. The taps were a little slow running but a bath was well worth waiting for, with Arran Aromatic toiletries and tealight candles to add to the opulent vibe.
I knew what I was having for dinner before I even arrived at the hotel. I had promised to take my long-suffering personal trainer out for a steak, with added chips and a creamy sauce to compensate for a hundreds of press ups he insists on putting me through on a weekly basis. I knew I’d get perverse pleasure eating a calorific meal in front of him – and if he ordered the same, he couldn’t complain, right?
The Urban Beach steak was straight out of a Marks & Spencer’s food porn advertisement. Hampshire beef, rich peppercorn sauce, hand-cut chunky chips, heavily peppered tomato half. For the sake of balance, the service was a tad on the speedy side, and food like this should be savoured. After bruschetta to start, steak was served within ten minutes, then dessert just five minutes after the mains were cleared. It felt a little rushed.
After a very good night’s sleep, it was back to the bistro for breakfast. It is clearly popular with residents (inclusive) and locals (from £3.50 for a huge bacon sandwich) alike, with a stocked continental breakfast bar to complement the hot menu. I went for the mini full English and thankfully so, as this was epic enough to satisfy most appetites. The scrambled egg, bacon, tomato and hash brown were perfectly cooked but the real star was the New Forest pork and apple sausages. Truly outstanding.
If you thought Bournemouth was all blue-rinse brigade and 99 cones, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise will a visit to Urban Beach. Whether it’s for an overnight stay, dinner or just breakfast, the Urban Beach team exceed expectations at every level.
In January, you can stay at Urban Beach half price – the perfect way to blast away the new year blues, with rooms from £67.50. Book online at http://www.urbanbeach.co.uk.
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