I was hoping to bring you my thoughts on the new five-star Hilton hotel opening here in Bournemouth. I was under the impression it was due to open today (seventh), however I understand it is now 15 December.
The hotel is the first five-star luxury hotel to have been built in Bournemouth for over 100 years and I have had a front row seat from the very beginning.
I live not far from where the hotel is and pass it several times a day to and from my home, to work, to the beach, to the cinema and to go shopping!
I met with the developers, along with other residents, when the hotel was still in its proposal stage. I saw the original plans, the surveyors with their equipment, and the first spade in the ground! From then on I watched on a daily basis as an area of waste ground slowly became a fantastic looking first class luxury five-star hotel. Chef and broadcaster Matt Tebbutt heads up the restaurant called Schpoons & Forx, and the hotel also boasts a sky bar, luxury spa and health club, ballroom and function rooms.
I certainly intend to sample the restaurant and bar since I live not too far away. But I don’t suppose I will be testing the luxury rooms!
Right across the road from where the hotel opens, I also get a front row seat to a new a leisure complex being built from start to finish. This complex boasts cinemas and many well-known casual dining chains.
I have to confess I do worry when I see such an onslaught in chain and branded businesses. The seemingly relentless growth of casual dining chains in particular can only have an adverse effect on the independent sector.
The independent sector has been squeezed very hard, and that includes many high profile fine-dining businesses run by some of the country’s top chefs. It is such a pity, since the independent sector has so much to offer. I have always found the dining experience, and often accommodation experience too, in independent proprietor-run establishments much better than the branded multi outlets. That is not to say others are poor, speaking from experience, many are very good, others quite exceptional. However, it all comes down to personal taste, and to me, you cannot beat that distinctive ‘local quality’ the independents offer!
Editor of CLH News