Friday, 20 April 2018

Hallmark Hotel West Cliff Bournemouth Review

Service, service, service, one of the most important aspects of a good hotel. Not just service, but great service. Whether it's a five-star hotel or a budget motel, the stay can be made or ruined on the service you receive. Well on my recent stay at the Hallmark Hotels In West Cliff Bournemouth the service was fabulous, and one of the many reasons to stay here.



After a 4-hour car journey from South Wales, we arrived tired but looking forward to our stay.  We were greeted by Marianne the receptionist. who checked us in. Marianne explained the facilities and didn't rush us which I appreciated. She was really helpful and courteous.





Our first impressions of the hotel were good. Next to the reception area is the bar and restaurant and the bar area was light and airy. Adjacent to this is the bar area and one an undercover pool.





The pool had a number of sun loungers, on which you can relax and was covered with a glass roof which let in lots of light. We had to walk through the bar area to the side corridor to get to our room which was on the first floor. There is a lift in the hotel but not to the rooms that we were in. If you have mobility issues be sure to ask where you are staying and if it is accessible via the lift.

Then up to the room.



The room was a good size. The double bed was to one side of the room, with crisp white sheets and two table with lamps. The tea and coffee tray was a nice touch and the biscuits were great - choc chip and orange anyone?


A big plus point was the ability to refuse to housekeeping if staying for more than one night and having a complimentary drink at the bar instead. This is a great little perk for the customer, makes financial sense to the hotel, and is eco-friendly too.  Well done Hallmark Hotels!

Nice biscuits included in the tea and coffee tray

It’s nice to see a room with a bath and shower and toiletries that were complementary. 





I felt like the room was in the middle of a refurbishment. The carpets were in very good condition but there could have been some attention to detail elsewhere. The paint was a little scuffed, wooden furniture was worn and cushions and valance on the bed were a little bobbly.

The bed was comfortable though and everything was clean so that was good. A little note, the shower pressure could be better, which didn't bother me but it may do some.

The bedrooms do not have air conditioning but fans are provided. It was a warm day in April and we did need to use a fan during our stay. Windows do open though so that was great to have fresh air, as in many chain hotels the windows do not. About an hour after we got to our room we had a courtesy call to ensure everything was ok - a nice touch!

Before I knew it, it was time for my treatments. I had booked these previously and I would recommend you do so, especially on the weekend as they were busy.



The spa facilities at the Hallmark Hotel West Cliff Bournemouth consist of five treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, spa pool, jacuzzi and indoor swimming pool. 

There is a full menu of therapeutic treatments such as aromatherapy, massages, salt scrubs, mud wraps and reflexology, and a number of beauty treatments too.  Packages include a choice of treatment, use of the spa facilities, robe and slippers, and lunch or afternoon tea included.

I had booked a deluxe pedicure ( £35) and a back, neck and shoulder massage (£37). I felt these treatments were well priced for a hotel spa. 

Lisa, my beauty therapist, let me choose an oil from a selection for the massage, and before long I was being pampered with a very good massage. Lisa was very personable and good at putting me at ease, which is exactly what you need when you are having such personal treatments.


Elemis products to buy in the spa






The music in the spa was very relaxing and helped set the atmosphere, and before long all the stresses and tight knots in my back melted away. 

After a short interval, I then had the deluxe pedicure. I have had a few pedicures in my time and I thought this one was excellent. The luxury pedicure included a paraffin wax treatment to soften hard skin on heels and this really appeared to work on my feet.


The bootees to help the paraffin treatment.


I was very pleased with the finished result. Thanks, Lisa! 


The indoor spa pool

That night we ate at the hotel. You can pay as you go for dinner or book a package in advance including room, breakfast and dinner at £103.50 per double room. This seemed like a good deal but if you wanted to stay for room only, then rates on the website are from just under £50 a night. 

First I had the prawn cocktail.



I was really looking forward to this but when the prawn cocktail came, it was a little disappointing, unfortunately. A small number of prawns on a mound of shredded iceberg lettuce accompanied by brown bread (and butter?) and a wedge of lemon. The issue I had with this dish is that the prawns lacked any flavour and were obviously frozen, the brown bread was fresh but the spread was bland and didn't taste like butter. I know this is a chain hotel but I would have preferred 3-4 fresh prawns instead, even adding one or two to the other prawns would have made this dish so much better.


Next up was belly pork with a ginger glaze.  The belly pork was a decent size and had a salt and pepper skin, but the fat needed to be rendered down to make it unctuous, instead, it had a layer of fat underneath the skin. The accompanying potato slices were lovely though and the broccoli was a nice accompaniment, a little more ginger in the glaze would have been great. 



The dessert was a special of Tarte Tatin. I thought it looked really appetising and was very well presented. The tart was delicious, the caramel sauce slightly bitter. 

Mr W had a much better meal. His Welsh Rarebit cheese tart was very tasty indeed, the rich cheesy filling was incredibly tasty, the mustard really adding a lovely tang, the pastry case was crisp and the thin slices of apple added a nice sweetness. This dish was excellent.



For mains, a well-sized portion of homemade pasta was presented. Filled with broccoli, pea, lemon and cheese filling, it was really delicious, the lemon and freshness of the ingredients came through well.


Dessert was 'Hallmark Glory', a concoction of summer fruits, sweetened cream and ice cream. Now this could have had more ice cream and the berries tasted more like blackcurrants but it it was enjoyable still. 



The prices were average for what you get in a decent restaurant  (£7 prawn cocktail £16 belly pork) but if I was honest the food was a mixed bag. Some highlights like the Welsh Rarebit, but also lowlights like the prawn cocktail. When you have a wealth of restaurants on your doorstep in Bournemouth, I think the hotel could do better with their food choices. Service was excellent though, the staff were really lovely, attentive and are obviously well trained.

Next morning we went down to breakfast.






Breakfast consisted of a choice of croissants and pastries, bacon and sausages, fried and scrambled eggs, beans, black pudding, and mushrooms,  cereals, yoghurts, toast and fresh fruit salad. 






Juice was concentrated but there was a good selection of herbal teas, as well as coffee available.  Breakfast was perfectly nice if you had it in the room rate.

There are some additional costs that you have to factor in if you wish to stay here. You have to pay £5 to use the spa facilities per day and £10 to park. The spa facilities consist of a steam room, sauna and indoor pool. However, if you did not want to pay this there is another pool (which kids are allowed in) which is complementary to use. I didn’t feel the prices were excessive but obviously, these extra costs can add up when you are staying here.

The Hallmark Hotel West Cliff Bournemouth is a well-located hotel with a pool and spa facilities and exceptional staff. Rooms and decor are a little tired and the evening menu could be better. Would I stay here again? Yes if I could get a good bed and breakfast rate. I think the hotel is in the middle
of a refurbishment, which would be great when completed. 

There are a number of Hallmark Hotels in the Bournemouth area, such as the Hallmark Hotel Carlton and East Cliff. What sets apart these hotels from others in the area is the pool facilities and again the well-trained staff. I would certainly stay in a Hallmark Hotel again in the future. 

Hallmark Hotel West Cliff Bournemouth
Durley Chine Road
Bournemouth
Dorset
BH2 5JS
Tel: 0330 028 3413
https://www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/
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15 comments

  1. What a lovely looking hotel, I have to admit I love the look of the spa, I could totally do with a spa day right now, I need some R&R!

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    1. The spa treatments I had were excellent, I must admit.

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  2. That looks lovely! And the spa looks beautiful!! I've stayed in The Hallmark, Birmingham before, I dont think it was as snazzy as this!! :)

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  3. This hotel is amazing! Plus there is so much to do and eat! I would love to visit soon

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  4. It’s stunning to say the least. I’d love to have a weekend here with the family, the pool looks so fabulous and soothing, but the food looks absolutely superb.

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  5. It looks a decent place to stay, Mel, although for us the test would be what the family rooms are like. I'm not a huge fan of buffet breakfasts, particularly where food is kept hot but the days of a full breakfast service are long gone it seems. My only other comment would be I'd prefer a king size bed to at least try to avoid the Husband's snoring!

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    1. I would check out the website to see if they have family rooms Linda. I am with you on the king sized beds though.

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  6. I do like a hotel with a pool. Now, one with two... They look beautiful!

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  7. Looks like you had such a fabulous trip to Dorset and the photos of your stay at Hallmark Hotel is making me feel like I should be my holiday there next. The treatment and food looks amazing.

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  8. It looks like a wonderful hotel and one that's worth going to! I love the rooms and the services they offer. The food looks amazing as well!

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  9. I think I did stay at this hotel one time for a couple of nights, after I moved houses and my new flat wasn't ready yet. The interior of the hotel looks very familiar. I remember it was February and I was one of the few guests.

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  10. What a lovely looking hotel, the pool/spa looks lovely and the food sounds great. I love that you can refuse to have housekeeping too - I’ve always found it odd that more places don’t allow you to have that option.

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    1. I liked that you could refuse housekeeping too.

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  11. The spa and treatments look great, I can't think of many better ways to get pampered! Glad to hear the food was generally tasty too.

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