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Norfolk Royale Hotel 4.0

Bournemouth, Dorset, England

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Minutes walking distance from Blue Flag beaches
  • Historic property of two converted Victorian Villas, with elegant Art Nouveau veranda
  • Echoes restaurant serves British cuisine; afternoon tea in the lounge; bar for cocktails
  • Pool housed inside beautiful conservatory
  • Whirlpool, steam room, sauna, and spa with holistic and beauty treatments
  • Cozy rooms with Molton Brown toiletries and minibars
  • Friday happy hour with sparkling wines and Champagnes
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Fee for parking
  • Fee for breakfast
  • Tube-style TVs in some rooms
  • Hen and stag parties not welcome (a pro for some)

Bottom Line

Norfolk Royale Hotel has been converted from two imposing Victorian Villas and restored to its original Edwardian grandeur, including a stunning Art Nouveau veranda and pretty gardens. The upscale hotel has 95 rooms and suites, all with minibars and cozy, traditional decor. Features include an indoor swimming pool, sauna, and spa, and the hotel is perfectly situated for strolls to the beach and drives to a national park. The wall-to-wall patterned carpeting does date the property somewhat, and it's not the trendiest hang-out in Bournemouth. Still, guests return for the choice location and facilities -- especially the grounds, which have a barbecue area, an outdoor bar, and chic patio heaters.

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Scene

Traditional and cozy historic property with a somewhat dated style 

Guests enter the Norfolk Royale Hotel under a two-level Art Nouveau veranda -- a 1903 addition to this Edwardian property -- before reaching the reception area. While there is plenty of evidence of the building's 19th-century origins in such features as the high ceilings, supporting pillars, balustrades, and doorways, the ambience is that of a typical, upscale hotel whose trappings haven't been particularly well integrated into the period property. The lobby is airy and bright, thanks to the high ceilings and large windows; and gold decorative mirrors, chandeliers, and a grand piano add pizzazz. The space does look a little tired, and could benefit from a lick of paint and some jazzier furnishings to bring it into the 21st century. The hotel is surrounded by private gardens -- mostly clusters of trees, a stone fountain, and a patio area with wicker seating and outdoor heaters. Norfolk Royale Hotel predominantly attracts families and couples.

Location

Near the magnificent countryside -- but most destinations involve a drive

Located on a sleepy residential street with a bunch of pubs and high-street stores nearby, the hotel is a 10-minute walk to Bournemouth Beach, which gets packed in the summer, and 15 minutes' drive from Sandbanks, with a stunning beach. The quaint town of Christchurch is a 15-minute drive, and has a wonderful harbor and cute restaurants. The New Forest National Park is only a 15-minute drive away, and has wild ponies and ancient forests. Families can visit Marwell Zoo, a 45 minutes' drive, but worth it for the 235 animal species. Brownsea Island is a 45-minute trip by car and ferry; owned by the National Trust, it has woodland and heath, a variety of wildlife, and cliff-top views across to Poole Harbour and the Isle of Purbeck. If guests feel adventurous, then Stone Henge is about an hour away in the car.

Rooms

Cozy and homey; some with freestanding baths and more modern style

Rooms are good sized and have modern edge -- some are flashier than others. Most have wall-to-wall carpeting and plush decor, with quality beds, soft linens, and scatter cushions. Color schemes are red and pink or blue and green, with floral pattern accents. Furniture is modern and made from light or dark wood. Standard rooms have minibars, coffeemakers, tube-style TVs (sadly!), and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms tend to be large, with shower/tub combos; some have separate bathtubs, as well as showers. Molton Brown toiletries are a nice perk. Superior options include freestanding baths or corner whirlpool tubs, flat-screen TVs, and plush sofas. Rooms are quiet, and those looking onto the garden have the best views.

Features

Art Deco-style restaurant and a pretty indoor pool under a glass ceiling

The indoor pool isn't enormous, but it's housed in a lovely conservatory with a curved glass ceiling, mellowly lit by Art Deco-style lamps. The pool and surroundings could easily be out of The Great Gatsby, and it's a sweetly chic place to swim. The Art Deco-inspired restaurant, Echoes, serves British cuisine for all three meals. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge, and there's a bar for cocktails and Friday happy hour. For business travelers, there are four suites that can be used for meetings, with room for up to 150 people. The garden can also hold up to 150, and is popular during the warmer months. There are also a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room, plus a spa offering beauty and holistic treatments. 

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Address

Richmond Hill, Bournemouth BH2 6EN, United Kingdom