One of Britain’s best-loved beach destinations, Bournemouth’s golden sands lie just a short distance from the town centre and, for a settlement of its size, it has an impressive portfolio of meeting and event venues.
The enormous Bournemouth International Centre has long been a preferred venue for party political conferences and it’s no surprise that tourism and MICE business are among the town’s key industries.
Bournemouth University has grown rapidly as an employer in recent years while the influx of students has seen the town’s demographic move away from one which has traditionally leant towards the retirement end of the population spectrum.
The Pavilion Theatre & Ballroom
Address: Pavilion Theatre, Westover Road, Bournemouth,
Tel: 01202 456400
Built in the 1920s, Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre & Ballroom is located just a few steps from the town’s pier and sandy beach, and over the road from its sister venue, the enormous Bournemouth International Centre (BIC). The entire venue was refurbished in 2007 and its impressive Ballroom regularly hosts shows, ballets and operas, as well as corporate shindigs, product launches and conferences. The Theatre has capacity for 1,500 delegates theatre-style, while the Ballroom takes 600 for banquets or 900 for receptions.
RNLI Lifeboat College
Address: The Lifeboat College, West Quay Road, Poole,
Tel: 0870 833 2000
In Poole, a few miles west of Bournemouth, is the impressive RNLI Lifeboat College. The harbour-side venue is used to train RNLI crew and lifeguards but is also a purpose-built conference centre with onsite accommodation to boot. The main auditorium has room for 150 delegates and there are four seminar rooms and a further eight smaller meeting rooms – all of them are soundproofed and have individual climate and lighting controls. Meals and snacks are served at the Slipway Café and the 100-seat Riggers Restaurant, which has fine views across the harbour. Accommodation is in the form of 60 ensuite guestrooms done up to hotel standards.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
The Green House Hotel
Address: The Green House, 4 Grove Road, Bournemouth, BH1 3AX United Kingdom
Tel: 01202 498900
The Green House Hotel lays claim to being the greenest hotel in the UK. A glance at its environmental programme provides strong supporting evidence, down to the finest details such as underlay made from recycled felt and wall tiles made partially from recycled content and fired only once instead of the normal twice-fired process. The four-star hotel is home to 32 attractive guestrooms and the highly regarded Green Room restaurant. Meeting facilities are comprised of a conference room for up to 100 delegates theatre-style and two meeting rooms for up to 24 boardroom-style or 40 in theatre-style set up.
ON A SHOESTRING
Village Hotel Bournemouth
Address: Wessex Fields, Deansleigh Road, Bournemouth, BH7 7DZ
Tel: 0120 205 5205
The Village Hotels portfolio has grown to a 25-strong collection of affordable, design-led hotels across the UK and, for corporates, has some very attractive delegate rates. The Village Hotel Bournemouth is located on the northeast outskirts of the town, sandwiched between the Royal Bournemouth General Hospital and Christchurch Golf Club, and has 116 guestrooms, a health and fitness club, pool, restaurant, pub and coffee house, plus free wifi and parking. There are five meeting/conference rooms with capacity for up to 200 delegates theatre-style in the largest. The four smaller rooms can host 30 theatre-style or 15 in a boardroom set up. Delegate rates are £13.99 on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; £9.99 on Sundays; £17.99 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott
Address: St. Michael’s Road, West Cliff, Bournemouth, BH2 5DU
Tel: 01202 557702
The Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel is perched on the clifftops above the town’s long beach, adjacent to the Bournemouth International Centre. A £4.5million refurbishment has seen the lobby, restaurant, meeting facilities and 160 guestrooms all spruced up, with 32-inch LCD TVs among the updates. There’s an indoor and seasonal outdoor pool, fitness centre and Highcliff Grill and Lounge with splendid views out to sea. The 18 function rooms can host events for up to 500 delegates – or 250 for dinners – with the largest, the Dorchester Suite, measuring 261m2. There’s wired and wireless internet and AV equipment includes CD players, LCD projectors, LCD screens, portable PA system, rear screen projection and video equipment . AV technicians and TV production staff can be hired in and summer breakout areas include the large lawn and pool and bar area.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Address: Derby Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth, Dorset,
Tel: 01202 553 887
The Langtry Manor hotel boasts a long list of accolades to have been bestowed upon it, most of which pertain to it being one of the best small hotels in the region. A 20-minute walk from the town centre – and five minutes from the coast – the 27-room property was built in 1877 for Edward VII’s mistress Lillie Langtry, and half a million pounds has recently been spent on refurbishing the main manor and adjacent lodge. Rates start at £120 per 24-hour delegate, which includes accommodation, free wifi, full English breakfast, refreshments, buffet lunch and a three-course evening meal in Langtry’s Restaurant. Day delegate rates are from £35 per person. The Royal Suite and Main Hall cater for larger meetings of up to 100, while the Derby and Gladstone rooms have capacity for meetings of up to 20 people.