A picturesque town in Dorset, Christchurch is awash with historic buildings, postcard architecture and looking out onto its very own natural harbour, so it is entirely fitting that Christchurch Harbour Hotel is of the old-school seaside variety – a grand house in prime position with an aquatic view.
In a delicate shade of yellow, the hotel is a fusion of regency architecture and contemporary updates. There are 64 rooms in Bronze, Silver and Gold categories – each with a neutral palette that echoes the aquatic views of the rooms at the back of the hotel and thus instilling an overriding sense of calm.
Small and seriously contemporary, the subterranean Harbour Spa offers a seductively lit pool that glows in blue, green and indigo lighting, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, crystal steam room, salt grotto, and a gym as well as two relaxation areas with teas and drinks available on tap. There are also five treatment rooms and in addition to the much loved ESPA product line, therapists work with the marine inspired Thalgo brand which takes its genius from the sea – a highly appropriate link to the hotel’s location. Therapists here take particular care to cater to the individual and ensure that if you have a particular concern it can be addressed in your treatment – so when you are booking a treatment, feel free to ask their advice!
The main restaurant is the double AA Rosette awarded Harbour Restaurant, and as the name might suggest, it sits pride of place with a harbour view and serves all meals in a quietly grand environment. When it comes to meals on your spa day – this is where you dine, and as part of the main hotel you do need to change out of your robe, so it’s a good idea to have your meal at the start or end of your visit. Practically floating in the water however, is The Jetty – an ultra contemporary seafood restaurant overseen by Michelin Star Chef Alex Aitken – a widely respected name ensuring a particularly special experience.
The hotel is located at Mudford Quay – looking out onto the water which is a welcome view any time and particularly enjoyable from one of the many terraces and outdoor areas in the sunshine. The surrounding area also has a lot to offer for a variety of visitors, whether it’s heading to one of the beaches on the Jurassic Coast, visiting New Forest National Park, or taking a stroll around the town and its 11th century Priory Church.
The word to describe Christchurch is ‘charming’ – with parts of the town dating back to 1764 and of course, that all-important view. The hotel itself is elegant with a traditional sense of customer service and understated elegance, but when it comes to the spa albeit small, it is all about contemporary design and facilities.
– Try one of the Thalgo treatments – partially because it is so fitting being by the sea, and partially because it is one of the more unusual brands to experience at a spa.
– Explore the town and the surrounding area – particularly if the weather is good – if not, do the British thing and take a coat!
– If you are staying overnight or into the evening, book a meal at The Jetty – there is a reason he was awarded a Michelin Star!
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