I have many fond childhood memories of the beach, and my family’s beach hut, so to be asked to stay at The Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel a beachside hotel… I practically jumped at the chance to see what this venue has to offer couples – as a wedding venue, a mini break before the wedding, or even a hen weekend…
Set on a dramatic cliff top, with breathtaking views of Bournemouth Bay and seven miles of spectacular sandy beaches, the seafront Highcliff hotel is an incredible addition to the Marriott family, with a rich English heritage – though it’s now far bigger than the original hotel, and clearly far more modern.
Simply a minute’s walk from the beach, you won’t be short of fun to have in the days surrounding the BIG one! This hotel also includes and indoor and outdoor pool, fitness centre, and a health and beauty spa = the perfect place to relax and relieve any stress you might have before it’s your turn to say “I do!”.
Today’s History Lesson
This grand Victorian building was originally planned as four large mansions back in 1873, though it never operated as four houses as planned – during construction, a company was formed with the purpose of turning those four terraced houses into a “monster hotel”. This hotel was subsequently named Highcliffe Mansions, under the ownership of a John Kilner – an experienced hotel proprietor with a hotel in the nearby Exeter Square. With a name like Highcliffe Mansions, it soon began to attract many aristocratic and wealthy patrons, including the Earl and Countess of Dartmouth and Lord and Lady Vivian.
Over the coming years, the hotel underwent a myriad of changes, from an additional annexe, a newly-built garage, and most notably a two-floor extension somewhere between 1920 and 1925. Here’s the fun part – this gorgeous hotel’s role in Britain’s political history. In May 1940, a few months after the Second World War had begun, a nation-changing telephone call was made from this very hotel. The leader of the Labour Party, Clement Attlee, made a call to Downing Street to declare that Labour would join a National Government, but not if Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister; thus began the office of Winston Churchill. Eventually bought by one of the most well-known hotel groups, this hotel has been in the Marriott family for almost fifteen years now, but it’s steadily beginning to gain a reputation as a stunning wedding venue.
Entrance & Suite
Upon arrival at this luxurious establishment, the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming; check-in went smoothly and by now we were excited to stay in the best suite in the hotel!
Though we were told it was soon due for refurbishment, this amazing suite did not disappoint! We were so lucky to stay in the best room in the whole hotel – the elegant Prince Edward Suite – with a gorgeous sea view from both the lounge and the bedroom. The bathroom had a sublime Victorian feel, with green tiled walls and a luxuriously deep standalone bath. Nostalgic black and white photographs hung around the room took you back to the Victorian days, with depictions of how they enjoyed the relaxing beach life.
We couldn’t come to such a lovely place without trying the delicacies on offer – we made our way down to the Highcliff Grill, the hotel’s award winning 2 AA-rosette restaurant. We were promptly greeted by the restaurant manager, who kindly escorted us to our table. Of course, we were treated to a wonderful window seat facing the sea view; the restaurant itself had a formal yet comfortable feel – perfect for a wedding party.
We met with Sous Chef Richard Tregaskes, who made us feel even more welcome (as if that were possible?) and asked if he could help us with the menu. The entire menu is carefully created using the finest ingredients from the south west; British cooking with classic flavour combinations, with an added modern twist.
I treated myself to an amazing starter of South Coast Crab and Spelt Risotto, Crisped Shallots, and Lobster Oil, and a delicious main of Roasted Duck Breast, Smoked Duck Leg, Butter Bean, Red Onion, Red Pepper Ragù with a side of Cauliflower Cheese and Mashed Potato. Dessert was the delectable Highcliff Banoffee Pie – something sweet was definitely needed after all that delicious savoury food. Between the wonderful service and incredibly gorgeous food, we were certainly well looked after at the Highcliff Grill.
Licensed for civil ceremonies, the historic venue of The Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel boasts elegant wedding suites, along with a magical open air wedding gazebo, sweetly nestled in the landscaped gardens, making it a truly magnificent setting for your special day or fantastic social event.
This gorgeous Bournemouth venue caters to anything from small beach weddings to extravagantly grand galas – anything goes at this Marriott Hotel.
The hotel’s Dorchester Suite venue boasts luxurious surroundings for events, weddings and parties of up to 250 guests. The outdoor gazebo venue is something extra special; overlooking Bournemouth Pier as well as the stunning coastline, it sets the stage (literally) for a breathtaking wedding ceremony you’ll never forget and seats up to 100 of your favourite people. We’d like to think that we don’t even need to mention the accompaniment of the award-winning cuisine!
Their certified wedding planners will tailor a bespoke package to fit your every wedding whim, including red carpets, a bespoke web page for your day, and even a special gift on your first anniversary! They’ll make sure your wedding is nothing but flawless.