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Hotel Highlights

  • The UK’s most eco-friendly hotel
  • Five minutes’ walk from Bournemouth beach
  • Spectacular, sustainable Modern British dining

Overview

On the edge of seaside Bournemouth in Dorset, The Green House hotel is just a quick five-minute walk from the city's historic centre. This picturesque estate got the whole eco-conscious revamp in its transformation into an intimate and luxurious boutique hotel, with furnishings made of sustainable materials and earth tones throughout. Even much of the electricity is produced on-site and the sun helps to heat the water. Not surprisingly, the restaurant – the best in Bournemouth – uses only local sustainably raised and grown produce.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Green House with us:

A glass of Dorset-made sparkling wine each

Facilities

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The Green House Hotel – Bournemouth – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

32.

Check–out

11am, but later check-out may be possible, for a charge. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $132.67 (£83), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include a full cooked breakfast of fresh New Forest produce.

Also

Each guest is given a flask of fresh milk on arrival, which stays chilled for 24 hours.

At the hotel

Small garden, DVD library (and players to borrow), free WiFi throughout. In rooms: eco-friendly LED TV, Bose iPod dock, tea and coffee (and an eco kettle), bespoke low-impact bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Ask for a room at the rear for maximum peace, and top-floor rooms are the quietest. Crab Apple, a Master Double on the first floor, has plenty of space to run around in, as well as a huge roll-top in the centre of the open bathroom. Cedar is smaller, but worth its weight in bathroom. The Small Doubles can be a bit of a squeeze, so are best kept for one-nighters.

Packing tips

Don’t forget beach towels if you’re here in summer: Bournemouth beach draws a crowd as soon as the sun makes its presence felt. Come by car (electric, naturally) so you can get out of the city into the New Forest and pootle around Dorest’s Jurassic coast.

Also

One room has been adapted for wheelchair users. The hotel is a popular wedding venue on weekends, so be prepared for the bar and lounge to be busy. Check when you book to find out if there's an event on.

Children

Welcome, although there are no outstandingly family-friendly facilities. Travel cribs can be borrowed (extra beds are £30) and there’s baby changing in the toilets near the restaurant.

Eco‐friendly

The clue’s in the name. The Green House goes beyond the gimmicks and thinks of everything. All materials and furniture – from the bespoke bamboo-covered Hypnos mattresses to the TVs which automatically adjust picture output to suit the light level – are as green as it gets and everything the hotel does is informed by a dedicated (but not preachy) eco-friendly ethos. Electricals are all low-energy, and everything that plausibly can be is recycled (including rainwater) and/or locally sourced.

Food & Drink

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The Green House Hotel – Bournemouth – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

It might not sound like much to say the Arbor Restaurant is the best in Bournemouth but it’s been drawing appreciative nods from those in the gastro know since it opened. As you’d expect, chef Andrew Hilton takes sustainability seriously, tweaking the menu almost daily to take advantage of what’s fresh, seasonal and readily available from the local area. The four-course à la carte menu, which gives starring roles to dishes such as glazed pork cheek with a wholegrain mustard potato cake, and crispy lamb with apricot purée, is gloriously good value, and vegetarians are very well looked after, too.

Hotel Bar

Just off the lobby, the Arbor Restaurant’s snug rectangular bar area is papered in Farrow & Ball thistle-print brocade (best not mention the fact it’s upside down), and dotted with comfy toweling-topped seating in green and purple. It’s ideal for pre-dinner berry mojitos, Sunday brunchtime Bloody Marys, or just a pint of Dorset ale. There’s a wide-ranging biodynamic wine list, too.

Last orders

The Arbor Restau serves dinner until 10pm (lunch is 12.30pm–2pm and breakfast, 7.30am–9.30am). Guests can drink in the bar around the clock. You can take afternoon tea anywhere in the hotel between midday and 6pm, but the best spot is outside on the lawn.

Room service

There’s a 24-hour menu of snacks and sandwiches, with a handful of hot dishes and a tasty cheese platter.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Informal, though things get suity during the week; country casuals at weekends.

Top table

By the bay window, in the middle, where it’s brightest (by day) and free from passing elbows.

Local Guide

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The Green House Hotel – Bournemouth – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Beyond the beach and the shops (the best of the boutiques are in Westbourne, along Poole Road), Bournemouth’s biggest attractions aren’t actually in it. It’s an easy and scenic half-hour drive to the New Forest (www.thenewforest.co.uk) a rambler’s wonderland, and great cycling/horse-riding territory. Give the New Forest Cider Brewery a ring in advance and the apple-mashers will happily give you a tour of the press (+44 (0)1425 403589). Pack a picnic and catch the ferry from Poole Quay to road-free Brownsea Island, a blessedly road-free wildlife sanctuary where a young Baden Powell set up his prototype Scout camp (www.brownseaislandferries.com).

 

Local restaurants

Bournemouth’s not yet known for its foodie scene, but it’s working on it, and there are a few feathers in its culinary cap. For starters, there’s The Print Room, an art deco brasserie set in an old newspaper press in the Echo Building on Richmond Hill, where you’ll find a menu that goes global for its influences, but stays local, ingredients-wise (+44 (0)1202 789669; theprintroom-bournemouth.co.uk). Slap-bang by the shore, West Beach is a gently nautical, family-friendly fish joint that’s just as reliable for lobsters and langoustines as it is with beer-battered cod (+44(0)1202 587785; west-beach.co.uk). Named for its position on the Alum Chine cliff-top, The Edge is a glossy Modern European dinner spot with a terrace and spectacular ocean views (+44 (0)1202 757007; www.edgerestaurant.co.uk). Half an hour outside Bournemouth in New Milton, Vetiver at Smith-approved Chewton Glen has been widely praised for its classic British menu, which draws heavily from local produce and meat (there’s a trolley of roasts in the evenings). The wine list is even more impressive, and the restaurant often hosts special wine dinners, matching vintage to victuals (+44 (0)1425 275341; vetiverchewtonglen.com).

Local bars

Bournemouth’s bar scene can be boisterous, especially in the summer stag-do season, so steer clear of the swagger and head to deco den The Ink Bar, next door to the Print Room restaurant (+44 (0)1202 789669; www.ink-bournemouth.co.uk).

+ Enlarge
Bournemouth’s leafy fringe

The Green House

4 Grove Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 3AX, United Kingdom

The Green House is just on the edge of Bournemouth city centre, about five minutes’ walk from the beach, on Grove Road – a tree-lined avenue lined with hotels and guesthouses.

Planes

Bournemouth International airport is around five miles away in Hurn, and, largely thanks to Ryanair and EasyJet, serves an assortment of destinations in Europe and the Channel Islands, with a long-haul or two (such as New York) thrown into the timetable. Taxis are around £15. Most guests coming by plane, however, will land at Heathrow or Gatwick, both around two hours’ drive away.

Trains

A mile from the hotel, Bournemouth station is on the South Western Main Line that runs between London Waterloo and Weymouth. The trip to/from London takes less than two hours, and services run about four times an hour.

Automobiles

A car will be handy for escaping the city and exploring Dorset, Hampshire and the Jurassic coast. The Green House is roughly two hours’ drive from London, down the M3 and across the New Forest. There’s a free car park at the hotel.

Reviews

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The Green House Hotel – Bournemouth – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Holly Tuppen , Eco editor at International Tourism Partnership

I won’t lie. There was a small sigh of relief as we entered our Bournemouth boutique hotel. More Bognor than Bilbao, this South Coast town is not always celebrated for its attractive architecture and the Green House Hotel is sandwiched between a Sixties’ block of flats and a red-and-white concrete abode named (rather ambitiously?) the Celebrity Hotel. Perhaps this is all deliberate &nd…
Read more

The Green House

Anonymous review by Holly Tuppen, Eco editor

I won’t lie. There was a small sigh of relief as we entered our Bournemouth boutique hotel. More Bognor than Bilbao, this South Coast town is not always celebrated for its attractive architecture and the Green House Hotel is sandwiched between a Sixties’ block of flats and a red-and-white concrete abode named (rather ambitiously?) the Celebrity Hotel. Perhaps this is all deliberate – the build up makes first impressions of this stay all the more memorable.

Large conifers hide the hotel strip beyond, and sports cars fringe a palm-dotted front lawn with soft grey steps lead up to a gleaming, white mansion. For one of the most eco hotels in the country, the Green House Hotel’s grandeur is impressive. Our delight only grew stronger as we were led to our room via a beautifully restored Victorian staircase, decorated in a soft leaf-print wallpaper. (Not these, but a lot of the wallcoverings were designed exclusively for the hotel by Royal College of Art students which put paid to our hopes of buying them for our own home.)

Up to the second floor and across to the far side of the hotel and we had reached Silver Birch, our home for the next two nights. With below-freezing weather in store, the room was going to be the real clincher. I could barely contain my excitement on entering a room perfectly proportioned for an indulgent, lazy weekend with Mr Smith. Open plan, half of the room is dominated by an organic cotton mound of a bed, while the other gives centre stage to a stand-alone Victorian bath. It was also spotless (vital for relaxing, given mild OCD tendencies) and cosy (vital for romance, given the temperatures outside). Having dreamed about the roll-top bath all week, it was very tempting to stay put for our first night. But we felt we should at least give Friday night in Bournemouth a try and, more importantly, we were starving and although room service is 24/7, the room had no minibar.

Despite my previous comments about the surrounding architecture, the Green House Hotel is in a pretty good spot. Two minutes’ stroll and you are on the seafront, gazing along a seven-mile stretch of sandy beach. Closing my eyes and ignoring the February chill ripping through my soul, I could just about imagine stepping out in a floaty summer number and ambling barefoot through warm sand in search of seaside cocktails. But in reality, with stomachs rumbling and hands numb, we hurried towards the town centre and dived into the first restaurant we came across.

There are some atmospheres you just can’t find in London, and this was one. A grand piano hosted a silver fox blasting out his piano rendition of Bryan Adams while a waiter in black tie ushered us to a candlelit table. The restaurant was full of the celebrating and celebrated of Bournemouth, all dressed to the nines, guffawing the night away with full glasses, platters of seafood and red faces. ‘This is amazing!’ I whispered to Mr Smith, in the way that you do when you’re an outsider really excited to be at someone else’s ‘normal’. With two AA rosettes the Crab at Bournemouth is said to be the best seafood restaurant in town, and I’m not going to argue. Having popped out for a quick snack and some drinks, we couldn’t resist a full-blown feast.

After a lie in, a warming bath and locally sourced (and also very tasty) breakfast, we decided to head into some of the surrounding countryside this part of Dorset is so famous for. The area is a mecca for GCSE Geography case studies: Durdle Door, Old Harry Rocks, Purbeck Hills, Swanage Bay, Chesil Beach. The lure of a geeky trip down memory lane aside, we were both excited at the prospect of cliffs, sea breezes and a pint of local cider. Our ‘since we’re by the sea, perhaps the sun will poke out’ hopes sadly didn’t manifest, but the West Country cider provided more than the necessary warmth.

Back at the hotel we walked straight into the warming and excitable atmosphere of a wedding, giving us the perfect excuse to go the whole hog when it came to drinks and six-course tasting menu at the Arbor Restaurant. With bridesmaids and pageboys hiding from merry parents and a flushed bride and groom having a romantic moment in the garden, we settled in at the bar to start our night of beautifully prepared and responsibly sourced food and drink. A bottle of English sparkling wine in (which could almost have been champagne) and I was declaring the Green House Hotel the most wholesome and relaxing place to spend a Saturday night in the whole of Dorset. And when it comes to Bournemouth, frankly, this place is a lifesaver.

Slightly sore heads tempted us back to the beach on Sunday morning. With the sun breaking through dark grey clouds it was just as beautiful as it would be in summer. Bournemouth has hosted leisure seekers for more than a hundred years and in some ways, with its deck chairs, promenaders and piers, that morning it felt unchanged. Until we stumbled into a jazz-filled seafront bar where Bournemouth’s media set were getting stuck into some punchy Bloody Marys.

Environmentally friendly hotels so often fall into two camps – the corporate and efficient hotel room with as little soul as it has carbon, and the preachy hippy with so much eco-chat that you spend the whole time scratching at your hairshirt and walking on eggshells. Not so here. The Green House Hotel is genuinely better for its subtly delivered organic and responsible credentials, and it leaves you feeling all the better for it.

 


 

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Green House from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked everything! One of my favourite hotels so far. Our Master room was wonderful, bed comfortable and loved the little touches eg: cookie jar and lovely water bottles. Staff were all very friendly and helpful and the food was superb.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This is a lovely hotel with really nice rooms. I especially liked the bath in the room.

Rating: 5/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Staff were excellent and the eco-ethos is very well executed without stinting on luxury.

Don’t expect

Everything was great for us, except the fact we had to leave after only one night (our fault not the hotel's)!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved everything about this hotel. The room was spacious and well set out. It was situated in the right place for us to get to everything we wanted to without much of a walk and the food was superb. The receptionist who greeted us upon check-in was one of the most cheerful people we have ever met. She was lovely and helpful and very quick to offer help which must be a godsend for people who don't know the area or travelling from overseas. One of the best weekends away we have had for ages.

Don’t expect

The door on the wardrobe was a bit of a pain: as the floor was "wonky" the wardrobe door creaked and didn't stay open without you holding it.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The whole eco ethos was refreshingly different. It was good to see what we might aspire to working on a corporate scale while retaining a very comfortable environment. The staff was super friendly but not intrusive. Ultimately what I went for was the proximity to the sea and the extensive, uninterrupted beach which, just being near, has restorative powers. Of course a long soak in the fabulous reclaimed bath is a must after a day on the beach!

Don’t expect

The hotel is a popular venue for business meetings, etc, so the bar is occasionally off limits which could be advised so guests can avoid it.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I loved the style of the hotel! It's a real gem amongst the other Bournemouth hotels: beautifully decorated, with friendly helpful staff and delicious food.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything was just perfect. I could not have hoped for better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff was friendly, and nothing was too much to ask. Food in the restaurant was delicious – the cheese board is fantastic and really impressively presented. The roll-top bath in the room was a lovely added extra. We were given fantastic service – even free late checkout – and loved the beautiful food and really great location.

 

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The interior decor was really current and stylish – a minimal, outdoors feel. The rooms are spacious and very clean with modern tiled bathrooms with great showers/baths. We have stayed here twice now as friends live in Bournemouth and will be staying here for many years to come if it stays the way it is. Its push on its eco-friendly values throughout the hotel shines through, with booklets in each room explaining how they're constantly working towards cutting down their eco-footprint, which as a business is great to see. We've only eaten breakfast at the hotel, not dinner, but the breakfast was really good quality local produce. It's not a great distance to the beach and town centre, which is handy as parking is a nightmare in town. Both times we've visited the staff has been notably friendly and attentive, which is really nice to see too – they're a real asset to the hotel.

Don’t expect

A little more selection with the breakfast menu would be good. The last time we stayed we didn't have breakfast because of the variety. Also, I'm not sure I'm 100 per cent on board with the showers being the main focus in the rooms without some sort of door or curtain (I'm refering specifically to the last room we stayed in, Wych Elm).

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The service was very good. We were upgraded, which was a real treat. Rooms were beautifully, ecologically, creatively designed with high-quality appliances and comfortable beds with excellent bed linen. Breakfast was served promptly and efficiently. All food was organic and fresh. I couldn't fault anything. Of course the hot water is heated by solar power so it isn't scalding hot all the time but that was not a problem as the shower was good. All was very tasteful and beautiful. Quite a special hotel in the midst of many quite mediocre others.

Rating: 10/10 stars