So, only a few weeks after my first ever stay at a Hilton (a “Boy’s Club” bash at the Hilton, Brighton), I find myself staying at my first ’boutique’ hotel, Bournemouth’s Washington House Hotel. Not necessarily my first choice, but a colleague and I needed to overnight in Bournemouth before a client meeting, and the Washington House came up for a very good price on a bookings website while we discussed arrangements.
The first thing we both noticed as we checked in, was the ‘rack rate’ – displayed behind the, suitably ’boutique’, check in desk – about three times what we’d paid.
After completing the registration form and paying by card we were shown up to our rooms, on the first floor. The Washington House is a venerable old building that has clearly been refurbished in a ’boutique’ style quite recently. ‘Boutique’ effectively means eccentric and ‘arty’ furniture, possibly different in each room (I didn’t check), but a very different experience compared to the generic ‘hotel chain’ furnishings I’ve grown accustomed to.
Inside the room was a (very) small desk, with flat screen TV, a rail for hanging clothes, an easy chair, side table with tea and coffee making facilities, and a large, ‘leather’ framed, and comfortable, bed.
The en-suite shower room was both spacious and spotless, featuring a fancy corner shower unit with multiple jets. I discovered the next morning that the multiple jets didn’t actually work, and the shower had two settings – hot and scalding!
There’s WiFi throughout the hotel, but it could hardly be described as fast, I clocked it as 2.5Mb/s but it was fast enough for checking emails.
We skipped breakfast the next morning, as the hotel is reasonably central, and better breakfast bargains could be had than the £15 that the Washington House were asking, but all in all a very comfortable stay.
It may well be that I’ll have to return to Bournemouth in the coming months, and providing I can get a similarly competitive price, I’ll be happy to return to the Washington House.