You can’t beat the romantic setting of city set in a garden
Thursday, 22 March 2012
PETER McGREGOR EADIE found Bournemouth had lost none of its appeal when he returned there with wife Fionnuala...
MY WIFE and I recently revisited Bournemouth, where we first met, a few decades previously. It was at an annual convention of the Association of British Travel Agents.
At the time I was the Public Relations and Advertising Manager in Britain for the Irish Tourist Board (Bord Failte) and Fionnuala was the chief harpist at Bunratty Castle. Our tourist hospitality suite was a winner thanks mainly to the repetoire of Irish songs and beauty of the Shannon Castle Singers.
The romantic setting of Bournemouth 'a city set in a garden' has not lost its appeal described by Thomas Hardy in 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles, when it was called Sandbourne, as a Mediterranean lounging place in the English Channel'.
The resort's popularity over the last two hundred years is to an extent due to its beautiful setting on Poole Bay. This high class seaside resort has 2000 acres of gorgeous gardens and parks, which are laced with beautiful flowers and fragrant pines and supported by a plethora of excellent hotels and restaurants.
I noticed an advertisement in a national newspaper that one could stay in January in the 4-star Norfolk Royale hotel for only £99 for two people. This included a two night stay with dinner, bed and breakfast. Well I reckoned one could not get a better deal than that anywhere in the UK, even if it meant dinner consisted of curried turkey and re-heated Christmas pudding. So on January 2nd I phoned 0207 266 1100 and booked for two nights.
Well, what did I get for my investment? A large ensuite twin bedded room with plenty of cupboard and drawer space plus television with an outside terrace overlooking the gardens. The buffet breakfast was everything you would expect from a four to five star hotel. The dinner menus consisted of a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian main courses, a starter and dessert. All cooked to a high standard. The lounge area for coffee afterwards or tea in the afternoon (extras) was three to four inter-connected large rooms with comfortable armchairs and low tables.
In addition the Norfolk Royale is a spa hotel which includes a good size swimming pool. Obviously with such a bargain on offer we were not a couple rattling around in an out-of-season hotel, but one of many visitors deserving a good winter break.
To read the rest of Colin McAplin's feature on his trip to the Canary Islands and see all the pictures, pick up a copy of Northern Ireland Travel News...
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