Anyone for a game of cricket? Even if the answer is no, the Ageas Bowl Hilton should be on your Hilton radar. How about a spa day? A round of golf? A good steak?
Let’s start by saying that you can snag some great deals on event based hotels when the venue is empty – Hilton Wembley is another that springs to mind. In this case we snagged a great deal and also caught a game of cricket too.
Being an event location getting here is really easy, with the hotel being just off a main road and also served by various bus routes. In the local vicinity there is a David Lloyd Tennis Centre, a huge number of out of town retail shops and chain restaurants. Parking is free for guests, but controlled by a barrier which you need to remember a code; or press the buzzer and apologise in my case.
I arrived at the hotel during a cricket World Cup warm up season, and England had played on that day. Despite this and another game the next day the hotel really went out of their way to provide an upgrade to a pitch view room with balcony on a high floor. This was totally unexpected and really appreciated – it was pretty exciting to see a cricket game the next day – even as a non-fan.
After check in a small security check point meant having to open bags, but the operatives were really friendly and helped. Up into the lifts and into the room, spacious and modern is the feel here. A few unobtrusive cricket themed pictures were on the wall. A floor to ceiling, full width window leads to the large balcony complete with two chairs and a table. It really is such an impressive view, even without the pitch being occupied.
The hotel is one of the few outside of London or major cities with an Executive Lounge. On arrival they explained the lounge was closed, I think they turn it into a media centre or something similar, but drinks and canapés would be served in the bar. The bar overlooks the other side of the hotel, which is a golf course.
Staff here were understandably busy with the event on, but for two hours provided sparkling wine, cocktails and beers with the ability to order unlimited small plates from the regular menu. It really was a pleasure and a good way to compensate for the lounge being closed; Hilton Bournemouth could take a leaf from this novel.
After the early evening drinks we retired to the room to relax in the comfortable king size bed with beautifully soft linen and on the balcony as the sun went down.
The majority of rooms here only have large walk in showers, and do not have bath tubs. This is great for me and I enjoyed a well pressured and temperature controlled shower with a soft fluffy bath sheet to finish.
After an excellent sleep breakfast was being served until 11am in the main restaurant, Beefy’s, which is a steak house in the evening. The breakfast room has great pitch views and really pleasant decor. The buffet is well stocked, contains all the usual Hilton brand standard items and, a real bonus, good sized glasses for water/juice. A fun little novelty is the pancake machine, complete with digital progress tracker. During breakfast there was a hive of activity as Sri Lanka were about to take to the pitch.
After breakfast I pondered trying to understand cricket on the balcony but felt my efforts would be better spent in the spa. Diamond members get complimentary access to the spa, which is normally £35. The thermal area is probably one of the best in a Hilton within the UK. A large thermal pool with showers, underwater loungers and jacuzzi area is surrounded by loungers and a sauna. A relaxation room with hot stone loungers with LED star ceiling is a great place to snooze for an hour or two. Two steam rooms with different scents complete the indoor area, before venturing outside to the hot tub. It was a great feeling being outside in the sunshine with warm bubbles.
After feeling thoroughly refreshed I returned to the room and headed to check out after a quick check on the cricket; it was still there. Check out was friendly and fast, and I was buzzing to get out of the car park in minutes.
Another great stay at the Ageas Bowl, and one of my favourite Hilton’s in the UK. Hopefully next time we’ll get to experience the executive lounge too.
Top Tip: Always upgrade to a pitch view room, the balconies are something quite special and very relaxing looking at the grounds and the forest in the distance.