I've visited Bournemouth just the once before, and having read about Hamilton Hall I thought it always sounded a great place to go and get away from it all. And so I took the opportunity to book myself in for two nights (room 3).
I arrived just after 5pm (to give the staff time to take the dog for a walk, get all the chores done etc they ask for no arrivals between 1pm and 5pm). I was greeted by John (the owner) with a big welcoming friendly smile and offer of a coffee and biscuit. While completing the new guest registration card I was also introduced to Missy – a gorgeous, friendly and very lovely dog. Just to follow on a point from a previous review, Missy is actually very well trained and there is a house rule that she shouldn't be in the dining room. Of course she tries it on but always returns to her bed when instructed.
My bedroom was lovely, very spacious and well decorated, nice lighting, and importantly a very comfortable bed with plenty of pillows to choose from so that you can get the combination that is just right for you. In the corner there was a small washroom space – shower cubicle and sink and then right outside the door on the landing a toilet and another shower. The room was clean, fresh and welcoming. And it is so often the little touches that make a place special, such as the bottled water and chocolates waiting on the coffee table in my room.
There are no kettles etc in the rooms, but in the dining room there is a kettle and drinks for you to help yourself to anytime of day or night. Usually a B&B that has drinks facilities in the rooms has some sachets of coffee and a few teabags with four tiny little milk servings. Here there is just about any type of herbal tea you could think of, coffee, decaf, builder’s brew tea, decaf builder’s brew, hot chocolate, fresh milk, fruit juices, soft drinks and a big jar of biscuits to help yourself to.
Downstairs there is a TV room to relax with other guests in, both nights I ended up sat down chatting with other guests into the night. And of course there is also the dining room, this is one large table that everyone gathers around for breakfast and dinner … meal times should be social times, and both John and Simon (the other member of staff working during my stay) are great hosts – ensuring you have everything you need, and offering delicious home cooked food. If you have a big appetite you should definitely try John's Big One for breakfast!
I left on the final morning completely relaxed, mission accomplished for the weekend, and thinking “I could just go sod it and stay for another night” which is always good sign for any trip!
Hamilton Hall does have clothing optional policy that may not be to everyone’s taste. But to me it is a place of tolerance, spirituality, retreat and laughter where everyone is encouraged to be themselves and to look after themselves. As Barbra Streisand once said “You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.” And this is a fantastic place to help do just that.
It really is like your home away from home where you don't have to cook. I look forward to coming back again soon, either to a workshop or just for a trip away. It is one of the two best gay B&B’s I have stayed in – and I noticed some business cards for the other on my way out. Highly recommended!
And for those who have seen the Three In A Bed episode, it didn’t take me very long at a to realise just how fabulous John is.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As seen on national & international TV. Clothing Optional. Men Only. Retreat style hotel. Some room sharing. Private rooms also. Specializing in events for gay / bisexual men. Very informal & friendly. Like nowhere you have stayed at before. Huge repeat custom. As seen on Channel 4's '3 In A Bed' programme (April & August 2010) to huge acclaim. Open since March 2000 and going from strength to strength. Newly refurbished and decorated - newly double glazed - all for your comfort and enjoyment. Massive Diary of Events throughout the year offering workshops - seminars etc. on Sexual - Self and Spiritual development of mind, body and soul. The only venue like it in all of Europe. Women only events also available. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Hamilton Hall Hotel Bournemouth