By Jane Knight
Dreaming of escaping to a stylish hotel where you can enjoy cocktails by an outdoor pool, kick back in a cabana and indulge in a spa treatment or two? New five-star hotel The Nici has got you covered.
Sitting pretty above the golden sands at Bournemouth’s West Cliff – and just up the road from swanky Sandbanks – the newly refurbished Nici hotel offers Miami-style glamour, delightful drinking, dining and lounging spaces, plus a show-stopping 30m outdoor pool.
With a brand new spa just added to the mix, it’s the perfect choice for a relaxing south coast staycation.
The Boutique Handbook’s resident spa expert and founder of Spavellous, Jane Knight, was one of the first to dip her toe in the new pool.
THE NICI HOTEL REVIEW
The Nici hotel is easy to get to by road and rail. If you’re coming by car, there’s valet parking at the hotel. I went by train as the hotel’s just a few minutes cab ride from Bournemouth station and there are plenty of taxis waiting to whisk you away, so there is no need to pre-book.
Hello Miami! Or is it Ibiza? The holiday vibes are strong at The Nici and you feel like you’ve been transported to foreign climes, especially if the sun is shining.
The front of the hotel plays down the delights that await within, but as soon as you enter the funky foyer and make your way past the bright and breezy bar, restaurant and vintage pinball machine, you know you’re going to enjoy your stay at this newly-renovated hotel.
The Nici has fun times and relaxation written all over it, from the sloganed beach bags to Miami style art and palm-pretty décor. It’s a place for good times and seaside fun, and probably a cocktail or two.
There are 84 rooms and suites at The Nici, all bright, stylish, and recently refurbished. Think palm prints, pops of fresh emerald green and luxe touches like freestanding baths, recessed ceiling lighting and a kitsch pineapple-themed drinks trolley. Bathrooms are luxurious and stocked with Malin + Goetz products. Beds are high and particularly comfy.
Accommodation ranges from ‘Cosy’ rooms to Garden Suites with their own hot tubs, all a short stroll down the zig zag path to the beach.
To experience the best of The Nici, book a sea-facing room. There are plenty of them, and some, like the one I stayed in (Sea View Suite 228) have their own balcony.
Interconnecting rooms are available, and dogs can stay in selected accommodation for an extra £15 a night, bed and bowl provided.
FOOD AND DRINK
South Beach is the hotel’s multi-zoned restaurant and bar space, offering indoor and outdoor options with a range of seating to suit every drinking and dining desire.
Styling is light and modern with a continuation of the Miami vibe, chanelled via palm prints, fresh colour palette and gold accents. There’s a separate bar area too, complete with its own disco ball. Open from 7am until late, South Beach serves everything from breakfast to nightcap cocktails.
A good Continental Breakfast is included in the standard room rate, but you can pay extra for hot food if a Full English is calling.
Lunches are a long and lazy affair, best enjoyed from the terrace. Evening dining is equally relaxed, and happily bookings aren’t time restricted. Menu favourites include Beer Battered Fish and Chips, Pork Bao Buns, the Big Nic House Burger and Black Truffle Risotto. They also do a popular roast between 1-3pm on a Sunday.
The Nici hotel’s new spa had just opened when I visited, and I was interested to see how the hotel’s distinctive aesthetic had been interpreted in the treatment and pool spaces. I ventured downstairs to take a look and try one of their signature treatments.
The spa has its own 18-metre indoor pool, complete with pink ceiling, boujee day bed style loungers and Art Deco accents. There’s a poolside hydro pool, sauna, steam room, and a spacious changing room with lockers, GHD hairdryers and straighteners. Cloud-comfy robes and towels are also provided.
Outside you can take your pick from the comfy poolside loungers and floaty white cabanas that flank the show-stopping pool. The pool area is reserved for guests staying at the hotel. And it’s table service, so there’s no need to exert yourself by having to make your way to the bar. Come sunset, you can relocate to one of the sunken fire pits to continue chilling out by the warmth of the fire.
If you fancy a treatment, there are eight dimly-lit therapy rooms, including one double, plus a particularly lovely relaxation room, stocked with healthy snacks and refreshments. You can choose from facials and full body treatments by specialist spa brands Oskia and OTO CBD.
I tried The Nici x OTO Signature massage, a 60-minute treatment which includes CBD oil from the non-psychoactive bit of the cannabis plant. The idea is that the CBD will help to relax mind and muscles. The treatment uses sound therapy to further elevate the relaxation with a soundtrack of singing bowls and breaking waves.
The treatment was unlike anything I’d had before and was a varied and immersive experience due to the different types of massage techniques used and the added wellness elements, which included the introduction of a rose quartz crystal. The exact treatment you receive depends on the oil that you choose during a blind scent test before the massage begins. I chose the ‘balance’ oil, which the therapist described as ‘a hug in a bottle’, with the corresponding treatment designed to slow everything down.
After I’d been soothed and sound-bathed for an hour, I was led to the relaxation room to enjoy a CBD seltzer, also part of the treatment, and gently return to reality. I felt properly relaxed and like I’d just woken up from a calming dream.
You don’t have to be staying at the hotel to book a treatment and The Nici has just introduced day spa packages too, which include use of the indoor pool facilities, starting at £150 for The Nici Sunset package.
The OTO x CBD massage is from £115 for 60 minutes. The spa is open Monday- Friday 6am – 9pm and 7am – 8pm at weekends.
If the spa’s not for you, there’s plenty of other entertainment options, from paddle boarding and kayaking to film screenings in The Nici’s 13-seater cinema. Kids have their own activity room, complete with table football and super-sized Jenga.
The Nici is a fresh, fun, and glam choice for a luxury night away or a longer staycation. The atmosphere’s playful and friendly and there are plenty of activities to keep you amused. The hotel is great for wining and dining and the new spa adds a next-level relaxation space and quality treatments. And, as for that outdoor pool…
Rooms start from £230, including breakfast and spa access
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