Sleepover: Harbour Heights
A night in Poole
Sunday 09 May 2004
The exclusive Sandbanks area of Poole, Dorset. Among pines trees and expensive holiday flats on a hill overlooking Europe's biggest natural harbour, in a property hot spot.
Sandbanks has become a seaside choice for millionaires and celebrities. They've got restaurants, bars and yacht clubs but, until now, not a matching hotel. Here it is. Oh and the view. It's as good a gawk as the south coast can offer; your coffee will go cold as you stare at miles of sea, harbour, islands, trees and boats. The hotel is an unexciting whitewashed 1920s building with 38 bedrooms, but £4.5m has been spent on the inside.
The comfort factor
Avoids country-house stuffiness or boutique minimalism with simple, good-quality design. It's light and casual, and staff are easy and unobtrusive. Rooms are dominated by that view but are average size. Book a room with a balcony.
Jacuzzi-style bath, twin basins and a power shower strong enough to blast your toupee into the next room.
The food and drink
Harbar Brasserie forms a view-worshipping arena. The nosh is "contemporary international": ie big white plates with pretty and tasty little dollops. Book a table by the window or edge of terrace. Eating on the patio with flaming torches and cool blue lighting will be summer epiphany. A three-course dinner costs about £35.
Last-minute city escapees sporting goatee beards, short skirts and Porsches, mixed with local millionaires.
Britain's best beach is five minutes' walk and Poole Harbour is probably our best watersports venue. A sister hotel, The Haven, a mile away, has pools, spa and tennis. Day trips include Brownsea Island and shopping in Bournemouth.
Good, though the garden and surrounding walks are steep.
B&b in a double from £110 per person.
Harbour Heights, Haven Road, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset BH13 7LW (01202 707272; www.fjbhotels.co.uk).
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