Coastal Christchurch

So last week I turned 30 – it finally happened and it was all fine! Some of my close friends and my boyfriend have already turned 30, most were fine about it but a few did have a wobble!! I was even happier to be turning 30 as I had a week off work booked and I knew my boyfriend Chris was whisking me off somewhere, I just had no idea where!! I was super smug when I found out we were off to a gorgeous spa hotel in Dorset, even more so when I found out we’d be doing pretty much nothing!!

I drove us the couple of hours from south west London to the Christchurch Harbour Hotel, situated on the water at Mudeford Quay. Selected by The Sunday Times Travel as one of the UKs top 10 coastal hotel, the Christchurch Harbour Hotel is in a beautiful small harbour setting with beach huts in the distance. The hotel not only boasts incredible rooms but also two fabulous restaurants with fabulous views. Our room was wonderful, with a partial harbour and garden view it was peaceful and calming. Having stayed in the Brighton Harbour Hotel last year, the tones and decoration are similar but there some differences which is nice.

We arrived late afternoon, so spent the first evening relaxing in the spa before drinks and dinner at the Upper Deck Restaurant. This is the more informal of the two restaurants and is also where breakfast is served. The patron chef here (and at The Jetty) Alex Aitken retained a Michelin Star in the New Forest for 14 years – Gordon Ramsay also noted one of his other Dorset restaurants in his top 11 places to eat in The Times. The window seats are offered on a first come first served basis, so as we were lucky to nab one with our 20.30 sitting (second round for dinner!). We had a dinner allowance included with the hotel rate and it went a long way. (¬£27.50 each!). We both went for scallops to start followed by steak, yummy! The staff were fabulous with my food intolerance’s and alternatives were provided ūüôā

On our second day (my actual birthday) we had breakfast ordered to the room. The hotel again were great with my food intolerances and it was lovely to eat breakfast overlooking the harbour. The hotel is a short walk from Mudeford Quay so following breakfast we went on the short walk round. The Quay joins to Avon Beach which has several quaint rows of beach huts and a little coffee where we grabbed a coffee (as always!). Continuing up the beach will take you to Highcliffe Castle, although we didn’t have time as I had a massage and facial to get back for! The plan was to go back on our final day, but the rain was unbearable so we stuck to the spa!

The HarSpa is truly wonderful! Although not as unique as the ‘hidden’ underground spa of the Brighton Harbour, the facilities were great! A lovely swimming pool, with hot tub, sauna, steam room and a salt room (first for me too!!). Upstairs there was the ‘look out’ which was a beautiful decorated relaxation room that looked over the harbour, very calming! I was treated to a Harspa essential massage and full body massage which were great, as was relaxing and reading my kindle.

For my birthday evening we ate at The Jetty, perfect harbour side setting with a perfect view for watching the sunset on a May evening. Known for it’s locally sourced oyster and seafood, the food and the service were both stand out!¬†I’ve never been brave enough to give oysters a go, so I went for the asparagus with quails egg and Sri Lankan style monkfish with coconut rice for a main! As it was my birthday, we¬†splashed out and went for a bottle of the¬†Billecart-Salmon Ros√© NV which was fabulous, light and went great with the fish! Chris obviously went for the steak again! For pudding I went for an espresso martini which was huge, especially next to the Vespa Martini that Chris had! I was also surprised with a ‘birthday dessert selection’ (how classy!) which was also gluten and dairy free for me! Yay!! We finished our evening with another cocktail next to the fire in the Upper Deck.

A wonderful celebration of turning 30! A super relaxing spa break and just what I needed, a wonderful stay-cation enjoying the Dorset countryside! As always, this is just my opinion!!