Sometimes, when things are getting all a bit too much – a break from ‘reality’ is much needed. But if your bank balance doesn’t allow for you to whisk yourself away somewhere hot and sunny, then a ‘Stay-cation’ is what’s in order. And in many ways, without the hassle of a plane, boat or long taxi – it’s far more relaxing.
A few weekends ago, a stay-cation was exactly what the doctor ordered. I was feeling really run down, a little bit sorry for myself – missing home and with SO MUCH uni work – and generally just down in the dumps. Danielle and I had a night booked at Urban Beach in Bournemouth (Boscombe) and I was really excited to get away and leave all my worries and woes at home.
Luckily, as it turned out – the concept of Urban Beach sits rather nicely with a need for relaxation, as it oozed a very chilled vibe which I can only liken to my summers in Cornwall as a child or my trips visiting friends in Australia, which brought back lovely memories.
Mark Cribb, the owner of Urban Beach and Urban Reef (their sister restaurant, a 5 minute walk away at the beach) set up the independent chain after being inspired by his travels down under – wishing to re-create a relaxed, surfers paradise back in the UK. I’d say he’s been pretty successful!
We arrived at around 1pm and checked into our beautiful room straight away. Just up a short flight of stairs from the main restaurant, I wasn’t expecting such a gorgeous, well put together (yet cosy) bedroom for the night – and we set about making ourselves at home. The decor was right up my street – with warm autumnal colours, a GIANT bed (with plenty of pillows) and a massive DVD collection available for all guests to use in the hallway (who needs Netflix when you’ve got your very own library just outside!). We made a mental note to look for a movie when we returned.
Keen to make the most of our new surroundings however, we got changed and headed to the beach – where we spent a good ten minutes debating whether to get fish and chips – before resorting to taking some outfit photos on the pier. #BloggerLife.
We whiled away the rest of the afternoon on the balcony of Urban Reef, sipping peppermint tea and watching a bunch of new surfers hit the waves, before making our way back up the hill to get ready for dinner – stopping briefly in the hotel’s gorgeous bunting-laden cocktail garden! How pretty!
Dinner was a relaxed yet delicious affair, with a simple, fuss-free menu offering an array of local and homemade delights. Both Danielle and I opted for the chargrilled sourdough to start, with hummus, red peppers and olives – which went down an absolute treat (it’s a miracle we remembered to photograph it). I’m not usually a fan of sourdough as it’s a bit heavy however this was light, fluffy and doughy in all the right amounts – the chargrilled aspect giving it a toasted texture – perfect for dipping!
The cocktails were also worth writing about, mine an ‘Urban Margarita’ (which was strong enough to blow your socks off – but tasty) and Danielle’s a White Chocolate Liqueur and Rum concoction (just the right amount of sweetness apparently). As you can probably tell, I enjoyed mine…
When it came to the main courses, Danielle and I couldn’t resist ordering the same (yet again) – tempted by the delicious sounding thyme and rosemary roasted chicken, with fondant potato and tarragon sauce. I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. The chicken fell apart on the fork, complimented by the full-bodied flavour of the sauce and the fresh vegetables. We ate in silence, which was a strong indication of how tasty it was – usually, when it comes to the two of us, we don’t even stop talking long enough to catch our breath!
The dessert offerings sounded incredible, an array of chocolate delights, crumbles, salted caramel ice creams and sticky toffee butterscotch puddings. Unfortunately there weren’t any dairy free options (although I’m used to this now) however the kitchen did very kindly offer to make me a fresh fruit salad, an offer I took them up on! Danielle chose the fruit crumble with clotted cream ice cream and custard – which looked incredible. Unfortunately, these two dishes didn’t even last long enough for a picture (and it was also getting dark – which doesn’t agree with my camera) so you’ll have to take my word for how good they were. You won’t be disappointed.
Feeling satisfied but not uncomfortably stuffed (which is never a good feeling – regardless of how good the food is) – we made the short journey back to our room to indulge in Saturday night trash television and a session using the new Snapchat update (cue – lots of giggles about how hilarious I look as a strange hamster/rabbit).
After falling asleep rather early (clearly all that sea air and chatting had got the better of us), we woke at 8am – feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day – which was something I hadn’t felt in a while (the sign of a good staycation). I made poor Danielle take lots of photographs of me posing in bed with one of Urban Beach’s very own teacups wearing my new Jimmi Jamm pyjamas – before heading down to breakfast.
Again, like dinner – we were treated to a selection of homemade and delicious sounding options – including American Style Pancakes and Eggs Benedict, the latter of which Danielle opted for. I chose the vegetarian breakfast (minus the eggs) and a large peppermint tea (as always). We were a little sad to be going home after such a lovely weekend – but the break had definitely done its job and as we packed our stuff and left the room, I felt ten times calmer than I had the previous day.
Thank you to Urban Beach for a really welcoming, enjoyable stay. I know Matt wanted to capture the relaxed, chilled vibes he loved so much during his travels – and I really do think he has been successful in achieving this. It didn’t feel as though we were just a few miles away from home in Bournemouth, as the staff, decor and quiet (yet serene) location transported me to my own little holiday destination.
If you’re on the hunt for a perfect ‘stay-cation’ destination, I’d definitely give here a look in. The rooms are gorgeous, the beach is just down the hill and the food and cocktails are incredible. What more could you ask for?
Have you been on any stay-cation’s lately? Or have you ever visited Urban Beach – or Bournemouth?