green holidays made easier
The Green House is tucked away in Bournemouth’s smart and tranquil East Cliff area, just a short tree lined street from the seafront and near the bustling town centre. This luxurious boutique hotel is housed in a Victorian Grade II listed villa that has been thoughtfully and sympathetically refurbished, giving it a stylish contemporary vibe. It opened in early 2010 and is, according to managing director Christopher Airey, “the only hotel in town of this standard”.
The 32 beautifully furnished bedrooms aren’t numbered but have woodland names, running alphabetically from Bay Willow to Wild Pear. All have a 32” LED flat screen TV, Bose sound dock, soft goose down duvets and crisp white organic bed linen. The bathrooms have natural stone basins, walk in showers and luxury toiletries. Cedar, on the first floor, is one of the master suites, boasting a king sized bed, a truly enormous bathroom and a striking reclaimed roll top bath.
The Green Room brasserie serves modern European cuisine with the accent on fresh, seasonal and local produce. The talented young head chef is Gordon Jones, previously from one of the country’s top hotels with two AA rosettes and his own TV series under his belt. The signature is the 9 course tasting menu whose dishes change frequently but may include nettle cappucino soup, pressed pork belly with Jerusalem artichokes, and leek porridge. When ecofriendlytourist.com dined here vegetarian variations were readily provided, with offerings such as mouth-watering seared scallops served with shallot puree. The New Forest breakfast is outstanding. Also on the ground floor there is a sleek bar, open till late.
The friendly and professional staff made a huge impact. Without fail, they provided exceptional and unobtrusive service with a smile.
The Green House could hardly be more upfront about its environmental stance, boldly stating itself to be “the greenest hotel in the UK”. To back this up it is subjecting itself to rigorous and widely respected external examination regimes. It aims to achieve ISO 14001 environmental accreditation and, says the driving force MD Christopher Airey, “I want this to be the first hotel in the country to be awarded the BREEAM [Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method] ‘excellent’ rating”.
Guests are provided with copious information about the hotel’s fastidious attention to green detail. There’s the bottled drinking water (the eco-friendly “Housewater” brand); the Eco Kettles and BaByliss eco hairdryers; the lighting is low energy as are the flat screen TVs; the showers have water saving features, yet are still amazing; the Forest Stewardship Council certified wallpaper; 100% UK wool carpets; the solid hard wood furniture, either recycled or hand crafted in the UK – over 100 things “to make sure everything about the hotel has been designed to spoil guests without spoiling anything else”. Food is sourced within a 30 mile radius, and is organic or home grown, wherever possible. Wines are organic and biodynamic with each bottle graded according to its carbon footprint.
There are solar thermal panels on the roof, complemented by combined heat and power generating equipment in the plant room, with the rest supplied by Ecotricity; the kitchen uses energy saving induction cooking; and the laundry uses imported Girbau equipment “because it’s energy rated unlike UK manufactured industrial products”.
The Green House lives and breathes sustainability. “These things often don’t cost more”, as Airey told ecofriendlytourist.com, “the cost is in the time and effort to find them.” Impressive.
ecofriendlytourist.com stayed as a guest of The Green House in July 2010