Until recently, eco and luxury were rarely used in the same sentence. For many, the concept of eco still evokes images of tents, hemp and dancing around campfires. But The Green House Hotel in Bournemouth has challenged this notion. Here, eco is cool and green means lavish comfort, reports Ryan Varga-Clark.
At The Green House the revolution in upmarket sustainability has begun: the 32 room hotel and restaurant recently underwent a multi-million refurbishment. Heat and power units are combined to save energy, an advanced lighting system dims the lights automatically when people leave a room, there are eco boilers, ‘green’ paints and wallpaper and reclaimed furniture. The hotel gets much of its energy from unobtrusive solar panels on the roof and even claims it can sell energy back to the National Grid.
But you wouldn’t know anything was different when you walk in. It is, in essence, like any other high quality hotel of a similar class – elegant, understated and modern. Bedrooms are sumptuous with roll top baths or walk-in showers, low energy televisions, and eco hairdryers.
For gastronomes, the gem in the hotel’s crown is The Green Room restaurant. Head chef Gordon Jones, formerly of the Royal Crescent, Bath, has brought a high standard of cooking to the area. The sourcing and provenance is key to Gordon’s philosophy and it seems it’s not just about putting farm names on the menu. The quality and locality of the ingredients is reflected in the food, such as the New Forest Breakfast – a medley of foraged mushrooms, ‘real’ sausages, locally cured back bacon and black pudding or Dorset free-range eggs and locally smoked trout.
We sampled the nine-course tasting menu, which started with a three-dough loaf (onion, wholemeal and white breads baked together, like rolls), followed by a veritable cornucopia of dishes from glazed winglet to tender fillets of gurnard, and a bright cheesecake dessert reminiscent of posh angel delight.
The daily changing menu is chosen by the chef, with one of our courses being swapped at will as he felt he had found something better. Courses were delivered with the style and signature of someone with Michelin skill, but the experience was let down a little by the crossover of ingredients across courses, something that will undoubtedly change once the restaurant becomes more busy. It is evident that a lot of thought has gone into the sustainability of the venue; thankfully this doesn’t detract from the quality of the food. It’s certainly unlikely you will ever see snake beans or other air freighted foods on your plate simply to enhance the menu.
The Green House arguably sets an example for other hotels to follow. As this venue proves, there’s no need to compromise on service or quality to deliver eco-friendly luxury.
Prices start at £115 per room per night, which includes full English breakfast and VAT.
T: 01202 498 900