Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? How about taking a stroll through an array of secluded gardens and flowery meadows? Maybe you would prefer to take a walk-through time and explore and learn the history of some of Dorset’s most famous castles and hidden gems. If that isn’t your cup of tea, how about a walk along the many ancient coastlines, blue flag beaches or a visit to a secluded island. With all this wonderful weather we have been having, all are perfect opportunities to get your fix of fresh air and to enjoy the great outdoors:-
An Italian palace in the heart of the Dorset Countryside home to one of Dorset’s most powerful families, the Bankes.
Bask in the beauty of one of the largest private collection of paintings in Britain or discover the treasures of Egypt roaming one of the largest displays of Egyptian relics in the UK. Look up at beautifully restored ceiling fresco, see one of the last surviving ‘tent rooms’ or spot the keys to Corfe Castle over the mantelpiece and read up on the History of the Bankes family over the last 400 years.
Set on 8,500 acres of estate there is loads to explore outside as well. From Iron Age forts, to colourful heathland, water meadows and even a Roman road. Take a summer picnic and sprawl across the south lawn or let the children run wild in the nearby play areas. Have a wander around the Japanese Garden, complete with authentic tea house or take a sheltered walk through the surrounding woodland. You can even take home some inspirational tips on how to maintain the perfect vegetable garden!
A royal palace and fortress shaped by warfare with 1,000 of years history to discover from the lives of all who have lived, worked and fought in the castle to tales of treachery and treason. With many nooks and crannies to explore and a vast amount of fallen walls and secret places, these castle ruins are captivating for all ages. Admire breath-taking views of the Purbeck hills and meet many wildlife that have set up home there.
Visit the Model village, step back in time and compare the castle as it was almost 300 years ago to the ruins that stand before us today.
There is also an array of walks to choose from and regular activities to join in on or watch such as rein actions of Corfe Castle history , open air theatre productions, cooking classes etc.
A 4 mile stretch of golden sandy beach with views of both Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight. The perfect location for sandcastle making, water sport trying and long walks in the dunes or through the designated countryside trails. Studland is home to an abundance of wildlife from dragonflies and damselflies to sea birds and deer along with a range of different wild flowers and woodland to explore. For some of the best views of the heathlands, head to Agglestone, a 400-tonne rock sitting alone on a conical hill. Perfect for a breath of fresh air.
From the moment you step ashore, Brownsea can feel like a whole other world with an array of woodland, heathland and a lagoon to explore. With a remarkably varied history, there is a lot to learn about the islands past residents. From being a hideout for pirates or a second world war refuge to being a historical landmark for the Scouting and Guiding movement, there is a lot to know about the fascinating castaway island.
It is also a unique haven for wildlife, especially the red squirrel, and their island trails provide a refreshing walk through many habitats home to all kinds of creatures.
With regular events and activities for both adults and kids and a visitor centre providing maps and guidebooks to help with your day, Brownsea island has something for everyone.
Acknowledged as one of the finest privately-owned gardens in England, Compton Acres is well known for its 10 acres of horticultural and ornamental gardens. Each garden is set to a different theme from Italian to Japanese, Wooded Valley to Rock & Water, each with their own unique displays of colour, plants, statues, waterfalls & fountains, trees and shrubs. It’s a great place for a peaceful and relaxing walk, both long and short, filled with breath taking views and an oasis of natural beauty. There is even a café to stop and grab a coffee and a bite to eat overlooking the gardens and Poole harbour and their plant centre allows for you to take some of what is the beauty of Compton Acres home with you.
The most beautiful castle in the South, steeped in history. Follow in the footsteps of kings and queens as you take a walk around the Castle grounds, stand at the top of the tower admiring the views or explore the rooms and background of the castle itself. With extensive parkland, woodland walks, a children’s play area, animal farm and an array of garden games to keep you busy, Its great for a family day out. Why not bring a picnic or come for a walk with the dog? You could even visit the castle tearooms and feast on a selection of homemade cakes or enjoy a cream tea.
An award-winning park and Poole’s main attraction whatever the season. Its ideal for a leisurely stroll or cycle ride with many mapped out routes through woodland and countryside you can follow. You could even take a Segway tour as a more exciting way of getting around. There’s an abundance of wildlife, gardens and plants to explore and a woodland play trail for the kids. There’s an art gallery above the tea rooms displaying the works of many local professional artists and knowledgeable guided tours of the ground floor rooms of Upton House are available.
A mile south of Swanage lies Durlston Country Park, 320 acres of countryside filled with a diverse selection of wildlife and an array of habitats in which they breed from sea-cliffs to meadows. Bask in the stunning views, follow the walking trails, look at the historic Great Globe or explore the renovated Durlston Castle. You can even hire a family explorer backpack for the kids filled with an array of fun activities. Visit the art gallery with regularly changing art and exhibitions or grab a hot beverage and a quick lunch from the castles café.
If your looking for a place of peace and tranquility, then the Blue Pool is the place for you. Surrounded by 20 acres of woods and heathland with multiple sandy paths leading down to the waters edge, the pool itself constantly varies in colour going from green to turquoise. This makes for some gorgeous pictures. Visitors may even catch a glimpse of some of the landscapes wildlife including deer, rabbits, badgers, foxes and dragonflies and could even be luck enough to spot a Dartford Warbler or Green Sand Lizard. There is an array of play areas dotted around for the children to explore and Magic Fairy Doors and Model Squirrels in trees for the kids to find. All the family would be entertained.
The contemporary parkland and pleasure gardens were laid out in the style popularised by Capability Brown (the UK’s most celebrated landscape designer). Simplicity was the hallmark of the gardens which consisted of rolling turf, carefully placed groups of trees, a lake and a lakeside temple.
The gardens seen today have survived several periods. Created between 1915 and 1922, the 35-acre formal gardens were set within the existing framework of the 18th century parklands. More recently, the gardens have been sympathetically restored using photographs from the 1930’s retaining the best features of the old and adding new ones. They consist of a cornucopia of small gardens set on an axes, each with their own themes, character, trails, walks and walled gardens.
The animal park is a hit with the kids and home to a interesting selection of animals including goats, alpacas, miniature Shetland ponies, sheep and more.
Staying in a self-catered apartment gives you more flexibility than other types of holiday. You’re not restricted to certain meal times so you can choose to eat whenever is best for you and you can do everything at your own pace. If you are a late riser and prefer to have a lie in you can or you can wake up and get out early – the choice is yours. You can come and go as you wish. With separate living and bedroom areas it also means that the adults can watch TV or socialise in the evening while the kids are asleep. You can also choose to eat as cheaply or extravagantly as you want. There’s no worrying about the maid coming round early in the morning either unless you choose to have your apartment serviced during your stay. You’re also more likely to explore your surroundings and get to know the culture/background of the area you are staying in, rather than restricting yourselves to the activities in the hotel.
For some people, the thought of eating every meal in a busy dining room with other holidaymakers is the stuff of nightmares. Eating some of your holiday meals in a quiet, comfortable kitchen and enjoying the tranquility with only your friends and family, is very appealing to many.
Self-catering properties are usually a lot more spacious than hotel rooms which is perfect if you are travelling with a large family or group of friends. Most self-catered apartments also come with a large communal area/living space – great for socialising and getting everyone together. Travelling on business and need a place to work? Many self-catering apartments come with a dining table for you to use as a desk and space to spread out rather than trying to cram all your papers/documents and laptop on to a small desk, dressing table or having to go to the bar or restaurant to do work.
Home from Home
Travelling with young children or have family members with special dietary requirements? Staying in a self-catered apartment gives you the freedom to buy and cook whatever you want. You could even save time and pre order your groceries from your favourite supermarket before you leave home so they arrive at your apartment on the day you check in or you can bring food with you from home.
Especially if there is a large group of you as you can split the cost of the accommodation between you all as well as splitting the cost of the weekly shop leaving you with that extra bit of money to go out for dinner one evening if you wanted too.
The Riviera boasts 12 self-catering apartments providing an excellent alternative to hotel bedrooms that can sleep from 1 to 6 people.Perfect for groups of friends or larger families.
These self-catering apartments are in an ideal location close to both Bournemouth and Poole. Residents may use all hotel facilities including the bar and restaurants, indoor swimming pool, spa bath, studio gym, Coast Spa and free WI-FI.
All the apartments offer the comforts of being at home and come with a lounge with a large flat screen TV, dining area, and kitchen with cooker, microwave and fridge. Free parking is available on the forecourt and a lift to all floors – although there are 10 steps up to the front door.
On Business in Bournemouth or Poole? Ask us about our special corporate rates for Apartments. If you are looking for a Summer Holiday then book now as Apartments sell out fast for school holidays!
Watch Tanks in action with a jam packed demonstration filled with expert commentary every weekday at 1pm starting on Friday 30th March.
This Easter Holiday explore The Tank Museum and experience the biggest day out in history. Learn how tanks have evolved and how they are used in battle. Experience the thrill of riding in an M548 tracked vehicle. This working example of military hardware seats 16 at a time – so the whole family can jump on together. Available every day, 11.30am – 4.30pm, during the holidays, a £3.50pp charge applies. Take part in a range of family activities. Kids can also let off steam in our outdoor play area and in our new inside soft play area. Plus free family trails to keep them absorbed with teasers and puzzles!
9: Cadburys Easter Egg Hunt @Studland Bay(30th March -15th April) from 10:30-15:30
Follow this family trail around Knoll Beach to solve a whodunit mystery and collect a reward at the end.
8: Cadburys Easter egg Hunt @ Kingston Lacy (30th March – 15th April) from 10:00 – 16:00
Get ready for two weeks of fun and discovery as you spot the first signs of spring and experience nature bursting into life at Kingston Lacy. Become a nature detective to follow bunny’s clues and finish your adventure with a delicious, chocolatey treat for just £2.50pp
This Easter come ‘down the rabbit hole’ for some great family fun at Lulworth Castle. Join us every day from Friday 30 March to Monday 2 April between 10.30-5pm.
Inspired by the fantastical story of Alice in Wonderland, you can expect a whole host of fun activities including themed trails, Easter hunts, crafts, bouncy castle (weather permitting, age 7+), soft play for under 4s, crazy golf and, of course, white rabbits and Easter Eggs!!
Don’t forget to go and meet the Mad Hatter in the Castle whilst you’re exploring ….Refreshments will be available in the pop-up Courtyard Café. Cream teas, hot drinks, cakes and ice creams are available in the Castle Tearoom. Tickets include Free Parking. Adults £8, Child £6, under 4’s free. Family Ticket (2 adults, 3 children) £30. Tickets can be bought online or on the day.
6: Easter Activities and Egg Hunting @ Farmer Palmers (30th March – 2nd April)
Join us for our Easter Eggstravaganza over the Bank Holiday Weekend. Our fluffy, friendly Easter Bunny will be hiding hundreds of chocolate eggs out in the field, every day from Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive. Egg Hunts start at approx. 2.30pm each day, no extra charge for egg hunts in addition to normal admission. There will also be plenty of animals to meet!
Get ready for a long weekend of fun and discovery as you spot the first signs of spring and experience nature bursting into life on Brownsea. Follow Bunny’s clues and finish your adventure with a delicious, chocolatey treat. Hunt maps can be picked up from Church field and are £2.50 per person. (Normal admission also applies.) The Engine Gift shop will also be selling beautiful crafts and spring goodies for you to carry on your adventure at home.
This Easter holiday the Outdoor Centre will also be hosting three Ranger days where young people will have the opportunity to sample the Scouting life by testing their wild skills and having a go at den building. Sessions will be held on 5, 9 and 12 April from 11.30am-3.30pm and are £15 per child (not including boat fare or entry fee).
4: Easter Eggstravaganza @ Monkey World (30th March – 2nd April) – 10:00 till 17:00
FREE Easter Eggs for the first 100 children into the park from Good Friday until Easter Monday! The children’s Activity Centre is also open all week for fun filled activities and information. Learn about EAST at Easter- our charity in Vietnam, rescuing rehabilitating and releasing back into the wild endangered primates.
3: Easter egg trails at Corfe Castle (30th March – 2nd April)
Seek out and discover the Purbeck nature & wildlife inspired clues to claim your Cadbury chocolatey treat. Please note that normal admission charges will apply plus it costs £2.50 per person to take part in the trail. Booking not necessary. Daily from 10.00am until 4.00pm. Unfortunately dogs are not welcome at this event.
2: Easter in Bournemouth
* Why not head to the beach and walk the seven mile stretch of golden sands from Southbourne to Alum Chine
Why not join us for a 4 course Easter Lunch on Sunday 1st April 2018 in our Cunarder Restaurant accompanied by our resident pianist including activities for the kids and free use of our hotel leisure facilities at just £18.50 per adult (to include a glass of wine) and £8.95 per child (under 12’s). Click here for the menu
The kids can take advantage of our games room with a pool table, table tennis table, Nintendo Wii, a selection of board games and more….
The one day of the year when we try our best to make our mum feel extra special (not that you shouldn’t be doing this every day of the year). So instead of frantically running around trying to find that perfect gift to express your love and affection, why not bring them to the Riviera Hotel.
Although we are fully booked for our Mother’s Day Sunday Lunch, we also provide an array tasty snacks and light meals in our Bridge Bar & Grill.
Why not bring your mum in for an Afternoon Tea?
Feast on a selection of sandwiches, mini cakes and scones with cream & jam and wash it all down with a lovely cup of tea. We have a wide selection of tea available from English Breakfast to Earl Grey to Peppermint, just ask our bar staff.
Can’t make it down on Sunday? We also provide gift vouchers for our afternoon tea packages which can be purchased on our website
You could come in and enjoy a quiet drink and selection of Tapas dishes or a Homemade Pizza. Designed in Art Deco style you can sit back and take in the lovely views over the woods of Alum Chine and far out to sea while you eat.
Did you get engaged on Valentine’s Day or over the Christmas season?
Looking for a beautiful venue for your wedding far enough from the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth but close enough to the beach to capture some perfect pictures on your special day?
Exclusively situated in the beautifully wooded area of Alum Chine, with panoramic sea views across Bournemouth Bay, and just a short walk from the award-winning seven mile stretch of sandy beach, the hotel is in a fantastic location.
At the Riviera Hotel we have the style and expertise to make your special day unforgettable. Our role is to provide you with an attentive professional team who understand that you deserve every detail to be perfect. Your big day will be just as you imagined it.
Starting with the Civil Ceremony/Partnership. Our hotel offers two licensed ceremony rooms, each full of warmth, character and natural day light:
The Conservatory Restaurant: The larger of the two rooms with
beautiful sea views. Perfect for larger weddings, it can accommodate up to 140 guests
The Britannic Suite: Tastefully decorated, the Britannic suite is ideal for intimate
weddings suitable for up to 70 guests
The civil ceremony usually lasts around 30 minutes, depending upon your requirements and if you choose to hold your ceremony at the Riviera hotel, it is your responsibility to book the registrar. All ceremonies can be enhanced with your own music selections and readings, however it is always best to check with the registrar for guidelines in place.
Once the ceremony is complete, all will be escorted in to our main bar while the wedding breakfast room is set up. This gives time for all those important pictures to be taken on the beach or in the alum chine gardens if requested. Once set up, guests will then be directed in to the wedding breakfast.
Any decorations provided by the Bride and Groom will be set up by the hotel staff on the day and utilised throughout the day. Coloured chair sashes can be provided by the hotel at an additional cost.
The Riviera Hotel offers three set wedding packages or you can simply build your own.
The Riviera Signature Package
3 Course Wedding Breakfast
6 Item Finger Buffet
Bridal Suite for the Bride and Groom (Inc breakfast)
Complimentary Chair Covers
The Riviera Classic Package
Arrival Drinks Reception of: Bucks Fizz,
Pimms and Lemonade or Summer/Winter punch
Three Course Meal
1 Glass of Wine with the Meal
1 Glass of Bubbly for the Toast
Classic Evening Buffet (6 options)
Bridal Suite for the Bride and Groom (Inc Breakfast)
Complimentary Chair Covers
The Riviera Elegant Package
Arrival Drinks Reception of Bucks Fizz,
Pimms and Lemonade, Prosecco or Pink Cava
Canapes(choice of three)
Three Course Meal
2 Glasses of Wine with the Meal
1 Glass of Bubbly for the Toast
Classic Evening Buffet (7 options)
Complimentary Chair Covers
Mirror Centerpieces with Tea Lights
Complimentary Use of the Cake Stand & Knife
Complementary Dinner on your 1st Wedding Anniversary
Bridal Suite for the Bride and Groom (including Breakfast)
All day guests will have the evening buffet included in their packages. Additional guests can be added at a cost.
Looking for something a bit different????
May be you are looking for an alternative to the standard three course wedding breakfast, something a bit more relaxed?
Enjoy an intimate tea party vibe with our quintessentially English afternoon tea package for 50 guests including:
Afternoon Tea Package
Welcome Cocktail and Nibbles
Traditional Afternoon Tea
Flute of Prosecco
Bridal Suite for the Bride & Groom with Breakfast
Maybe you don’t want to hold the whole wedding with us. Perhaps you are getting married abroad but would like a party so you can celebrate once you are back with your friends and family at home? Maybe you have booked to have a small ceremony elsewhere and would like to have a larger evening reception but have not yet found a venue?
Why not check out our Twilight Package for 70 guests:
Glass of Prosecco and Nibbles
Either a 6 item finger buffet, build a burger or fish and chips
DJ & Disco
Cake stand and knife
Bridal suite for the bride and groom (including breakfast)
Or maybe you are interested in our Classic package but would prefer to get married during the week instead of over a weekend to save on a bit of money. If this is the case then we offer our classic package as a Special Midweek Package:
Special Midweek Package:
Arrival Drinks Reception of Bucks Fizz, Pimms or Summer/Winter punch
Three course wedding breakfast
1 glass of wine with the meal
1 glass of bubbly for the toast
Classic evening buffet (6 options)
Bridal Suite for the bride and groom (including breakfast)
Complimentary chair covers
Seen a package you like but not interested in all it provides? We would be very happy to put together a bespoke package for you catering to all your needs. If you are a couple dreaming of hosting your wedding in a venue which will provide memories for you to cherish forever,
As the hotel is currently closed for a little titivating, there is no time like the present to take a look back at the festive holiday season and all the events and parties that took place at the Riv throughout December 2017.
Starting from Friday 24th November we welcomed a whole host of different groups: families, friends and companies for their Christmas parties, Christmas Lunches and Afternoon Teas. Our team served and entertained over a whopping 4000 guests throughout the festive month. With all the Christmas decorations put up by our lovely staff and the function rooms transformed and ready for the month’s events, we opened our doors and welcomed you all:
We witnessed an array of different Christmas party attire from those dressed to impress in glamorous dresses and black tie to those in some spectacular fancy dress. Many even took advantage of our photo booth experience to capture some hilarious selfies with friends, family or work colleagues.
Here is a selection of our favourite captured moments of Christmas parties in 2017:
Our popular Santa Sunday lunch was once again a great hit with the kids. Everyone enjoyed their visit from Father Christmas… even the hotel staff:
We received some wonderful feedback on Facebook from one of the Santa Sunday lunch guests:
It’s always great to read such wonderful feedback 🙂
After the Christmas festivities, we saw the ringing in of the New Year with a disco and bagpipes galore! We welcomed over 200 guests for a five course meal followed by an evening of entertainment and a glass of bubbly at midnight. All seemed to go down a treat and the night was a huge success!
After a very busy festive period it was only fair that the hotel staff also got to let their hair down and ring in the new year with fellow work colleagues, and that we did!!!
So from all of us here at the Riviera, thank you to everyone who came to see us and celebrate with us, we hope you all had a wonderful time and look forward to welcoming you back to the Riviera in 2018.
PS – We’re not done yet! We still have some January Christmas Parties to go! If you’re joining us for a party this month, we hope you have a fantastic time!
Last month saw the celebration of Maureen Callaghan’s 90th Birthday, marking a massive milestone for a wonderful lady who has, and will always be the heart and soul of the Riviera. Having owned the hotel for over 50 years, there is no better time to reminisce then after the hotel owner’s birthday month so here is just a brief history on The Rivera Hotel and how it got to be the success it is today:
The Riviera Hotel: A Brief History of a Family Business
In 1960, Alexander and Maureen Callaghan and their (then) four young children moved into the ten-bedroom Riviera Hotel. Alex was 35 and had worked his way through promotion to become Purser on the Cunard cruise liner Queen Elizabeth. He had not only learned his hospitality skills with Cunard, but had also seized the opportunity afforded by his many voyages across the Atlantic to save the money for the deposit to buy the small guesthouse in Alum Chine. Although Maureen and the children moved into the hotel, Alex stayed with Cunard for another year, earning a salary to put towards his plans for the hotel’s expansion. This meant that Maureen, with four children under seven, was plunged into the additional role of single-handedly running a small hotel.
In 1961, Alex resigned from Cunard and came to his new home determined to start building the six extra bedrooms and a new dining room which he and Maureen had designed in that first year. Not long after, the neighbours at No 12 decided to retire and so the Callaghan’s persuaded the Bank to lend them the money to buy their guesthouse. The next building project was to join the two buildings and what is now the ballroom in The Bridge Bar and Grill was built.
After No.12 was integrated into “the Riv”, the owners of No.16 also decided to sell so another trip to the bank ensued. This time, the new restaurant was built to join these two buildings. The indoor pool, the mansard roof joining the three buildings and sundry other projects all helped Alex and Maureen provide facilities which leisure guests enjoyed and the trade of the hotel increased.
The next projects were the purchase of “the Bungalow” on Studland Road (now the Poolside Lodge), followed by the purchase of two adjoining properties which became the Belle Reve Holiday Apartments. This also offered the opportunity to build the outdoor pool – in the shape of an R – which was completed in the early 1970s. Guests who had first come to the hotel as children were now bringing their own children for family holidays. This was because of the huge personal interest the Callaghan’s showed in their guests, endearing them to thousands of families from all over the country who would come to stay time and again, knowing that they would receive a warm welcome and an enjoyable stay every time.
In 1990, after a year’s illness, Alex sadly passed away, aged 63. Maureen and the family were determined to carry on the business and their daughter Maria and son Andrew took over the administration and operational sides of the business respectively.
DID YOU KNOW?? : On a hot windy afternoon in July 1999, a young Assistant Manager was making his lunch in the kitchen when he was called away to a job, mistakenly failing to turn off the equipment before leaving the kitchen. This resulted in the unattended chip fryer catching light. The fire quickly ripped up through the kitchen vents and ignited the wooden surrounds. This spread the fire sideways through the first and second floors of the hotel. Some 90 firefighters fought the blaze which took two days before it was finally extinguished.
Fortunately, at this time of day, there were no guests and few staff in the hotel and no-one was hurt. The family was determined to re-establish the hotel and make it better than ever and, in September 2000, the Riviera re-opened for guests after a £4.5m refurbishment.
The Riviera Today:
In addition to holidaymakers and a growing following of corporate guests who value the friendly and helpful service which we strive to offer, the Riviera now runs many Masonic Lodge weekends, parties, weddings, baby showers and conferences for the locals of Poole, Bournemouth and the surrounding areas. In just this year alone we have so far:
* Watched an array of beautiful brides and handsome grooms walk down the aisle on their big day, each with their very own unique colour schemes and wedding decor. Here is a selection of just a few:
Each special day was equally as beautiful as the last and it was an absolute honour to meet, plan and witness the weddings of every couple we have had the privilege of hosting in 2017.
We can’t thank each couple enough for the incredible feedback we have received from both them and their guests. We love receiving and reading all their lovely FB posts, emails and cards and are always sure to pass on the praise to the whole team so everyone gets a chance to read the wonderful reviews. Here is just a snippet of the feedback from some of our 2017 weddings:
Katherine Ward (had her evening reception with us on 4th August 2017): “I cannot recommend this hotel enough. All the staff were truly amazing at helping us ensure our wedding reception was perfect, in every way it was better than we expected. Lauren (who is the wedding/event’s organiser), you were just pure amazingness and we are so grateful for everything! Thank you all so much!”
Hannah Richardson (got married with us on 10th August 2017): “The hotel and apartments are great and the staff are fantastic. We’ve just had our wedding here and it was absolutely perfect and the staff were incredible. The food is gorgeous and the swimming pools are lovely. Can’t wait to come back again and would come back with my children in the future”
Charlotte Smith (got married with us on 5th August 2017) “Just wanted to say a massive thank you to Lauren, Amy and the team for all the hard work you did in making our wedding so perfect. The food was amazing and the whole venue was set up beautifully. We had a fantastic day and everyone really loved the hotel and had nothing but good things to say about it. Some of the guests are going to book to come back. A huge thanks to my best friend Billy! He worked so hard in the evening and was just so lovely! What a guy! We couldn’t have asked for a better day and we can’t wait to come back and stay – which will probably be soon “
* We have served Afternoon Tea for a large number of baby showers to celebrate many mum-to- be’s expected new arrival and received some amazing comments about our staff and food:
Emma Purvis had her baby shower here with us on 22nd July 2017: “My baby shower was held yesterday 22.07.17. Absolutely fantastic day. Kids loved the pool, the food was amazing, and staff were fantastic, nothing was too big of an ask. Could not fault and highly recommend. Thank you”
Sally, organiser of Georgina’s baby shower which was held on 25th June 2017: “Dear Lauren, Just a quick email to say thank you so much for helping organise yesterday. The whole event went smoothly and the room was presented excellently upon arrival. The member of staff who was serving on the day (Billy) was very helpful; and nothing was too much trouble. He even asked which type of music we would like in the background. The dietary requirements were also remembered and the food was delicious as always! Thanks again to yourself, the staff and the hotel for such a great event! This is the 3rd time I have been in this suite for this sort of event and I will always recommend this hotel to others. I’m sure I will use the hotel many times again in the future Sally”
* We have helped numerous people celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries in style with a lavish event, welcomed a large number of returning and new families over the summer break hosting an array of activities to keep guests of all ages entertained and have already booked over 3700 people in for their office Christmas parties over November, December and January.
It’s been a busy year and we still have three months left of 2017! So to all those we have welcomed back or met for the first time, we would like to thank you and we hope to see you all at the Riviera again very soon
Trying to organise the perfect baby shower for yourself, a friend or relative but unsure on where to book? We have put together our top tips for booking a baby shower at a hotel to help you on the path to baby shower planning success:
Why Hire A Hotel?
Hiring a hotel allows you to eat and drink from the finest of china, a selection of freshly cooked food made by someone else, leaving you without the hassle of having to do it all yourself. Instead you are free to relax and enjoy the fun.
Most hotels allow you to bring decorations but do not expect you to decorate. They are more than happy to do the decorating for you so you have more time to ready. They may even be able to help with the arrangements, providing you with a selection of suppliers they have used in the past that you could purchase your decorations, cake etc. from.
Many hotels also more than likely have private function rooms you can hire, allowing you a level of intimacy you may not get in the main dining area. You may find there is normally a room hire charge if you do not invite up to a certain amount of people but it is always worth an ask.
The Riviera are very happy to pitch in and help decorate on the day if needed. We will even provide you with the chair covers, table cloths, napkins and a selection of coloured sashes to choose from. We cater for parties of all sizes – for 30 or more you can reserve the Britannic Suite exclusively for the afternoon, or for smaller gatherings we can reserve you the Caledonia suite with a view of the alum chine gardens and the ocean.
How do I pick a theme?:
Picking a theme for a baby shower can be a very strenuous and mind boggling task so here are just a few ideas to help you on your way:
The most popular baby shower themes we have seen used are normally based on colour, whether or not the baby is a boy or a girl. This will decide whether or not the theme will be blue or pink. However, what if you are unaware of the baby to be’s gender? More often than not the mother and father to be have decided they would like this to be a surprise. So how would you go about choosing a theme and decorations for your friends baby shower? Well here is just a few ideas to help you:
Match to the Nursery Décor: You may find although the parents to be do not know the gender of their baby they have still picked out their nursery décor. You could match the baby shower colour theme and decorations to the nursery theme they have chosen.
Nature: There are many different ideas for a nature theme that could be done which could include:Flowers, Clouds, Baby Animals etc. They are all popular baby themes and are fun to do. They could even be based on a particular favourite animal of both the mother and father to be and can be a good way of making a reluctant father to be feel involved too. You could use an array of brightly coloured balloons or even get the supplier to shape them in to certain animals or flowers for you. Why not try looking at Bournemouth balloons for some inspiration or ordering some beautiful flowers from By Arrangement Florist in Bournemouth.
A book themed baby shower: Celebrate the mom-to-be’s love of literature or a particular story book or movie with a whimsical menu, darling decorations, and plenty of fairy-tale fun.
For example: if the mum to be is a Disney fan then why not have a mad hatter’s tea party!
Spa Baby Shower: Since the mother to be will have little time to spoil herself once the baby is born, now is the perfect time to get her and all of her friends together and spoil them with a relaxing afternoon of pampering. Why not treat the mum to be to a manicure or pedicure and an afternoon tea, or let her relax and enjoy an Indian head massage or foot massage to help cure the aches and pains of carrying a baby.
Lori, our resident beauty therapist at the Riviera Hotel’s Unique Boutique offers a selection of spa packages and treatments to choose from all at reasonable prices. You could even put your feet up in the hotels relaxation room while you wait for your treatments.
When should I send out the invitations?
Make sure to give invitations out a few weeks in advance. Most hotels will ask for a deposit in order to confirm the booking, the earlier you send out the invitations, the more sufficient time it gives each guest to get the money to you. Always provide as much information on the invites as you possibly can but try not to sound too wordy, or encourage guests to be able to contact you if they have any questions about directions to the location or gifts etc.
What should we eat and drink?
The food and drink at a baby shower need not be too elaborate. A simple buffet with 5 or 6 options or an afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches and cakes will suffice and please all. It also makes it easier to choose and pre- order ahead of time saving you so much hassle.
*TOP TIP* – make sure to check if anyone in your party has any allergies or dietary requirements before ordering and let the venue know a few weeks before.
The Riviera provideafternoon tea packagesfor baby showers starting at just £9.95 per person along with a variety of other options on our bar menu if an afternoon tea isn’t for you. If your not wanting lunch and you would like a sit down meal instead, our Cunarder Restaurant is also open for dinner and offers an array of different options to choose from, sourced from local produce and cooked fresh.
What should I do for a cake?
Pre-ordering a cake is always the easiest option but it is best to make sure this is done in advance. This gives enough time for the cake to be prepared and for you to go through with the baker how you would like the cake to look. Although the most convenient option, this can also be the most expensive.
You could try baking the cake yourself. Not only is this a less costly option but it would also be heaps of fun. You could use your creativity and even get your friends to help. There are loads of recipes online or in cookery books that you could follow.
You don’t even have to have the classic baby shower cake and instead could mix it up with a selection of cupcakes in a stand. You could even turn it into a game, bake lots of cupcakes and then get each of your guests to decorate their own cupcake at the shower.
What should we do for games?
Below are just a few games that could be played during a baby shower:
Diaper Derby: Split your guests in to two teams and hand each team a roll of toilet paper. Give the teams a set amount of time to wrap one of their team members up in a mock diaper made from the toilet roll given. The team with the most creatively diapered adult baby wins a prize. This makes for some hilarious photos you will be sure to look back on and laugh at!
Place the baby on the mummy: Yep you’ve guessed it, this is a simple baby shower alternative to the classic game pin the tail on the donkey. Blow up a picture of the mum to be with her baby bump on show. Blind fold each guest and hand them a cut out picture of a baby. Give them a little spin and then get them to pin the baby on the picture. Whoever gets it closest to the tummy wins. You could also play pin the dummy on the baby as an alternative.
Guess the baby food: Gather together a selection of unique baby food flavours, rip off the labels and number each top. Then ask your guests to grab a spoon and sample each, writing down what they think the flavour is as they go. The guest with the keenest taste buds wins a prize.
*Top Tip* Having a mixed shower in which dads are invited? Why not mix the game up a bit, blindfold the ladies and get them to feed their gents the baby food. The gents then guess the flavour. This helps make the men part of the fun too.
Guess the baby: Why not get every guest of your baby shower to bring a picture of them as a baby with them. Once you have collected all the pictures give them each a number. Then get every guest to write down who they think each picture is of. The person with the most correct answers wins a prize.
For example: can you guess which baby is which out of our six lovely staff members?
Blindfolded Diapering: Have guests separate into teams. Each teams gets a doll, blindfold and diapers. Each guest must put the blindfold on, remove the current diaper and put a new one on the doll. After the first team member does this, they give the doll to the next, until the entire team is finished. The first team to finish wins.
Well once all the above is complete and all who are coming have paid, all that is left to do is to arrive at the hotel an hour early to bring any decorations and the cake. You could also get guests to arrive early too if it is a surprise shower. Then once all is in place it’s time for the guest of honour to arrive. Now you can relax, mingle, eat, have some fun and take lots of pictures for the mum-to-be so she can remember just how amazing the baby shower you planned for her was 🙂
Answers: 1:E, 2:A, 3:D, 4:C, 5:B, 6:F