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
Planning to take your family away this summer but can’t find a suitable hotel? Live in Bournemouth and want to get out with the whole family for a fun packed evening or already booked to stay with us but worried there will be nothing for the kids to do during your stay to keep them entertained? Well, we here at the Rivera know that family holidays are normally, more often than not, one of the highlights of the year. There a chance to get away from your daily routine, relax and spend some quality time with the ones you love and we want to help you create those lasting memories and experiences you will look back on and laugh at in years to come. In order to do this, we have put together an array of entertainment for you to enjoy as a family over your summer break with us, just take a look at what we have in store:
MONDAY & THURSDAY
Not in the mood to cook? Join us every Monday and Thursday night throughout summer for our very popular ‘make your own pizza’ nights, an activity all the family can enjoy and a great way to spend the evening together. Just pop on down to our Cunarder Restaurant, grab yourself a pizza base, smother it in tomato sauce and then choose from a wide variety of toppings to complete your perfect pizza. When finished, hand it to one of our staff and will bring it back to you once it’s been cooked.
We will also be holding a Bingo night every Monday in our Main Bar area, so grab a drink and join in the fun
The very popular “Rebecca King” will be back and gracing us with her presence every Tuesday in our Main Bar, keeping all the family entertained with an array of pop classics to dance and sing along to.
Here at the Riviera, we love a party just as much as the next person so to celebrate the season that is summer, we will be hosting a Caribbean night every Wednesday with an authentic Caribbean buffet for all our guests to enjoy. Check out the buffet menu here. Our resident DJ, Gem Roadshow, will also be playing a selection of tunes, old and new, in our Main Bar area. There will also be a Pirates and Princesses themed fancy dress parade for the kids to enjoy. But adults, please do not think you have gotten away with it that easily! Fancy dress is welcome for all ages so get your grass skirts and flowery garlands at the ready.
Our lovely Bar Manager Kris has even put together the perfect summer Mocktail to get you in the mood for our Caribbean night. He has even supplied us with the recipe so you can make it at home, see the recipe below:
Kris’s Caribbean Cooler
1. Grab a hurricane glass, fill the glass with ice and pour in 75ml of Ginger Beer
2. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice, 75ml Pineapple Juice and lime juice and give it a shake.
3. Pour the contents of your shaker in to the hurricane glass with the Ginger Beer, stir and then add the grenadine
4. Now for the finishing touches, add a slice of lime and a ring of pineapple for decoration
Wanting that extra kick, add 25ml of spiced rum & 25ml Capt Morgan’s dark rum to help turn this Mocktail in to an alcoholic Pirate’s Hook cocktail!
Join us in our Main Bar for a quiz night from 6pm and get your general knowledge heads on!! In aid of the summer there will be Fireworks on Bournemouth seafront starting every Friday from the 4th August at 10pm so take a walk down the beach, chill out and watch as the night sky is lit up as part of the Family Fiesta event. Also, from 7pm in the Lower Gardens and at Pier Approach there will be circus workshops and shows, fire performances, stilt walkers, live music and more. It’s a night not to be missed.
Our Resident DJ “Gem Roadshow” will be in our Main Bar every Saturday night providing a vast variety of music covering all genres, ages and styles so there will sure to be something for everyone. Whether it’s the top 40 chart hits, a popular dance number or a golden oldie, they will be sure to have the right song for you to get your groove on to.
Whether it’s drawing, painting or gluing we have got everything you need to get your kids’ creative juices flowing in our arts and crafts’ corner available in our bar from 10am until 6pm every Sunday. Just grab a drink at our bar and watch as your kids create a masterpiece!
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR AT THE RIVIERA:
Check out the new additions to our tapas dishes now available. Get your taste buds tingling and your mouth watering with our Mozzarella sticks with sweet chilli mayo or our Buffalo chicken wings with BBQ sauce. What something a bit more refreshing? Grab one of our Riviera Summer Salads made with Dorset lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, mixed peppers and house dressing with your choice of either a chicken breast or Cajun salmon.
We will also be adding a Cocktail of the day to our bar menu, just ask our bar staff for more information
If that is not enough, we have also given our Cunarder Restaurant menu a summers touch with the addition of a few new tantalizingly tasty dishes. Take a look here.
Why not try our chefs new Crayfish and Saffron starter with Parmesan crisps and baby tomatoes. Why not follow this with our Dressed Local Whole Crab served with a soft boiled quail egg, new potatoes and samphire crisps or our Charred South Coast Mackerel Fillet served with chive butter baby jacket potatoes, asparagus and sun-blushed tomatoes. And then for dessert, why not treat yourself to our Pimms, Elderflower and Blueberry Terrine Jelly with a Pimm’s garnish, an explosion of fruity flavours.
We asked our Sous chef Petr to pick his favorite dish from our new summer menu and to provide us with the recipe so you can make it at home:
Petr’s Classic Strawberry Trifle
1. Firstly to make the Custard, heat 600ml of Double Cream and Vanilla ( 1 pod, seeds scraped) in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 2. Whisk together 4 large egg yolks, 1 tbsp of Cornflour and 2 tbsp of caster sugar in a bowl, then pour in the hot vanilla cream. 3. Pour in to a clean pan and get over a low-medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes until thick and glossy. 4. Pass through a fine sieve in to a bowl and leave to cool. 5. Put 400g of strawberries (hulled and halved), 3 tblsp of caster sugar and 50ml of Harvey’s Sherry in to a separate bowl to make the strawberry marinade, toss together and leave in the fridge for 1 hr or so.
6. After and hour, spoon the strawberries in to the bottom of your dessert glass. Add 320g of Trifle Sponges (or Victoria Sponge cases) and then pour your custard over the top. 7. Now for the finishing touches, whisk together some double cream and caster sugar and then use a piping bag to pipe over the top of your dessert. 8. To serve, add some fresh chopped strawberries and a dribble of your strawberry marinade for decoration.
NOW YOU CAN ENJOY!
Settled down by our outdoor pool but worried about losing your spot if you go to the bar? Really comfortable relaxing on a sun lounger and don’t really want to move? Never fear because we have come up with the perfect solution. Our text to order service saves you the hassle of having to que or wait around for your food and drink orders. Instead you just send us a text with your order and we will do the rest for you.
With 2016 having been a massive success for The Riviera it was time to begin 2017 with a fresh start, and no fresh start is ever quite complete without some hotel facility TLC!
This was no different for the Riviera, January saw a brief closing of the hotel while we re-painted our leisure facilities, re-tilled the pool, re-varnished the reception desk and even had time to add a new addition to our hotel facilities list…. A Relaxation room
We hope the new addition will bring with it a boost in our Coast spa and leisure facility bookings, acting as a sanctuary for guests and visitors to use while they wait for beauty treatments or relax after a gym session or swim. With comfortable seating, natural day light and cosy furnishings it’s the best place to sit back and unwind.
Mark our General Manager @ The Riviera is very happy with the new addition….. So happy he thought he would model our new dressing gowns for us. The face says it all!
Mark isn’t the only one excited about the new Relaxation room. The sales & events team think it’s GREAT however our attempts to turn it into our new office were rejected! But just looking at it…. you can see why we tried.
With gluten intolerance becoming more common, we as a hotel want to do whatever we can to make your travel worries and eating away from home anxiety’s disappear, so we have come up with a plan! We are adapting our breakfast menu to suit the needs of those with a gluten intolerance by offering a separate gluten free buffet table with an array
of options to choose from. The gluten free buffet will include:
Bread Rolls, Cornflakes, Muesli, Porridge
Breakfast bars, Biscuits/cookies, Flapjacks
Brownies, Macaroons, Breakfast Sausages
(Items may vary on an occasional and seasonal basis)
We here at the Riviera just want your breakfast experiences to be hassle free to help make your stay a more enjoyable one.
As well as new facilities, The Riviera has also seen a change in staff for 2017 with emotional farewells and celebratory welcomes.
Sadly the sales and events team had to say goodbye to the lovely Lucy who has decided the Bournemouth weather just isn’t good enough…. She needs sun! This lucky lady has gone off travelling for a few months to see the sights of New Zealand, Asia and Australia! Pop a shrimp on the Barbie for us Lucy!!!
Taking over for Lucy as Sales and Events Assistant is Lauren.
Having worked a variety of roles within the hospitality industry over the years, Sales and Events is a new and exciting challenge for her but she is willing to take it on and looks forward to gaining better understanding and knowledge of hotels sales and events.
We also welcomed Inma to our reception team and she’s already taking on her new role like a duck to water! She is an asset to the Rivera reception team and will continue to be and to top it off, she is always smiling.
We were lucky enough to welcome Summer to the Riviera for a 2 week work placement as part of her college course. She got to work with both the reception and sales and events team to gain experience and knowledge of how the hotel is run.
Have you enjoyed your time with us?
“Yes I have, I’m happy I got to learn about the two job roles and what the entail, it has made me want to look into hotel work as a future career”
…….. We also welcomed Bruno to our kitchen team, however sadly he was too shy to pose for a picture
So far Business for January & February 2017 has been booming! We have had a brilliant time celebrating last minute Christmas parties with some of Bournemouth’s local businesses, bringing in the Chinese New Year dancing away until midnight and stuffing our faces with spring rolls, sprinkling a bit of romance over our restaurant to welcome couples for Valentines and even helping a young child’s teddy bear find its way home!
We cannot wait to see what the rest of 2017 has in store for us. Happy New Year Everyone, come and visit us soon!
Attila is the head chef at The Riviera Hotel in Alum Chine. He has been a chef for more than 20 years but hasn’t lost his passion for creating fine food.
He hasn’t been with The Riviera for long but has already secured a Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence in The Cunarder & Conservatory Restaurant. Attila focuses on fresh and seasonal food, producing delicious meals using only the best local produce. His signature dish is the Dorset Lamb Two Ways.
Attila has mighty determination for perfection but still maintains a joyful approach when creating delicious dishes. It is a breath of fresh air to work alongside a head chef who is cheerfully willing and able to cater to all guests’ needs without compromising his own impeccable standards and always with a smile on his face.
We asked Attila for a random fact and apparently he can solve the Rubix cube in record time! We will have to see evidence of this and we’ll be sure to get it on camera!
Attila has been so kind to give us a recipe this week for his dish, Pork Tenderloin with King Prawn.
Give it a go at home – see below for the recipe!
PORK TENDERLOIN WITH KING PRAWN
Pork Tenderloins King Prawn Pak Choi Sugarsnap Peas Balsamic Vinegar
Sous vide pork for 2 hours at 56°c.
After, remove from packaging and sear it in hot pan with butter along with the king prawn.
Serve it with char grilled pak choi, sugarsnap peas and balsamic vinegar jus.
What is Sous vide?
Sous vide is a simple cooking technique in which food is cooked in precisely controlled, low-temperature water. Because the food can never get hotter than the water, under- or overcooking is almost impossible.
Don’t have a fancy machine? Sous vide this way…
Prepare a water bath in a pan and use a thermometer to check the temperature, it should remain at 56°c.
Place the pork in a ziploc bag and once the water is heated to the desired temperature, place the bag into the water with the top open so the air can escape. Hang the bag over the edge of the pot using a clip.
Once you put the food into the pot, you’ll need to bring the water back to the desired temperature, you can adjust the burner as necessary to maintain a steady cooking temp.
Once the temperature is back up, start your timer and cook for 2 hours.
Since launching our new menu this June, The Bridge Bar & Grill has been been very popular among our hotel guests. The homemade pizzas hit it off as soon as we launched and the tapas are also very popular. A firm favourite has got to be the delicious fish and chips!
The selection of Small Plates is great for those sharing!
Above shows the crispy, deep fried calamari, grilled Mediterranean vegetables and grilled handmade cocktail sausages.
All small plates are £4 each or £10 for 3! Now that’s a deal you won’t want to miss!
This Summer… The hotel has been packed full of holiday makers, enjoying the beach, the sun and the food! We introduced our text to order service by the outside poolside where our guests could order cocktails and food. We also have build your own pizza for the children to have fun and get creative!
If this blog post hasn’t already made you hungry then wait until you have experienced our scrumptious Afternoon Tea packages.
We offer the traditional English afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches, mini cakes and homemade scones with clotted cream & jam and freshly brewed tea. You can also have a glass of fizz with your afternoon tea or go all out with the ultimate package which includes delicious macaroons, a glass of bucks fizz on arrival and a glass of pink bubbly to wash down your afternoon treats.
If you LOVE cream tea then you would LOVE our Discover Dorset Special Break.
Discover Dorset and all its beauty. Enjoy Dorset cream tea on arrival, a full English breakfast each morning and dinner every evening using some of the finest Dorset produce. We will even provide you with a suggested itinerary of what to see and do!
Stay 4 nights, we’ll upgrade you to a sea facing room with private balcony (subject to availability).
Available Sunday – Thursday (offer excludes July & August). Minimum stay of 2 nights applies.