A new four-star hotel and hotel management training facility will be built near Bournemouth Town Centre in the next two years.
Councillors voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the site on Thursday.
The property, which will be located off Priory Road, near the BIC, will include space for shops, restaurants, function rooms, fitness zones and a leisure suite with a pool . There will also be a part of the hotel dedicated to teaching tourism to students.
“It was felt that students can learn a lot of skills by working in a practical environment rather than more classroom based education,” said Councillor David Kelsey, chairman of the planning board for Bournemouth Council. The University of Essex is planning to open a similar hotel training school this year.
Councillor David Kelsey explains why Bournemouth requires a hotel training facility:
The five-storey hotel complex will have 200 rooms for guests and retail outlets, 221 car parking slots for hotel guests, and a 105-capacity public car park for visitors to the BIC. Proposals for a hotel training facility at the site have been in the pipeline for over a decade and last year an application was rejected by the Council for not being aesthetically appealing.
Talks are in progress with the International Hotel Group to set up their brand on the property. “A Holiday Inn hotel might be set up, but nothing is finalised yet,” added Councillor Kelsey. The site will be built by Chesham Architecture and is expected to cost £25-30m.
Bournemouth University will be looking to launch a new course, BA Hotel Management, once the hotel is set up. The three-year course will integrate practical training at the hotel and theory. “There is a dire need for well-trained hotel managers. The first two years will be spent in the hotel as work experience for students. The third year will be taught on campus as part of the course,” said Crispin Farbrother, Head of the University’s Undergraduate Hospitality Programme.
It will be the third four-star property in Bournemouth and existing hotels feel it will boost the profile of the area. “It will add to the stock of upmarket hotels in Bournemouth and it will also attract political conferences to the town,” added Farbrother.