Perched on Bournemouth’s West Cliff, The Nici has now unveiled the next phase of its multi-million-pound refurbishment. The new world-class spa features an 18-metre indoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam room and aromatherapy sauna, alongside eight treatment rooms offering OTO and Oskia treatments. Taking advantage of its enviable spot on the south coast; the new 30-metre outdoor pool is now open too, with luxury poolside loungers and cabanas.
Residents can enjoy full use of the facilities, while non-residents can book in for spa treatments or one of its Sunrise, Sunet and Siesta spa days.
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 18m heated indoor pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Steam room
- OTO CBD
Our Spa Spy review
Five-star The Nici Hotel brings a little slice of South Beach Miami to the West Cliffs of Bournemouth on the Dorset coast; the oceanfront vista is best enjoyed whilst sipping cocktails from the inventive menu.
Enter the hotel through the unassuming entrance and you’re immediately transported to far away shores. A playful design by Anthony Rudolph sets the scene - bold artwork lines the walls (we loved the Che Guevara portrait created using antique Cuban cigar moulds); a heavenly, shoulder-dropping scent fills the air.
Hotel guests and those on overnight spa breaks can enjoy full use of the facilities; day visitors – who can book in for treatments or Sunrise, Sunset and Siesta spa days – won’t have access to the outdoor pool.
What's on offer?
A door from the hotel lobby leads directly to the spa – follow the low-lit corridor lined with striking artwork, displays of Oskia/OTO products and handwoven Jacksons’ jute beach bags with slogans like ‘Beach Please’ around to reception. No designer bag in your budget? Ask to borrow one to saunter to the beach with.
We were warmly greeted, handed a robe, a towel and a hot cloth (slippers are available on request) before being asked to complete consultation forms. After a quick tour of the spa, we made a beeline for the changing room which has neutral floor tiles, two loos and three walls of pale-wood code-activated lockers in which to leave your belongings. Change beside one of several benches or nip into one of two private changing cubicles.
A costume spinner and four glass-fronted showers with rainforest heads, and Wild England sweet orange & cardamom shampoo, conditioner and body wash take care of the post-spa experience. Hair washers can make good use of the vanity area, with its large gold framed mirror, two upholstered chairs and GHD hairdryers.
A door from here leads from here to the new 18-metre indoor pool with its orange ceiling lights and grey cushioned loungers adorned with orange and white stripy bolster pillows, separated by dividing curtains. At one end you’ll find a toasty hot hydrotherapy pool with room for 10: the other a steam room with colour changing ceiling lights and an aromatherapy sauna. Use the rainforest shower in between to cool down.
A large, low-lit relaxation room - complete with eight beds divided by flowy screens, individual lights and refreshments – can be found upstairs.
If you’re on a spa break (and staying overnight) don’t think twice about swimming laps in the new 30-metre outdoor heated pool before relaxing on a poolside lounger shaded by retro pink and cream candyfloss striped umbrellas. Or you can lord it up in one of the seven cabanas where hosts are on hand to attend to your every whim.
For the active spa-goer, there’s a Technogym and a range of classes – from Ballet Tone to Sunday Morning Yoga. if the ocean is calling, Stand Up Paddleboards and kayaks are available to wheel down to West Cliff Beach just beyond the gate.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Oskia High-spec LED Light (15 minutes, £25) and Oskia Facial (60 minutes, £115).
My therapist, Hazel, met me in the relaxation room and led me to one of the eight treatment rooms which was on the cosy side but relaxing none-the-less. After discussing the treatment, she left the room so that I could disrobe and get comfortable on the treatment bed lying face up.
After an initial cleanse, Hazel covered my eyes and placed an LED light over my face. This non-invasive treatment, Hazel explained, penetrates deeper into the skin layers to encourage cellular renewal process. A combination of anti-ageing red, bacterial-busting blue and calming yellow lit up my face on a loop. Feeling a little claustrophobic, Hazel placed a Himalayan hot stone on my heart chakra to help ground me (a nice touch) before commencing a blissful foot massage.
The facial element of the treatment began with a dirt-busting double cleanse followed by a rose water tone to close the pores. Hazel then exfoliated my skin in preparation for a face and décolleté massage which took in the sides of my neck and shoulders.
Hazel then applied a brightening and resurfacing Oskia Renaissance Mask containing rose, passionfruit and chamomile to my skin; this goes on pink and turns white when massaged in, making sure nothing is left on the surface. While it worked its magic, Hazel performed a hand and arm massage before moving onto the scalp and face, using acupuncture pressure points to release tension in the jaw.
After removing the mask (by rubbing it fully into my skin), Hazel applied some brightening eye serum, vitamin C serum, Renaissance 360-day cream and a little SPF so I could head back into the sunshine.
Hazel then led me to the relaxation area, handed me a glass of water and left me to enjoy my post-treatment haze. I felt very relaxed, while my face looked brighter - Oskia products rarely disappoint.
You’ll find rejuvenating, results-driven facials from Oskia and signature massages from OTO at The Nici Spa. There's a keen focus on natural ingredients and holistic therapies, too including bamboo massage and sound therapy.
Depending on the type of spa day you book, you’ll enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea in the South Beach Bar and Terrace, where you’ll need to change out of your robe. Giant palms, jungle-themed wallpaper and flamingo prints add texture and colour to tall ceilings and cool white walls; chest-height glass screens cleverly show off the outdoor pool.
Dining takes place on marble tables with bistro-style chairs, or around curved sofas; gold cutlery and orange napkins make a change from the bulk standard silver and white affair.
The menu features a range of tasty seaside classics: for lunch we opted for the intriguingly named Angry Fish Tacos ‘Baja Style’ – which were light, tasty and only a little angry/spicy. Our spa partner plumped for the battered fish with triple-cooked hand-cut chips served with crushed peas and a very more-ish tartare sauce, which was devoured with haste.
Pool hangers not wishing to move from their loungers (and who would, quite frankly) can feast from a bar menu containing light bites, sandwiches, sides and deserts. Poolside staff will take your order on an iPad while you top up on vitamin D.
Staying overnight (and we highly recommend you do)? Start your evening sampling one of the inventive Nici cocktails: we opted for a tall and leggy Flamingo laced with botanist Gin; our spa partner sipped a Blood Orange Margarita – the perfect accompaniment for watching the sun set on a balmy evening.
For starters, we chose two plates of the delicious salt and pepper squid (one is never enough) followed by The Nici Surf & Turf for main: an incredibly tender 16oz Chateaubriand with huge grilled king prawns, the tastiest chunky chips and a fresh salad washed down with a large glass of fruit-rich Rioja. A delightful feast for the all the senses - with a backdrop to match.
Despite the temptation of the passionfruit and mango cheesecake or Belgian truffle Brownie, we were too stuffed for dessert. We did, however, head back to our suite for a rum-on-the-rocks nightcap on the balcony; you’ll find complimentary Cuban room on the drinks trolley, dial reception for a bucket of ice.
We loved / we didn't love
The cool, quirky design: the South Beach art deco vibes make The Nici a little bit special – Bournemouth has certainly upped its spa hotel game.
Hanging out in a cabana: what’s not to love about your own private cabana? Pull the curtains across and sink into the array of cushions, glass of something icey-cold in hand.
Our treatments: our Oskia facial was bliss - natural products, an intuitive massage and results-driven LED face mask.
We didn’t love
If you’re on a spa day you won’t get access to the outdoor pool area, so it’s best to book a spa break or stay overnight (if we must) for the full experience.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: the fun and flirtatious design is perfect for a mini break; rooms have enormous Super-King beds and complimentary Cuban rum. Book a room with a private hot tub and watch the sun set over the ocean.
Small groups of friends can catch up over cocktails in cabanas; on a sun-drenched day you really could be abroad.
Families will love the outdoor heated pool, flanked by flamingo statues, and the supply of stand-up paddleboards. Rubbish weather? Head inside to the 13-seater cinema or get your game face on at table football or ping pong.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Whether you’re after a quick pick-me-up, leisurely breakfast, lunch on the terrace, dinner with friends or late-night cocktails, the hotel’s South Beach Restaurant & Bar has got you covered day and night.
Guests cannot eat in their robes, unless they are a resident of the hotel or NICI Club member and dining poolside
88 stylishly refurbished guest rooms and suites, ranging from Cosy Doubles to Family Rooms and incredible Sea View Suites, with modern yet tranquil interiors and all the little luxuries you’d expect from a boutique hotel.
Weekdays 06:00 – 21:00
Weekends 07:00 – 20:00
Travel and Parking
Bournemouth train station is a five-minute taxi ride away
Changing rooms and indoor pool and facilities are on the ground floor, there is one bathroom with accessible shower on the ground floor close to the spa. The treatment rooms are on the first floor, lift access will require one small flight of stairs to access treatment rooms.