The Chocolate Boutique Hotel is the world’s only chocolate themed hotel and is perfect for any chocoholics trying to get their fix.
Chocolate. Few people can say they don’t like it, even fewer can say that they have created a successful business out of it.
Only one person can say they have made a successful hotel business from the delicious substance.
The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, which has opened its doors to the likes of Sir Bob Geldof and Mathew Horne in recent weeks, is the only chocolate-themed hotel in the world and lucky for us, it is situated right here in Bournemouth. This makes it completly unique.
The 15-bedroom Grade II listed building is where founder and owner Gerry Wilton decided to combine his passion for and experience in the chocolate business with providing people with a novelty weekend they won’t forget.
“It’s definitely one of those things people like to tick off,” says Gerry, “and because people love chocolate so much, they are already excited before they get here. Most people really like it.”
The Chocolate Boutique Hotel takes full advantage of its luxurious status with a towering chocolate fountain on reception and a martini glass teaming with treats.
There are chocolate extras for the guests in all of the bedrooms and traditional bar snacks such as peanuts and crisps have been replaced with a martini glass full of chocolate buttons for guests to enjoy while they await their ‘choctail’.
The hotel, which averages four stars on the Trip Advisor website, also offers a variety of chocolate-related classes, like teaching guests how to make chocolate, which are run all over the country.
Lessons involve chocolate portrait painting and truffle making, as well as showing children how to ‘temper’ chocolate themselves in the most traditional of ways.
“Some people come just for the classes, they don’t necessarily stay. They’re very popular,” he adds. Since it opened seven years ago, the unique concept has been a great success and has featured in The Sunday Times Travel Magazine as one of the top six novelty hotels to visit.
CNN have also praised the hotel, listing it as one of the best places to visit for a ‘girlie getaway’. “It’s just interesting when people pick up on it and then say things about you and it goes all around the world and journalists are wanting pictures so that they can run a feature on you. We do get quite a lot of press coverage and international press coverage,” says Gerry.
He owns the trademark for the chocolate hotel in the UK and says this has removed any “direct competition”- a valuable asset to have within the busy tourist area that Bournemouth is, with no limit to the wide variety of hotels available to rest your head.
With Gerry’s expertise in the field of chocolate (he bought the second chocolate fountain in the world and started his business from there), he was confident that his hotel was going to be successful - and it is. “I know now after the seven years we’ve had it that we could put this in any city in the world and it would work,” he says. “Every weekend is full with us.”
As a family-run business, his plans are to open up more hotels in the future in different cities, and to continue to expand his children’s parties, which are proving to be extremely popular.
Most people are fairly passionate about chocolate, so it will come as sad news that in “ten years’ time there won’t be a tremendous amount left,” according to Gerry.
“It’ll be about £10-15 a bar because we don’t pay enough for it and the farmers don’t get enough money.”
It is for this reason that we must make the most of the novelty before it becomes a luxury that too few of us can enjoy.