With its fabulous cliff-top location and easy access to seven miles of award-winning golden sandy beaches The Nici, formerly The Savoy Hotel, on West Hill Road has become a top-end destination for Britain’s favourite seaside resort following a multi-million-pound redevelopment.

Its new owner Nicolas Roach, founder and chief executive of the Harbour Hotels Group, took his inspiration from another popular seaside resort - Florida’s South Beach, Miami. The Nici’s vibrant colour scheme of greens, golds and corals, its palm-tree wallpaper and lights, gold pineapple topped cocktail glasses and flamingo prints would have Barbie in raptures. The hotel’s latest additions are mega-Instagrammable – a fabulous new outdoor pool and a state-of-the art spa. More sensational for some, though, is that The Nici has opened its doors to dogs, so that perfect pug pic or, in our case, selfie with soppy spaniel can be posted from a 5-star seaside location. We knew we had to bring our own researcher, 12-year-old working cocker spaniel Rosie, to put the pooch provision here through its paces.

Great British Life: View from our Garden Suite, showing the pool. (Photo: thenici.com)View from our Garden Suite, showing the pool. (Photo: thenici.com)

No pets are allowed, thankfully, by the 30m swimming pool, which is lined on each side with striped sun loungers and parasols. Taking the wide steps from the pool up to the T-shaped outdoor dining terrace you notice that some of the diners on the terrace are furrier than others. You can dine with your dog outside on the terrace or in the piano lounge area.

Only ground floor rooms are dog-friendly. Our Garden Suite, with outdoor terrace and jacuzzi, gave instant access to the landscaped gardens. Rosie was impressed by the Nici-monogrammed dog bed, gold-rimmed water bowl and complimentary treats awaiting her.

Cracking dog walks are easily accessed from the hotel garden. West Cliff Gardens, a delightful dog-friendly space, is adjacent and leads through woods to the nearest ‘dogs allowed’ beach, Durley Chine, just minutes away. Head down the Zig Zag path and you’re on the traffic-free promenade (dogs on leads) which takes you into Bournemouth one way or to Sandbanks the other. This is a very good place to stay with a well behaved dog; they don't have free run of the gardens, but there are such great dog walks nearby this isn't an issue.

Great British Life: Rosie settling into her Nici dog bed. (Photo: Helen Stiles)Rosie settling into her Nici dog bed. (Photo: Helen Stiles)

With a walk-fuelled thirst and hunger, and Rosie settled in her swanky bed, we made our way to the South Beach Bar and Restaurant. It’s an easy place to while away time admiring the sea views from its floor-to-ceiling windows or soaking up the Miami beach vibe of the terrace. From an extensive cocktail (and mocktail) list, our sundowners of choice were a Kumquat Caipirinha and a Blood Orange Margarita, though the Hibiscus Rosé Sangria with watermelon infused Cointreau, fresh berries and rosé wine was tempting.

Great British Life: Sundowners: Kumquat Caipirinha and a Blood Orange Margarita. (Photo: Helen Stiles)Sundowners: Kumquat Caipirinha and a Blood Orange Margarita. (Photo: Helen Stiles)

The menu (starters from £14, mains from £19) is Americano/Asian with surf and turf (Chateaubriand and grilled king prawns), bao buns, tacos, salads, burgers, steaks from the grill and seafood. There are also some interesting vegan options, including roasted cauliflower with mutabal (aubergine and tahini dip), pomegranate and coconut yoghurt which vegan Stu really enjoyed. I opted for a Caesar salad with grilled chicken (wonderfully smoky and juicy) and a side of excellent chunky chips - perfect for a summer evening. Dessert was a tropical twist on Eton Mess with passionfruit and mango - light, sharp and fruity.

As I took a pre-breakfast dip in the heated outdoor pool the next morning, with its views of Old Harry Rocks, a yoga session was in progress on the lawn. Just watching them gave me an appetite for a hearty breakfast on the terrace – eggs Benedict for me and herby sautéed flat mushrooms on sourdough for my vegan partner. The breakfast buffet has dairy and plant-based options, fresh breads and pastries, granolas, fruit, charcuterie and cheeses. After a post-breakfast dog walk, we decamped to The Nici Spa. Here we flitted between 18m heated indoor pool, hydro pool, sauna and steam room. The low lighting and soothing décor made it easy to kick back. I had booked an OTO CBD massage which left me in a totally blissed-out space. I also booked us into a Sound Bath session in the relaxation room at the end of the day.

Great British Life: The Nici Spa's relaxation room where we enjoyed a Sound Bath. (Photo: thenici.com)The Nici Spa's relaxation room where we enjoyed a Sound Bath. (Photo: thenici.com)

Guests can borrow kayaks, body boards and paddle boards to take down to the beach or borrow one of the hotels mint green bikes and pedal east to Hengistbury Head or west to Sandbanks. If the weather isn’t so great there is a 13-seat cinema that screens movies throughout the day, with free popcorn.

Just before 5pm we settled on one of the sofas in the relaxation room, with other spa and hotel guests, as Julia White set out a selection of crystal bowls for the Sound Bath session. This was a meditative experience where you are ‘bathed’ in sound waves that the practitioner creates from the bowl. These, Julia explains, resonate at different levels. Eyes shut, breathing deeply, we relaxed into the soothing soundscape. The perfect conclusion to a ridiculously chilled out day.

After a sunset stroll, we fired up the jacuzzi, with its jazzy light show, and chilled out in the bubbles with a glass of spiced rum from our in-room decanter. Rosie, exhausted by the social doggy whirl of West Cliff Gardens, was curled up in her Nici dog bed. Supper featured an excellent Tofu Pad Thai with crushed peanuts, coriander and lime, a well-judged balance of texture and spice. It was Friday night so the restaurant was hopping; I spotted a few AFC Bournemouth players in the mix, outside guests were enjoying cocktails and fizz around the firepits. We retired to our room to share dessert – a vegan friendly spin on a Black Forest Gateau – satiated, chilled and happy.

The Nici is very rare in offering style and luxury in a stunning and easily accessible seaside location, yet with a totally relaxed vibe. It is family friendly, with plenty for kids to do, as well as lots of lovely things for grown-ups seeking some ‘me time’. With great walks just minutes away, the option of bringing your dog too means that you can all enjoy a bit of Miami South Beach luxury in Bournemouth.

Great British Life: Rosie at the West Cliff Garden walkies spot just outside the hotel's back gate. (Photo: Helen Stiles)Rosie at the West Cliff Garden walkies spot just outside the hotel's back gate. (Photo: Helen Stiles)

Helen Stiles was a guest of The Nici, B & B's start from £230. Garden Suites and Courtyard Rooms are dog friendly, £30 a night charge for each pet, beds and bowls provided. Visit thenici.com for latest offers. Day spa packages from £150pp.