BOURNEMOUTH’S new Hilton Hotel has been a hailed as an asset to the town at a VIP launch party.

Guests from the business community and Bournemouth council were at the celebrations for the hotel, which opened to guests in December.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood told the Daily Echo: “This is really what the town needs.

“It helps, even more, Bournemouth lead the way nationally and internationally making its mark.

“There should be no hotelier or B&B that feels somehow they don’t benefit from it. This raises the profile of the entire town and therefore everybody benefits.”

He said the arrival of the Hilton should help efforts to get the major party political conferences back to Bournemouth.

“I’m working really hard to get the Conservative conference back. We’re working to get the conference team to recognise that we should alternate between Birmingham, Manchester and coming here,” he said.

“It’s so popular with party members who love to come to Bournemouth.”

The four-star hotel, which boasts of a “five-star experience”, was built along with a three-star Hampton By Hilton.

General manager Cedric Horgnies told guests: “It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the Hilton Hotel. We hope you agree that the hotel has created an incredible buzz in the town.”

Simon Vincent, executive vice president of Hilton WorldWide and the company’s president in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, recalled growing up in Lymington and supporting AFC Bournemouth.

“I’m responsible for over 600 hotels in 72 countries and people often ask me what makes a great hotel. I always say it’s about heart and soul,” he said.

He praised local partners including developer THAT Group.

“These guys have got what I call heart and soul in spades. They had the vision, they had the creativity, they had the design flare and they had the commerciality to make this hotel a reality,” he said.

He added: “I’d like the local community to use this hotel as a second home and I want the local community to develop their own memories which all add to the heart and soul of the hotel.”

Peter Tisdale of developer the THAT Group said: “The town is definitely on the up.

It’s a credit to the business people of Bournemouth, Bournemouth council and others for making it happen.”

The Hilton includes theSchpoons & Forx restaurant under chef Matt Tebbutt and the Level8ight The Sky Bar.