A SEAFRONT hotel in Bournemouth is to be converted into an 'apart-hotel' due to declining demand.

The Eurostay Beach Hotel at 12 Priory Road, owned by Eurostudies Ltd, has been granted a Certificate of Lawfulness by the council to operate as "14 serviced holiday apartments with 24-hour concierge service".

The building, formerly the Beacon Hotel, has a C1 Hotel use class, but will be able to let rooms to self-catering guests for as long as 90 days. Hotel staff will clean and provide laundry services, as well as a communal lounge area.

In the application, Eurostudies managing director Edward Taylor said the business has suffered a decline with the opening of newer, larger hotels in the vicinity.

"Since purchasing the property in 2014 the present owners have extensively upgraded the rooms and bathrooms as well as the public areas in an effort to make the business sustainable," he said.

"Despite these attempts occupancy rates have declined year-on-year and room rates have subsequently been reduced to assist booking numbers.

"It is evident that recent hotel chain openings in the surrounding area to the hotel’s location are benefitting from increased market share of holiday and short-term visitors to Bournemouth, while independent and smaller bed and breakfast hotels are finding it increasingly difficult to compete as a sustainable business due to increased marketing costs and expensive fees to hotel booking sites."

He adds: "Nevertheless, there is significant demand and a shortage of luxury family holiday accommodation in self-contained serviced apartments in central Bournemouth."

The 172 bed Hilton Hotel opened on nearby Terrace Mount in December 2015, followed by the neighbouring, linked Hampton by Hilton.

Several new hotels are planned or under construction in the area, including on the former Wessex Hotel site in West Cliff Road and the former Belvedere Hotel site in Bath Road.

The latter site will see construction of a 131 bed Malmaison Hotel.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised by some of the town's larger hoteliers about Bournemouth council's plans to fund construction of a new hotel, at the cost of some £70 million, on the vacant Winterbourne Hotel site next to the BIC, and next to the Eurostay Beach Hotel. It would be operated under two brands, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express.

Among the criticisms of the scheme, some claim it will put pressure on other hotels in the borough by competing for a limited number of visitors.

Bournemouth council says its hotel will attract more tourists to the town, and "revitalise" the BIC as a conference venue.

Granting the certificate for Eurostay, a report by planning officer Steve Davies states: "The key here is the retention of reception and communal facilities and a restriction on lengthy occupation indicating that there is a strong on site management.

"I consider that the use could quite easily revert to a holiday apartment use if there is a downgrading of the servicing and I will ensure that the recommendation to support the application is accompanied by a condition/note that makes it clear that the consent is dependent on the level of servicing proposed."