I’m always up for going away for a few days, and we’d not been away since July last year. Having a few days off work over Easter gave us the chance to have a spontaneous few days away. As usual the OH would be working, so it was just N and myself. N reckoned he was going to stay in another cottage, but as it was only the 2 of us, 30 hours before we were due to leave I was searching online for hotels.
I wanted south coast to try and get the best of the weather, and not too far away, so decided on Sussex. And 2 of my online birth board friends said they’d meet us if we came down their way. So I decided on Eastbourne, having found a room at one of the only hotels that had free parking. The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne it was, there’s nothing like treating yourself to a bit of luxury for a couple of nights.
N moaned about the journey – I really must give him some books and toys to play with in the car, because he always just sits there (and eats), but it wasn’t too bad apart from a stretch on the M25. Pulling into the drive and car park it was clear that The Grand really was compared with the other hotels on the sea front. Think old beautiful white town houses and buildings, and you get the grandeur of the hotel, despite some scaffolding at one end.
I’d been worried that we’d struggle to get a parking space (you can guarantee one for £25 a day – extortionate, but some people had paid. They had their own little boards with their name on to keep their spaces free. But we didn’t have a problem, there were spaces at any time of the day, although I expect it gets busier in summer. Parking onsite is my one requirement other than wifi for hotel stays, so it can limit choice of hotels in cities sometimes.
The Grand Hotel dates back to the 1800s, and you can still see the period features. If you want contemporary and minimalist, this isn’t the hotel for you. It’s steeped in tradition but without being stuffy. Yes, men have to wear jacket or shirt and tie for dinner and women dress appropriately, but otherwise it’s not overly formal.
The doormen are welcoming and helpful, enjoying playing games with children going through the revolving doors, and reception staff were always pleasant and willing to help, explaining everything we needed to know.
Because I had a double room for only me, with N being effectively the second adult, he had the child pack without paying the extra £10 a night. For this he had his own small bathrobe delivered to the room in addition to the adult ones, (big) cookie and milk brought to the room before bed at a time we chose, and fizzy drinks brought up as alternatives to the tea/coffee trays. He doesn’t have fizzy drinks but it’s a nice touch alternative.
The Grand also have an early dinner sitting if you want a family dinner from 6-7. He was also given a drawstring goody bag with some cardboard binoculars, branded baseball cap and a foldable frisbee, plus if you’re there a while, there’s a children’s club morning and afternoons if you want some adult time alone.
Our room at the Grand Hotel
N was pleased that the doorman took our luggage up to the room, and he settled right into the room choosing which side of the bed he was going to sleep on and turning the tv to the side he wanted on.
We had one of the refurbished double rooms which overlooked a residential road at the back of the hotel. It wasn’t a busy road at all, and we had the window open overnight but slept through any noise that might have been going on. Refurbishments are still ongoing – the corridor we had to walk through to our room had rolled up spare carpet at the side, and had been stripped of plaster, but we didn’t see workmen apart from 1 morning where there was a decorator removing the last of the plaster. There was no impact to our stay.
We had plenty of room to move around, lots of wardrobe space, black out blind and normal blind, as well as bottled water and the usual tea tray. The pillows were a bit soft for my liking and we had to turn off the heating when we first arrived, but it was a comfortable room with everything we needed in there. I did struggle on arrival to get connected to the wifi, but someone came up to have a look and found it wasn’t plugged in properly. Straight away, nice fast internet (well, much faster than mine at home!).
N was impressed that the bed was made each day. We came back one evening just as the maid had down turn down ready for bed, and N was really confused.
‘Who was that in our room?’
‘One of the hotel maids, she’ll have done a quick tidy round and turned down the bed covers ready for your bedtime’
‘That was nice of her’. Chuckle!
‘She works for the hotel and that’s one of the things that they do in nice hotels, making it comfortable for everyone staying there. She won’t do the whole hotel on her own though, there’ll be several maids’. He looked surprised.
We both slept well (except for me ending up with bruises thanks to N’s legs and feet during the night), although we were still up at the crack of dawn, ready and waiting for our complementary newspaper.
The bathroom was well put together with a good sized bath and a huge shower over it. I was pleased to see Moulton Brown toiletries, although N was unimpressed. He couldn’t find the soap at first – when I unwrapped the bar of soap he looked confused at how he should use it! The shower was the one thing I couldn’t get right. I couldn’t get it any colder than very hot, even practically turning it off. The power and spray was great, I’d have likely it to have more variation in heat because it was nearly too hot for me.
While The Grand is an old hotel, it certainly has everything you’d need. As well as 2 restaurants, there’s a couple of lounge areas where you can book afternoon tea, massive cloakrooms downstairs, health club and swimming pool. N decided he didn’t want to go swimming so we didn’t check it out.
Breakfast was served in the Garden Restaurant between 7 and 10, and we were usually there when it was nearly empty before 8 o’clock. N always asked why it was so quiet – he has no concept of having a lie in on holiday, so couldn’t work out why people weren’t going to breakfast until later.
Like most hotels, it was buffet breakfast if you wanted continental, cereals or a cooked breakfast, but there was also a ‘to order’ menu if you wanted something else – presumably porridge, different eggs and other options. We stuck with the standard offer so didn’t check the menu.
There was plenty to choose from:
- 5 different juices which caused N a lot of worry in deciding which one he would have;
- Cooked breakfast – scrambled egg, beans, sausages, delicious crispy bacon, tomatoes, mushroom, fried bread
- Yoghurts and chopped fruit and berries – the fruity yoghurt was a bit tart for us, but N stated the plain yoghurt was delicious
- Continental – hot cross buns, pastries, fruit, hams, cheeses
It all looked delicious and I admit I did go back for scrambled egg, which was perfectly fluffy, on toast after going for the healthier yoghurt and fruit option.
The Grand Hotel is in a great location in Eastbourne. It’s right on the sea front, but set back a bit from the road, and near the Beachy Head end of the town centre. Each evening it only took 10 minutes to walk to the main town centre and the main road with restaurants on, although just a couple of roads down there were also a few restaurants we noticed. If we were sticking around Eastbourne, we simply left the car and walked / scooted along the promenade which has plenty of room for cyclists and scootering children along with pedestrians without having to trek for miles.
We had a lovely stay at The Grand. They were welcoming, the room was just right for us, and car parking is a bonus where most hotels are having to get customers to park in the sea front spaces. The 2 nights away were definitely worth the money I paid for our luxury break.
When you go away, what type of place do you stay? Have you ever stayed somewhere similar?