The Grand Hotel Eastbourne
The Grand Hotel Eastbourne - How Family Friendly are they?
The answer would have to be ..... extremely!
The Staff are so friendly and go out of their way to help you and make sure all your needs are met. This is a 5 Star hotel and the service is the standard you would expect but without the stuffiness that I have encountered in some other hotels.
The building is huge, so the ease of moving a buggy about is never a problem. My Tom, who will be 3 in September, just adored running about in the long corridors. You don't feel that every movement you make disturbs someone else. Our suite was one of The Grand's best rooms but I did have a look into others and they really are a good size. If you can go for a suite I would recommend it, as then it is more relaxing to have the space away from the children in the evening. You get the benefits of the space you would get in a cottage but all the luxury and pampering of a hotel.
Meals are flexible to fit in with your child's routine. A huge variety of foods at breakfast, including his favourites like Marmite and ketchup. They offer a High Tea from 5 with all the children together. Tom overdid it in the swimming pool in the afternoon and was not up for much by then and so his dinner was brought up to the room. We couldn't believe our eyes when it arrived. As well as the fish fingers and a rather big ice cream sundae there was a variety of vegetables. When I called to explain Tom was overtired I was made to feel it was no problem at all to change the arrangements. If you like your children to eat with you then dinner is served from seven and I did see many children in the restaurant at this time.
Children have plenty to do. When we arrived Tom was given a 'Junior Crew' goodie bag. It had a blow up ring for swimming, which he made excellent use of, a sun hat, sunglasses, colouring in book and crayons. Also a programme of events available in the playroom. The indoor and outdoor pool made the break for both of us. We were lucky with the weather and remained cool and happy in the outside pool for hours. One family I spoke to who had been a few weeks earlier said that when it rained their kids were still in the pool most of the day having fun, as it is heated. The indoor one is lovely as well but for me it felt such a treat to be outside in beautiful surroundings. There were enough kids for Tom to be entertained but it was far from crowded.
The veranda is gorgeous, lots of shade for those who like it and plenty of loungers for soaking up the sun. In the evening it was lovely to see children playing out side, while their parents enjoyed a drink. The playroom is small but has so much for them to do. I thought the size made it very welcoming and homely. You can leave them there in the day if they are over three, to make use of the lovely treatment rooms or just to have sometime for yourselves. I was made to feel welcome to take Tom at anytime for a play, as he is under three. This makes life easy as the need to take half a house of toys to keep them happy is avoided.
The Hotel offers a babysitting service, which is quite expensive but also a baby listening facility that allows parents to eat and have a drink at the hotel, to make the most of the holiday. There are very good baby changing facilities in the ladies on the ground floor and soon to be in the men's as well.
Speaking to lots of different mums and dads, they all, without exception, said that the great thing about The Grand, is that 'all you have to do is ask'. This, in a nutshell, I think, sums up the hotel. We all have our little routines with children and there are always things we need and things we've forgotten to bring with us when we go away. The key to making the most of your stay is just to ask for what you need, the staff will always accommodate.
The position of the hotel is brilliant. At the Beachy Head end of the front, set back from the road. We had fantastic views of the sea from our room. There is a huge grass area in front of the beach for running off some energy. The beach is pebble but Tom enjoyed this as much as a sand beach and can't run off as quickly. All along the front runs a path. It is safely away from cars, so makes a lovely stroll into town. It is also great for kids to bring their scooters and the thing that is very popular in Eastbourne, which is roller blading. There is plenty of parking at the hotel and little traffic in town. Tom greatly enjoyed a Pinocchio ice cream in one of the cafes.
The town has a mixture of seaside shops and cafes as well as more trendy shops, pubs and restaurants. There are also lots of lovely parks if you fancy a change from the beach. What I would really recommend is a drive out towards the Seven Sisters National Park. It such a beautiful area. At Cuckmere there is a buggy-friendly walk along the river to the sea. There is a gorgeous cafĂ© near the car park and then the other side of the road is Friston Forrest. Little ones will love exploring the paths and older ones can mountain bike. (bikes can be hired nearby) The Barley Mow pub has a fantastic play area and is near Middle Farm.
When you check-in at The Grand, they also give you a voucher for free entry for children to Drusillas. This is a fantastic Zoo; it has lots of lemurs and small animals that are always very entertaining. It also has a farm and pet area as well as indoor and outdoor play areas. I cannot recommend it enough for a great day out.
Adults can enjoy their stay here because quite simply, the kids have a lovely time! And we all know that when the kids are happy, Mum and Dad are happy too! You get a rest from daily chores and the lovely little luxuries of Milton Brown toiletries, great food, and the chance to have a massage and some time to relax. It may seem a little expensive but when I compare the costs with taking a family abroad I think it is very competitive. It is, without doubt, an Eco-friendly holiday. It is in the UK so your carbon footprint will be small; it is reusing a wonderful old building, which needs no air conditioning in the summer...... I could go on....
I felt relaxed and rested after our break. I think there is a lot to be said for taking small children on holidays nearby and not having to pack half the house into the car to keep them fed and entertained. A stay at The Grand would make a perfect break to get extended family together. There were quite a few grandparents around when we were there and again that can be the key to giving tired parents a rest. There are some great Christmas activities and some very reasonable deals between Christmas and New Year. I heartily recommend The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, for a weekend treat, a week away or any other time you can find the excuse to get there.
Jane Drummond, Mum to 2 year-old Tom.
For more information, take a look at The Grand Hotel site www.grandeastbourne.com
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