Shoreline Hotel at Butlins Bognor Regis - What a Treat!
Shoreline Hotel at Butlins Bognor Regis - What a Treat!
We arrived at The Shoreline Hotel with a very excited Matthew, who is 5 and little Millie who is 17 months old.
Matthew was immediately drawn to the huge 'Billy the Bear' teddy in reception. Billy the Bear is Ã¢Â€Â˜Butlins' very own huggable, wannabe redcoat, mascot'. To Millie's absolute amusement and my total embarrassment he knocked 'Billy' over almost as soon as he put his foot in the door.
However I shouldn't have worried, because having chosen the weekend at the end of the Easter Holidays for our Butlins Break, there were families everywhere and there were no raised eyebrows from anyone. The reception staff found it amusing and checked us in within minutes.
We were impressed with our room, Ã¢Â€Â˜Columbus Quarters'. It was very bright, modern and clean, with lots of storage space, and plenty of towels. The complimentary tea tray was particularly well stocked and replenished daily. With Millie being only 17 months old and still needing a drink of milk in the morning and at bedtime, I was concerned that the fridge would not be big enough for all that milk, but it was a good size and we managed to get quite a few supplies in there, including the odd bottle of wine! The restaurant downstairs also had a microwave available for use.
Our room had a separate area for the children with bunk beds and a TV and DVD player. Unfortunately the cot which was requested for little Millie had not been put in our room. I was disappointed that it took four requests, three hours and one tired little girl later, for it to arrive.
I was, however, relieved to discover it would fit in the children's area, which was far enough away, that Millie would not have to be subjected to my Husband's pneumatic drill-like snoring.
The receptionist had helpfully advised me upon checking-in that if we wanted to dine in the Shoreline restaurant we should book a table as soon as possible. If you take the half board option you are also able to dine in the Ocean Hotel's Kaleidoscope Restaurant, The Sun and Moon Pub or Papa John's (an American-style pizzeria). We had left it a little late to book a table at a restaurant, so we headed over to Papa John's.
The Ã¢Â€Â˜all-you-can pizza buffet' at Papa John's looked fresh and appealing, with hot pizzas being regularly brought out. The rest of the buffet was varied, including pasta, rice, potatoes and plenty of fresh looking salad. My 5 year old and I then took great pleasure in helping ourselves to a huge dessert from the Ã¢Â€Â˜self-service' ice cream bar.
The restaurant at the hotel hosts a Ã¢Â€Â˜Character Breakfast' where the children can meet Bob the Builder or Billy the Bear. This has to be booked the previous day as it is quite popular as you can imagine. Matthew and Millie met Billy the Bear and Daisy the Cow who were taken round by Redcoats. I should mention that I was quite impressed with the interest they showed and the time they spent talking to each of the children. Matthew decided he wanted to show Ã¢Â€Â˜Billy the Bear' some Ã¢Â€Â˜dance moves' and they were only too happy to join in with him and pose for some photos. Definitely worth booking!
The breakfast itself is self service and very varied. You can choose from a cooked or continental breakfast and there was plenty of choice for both. As to be expected, it was quite busy and unfortunately I felt it was necessary to wipe down our table before we ate. For a quieter breakfast, The Sun and Moon Pub, just a couple of minutes walk away, cooked a fantastic breakfast. It also had the added bonus of a fort-like play area in the garden, which is great for energetic children waiting for food.
Splash Water World is Free!
When breakfast is over,there is plenty to do. Splash Water World is open every day and is included in the cost of your stay. We went in the afternoon and it was a bit busy but considering it was the Easter Holidays, it wasn't exactly jam packed so we were able to enjoy the swim! There were plenty of lockers and changing rooms available and it looked reasonably clean. Matthew is not able to swim yet and I felt comfortable with him going down the little slides and splashing around.
We couldn't really make use of the funfair. However Matthew really did enjoy the old fashioned Carousel which was no extra charge. The old ones are always the best!
There were many various shows on during the day in the Skyline Pavilion (which is the main tent), such as puppet shows, Bob the Builder, sing-a-longs and Angelina Ballerina. At times it was so busy, we were really unable to see what was going on. So it is best to arrive early for shows that you particularly want to see. Matthew could squeeze himself to the front and always enjoyed himself but poor little Millie was left looking at people's bums! At this point, we were grateful for the toddlers' Soft Play area (no charge) which is safely enclosed and has everything you would expect. Millie cried when she had to leave! There was also a free to use Ã¢Â€Â˜Play Zone' for the older children, which Matthew played in every day.
The daytime shows in the other venues (Jaks and Centre Stage) were quieter and more enjoyable as you can actually take a seat and see what is going on. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Co from Looney Tunes, gave a wonderful performance and Ã¢Â€Â˜Spooky Science' which was somewhere between Ghost Busters and a science lesson had us all entertained. The Spring Farmyard was a lovely addition to the weekend, where the children could meet ducklings, rabbits, a calf and a donkey Ã¢Â€Â“ very much enjoyed by Millie. Ã¢Â€Â˜Animal Adventures' was another great Ã¢Â€Â˜hands on' experience with animals, and especially informative.
There were many arcade machines around, where Matthew successfully managed to empty daddy's pockets of their contents. These are really best avoided and I wish we had not succumbed to temptation but there really were an awful lot of them around!!
Stacey Solomon was Amazing!
Butlins' entertainment line-up was quite impressive. During our particular stay, the main venue for the evening entertainment was host to Ã¢Â€Â˜Stars from the X-Factor'. Matthew enjoyed watching Stavros Flatley who performed their show, every bit as well as we had seen on the Ã¢Â€Â˜X Factor' and Stacey Solomon was sensational. It was very popular so it was a shame that we could not find anywhere to sit and had to watch most of it on the TV to the side of the stage.
I also took Matthew to a panto-style show with the stars from Nick Junior. Despite not being able to find a seat again, he thoroughly enjoyed it and had a much better view as one of the other venues was hosting Ã¢Â€Â˜Superslam Wrestling' at the same time so the crowds had evened out a little. I have to say that the sound, lighting and sets of all the shows seemed very professional and well thought out. It is just a shame that the venue is unable to cater for such huge audiences at peak times.
We also could have seen Hannah Montana, George Sampson and various other musical-type shows but my children just don't do well at staying up late, and to be honest after a full day of activities we were all too tired to stay up anyway.
So it was back to our cosy hotel room, with a glass of wine, a dvd, kids in bed and no thoughts whatsoever of washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning for a whole 3 days - absolute heaven! Everyone happy!