The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne really is a grand dame of the seafront . It sits at the end of the promenade looking down on its rivals in all its white blousy glory. The hotel is impressive on the exterior and the entrance has a significant 'wow' factor. The high ceilings and marble columns take you right back to a former age. Although the clientèle are varied it definitely leans demographically towards the older and more affluent.
We arrived for my birthday treat weekend about 3:30pm. Check in is at 3 and we were lucky to snag the last unreserved car parking place in the smallish car park. There is a charge of £25 if you wish to reserve your space ( which basically means they write your name on a chalk board and place it in the parking space). I think that is rather steep but would definitely spare the frustration and driving around that we witnessed other later arrivals experiencing.
Check In was smooth and extremely polite (The Times is the only newspaper offered by the way)
Our room was spotlessly clean- even down to the carpeted bathroom floor. The room was rather 'wonky' due to the age of the hotel and some tables and bedside cabinets were at a slant. The furniture was old and a little faded in places but not yet shabby. Television is a small 20-22inch flat screen Hospitality tray has cafetiere and real coffee but really awful brand of tea ( in my opinion anyway)
Now to the big problem with the room....The draughty windows. They are old style single glazed sash windows. Lovely thrown open on a sunny afternoon enjoying the sea view - not so great in the middle of the night rattling and letting in icy blasts!
At 4;30 am I ended up fashioning wedges from coasters to stop the rattles. I did call the night porter but got cut off twice....
There was a radiator under the offending window that was lava hot - however the room was long and the draft was rather determined. The heat from the radiator only seemed to permeate about 2 feet from it. There was an extra blanket in the wardrobe and we huddled under it , barely keeping warm. Not exactly a five star experience.....
We dined in The Garden restaurant( more detailed food review elsewhere) - the service again was impeccable and the food was...ok. However I paid an additional £11 on top of our DBB charge for the 'Grand Mixed grill' and was very disappointed. This consisted of a burger, a teriyaki sirloin that was cremated and another cut of beef - again cremated ( I had asked for medium) I didn't send it back as it was edible and the veg etc was fine but it was decidedly average.
The bar staff were excellent and my cocktails were superb. Really enjoyed sitting in the bar listening to the live jazz band getting slowly sozzled on very strong cocktails
I enjoyed lovely spa treatments and a leisurely swim in the pool - the spa and pool are top notch, extremely clean and well kept. Again the staff were a delight.
Breakfast was buffet style and in the main very nice - the sausages were the highlight - the dried out black pudding was a low.
In the morning I did speak to the duty manager about our problems in the night and he was apologetic and offered a goodwill gesture of £50 off the room rate. He admitted that it was a known maintenance issue and although I appreciated his candour it did rather irritate me that this hadn't been addressed before.
I have tried to give a balanced view of my experiences here last weekend. I did have a lovely time, especially in the spa and the place is definitely worth a visit - even just for afternoon tea. Its a beautiful building in a wonderful setting. Each member of staff I encountered were courteous and approachable and its the service that really makes up for the irritations.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- England's only five-star seaside hotel, The Grand in Eastbourne is one of the UK's most magnificent hotels. Variously described as a 'White Palace' and 'Wedding Cake', the majestic landmark property occupies a prime spot on the town's seafront with panoramic views along the coast and towards the cliffs at Beachy Head.Facilities include 152 beautiful bedrooms, many with stunning sea views. 2 Award winning Restaurants. Indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, fully equipped Gymnasium and 8 beauty rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Eastbourne Grand Hotel