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Reviewed 21 September 2010

- Accomodation -

We (myself, partner, 2y.o Daughter and 10 month old Son) stayed half board in the Shoreline Hotel in Columbus Quarters on level 4 (top floor) 7 nights from 3rd Sept.

The hotel was perfectly suited for children & families. The Lobby as we first entered was lovely, bright, modern, and had a children’s table area with a large flat screen TV playing children’s movies. Really nice touches.

Staying in the hotel means you get exclusive “Character Breakfasts” and access to Billy Bears’ bedroom in the hotel where the children can see Billy whilst a redcoat reads a story.

The Room was really well presented and ‘acceptably clean and tidy’. I say this because there was a ‘musty’ smell in the room, perhaps suggesting that the carpets really needed a proper wash (not just a hoover), and the carpets were quite badly stained in places. We also discovered muck down the sides of the chairs in the room and behind the lounge units . That said, the housekeeping team do a good job… as a four person family with young kids, we were leaving our room packed with stuff everywhere in the mornings, and we would come back to find that housekeeping had done a superb job tidying things for us.

The beds were comfortable, although I thought the travel cot supplied (for £10) was a bit uncomfortable for my infant son – but that’s not Butlins’ fault, I think travel cots are just like that.

Ultimately, the room, (and Shoreline Hotel in general) was really good – I reckon the room could just do with a real thorough cleaning… maybe they do it and we were just on the tail-end before the next one was due at the end of the season or something… so I can’t be too critical. It was fine.

- Food -

Food in the South Coast restaurant in the Shoreline was perfectly acceptable. Many reviewers have said it’s similar fare to what you would get in a Harvester, and I think that’s a good comparison. A good amount of choice in the evenings, Breakfast was standard continental or English with plenty of Kelloggs cereal available (we did find the toast was burnt too often though!).

Waiting was fine – one of the staff would even come around offering balloon creations for the kids in the evening. Maybe our only criticism is that the staff could clear tables quicker… but that tends to be true in a great many places. Certainly not bad enough to warrant complaint.

We used our half-board meal vouchers to try Papa Johns’ twice for dinner, and it was fine, similar I guess to Pizza Hut (perhaps not quite as good), and one night we tried the Ocean Hotel’s Kaleidoscope restaurant which we found pretty much the same as the Shoreline really.

Drinks Prices were always reasonable throughout the resort – no dearer than I would expect to pay anywhere really. Tea/Coffee/Juice is included with Breakfast at the hotel.

- Resort -

The resort itself is super – we only left the resort ‘compound’ for 15 mins in the whole week to take a look at the beach… but since we live near lovely sandy beaches at home, the stony beach at Bognor wasn’t interesting enough to entice us for long.

The fairground is good fun, and my 3 year old daughter (2 at the time), being a shade under 1m was able to ride everything except the dodgems since the “allowed to use with adult” limit was 0.9m – so we got some good value using the rides.

We… well “I”.. spent a lot of money on soft toy grabbing machines (should be called “money grabbers”), arcade machines, money-operated rides and prize stalls – many have complained about it, and the ubiquitous presence of these… but honestly, no one holds you at gun point to drop £1’s in these machines – if you do, and you regret it, it’s your problem! I think they actually add to the ambience of the resort and make the place feel more vibrant.

The Splash Waterworld was great fun and we used that twice, the lifeguards (who were everywhere you looked) even seemed to communicate using sign language... really really professional.

Bowling was good – and accommodating for children was no problem. I took my daughter to see Toy Story 3 at the ABC cinema (her first cinema experience) and it was very reasonably priced compared to our local cinema – and again, very accommodating for Children (which my local is not).

The softplay area was really valuable to us… was the only thing our infant son could do – so we ensured we gave him a good hour or so in there a day and he loved it. It is also staffed, and the staff in there were really lovely.

The upkeep of the grounds is super… it was kept so clean, I actually saw someone sweeping away the puddles!!

The Spar shop on resort is fairly priced indeed if you need anything.

- Entertainment -

It is here that Butlins really excel. The Redcoats are nothing less than exceptional entertainers (you only need to see their show “Big Red” to get an appreciation of how much they do). From being the stars of the shows, to being pals to the kids and helping out by keeping the kids occupied whilst you queue to get in to CentreStage – they work tirelessly and never drop their smiles.

The “Characters” really made the holiday special for us. From Breakfast with Bob the Builder, the Dora (Nick Jr) show and Looney Toons show, through to meeting Billy Bear and his friends at any given opportunity… they were superb. Watching my little girl singing twinkle twinkle and tucking Billy Bear in to bed one evening was also something special..

We had never even heard of Billy Bear, Dino, Darwin, Daisy or the Skyline Gang before (Butlins very own Characters) – but they really shone… and I dare you to come away from Butlins after a visit without having a soft spot for them :-D

The only poor entertainment we saw was George Samson (dancer who won BGT)… he was absolutely dire – made us think that Butlins can do so much better by themselves without using outside ‘talent’ when you see how high quality their own Redcoats and Characters are. That said, I am sure that X-Factor, WWE and other headlining acts are good value when you get to see them – and certainly CentreStage & Sky Pavilion are top quality entertainment venues worthy of any performer.

I think our personal fav show was the Goldilocks Panto that the Red Coats and Butlins’ characters performed during one of the days – that was absolutely top-drawer, and another example of how good Butlins are at producing their own entertainment.

- Conclusion -

This was our first ever visit to Butlins, and despite out initial trepidation, we had a really really good time – enough that we are going again next year without doubt.

We relished our decision to book at the Shoreline hotel though. I think if we had booked different accommodation, we wouldn’t have been ‘quite’ as happy as we were. The little touches like Billy Bears' bedroom, the separate kids’ sleeping area/bunks, the Shoreline hotels’ sandpit etc… really made the holiday. Well… that and the incredible Butlins’ entertainment!

Ultimately, it priced up at about the same as an all-inclusive holiday break somewhere in the Med… but I think all in all, we don’t regret a penny of it.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank RyanOfPoole
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2010

We have just returned from a midweek break at the fabulous Ocean Hotel at Butlins in Bognor Regis..My husband and myself together with three of our children aged from 2,8 and 16 stayed in a Neptune family room on the 5th floor.The room was spotless and the bathroom was lovely with its mood lighting and soft fluffy towels as well as a selection of smellies for us to try..The staff at the Hotel and the Butlins resort were friendly and very helpful and made our stay one of the best we've ever had...I would certainly recommend to anyone staying in the Hotel to try the Spa if they can as is was lovely to escape for a couple of hours adult time.
The shows are some of the best I have ever seen and there is so much for the whole family to do it was hard fitting everything in..From swimming to Archery,adventure golf and childrens shows the fun just never ends...
The resort itself was very clean and I was impressed at how much attention was paid to the overall hygiene with hand wash dispensers to be found everywhere...
The only down side to the holiday was that my 21 son and his girlfriend had booked later than us and couldn't get into the Ocean so had booked a Silver Plus room which was disappointing to say the least..The outside was very shabby and looked more like something out of a concentration camp than a 2010 holiday resort.To say that the inside was basic was an understatement so I really wouldn't like to see the Standard Accomodation..I went to Guest Services to complain and said we would be happy to pay for an upgrade but I was told there wasn't anything as the resort was full..When I made it very clear that I wasn't happy with the standard and wanted them moved they suddenly found something that was a "little bit better"..
My advice is if you want a little bit of luxury then choose The Ocean Hotel or the Deluxe Rooms but if you don't mind the accommodation then just take what you can get as the Butlins experience has certainly improved over the years and you cannot fault the value for money..
Will defo be returning but will always stay in the higher end of the accommodation scale..Brill for adults and kids of all ages.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank moore68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2010

After leaving the Ocean hotel I discovered on my way home I had left some money hidden from veiw under a heavy wooden tea tray in my room. I phoned the hotel and was told they found nothing. In my opinion no one knew the money was there until I alerted them and no one but staff had access to the room. I have had no satisfactory communication with Bultins since I reported it. I informed the police at Bognor and they stated that they had had other reports of incidents at the hotel.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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10  Thank disenchanted80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2010

i stopped at the shoreline hotel and all i can say was i was blown away by the attention to customer satisfaction, and how clean well entertained and well fed we were all week.
i normally go abroad 3 times a year so i didnt know what to expect but i was very pleased with our british holiday will definatley come back again.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank dozy2303
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2010

Wanted somewhere fun with lots of activities for my 8yr old son. Thats exactly what we got!

My childhood memory of Butlins is grotty chalets and nobbly knees contests with the weather invariably spoiling things. Happily, things have changed. We stayed in a deluxe suite at the Bognor resort. Had a living room downstairs and bedroom and bathroom upstairs with small balcony. Very comfortable room. Only negative point - could hear traffic from the busy main road nearby our room from early in the morning.

The food was excellent. We were on the premium dining plan which means a less hectic restaurant with more choice of meals. Excellent variety and quality food, was buffet style as much as you want.

We loved Splash Waterworld. Its nicely heated with waterslides, jacuzzi pool, wave machine pool and more. And all undercover.

The bars, arcades, shows and evening show bars are all housed under the skyline pavillion, so its all in one place. We had terrible weather, but didn't spoil things one bit inside of Butlins. It just meant we didn't venture out so spent more money there on arcade games etc.

Quite a lot of the activities on site eg. Go carts, inflatable hamster balls, climbing wall and mini golf are not included and cost £5 each. There is a small free funfair but not v good, was the only part of Butlins where I saw miserable staff. The rest of the staff were really friendly and helpful.

The evening entertainment was varied. We saw Rachel from last years X factor and a few Britains Got Talent acts (some ok, some not so great - but thats down to personal taste) The Red Coats also put on a show every evening but we didn't go to any of these so cant comment. They also had an Abba tribute band while we were there which was enjoyable as it was a sing a long show. The show bars got very busy so unless you arrived well before the show you might not get a table. Drinks prices: £1.55 for half lager. £3.99 for a glass of wine with dinner, double of house vodka £3.40

We will definately return to Butlins and would recommend the deluxe suite for some extra home comforts. The Bognor beach is pebbly so if a sandy beach is important to you you would maybe prefer the Minehead or Skegness resort.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled with family
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Thank alx11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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