Tired and cranky, we limped into the Royal Norfolk Hotel after driving for far too long in one day. It seemed a better choice than the Butlins Wave Hotel, as we had heard too many stories about the Butlins holiday camps of old, where group participation activities and loudly broadcast fun were mandatory.
The tour buses parked outside caused us a little apprehension, but we were too tired to be picky. On preliminary inspection, our seaview double room, the best offered by that hostelry, was spacious. However, it proved to be located directly above the ballroom, into which the two busloads of old people retired immediately after dinner for the Entertainment Night.
The dining room, filled with OAPs who had obviously stayed at the Royal Norfolk many times before, gave us a foretaste of life in a retirement village or nursing home. We chose our dinner as carefully as possible, within considered bounds of damage control. My tomato and basil soup owed its provenance to some unidentifiable source: a tin to be sure, hence the gloopiness and brownish hue, but why the skerricks of carrot? The cold ham salad was a blessing, utterly predictable, slices of cold home baked gammon (delicious!) and other identifiable bits and pieces. Pudding was also reasonable, a scoop of prettily furled vanilla ice cream with five sliced rounds of banana hidden beneath and a squish of caramel sauce on whipped and extruded cream. The few small pieces of crunchy matter had me puzzled until I remembered the meringue, as in banana meringue ice cream split. The more substantial pieces had obviously been an earlier reward for the old folks’ getting in first – and good luck to them!
Dinner finished promptly at 7.30 pm, when most of the diners toddled off to the ballroom for an evening’s fun of bingo, followed by live entertainment. The evening’s entertainer sang all the old favourites, to a spontaneous chorus of accompanists. In response to the repeated calls for “encore”, the gig finally packed up around midnight. We vicariously shared the whole event from our bedroom directly overhead.
Our double bed proved to be very comfortable and we slept – eventually – very well.
Breakfast was a setback of another order. Let’s just say that it is not right to assume that porridge is always a reliable choice. It was a grey, gloopy thick paste that resembled nothing like oatmeal in taste or texture.
We reflected grimly that this introduction to geriatric food would help keep us on the fit and empowered side of lifestyles for as long as we could sustain and well into our twilight years.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Royal Norfolk - Bognor Regis (3 Alpha & AA 3 Star). Situated in a delightfully sunny spot on the sea front with extensive lawns and superb Channel views, this exceptional Georgian building dates from the 1830s and has been visited by the Emperor Napoleon III of France and various descendants of Queen Victoria. It is a short walk from the pier and shops. All 60 bedrooms are centrally heated with private bath or shower and WC, internal telephone, TV, hair dryer and tea/coffee making facilities. There is an attractive cocktail bar, a split level restaurant, a relaxing quiet lounge looking out onto the garden and a ballroom with small dance floor. Lift serves most rooms (some rooms accessed via several stairs). Entertainment is provided most evenings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Norfolk Hotel
- The Royal Norfolk Hotel Bognor Regis, West Sussex