The Grand Hotel Eastbourne sits on the East Sussex coast and is often referred to as the “Palace of the Sea”.
Just over 3 hours from Leicester, we booked this break as soon as we saw the weather forecast for the coming week (mid-September). The main selling points were the outdoor pool and the fact that we could book slots in the indoor pool even if we didn’t have a treatment (something I have found a few hotels doing).
We don’t usually spend a lot on hotel but American Express had a deal with the Small Luxury Hotel Group and it was too tempting.
The Grand Hotel has a perfect location. Across the street from the shingle Eastbourne beach, it is also walking distance to the main town centre.
There is a lot to see in Eastbourne. Before going I had read that there is an older population in Eastbourne. Though this is correct around the beach area, in the town there was a mixture of ages.
Here is what we were able to go within walking distance of the hotel
- Eastbourne Pier: perfect for that leisurely stroll, fish & chips and ice cream
- Beachy Head: tallest chalk cliff in the country
- Bandstand: A bandstand on the seafront is just amazing. I can only imagine the buzz pre Covid with all the outdoor music.
- Town centre: A great mix of high street and independent shops (we went to HoneyBee for coffee and donuts)
Covid 19 Measures
The hotel had taken all the precautions to ensure guests were safe. There was plenty of clear signs and hand sanitizers dotted around. Measures were in place at the Health Spa.
Service & Surroundings
From start to finish the service was flawless. The staff were well trained, polite and knowledgeable. Nothing was too much for all the staff. We were welcomed with a big smile and the staff were to hand when we needed them. Service was definitely with a smile.
The hotel was traditionally decorated. I loved the feature windows at the end of the corridors and the little seating areas.
Parking is available on a first come first service basis. There are plenty of spaces at the hotel. There is plenty of street parking available, a lot of it being free.
The heated outdoor pool is brilliant. Lounges are on first come first serve basis however you can get a deck chair if none are available. There was no limit on our stay at the outdoor pool. The area is partly shaded for those who prefer to be out of the sun. The lifeguard is to hand and drinks can be ordered whilst there.
Guests could book one-hour slots for the indoor pool and jacuzzi. We had one booked for the day we arrived and one on the day of departure. It is cleaned after the hour is up in preparation for the next guests. The pool area is clean and changing facilities well maintained. On the day of check out, we were allowed to use them to have a shower.
We got upgraded to a Junior Seaview Suite which had a side sea view.
The room was spacious with a sofa bed and two one seaters making it a perfect mini sitting room. The decor was old/traditional style and went with the theme of the rest of the Victorian hotel.
Amenities included a range of Molton Brown toiletries, Nespresso coffee machine, tea making facilities, TV & iron press. Big fluffy bathrobes were available too.
The room was clean and spacious. The shower was nice and powerful too.
The breakfast and dinner was served at The Garden Restaurant. There was a lovely buzz in the restaurants will all staff alert and making us feel comfortable. I loved the tall ceilings and gorgeous chandeliers.
Unfortunately, we were both disappointed with the food. Considering the price and the branding associated with the hotel, the food could definitely have been flavoured more.
Maybe we just had a bad experience because some customers enjoyed their meal. The hot food is all covered with a cloche until it is delivered to the table. This does give it that slight luxury feel.
We booked on a DBB rate and a three course meal was included. The best part of the meal was the complimentary cauliflower soup and the desserts. The quality of the starters was average and the mains had no taste to them, though they were all presented well.
Breakfast was the same too. I was surprised at my brown avocado on burnt toast. Kev’s Full English was average. The best thing about breakfast was the soft butter and the lovely crockery.
The hotel has another restaurant, Mirabelle. This has got great reviews. It is a supplement of £4pp if you book on the DBB rate. We stayed on a Monday night and the restaurant is shut on that day.
The Lounge Terrace & Cocktail Bar
The Lounge area is definitely grand and aka the Grand Hall. It did look lovely in the afternoon when guests were enjoying their fizz and afternoon tea. Again the decor is traditional and goes with the location.
The cocktail bar was well stocked with premium drinks. I enjoyed an Exotic Martini and Kev had a cold beer before our meal. Tables were cleaned and well-spaced out.
Overall we had a nice staycation. After 6 months it was so nice to be out soaking up the sun and having a dip in the pool to cool down. If it wasn’t for the little hiccup on the food it would have been an excellent first stay at one of the Small Luxury Hotels.