English Seaside Deluxe in Eastbourne:
For a quintessential English seaside luxury hotel experience, look no further than The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne, part of The Elite Hotels group.Built in 1875 and nestling between the sea and the chalk downs of Beachy Head, The Grand maintains a respect for its Victorian and Edwardian heritage but with a contemporary twist. I was invited to review the hotel for a midsummer night’s stay and fell in love with its old-school elegance and charm.We stayed in a 2nd-floor suite next to the Debussy room where the eponymous composer finished his classic composition La Mer in 1905. The bedroom had a large comfy bed with plenty of pillows, a TV and most essential item for a chap – a trouser press. The bathroom had a good-sized bath, powerful shower and a great range of toiletries.Having a sitting room with its own TV to loll in was a delight but the highlight was having such a fantastic sea view. It was a real pleasure sitting with a cup of tea – there’s a cornucopia of hot beverage options- and watching the sailing boats.The hotel is really well set up to cater for weddings and corporate and private events of any size. There are a variety of events and private dining spaces including the stunning Main Ballroom which boasts its own stage and entrance onto the street.But my favourite was the Gallery Suite private dining area overlooking the Great Hall. Perfect for a birthday party or other special occasion.With some summer sun, we took the opportunity to use the heated outdoor pool, which has its own lifeguard if you feel the need for a Baywatch moment….I was surprised how warm the pool was and there was a special shallow area set up for kids so no excuses for not taking the plunge!But if the weather is chilly there is also an indoor pool for a leisurely splash or those early morning laps.There’s a well-appointed gym and a suite of elegant treatment rooms for those all important spa treatments. I was impressed by the lovely creche with two OFSTED approved childminders who will look after your kids for a two-hour stretch. What luxury! I was impressed how child and pet-friendly The Grand is. Children even get to do their own check-in and are given a special welcome pack. The Garden Restaurant has a special family dining area where kids can eat at supper time with adults able to join in ordering their food off the main menu if they wish.Live music plays an important part in the life of The Grand. In the 1920s and 30s, the BBC would broadcast live from The Grand and to celebrate that era Palm Court Strings perform in the Great Hall for Afternoon Tea on the last Sunday of every month. The Chatsworth lounge features live music three times a week and there is also a live pianist in The Mirabelle Restaurant several nights a week.When I’m in Eastbourne my favourite restaurant to eat at is The Mirabelle, the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, but it doesn’t open on a Sunday, the evening when I was staying. The restaurant has a new chef so I shall try to visit and review in the not too distant future but it is reviewed in a previous Eastbourne post.So we decided to eat in The Garden Restaurant and didn’t regret the choice. It’s a grand hotel dining room with traditional service which adds to the sense of occasion. But it’s never good to eat without drinking beforehand so a trip to the bar beforehand was in order…The bar has a warm, cozy feel with an extensive cocktail list mixing classics and some intriguing looking original blends.The Afternoon G&Tea was a refreshing summer cocktail – a gin-based iced peach tea which almost sounds healthy if you’re an optimist like me. I went for a classic Negroni. I love those bitter Italian flavours and this didn’t disappoint.We chose from the Summer Grand Classics menu – 3 courses for £65 – which lived up to its billing. After a light Thai-spiced fishcake as a pre-starter. Our starter of the Escoffier classic Lobster Thermidor was a dish of a succulent half-lobster each stuffed with lobster meat, egg yolk, cheese and brandy which was delicious. We drank a bottle of Greek Assyrtiko from Santorini, 2014 which was full of citrus and peach flavours balanced by a good minerality. It was a great match for our fish main courses which we were able to order to our taste – my lemon sole was perfectly cooked a la meunière and sea bass was grilled and had great flavour and texture. The highlight of the meal was a real piece of restaurant theatre. I always order Crèpe Suzette Flambé if I see it on the menu and this version was particularly good with the flames leaping high into the air and the sauce being the perfect blend of alcohol, orange and butter. After a great night’s sleep it was back to The Garden Restaurant for an early breakfast. There was a big buffet with cereals, fruit, breads, juices and hot drinks, along with a fab selection of hot food with eggs anyway, full English breakfast options, kippers and smoked haddock fillets.
I don’t think there is anywhere to match The Grand on the South Coast. If you’re in need of a break from London, want a traditional family holiday or a romantic weekend away it’s a great option. I’ll be back soon!
Looking for a quintessentially British seaside break? Why not pin this post for later
We were guests of The Grand Hotel, but all content is editorially given.
The Grand Hotel,
King Edward’s Parade,
Eastbourne BN21 4EQ, UK