Review: The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

Outside pool Dec 08 - Copy

There are times when you want the most modern of hotels and then, there are times when nothing but a luxurious classic will do. If you’re after the latter, Sophie Ritchie says it’s time to book a stay at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne 

Sprawled across the edge of East Sussex coastline, The Grand is a rather magnificent 19th century place to behold. It’s just as impressive on the outside as it is within –  and we drive up to its broad white grandeur to find our own personalised parking space awaiting us. After a long journey to reach Eastbourne, it’s a little touch that instantly has us feeling at ease.

great-hall

This Victorian building has been welcoming the very grandest of guests through its doors since 1875 – with Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill and even Debussy among its clientele. There’s an ambiance of luxury from the bustling lobby alone, which leads guests down a corridor to the spectacular Great Hall – a vast chandelier-studded area with marble colonnade, roaring fires and if you’re peckish, afternoon tea.

The room

The Grand Blue Bedroom

This five star hotel is elegant to the core and boasts 152 rooms, most with spectacular seafront views. Traditional, yes – but boring or outdated? Certainly not. This historic venue has kept up with the times and guests can expect the essence of old school charm accompanied by 21st century amenities and superb service.

Our Junior Suite is divided into two main sections with cream-coloured walls and touches of purple furnishings. It’s comfortably classic with plenty of space. It’s the view, however, that really gets my attention. Undeniably the room’s real jewel, the small balcony is perfect for gazing out across the sea – even on a particularly grey day.

The food

O&G Elite hotels

Those checking in should bring their appetite along with any baggage. There’s two restaurants to raise a fork at – The Garden Restaurant and The Mirabelle Restaurant, both overseen by Executive Chef, Keith Mitchell.

The award-winning Mirabelle serves a modern European menu of seasonal specialities with Gerald Röser at the helm – who conjures a weekly menu of creative flavours and textures. It’s formal yet unstuffy and we visit for dinner within its two red AA rosette walls during our stay.

After a welcoming glass of Champagne, we tuck into creamy cauliflower cheese soufflés, followed by mains of zesty ‘Hazel Chicken’ – think tender free range chicken breast crushed in toasted hazelnuts, and served wth lime jus. Desserts on a Saturday night are impossible to resist, and we finish off the meal with dark chocolate and morello cherry tart, served with cherry sorbet saffron and honeycomb ice cream. Seconds are almost too tempting to say no to, and we greedily eye the menu again.

Comparatively, The Garden Restaurant is a far less formal occasion. Enjoy traditional British fare with a modern twist, with dishes brimming full of local ingredients, especially fresh fish. Ideal for those seeking a lively, laid-back experience, take advantage of the cocktail menu and don’t miss out on the wonderful breakfast buffet (although try to arrive early, as it can get very busy.)

The activities

indoor pool Feb 2012 (1)

Culture vultures can delight in an array of activities during their visit. For the adventurous, hire a mountain bike and enjoy the natural beauty of the local seafront or South Downs National Park.  If it’s art you’re after, the nearby Towner Art Gallery makes an excellent way to spend an afternoon.

For relaxation, make use of the sleek indoor swimming pool with whirlpool spa. In the summer months, a dip in the outdoor heated pool is essential. From massages to manicures, there’s also a wide range of pampering treatments at the Health Club. Advanced bookings are highly recommended to avoid disappointment.

The verdict
As Natalie Babbitt once stated, “Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.” The Grand is a hotel filled to the brim with charm, comfort and elegance – and if it’s tradition with a twist you’re after, it’s time to book your visit.

Make it happen
Where: King Edward’s Parade, Eastbourne BN21 4EQ
Price: Rooms start from £190 per night. Click here to book. 

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