For this month’s hotel review, Managing Director, Lee Mansfield enjoyed an overnight stay at one of Eastbourne’s most elite hotels – The Grand. Here, he feeds back on his thoughts
Dominating Eastbourne’s famous seafront with it’s incredibly grand and exterior, this magnificent 19th Century hotel is one of the finest of its kind, having welcomed a galaxy of the great and the good including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Conan Doyle and King Constantine of Greece over it’s centuries of operation. The Grand Hotel itself boasts an incredibly history…
A proposal to build a magnificent hotel at a cost of £50,000 was announced by the Eastbourne Gazette in 1874, and a year later, construction started. The result: a beautiful hotel in a superb position facing the sea, with views of Beachy Head and surrounding grounds and tennis courts. The Grand Hotel was built when the upper classes ruled the land and took their holidays by the sea, sometimes months at the time, taking with them their entire staff. During the Second World War however, Eastbourne was easy prey to air raids and the hotel eventually closed down and became a military headquarters
In 1998 Elite Hotels acquired the property, and a complete refurbishment took place. The luxury 5-star accommodation, with 152 rooms, many of which overlook the sea, has been restored to its former glory and is now Eastbourne seafront’s most prestigious means of accommodation.
The Grand Hotel has received a vast array of awards and accolades during it’s time on Eastbourne’s seafront, all of which they pride themselves on and are immensely proud of. Just some of these include TripAdvisor’s 2016 Certificate of Excellence Award, becoming a finalist in The Prestigious Star Awards 2015, Best Champagne List in the Champagne Tattinger UK Wine List Awards 2015 and nominations in the WeddingDates 2016 Wedding Awards.
Being located just outside of Eastbourne’s town centre and most loved facilities – placed just a short walk away from the mainline railway centre, theatres, town hall and shopping centre facilities – this venue is the perfect destination for a corporate overnight stay or a weekend retreat. Anyone that lives in Eastbourne or surrounding areas will know of it’s incredibly overpowering exterior – something that’s heightened when you’re stood right in front of it, and it’s safe to say that on first impressions, it lives up to it’s name.
We were greeted on arrival by the incredibly friendly and polite front of house staff, and it was clear to see that the professionalism of The Grand Hotel’s employees means we would be well looked-after during our stay.
The hotel’s interior is just as extraordinary, although it’s safe to say it could do with a bit of an upgrade; the carpet, armchairs and just about everything else for that matter, are rather outdated. On the other hand, this plays a huge part in the hotel’s charm in my opinion, and making changes to elements such as this would cause the premises to lose a lot of it’s appeal. Our room was in keeping with the rest of the hotel – old fashioned carpets and general design, which made it all the more cosy. The room itself – one of the newly refurbished rooms, front-facing rooms overlooking the Devonshire Lawns – was immaculately kept, with fresh bed sheets, clean towels, dusted units and hovered floors. The bed was wonderfully comfortable, which was a nice surprise, and offered us a sound night’s sleep.
Once we’d settled into our suite, we made our way down to the bar area, which sits next to the pool, and I was hugely surprised to see how busy it was! It was a lovely evening to sit outside, and so off we went to a table. We were hoping to oder some pre-dinner nibbles, but anyone that knows Eastbourne will understand that eating outside in a town heavily populated by seagulls is a risky move… Instead we ordered a bottle of wine, recommended by a staff member. While we’d normally opt for a Sancerre or a Chablis, we took the suggestion of a white Rioja – a great suggestion at that.
The Grand Hotel attracts an older demographic, which to me, was surprising. We were among the youngest people there yet I fail to understand why there aren’t more young people indulging in the hotel’s atmosphere – the whole place was buzzing.
The Mirabelle restaurant boasted the perfect ambiance for an evening meal, full to the brim with customers, music in the background at just the right level and intimate lighting. Our waiter for the evening was called James and I can’t stress enough the high level of service we received throughout our meal. He was incredibly polite, friendly and knowledgeable on all of the food and drinks on offer – something that is always expected but rarely happens.
The Mirabelle restaurant came in hand with quite a limited, but equally delicious menu. For our starting courses, we opted for the Risotto of Cauliflower, Seared Scallops and Langoustine Bisque, and the Roast Gressingham Duck Breast Salad with Watermelon Radish and Enoki Mushrooms. For our mains, however, I chose the Pork Fillet dusted with Smoked Paprika, Morcilla Fritter, Broad Beans and Slow Roasted Peppers, while my wife went for the Pan Fried Chicken Breast filled with local Lobster & Basil, Leaf Spinache and Truffle Mash. Despite the amount of people dining in the Mirabelle restaurant that evening, our food arrived at out table in surprisingly good time, presented to perfection and tasting even more delicious.
For our dessert, my wife opted for the Poaches Apricots, White Chocolate and Star Anise Macaroon with Peanut Butter Marshmallow, while I went for the chef’s specialty; the ‘Banoffee Soufflé’, which came in hand with Cardamom Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Sauce and Toffee Pecan Nuts. Both desserts were delectable – the perfect end to a lovely meal!
Before turning in for the night we took a relaxing stroll along the seafront and went for a drink at a nearby pub, before heading back to the hotel’s bar for one last beverage. This took us up to around 11pm, and seeing that the hotel was still so busy at this time of night was a pleasant surprise.
Taking place in another of the hotel’s restaurants, breakfast was just as lovely as the food we devoured the night before, although not as busy, which was to be expected and the buffet boasted everything you could want – eggs, sausages, bacon, beans and more. It’s safe to say we left impressed, happy and satisfied.
Overall, The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne was a pleasant surprise and is among our favourite hotels featured in Sussex Business Times to date. With impeccable service, beautiful food and homely, traditional surroundings, it made for the perfect overnight stay and receives a perfect five stars from us.
The Grand Hotel
King Edward’s Parade