Last weekend we stayed at The Grand Eastbourne for a romantic Valentines weekend. Eastbourne is a large seaside resort which has an enchanting mix of classic Victorian architecture, natural beauty and English heritage ensuring it is one of the UK’s favourite seaside destinations. The hotel is ideally situated on the seafront in Eastbourne and commands breathtaking views of the sea and the dramatic cliffs at Beachy Head. The Grand Eastbourne is one of Eastbourne’s most iconic landmarks and also has the incredible accolade of being the only 5-star luxury hotel on the British coast! The hotel is elegant, luxurious and timeless and our weekend was absolutely perfect and everything we’d hoped it would be.
The Hotel has a wonderful history dating back to when it was first constructed in 1875. During its time has welcomed countless VIP guests including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Conan Doyle and King Constantine of Greece. The hotel also prides itself on its long association with music including when Debussy completed his symphony ‘La Mer’ in 1905 and between 1924 to 1939 The Grand Hotel Orchestra broadcasted live on the BBC from the Great Hall every Sunday night on the programme “Grand Hotel”. In 1998 Elite Hotels took over the property and completely refurbished the hotel ensuring it was restored to its former glory whilst being modernised to suit the needs of a 21st century 5-Star hotel.
The moment we arrived in the car park we were greeted by the friendly carpark attendant who despite the drizzly weather could not have been more friendly or happy to help. This excellent service continued throughout our entire stay and the staff were friendly, welcoming and incredibly helpful. We were speechless when we stepped into the lobby and were greeted with the grandeur and elegance of the Great Hall. The Great Hall is one of the most beautiful hotel entrances we have ever experienced, and we particularly fell in love with the beautiful marble columns, incredibly high ceilings, oil paintings, sparkling chandeliers and the roaring fireplace. We also arrived just as a number of guests were having afternoon tea in the Palm Court accompanied by live music which looked (and sounded) wonderful and is something we would love to try in the future.
The Grand has a large number of bedrooms and suites which date back to the days when Eastbourne was the seaside playground of the Victorian rich and famous, and when the wealthy would descend on the hotel with entire entourages in their horse & carts. The rooms range from beautiful Deluxe Bedrooms to the Opulent Presidential Penthouse Suite. We stayed in a Sea View Suite and were immediately impressed by how spacious our room was and particular loved the high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows which allowed gorgeous natural light into the room. Our room had been recently renovated but still retained its Victorian heritage and we loved the vibrant colours and elegant, stylish décor. We loved that our suite, in addition to our dreamily soft, comfortable bed with luxurious linens also had a separate sitting area with sofas.
Our Suite was on the ground floor and had a lovely view out over the outdoor pool. In Summer it would be a wonderful room as you could make full use of the private patio and enjoy the sunshine. Everything we could have possibility needed to ensure our stay was relaxing and comfortable was provided including a Nespresso coffee machine and tea making facilities, still and sparkling mineral water and a personal safe. In addition modern appliances including a flat screen television, digital alarm clock with bluetooth & USB, a telephone and Wi-Fi are provided. We did have trouble with the Wi-Fi connection in our room but found it worked perfectly in the lounge area. The hotel also had a internet room with a computer to use for guests who may be travelling without one.
As it was winter during our visit and quite rainy and cold, we particularly enjoyed how cosy and romantic our suite was when the curtains were closed and the lights were on. The lighting in the room was very ambient and created a wonderful feeling of warmth and romance.
Our luxurious en suite bathroom had a large shower with two shower heads including a rainfall shower head. The bathroom was very stylishly designed with large tiles, his and hers washbasins, a heated towel rack and Molton Brown luxury toiletries which smelt amazing! Our shower was lovely and hot with excellent water pressure and there was plenty of super soft towels and luxurious bathrobes. I was a little surprised to find that there was no hairdryer but managed to make do without.
There is no shortage of places to relax around the hotel with lounges, tables and private nooks and crannies spread out throughout the entire hotel in addition to the lounge and bar. There is also a snooker room with two full snooker tables for those who may be feeling a little competitive during their stay at the hotel.
The Grand Hotel has built an excellent reputation for hosting prestigious events in the region. The hotel has countless event spaces to hold conferences, banquets, business events, functions and weddings ranging from just a few guests up to several hundred! We were lucky enough to take a peek at some of the function rooms at the hotel and were very impressed by each of the elegant rooms and also by the many options available. Our favourite rooms were the bright and airy elegant Prince’s Room and the opulent, luxurious Ballroom.
The health and wellbeing of guests at The Grand is considered to be of the utmost importance. The wellness facilities at the hotel offer guests the very best in fitness, beauty, leisure, relaxation and spa treatments. The staff in the Health Club could not have been more friendly or welcoming during each of our visits to the Gym, Pool and Spa. The Gym was incredibly well equipped for a hotel gym and there is an extensive range of treatments available in the Spa if you feel like pampering yourself. In addition there is a large indoor swimming pool, large seasonal outdoor pool, whirlpool spa, steam room and dry saunas. We made full use of the indoor swimming pool, sauna, spa, gym and steam rooms during our stay and left feeling completely revitalised and relaxed.
The hotel has two restaurants which are well known as being two of the finest restaurants in Eastbourne. The menus in both restaurants are creative and mouth-wateringly good and are inspired by locally sourced produce and ingredients. The larger and more relaxed of the two restaurants, the Garden Restaurant serves cuisine based around traditional British favourites with a modern twist. The Garden Restaurant is situated across from the hotel’s popular Cocktail Bar and Lounge.
We dined in the stylish, elegant Mirabelle Restaurant which has been ranked among the country’s top restaurants and has received numerous accolades including its well deserved two red AA rosettes. The Mirabelle’s menu is described as “a modern European menu of seasonal specialities that play creatively with flavours and textures, and which are complemented by an extremely well chosen wine list”. The Mirabelle’s dining room is an elegant and beautifully furnished room that oozes sophistication and provides the ultimate in fine dining. The stylish venue, warm lighting and wonderful music from the piano player ensured that it was the perfect venue for a romantic valentines dinner.
The service was fantastic throughout the entire night from the moment we arrived until we left. The staff were friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and attentive, it felt as if nothing was too much for them and they truly are a credit to the restaurant. Our waiter also provided an excellent wine recommendation for us and the Chilean Merlot he recommended was the perfect accompaniment to our meals.
Dan chose the Skewered Fillet of English Lamb with Apple and Mint Couscous and a Port jus, whilst I decided to try something a little different and went for the Seaweed Spaghetti with soy dressing for my entrée. The Lamb was cooked to perfection, served beautifully and every aspect of the dish was delicious, it was the perfect beginning to a wonderful meal. The Seaweed Spaghetti was a very generous portion and cooked perfectly but I found the flavours to be a little too strong for my liking.
For my main course I chose the Fillet of Gurnard with Goji Berry & Vanila Cream, Confit Tomatoes, Buttered Spinach and Anna Potatoes and loved every single aspect of this dish. The Gurnard was cooked to perfection and each of the flavours paired perfectly together to create a magnificent dish. Dan ordered the Loin of Venison with Red Wine poached salsify, roast parsnips and rosti potato and thoroughly enjoyed the perfectly cooked venison and accompanying sides.
Our meals were beautifully presented and the portion sizes were quite generous for fine dining which we really enjoyed! It was evident that the produce and ingredients were all incredibly fresh and a great deal of care and time had gone into preparing each aspect of the dish.
Being a huge chocolate fan I couldn’t go past the Dark Chocolate Parfait with Toasted Hazelnuts, a Macaron and Pistachio Creme Anglaise for my dessert and it was incredible. Dan’s Vanilla Panna Cotta with Red Berry Compote was sweet, creamy and delicious. Both desserts were beautifully plated, tasted delicious and were the perfect way to end a wonderful meal.
Once we had finished our desserts, the waitstaff were kind enough to arrange for our wine glasses to be taken to the Palm Court after our meal so that we could finish enjoying our wine by the fireplace.
Breakfast at the hotel is also served in the Garden Restaurant and is a lovely, relaxed affair. Breakfast is a buffet which includes a full English breakfast, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurt, pastries, cold meats and cheeses. Eggs and a number of other items are cooked to order and you simply just have to let you waiter know what you would like. The staff were very attentive and friendly and the food was fresh and regularly replenished whilst we were dining.
We had an incredible weekend at The Grand Eastbourne and were so sad once the time to check out came around! The hotel was so incredible that we barely left during our entire weekend, everything we could possibly want or need was available at the hotel. After we checked out the sun began to shine and so we took a lovely stroll along the seafront and then drove to the carpark at the bottom of Beachy Head and walked to the top where the views were breathtaking. The hotel has an ideal location on the seafront located between the Pier and between Beachy Head and the South Downs.
If you are planning a visit to East Sussex or Eastbourne we highly recommend a stay at The Grand Eastbourne. We had an incredible weekend and left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and pampered. We would certainly love to come back and visit one day! x
The Grand Eastbourne
King Edwards Parade
The Aussie Flashpacker was welcomed to The Grand Eastbourne as a guest.
Our opinions are as always, our own.