England’s only remaining 5* seaside hotel, purpose built in 1875 to cope with the Victorian frenzy for the health-giving properties of the coastal wind and waves, is thriving, splendidly adapting to the expectations of visitors, of all ages, in the new millennium. In the early, pre-motorcar years, access by carriage was at the rear of the building with extensive gardens at the front, over which the finest rooms and suites looked to the expanse of the English Channel. Retail shops now occupy the coach-houses and stables, and much of the garden provides residents’ parking, but the glazed and polished mahogany reception area, reminiscent of a traditional banking-hall, remain as an eerie echo of the past. Architecturally, The Grand is firmly rooted in that past, brass, marble, lofty ceilings and everything you could wish for. The acoustically perfect lounge from which BBC made their legendary ‘Palm Court Orchestra’ broadcasts remains, but now accommodates guests in sumptuous comfort, enjoying their afternoon teas. The guestrooms are uniformly welcoming and satisfying in furnishing, quietness and style and many share the most amazing, unbroken seaview. Showing an admirable sense of keeping pace with modernity, there are the now expected additional features of a first-class hotel, the spa, gymnasium, therapy rooms and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The Mirabelle, for stylish fine-dining, and The Garden Room, less formal and more traditional, offer a choice of excellent dining options (with early sittings, in their own restaurant, for children) and the meticulous attention to guests’ comfort amply reinforces the quintessentially English atmosphere.
King Edward’s Parade, Eastbourne BN21 4EQ
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