When we first moved to the UK, we had lots of plans of weekend away in Europe exploring new and exciting places. After living in the UK for nearly two years, we have now realised that weekends in Europe come at a cost. It is tiring travelling to the airport, gaining and losing time, and we have also been caught out a few times with airline delays when flying home on a Sunday evening. Sometimes you want to get away, but to truly relax.
Here lies the beauty of the 'staycation'. For those of you who aren't sure what this is, it is a vacation, or holiday in your own neck of the woods. You get all of the benefits of a weekend away without the hassle of travelling far to your destination. Sounds perfect, right?
Eastbourne in the Autumn
Autumn is a great season for a weekend by the coast. The summer rush has finished and the weather is still pleasant for a stroll on the promenade. The town features a historic pier with a Victorian tea rooms as well as a several theatres and its famous carpet gardens.
Locally, it features attractions such as Beachy Headand the South Downs National Park, which are popular with those who enjoy walking and fresh air.
Located on the East Sussex coast, just 1.5 hours from London by train, or 2 hours by car, Eastbourne is easily accessible from the capital, as well as those travelling from Gatwick, Kent, West Sussex and Surrey.
Where to stay
The pleasure of a staycation extends beyond not having to travel too far from home. The location should be familiar, yet luxurious. As the only 5 star luxury hotel to be found on the British coastline, The Grand Hotel Eastbourne was an obvious choice.
The Grand Hotel Eastbourne
As soon as we pulled into the drive we received a warm welcome from the concierge who parked our car and took care of our luggage. We were impressed with the grandeur of the lobby and the original Victorian styling that has been lovingly restored by the hotel owners. The hotel features all of the modern comforts you would expect, whilst still retaining its old world charm.
The hotel itself has a rich history. Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015, it has a long musical association and was the venue in which Debussy composed his symphony 'La Mer' in 1905. You can recreate history by staying in suite 200 where the symphony was completed.
The Grand's musical history is still celebrated today with the Palm Court Strings playing every last Sunday of the month during Autumn and Saturday Jazz Barbecues being held on the Chatsworth Terrace from July 2nd - September 3rd.
After being checked in by the friendly staff we were escorted to our suite by the concierge. We were impressed by the spaciousness and attention to detail throughout the hotel, and this is also true of our room.
Featuring an entrance hall, bathroom, spacious sitting room, bedroom and personal balcony, in homely greens and yellows, we immediately felt at home in our surrounds. The large floor to ceiling windows, all the more impressive for the Victorian height, gave us unspoiled views of the promenade and beach.
We enjoyed a cool drink in the sitting room before getting ready for dinner at the Mirabelle Restaurant, which has won awards both locally and abroad for its fine dining experience.
The Grand Hotel have two restaurant choices. The Garden Restaurant, which takes its influence from traditional English cuisine and the Mirabelle restaurant, a two AA Rosette fine dining experience. We chose to dine at the Mirabelle. The menu at the Mirabelle changes on a weekly basis. You can choose from a degustation menu with paired wines, or from a set three course meal. We were welcomed with glasses of champagne and a selection of delicious canapés. We chose the 3 course option and were delighted with the presentation, taste and service. Our favourites were the roast suckling pig and the chicken breast wrapped in parma ham. Post dessert we enjoyed a selection of petit fours and peppermint tea to finish our meal.
A post dinner stroll
The beach and promenade are just a short walk from The Grand Hotel, so we decided to take a post dinner stroll. The weather was still warm, so we were very comfortable in short sleeves. The promenade is well lit, so is perfect for an evening walk.
The hotel features music and dancing in the Chatsworth Terrace on a Saturday evening, however we chose to retire to our room for the evening. We finished the evening with an espresso from our in room machine and a nice soak in the full sized tub.
In addition to the many sitting rooms, choice of restaurants and cocktail lounge, the hotel also features a health spa. Guests can enjoy complimentary use of the heated outdoor pool as well as an indoor pool, spa, and saunas. The hotel has a full gym and offers a large selection of spa treatments for an additional cost.
Whilst we visited for a weekend break, the hotel also caters for weddings, conferences and family stays. They pride themselves on their Family packages that allow children to feel included in experience, even down to having a small stair case at reception so they can check themselves in!
The size and the clever planning of the hotel staff mean that a range of stays can be accommodated for without impinging on others experiences. During our stay the hotel was hosting families, private dinners, a vow renewal and a wedding party. Despite being so busy, the hotel was still peaceful, calm and immaculately kept.
The round up
Eastbourne and The Grand Hotel is the perfect place for a local weekend getaway. Eastbourne boasts plenty of attractions and the Autumn weather is still mild enough to enjoy them.
The Grand Hotel is simply stunning. We were made to feel very welcome and after a great night's sleep on our king sized bed and a delicious breakfast, we were sad to check out. You of course can choose to have your bags stowed and enjoy the hotels facilities for the remainder of the day.
Whether you are a couple or a family, you will be well looked after at The Grand Hotel.
If you would like to recreate our weekend staycation click here.
Whilst we were guests of The Grand Hotel, all opinions and views are my own.
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