Welcoming younger guests
This magnificent Victorian building, standing majestically on Eastbournes seafront, even impressed my three year old, Jasmine, as we pulled up to the main entrance and into our reserved parking space.
She was wide-eyed and totally in awe by the time wed checked in and wandered round the hotel and its beautiful grounds.
The Grand Hotel has put a lot of thought into welcoming its younger guests. At their own dedicated check-in, complete with special steps so they could reach the counter, Jasmine and her five-year old sister, Lauren, filled in their own checking-in forms and were handed their Junior Crew Rucksacks (containing cap, sunglasses, camera and inflatable ring) cue much excitement!
For £10 per child per day, membership of The Grands Junior Crew gives children various treats and amenities depending on age group.
For babies and children up to two years there are bottle warmers, sterilisers, cots and high chairs available.
Older children aged 3-12 can request DVD players and films, board games and get their own child-sized fluffy robes, complete with hotel logo. At bedtime they can even call room service to bring up cookies and warm milk.
There are indoor and outdoor pools and an OFSTED approved crèche, plus special activities for holidays we all participated in The Grands Sports Day, which was tremendous fun!
Lauren and Jasmine made full use of their two-hour slot in the crèche, with copious amounts of colouring, playing games and craft activities such as decorating pebbles from the beach and decorating a pencil case.
With baby Esmé asleep, I decided to take the opportunity to stroll down the lovely long promenade in the afternoon sunshine.
After all that busy craft activity little tummies had started to rumble, so it was time to sample the Children's High Tea.
This was also included in the daily cost and consisted of nutritious burgers, pasta and fruit.
For rumbling adult tummies, (once the children are tucked up in bed with a babysitter in place arranged by the hotel at an additional cost), there are two tempting restaurants to choose from.
The Garden restaurant serves traditional English cuisine and was the perfect setting for my husband and I to relish some child-free time together.
The Grand Hotel gets a huge thumbs up from us.
We could not fault the fantastic service we received, and the child-friendly amenities meant the whole family enjoyed a first-class seaside holiday, completely stress-free.
Eastbourne and the surrounding area offers an excellent variety of attractions to suit children of all ages including Treasure Island (adventure park), Fort Fun Theme Park, Rocky's Adventure (soft play), American Adventure Golf (crazy golf) and the Dotto Trains that trundle up and down the sea front.
Drusillas Park, approximately 6 miles from Eastbourne just off the A27, is one of the best small zoos we have ever been to.
As well as wandering past fascinating and entertaining creatures (giggling at a monkey picking its nose), Lauren and Jasmine let off steam sliding, swinging and bouncing their way round the Go Bananas and Go Wild! play areas.
A ride on Thomas The Tank Engine followed by an ice cream finished the day off nicely. A really fantastic day out!
A weekend bed and breakfast stay at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne is from £190 per room per night in a 'deluxe' double, plus children on Junior Crew program (babies free; 3-12 years - £10; 13-16 years £12.50) per child each night sharing their parents' room.
Bookings can be made through the website www.elitehotels.co.uk
or by calling reservations on 01323 412345.
Travel in comfort
We drove to Eastbourne in 4x4 Kia Sportage, which suited our family of five. There was plenty of room in the back for our 3 small girls and our luggage plus pushchair fitted snuggly in the boot. It has great safety and security features, plus low running costs, all of which are perfect for family motoring.
I shared the driving and being a small woman found the height adjustment seat and steering wheel a fantastic advantage, it completely transformed my driving experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive.
Prices start from - £13,995, for more information visit www.kia.co.uk