Monday 3 June 2013

Review: Wave Hotel at Butlins, Bognor Regis

You might have seen me mention that I'm a Butlins Ambassador this year and this means they asked me to go and try out one of their resorts and report back honestly to them and you, my readers about what I found.

We stayed at the Wave Hotel in the Bognor Regis resort. This hotel opened last July and is thus still very new looking. The outside is majestic and looks grand, as we approached my kids said 'wow, it is so posh Mum' and they are right, it is pretty posh - very modern looking but nice and luxurious too.

Car Parking
Our break was Monday to Friday on the May bank holiday/ half term week so I have to confess it was absolutely packed here. We arrived at the hotel at 3pm in time for the stated check-in time and I was incredibly lucky to find a parking space in the private hotel parking. It is a great idea to have separate parking and an even better idea to have a completely separate road entrance, this meant we could access the hotel easily but there was not really enough spaces for a busy week like this. There is an overflow car park which we could have driven to and they would have bought us back in a golf buggy, so contingency's have been thought about too.

Check In
As we arrived at the hotel at peak check-in time on a bank holiday it was heaving and my heart sank.  Seeing the queue I thought I would be there an age but I was really pleasantly surprised.  The staff were efficient and we were in our rooms within 15 minutes of entering the hotel, I received a good explanation of everything I needed to know about the hotel and the resort. There were 4 good sized lifts to take us to the 7 floors in the hotel and 2 of the lifts are big enough to fit luggage trollies in, which is very good.

Our Rooms
We had 2 interconnecting Dolphin rooms within the hotel. Each room sleeps 4 people. There is the main room with either double or twin beds and then a children's pod with bunk beds and a good sized bathroom. The Dolphin rooms are sea facing and have a balcony, which was super when the sun was shining. All the rooms are the same the price difference just comes with whether there is a balcony and if it is an inland or sea view. There are also some apartments in the Wave too but I did not get to see those.

Have a look at this video clip and it will give you a good idea of the space and decor in the rooms -

What I liked -
  • Modern decor and good space in the main bedroom and bathroom
  • Space under the beds for suitcase storage
  • Empty mini fridge in the room
  • TV and DVD player by each of the beds
  • Super comfortable duvets
  • Hairdryer
  • Nice large towels provided 
  • Good range of lighting options
  • Light up shower head (I'm so easily pleased)
  • Air conditioning in the room
  • free wi-fi
  • Pod style bunk beds, the kids adored these and the styling in the kids room is great too
  • Toiletries provided
What was not so great -
  • Smaller than average dressing table area and bedside units
  • Lack of hanging space in the kids bedroom
  • Metal ladder on the bunk beds, it is not that comfortable under foot
  • It can get really hot in the kids room

Games Port
Off the main reception is the Games Port which is open 10am - 9pm each day, at first I wondered if it really was a bit much to be giving kids computer games on holiday but then I realised it is just like home and as the parent I decide how much they use them. There is a great selection of games available. I liked playing the reaction time one to see if I could beat my own score. The girls were mesmerised by the Wii dance which is cool as that gets them exercising and JJ just liked all of it but especially anything that got him chatting to other friends.

Hotel bar and lobby
The public areas are really nice looking and the big chairs super comfy, they are starting to show signs of wear though within a year of the hotel being open. Prices are similar to elsewhere on resort and we paid about £7.00 for two cappuccinos and a slice of flapjack, so it is not cheap but it was all very good and tasty. There is free wi-fi everywhere in the hotel, so it was nice to just sit and relax for half an hour with a glass of wine while the kids had a play in the games port.

The little extras
You can borrow DVD's, pre-programmed iPods and kindles from reception for the duration of your stay but if you want to, be quick as the kindles all went on the first day. It is a £10 deposit for a DVD (there are lots of good Disney ones to borrow) and £100 for an iPod or Kindle.

It was useful to be able to book for any of the bookable activities straight from our hotel reception and not to have to go to the information point in the Skyline. We found the receptionists to be knowledgeable and helpful when we had any queries or wanted to make bookings.

Deck Restaurant
The Deck is not actually in the hotel but it is where your dining will be if you go for the premium half-board option when you book at the Wave. It is just a short walk but be aware that you will get wet if it is raining! I was genuinely impressed with this restaurant, it is big enough to accommodate all the guests, even on a busy week. They have people to greet you at the door and take you to a free table. The restaurant is open 4pm - 7pm and we tried out most times - 4pm, 5.15pm, 6pm and yes at times it was busy but we were always seated within a few minutes.

Every day there is a carvery, stir fry, fresh cook pasta and grill, fish, vegetarian, kids and meat options. The variety is really very good and the food quality is actually good too. In the past when I have had the regular dining option at Butlins the food had been adequate but the premium dining option changes that to enjoyable I found.

Between the six of us we must have tried every option there was and we found the carvery roast meats especially good. I also really liked a fresh cooked carbonara I had and Mum enjoyed the stuffed jacket potatoes with salad. It was nice to see cheese and biscuits available most days instead of just hot or cold desserts as well.

Breakfast offered a full English, omelettes cooked to order, porridge, cereals, toast, croissant, club sandwiches cooked to order, fruit, yoghurt and as much fruit juice, water and hot drinks as you can manage.

We were really pleased with our stay at the Wave hotel and we would happily stay there again. In truth it is probably more than we could afford to pay but if you had the disposable income available to you then it makes a super upgrade from the normal Butlins accommodation, perhaps for a special occasion? Check out more details and pricing for the Wave on the main Butlins website. Its worth noting that there is nothing wrong with the normal Butlins accommodation though, take a peek of my review of the silver bungalows at Minehead, we were more than happy with those too.

Disclosure: I am a Butlins Ambassador this year and as such we were provided with a 4 night break for 6 people for the purpose of undertaking this review. I have not been told what to write and I remain honest.

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