Thursday 1 February 2018

The Highs and Lows of my Spa Day at The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

Earlier this week I enjoyed a leisure day at The Grand Hotel Spa in Eastbourne with my friend Annie. I had some spa vouchers to use and it seemed a good idea to gift Annie half as her Christmas present. I choose the Grand Hotel as it isn't far from our homes and as it is a 5 star hotel I expected the spa to be pretty luxurious and it certainly looked good in the photos on the website.

We arrived to the hotel about half an hour before I had booked our treatment times and our first struggle was finding some free parking. The streets round the hotel generally have free on-street parking but it was super busy. You can park in the grounds of the Grand but that's £25 a day and you pay to park on the seafront as well. Luckily just as I was about to give in and pay we found a space close by and headed in to the hotel. We were greeted by a lovely jolly doorman who gave us instructions were to go. Let the fun commence!

Great hall at the grand hotel eastbourne

The first impression of the hotel is fabulous, it's not called the Grand for nothing but as we headed in the lift to the basement the view gets consistently more grotty. Old carpet, plain cream walls and not a touch of glamour in the corridors or reception areas. Thankfully the staff were in total contrast to the look of the area and they were great. Really friendly, super professional and nothing was too much trouble for them.

We were given robes, a big towel and some flip flops each and shown through to the changing room. Again these were pretty disappointing, only two changing cubicles, two small showers, one toilet and very little bench seating for getting changed on if you didn't have cubicle. For how busy the spa was whilst we were there I don't think the changing facilities are adequate to be honest.

Quite quickly I gave my robe back as it wouldn't have covered me up as a larger lady (I'm a size 22) and I wasn't offered a larger one sadly. Also I would have preferred the traditional towelling slip on slippers that I've always been given or loaned on spa days before, rather than rubber beach flip-flops, which I never wear and find super uncomfortable.

ladies changing room at grand hotel eastbourne spa

First up we both went for our included treatment. I'd opted for a back, shoulder and neck massage (25 minutes) and Annie had a Turkish salt rub (30 minutes). We both came out about half hour later thoroughly relaxed and having enjoyed our treatments. The therapists at The Grand Hotel Spa do appear to be excellent, very calming, skilled and professional. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their treatments. 

I thought I'd have a lie down and relax by the pool as I was feeling quite spacey from my fabulous massage. Most of the beds had towels on them reserving them for people in the pool, Jacuzzi or steam room but there was two closest the door and the water matching that I thought would suit my friend and I. Sadly within a few minutes of lying there I knew I couldn't stay as the buzzing from the water cooler was awful. Very loud and completely counter to my aim of relaxation. I mentioned it to the receptionist and she agreed the buzz was very loud but apologetically said she couldn't do anything about it.

relaxation lounge at grand hotel eastbourne spa

So I went to sit in the lounge area, which looks as if it is a lounge from a 1980’s family home with a teak TV cabinet and some furniture past it's best. Annie came to join me and we decided to have a coffee and relax before we headed in to the gym for a workout. Can you believe it took 40 minutes for us to get our pot of tea and soya latte? I thought this was outrageous and when Annie chased them up after about 25 minutes she was told that lots of orders had come in at once. There was no-one else in the lounge and we saw one tray go in to the swimming pool relaxation area. This really was not the kind of service I expect from a five star establishment. When our drinks came they were accompanied by a very nice homemade shortbread and we enjoyed them but I was quite frustrated they took so long.

tea and biscuit

Our workout in the gym area was great. They have modern LifeFitness cardio equipment and Pulse resistance machines as well as free weights and other equipment. We had a great session and everything we needed was provided, although there is no member of staff on hand, so if you're not familiar with the equipment you are on your own somewhat to figure it out.

After a busy hour we got changed into our swimsuits and there were plenty of large clean towels available if we wanted more. The pool was a great temperature and very nice to swim in, although it is far smaller in real life than it looks in the brochure photos. As well as the pool we really enjoyed the Jacuzzi and steam room but I gave the sauna a miss as I find it takes my breath away. After our swim we were able to get a couple of beds down by the Jacuzzi and this meant we could relax for half an hour without the noise of the water cooler. It was thoroughly lovely.

the pool relaxation area at the grand hotel eastbourne

After a good shower and changing back into our day clothes we were taken up to the main hotel for a full afternoon tea which was part of our leisure day package. We were given a table in the front lounge, right by the windows and it was lovely and airy. I'm not sure why the table wasn't already set like many other pre-booked ones but it didn't make any odds to us really.

Annie and I both choose English breakfast tea and the one they serve is Great Rift, which was nice enough. We were offered more once our first pot had gone, which was good. Annie chose to have a glass of Prosecco with her tea and that cost £10. I found the afternoon tea itself very enjoyable. We had a round of sandwiches each, four quarters - one cucumber and cream cheese, one egg mayo, one smoked salmon and one coronation chicken.

There was two plain mini scones each with butter, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream. Personally I'd have liked one fruit scone and a bit more butter and cream but what we had was OK. We also received a mini savoury quiche each and these were a super nice surprise as they were exquisite.

The final layer was four mixed pastries, all made in-house by the hotels Patissiers. We had an egg custard, chocolate and raspberry tart, fruit and cream tart and mini carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Each was tasty but in honesty there were none that stood out for me, I am extraordinarily fussy with my cakes and pastries though.

Afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne

In all Annie and I had a lovely day together. We both went home feeling relaxed and quite sleepy after our workout, treatment, swim and afternoon tea. The leisure day costs £69 per person including welcome drink, loan of towels, robe and flip-flops, one treatment and the full afternoon tea. You can of course use the gym, pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna for the whole day too. They offer mini pamper packages from £55 upwards.

I would probably try another local spa next time as I do feel the spa at the Grand Hotel isn't five star. It is quite tired in decor, small in size and claustrophobic in the swim/ relaxation area. It seems a shame that they haven't taken the same care in the spa as they have with the hotels public areas.

Why not pin this post for later?

A review of the Leisure Day package at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne Spa

I'm linking this post up with Becky over at Lakes Single Mum for Reasons to be Cheerful.

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