The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

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The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

Hotel - King Edwaroad's Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EQ - 4 Stars - 152 Rooms

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Review of "The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne"

published 22/08/2015 | RICHADA
Member since : 20/06/2004
Reviews : 371
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About me :
If my reviews entertain, amuse or brighten your moment in any way, then my task is done! ++ Sadly - Nobody has asked me for £100 yet, I'm not in the habit of giving away money! ++
Pro Ambiance. Earl Grey Tea. Experience. Quality. Service. Staff. Surroundings.
Cons Cost.
Value for Money


The purpose for being here, and it's certainly a visual feast

The purpose for being here, and it's certainly a visual feast


With profuse apologies to anyone reading this wanting to know about the hotel in general, my current Ciao earnings only stretched to experiencing afternoon tea at The Grand.

The Grand is Eastbourne’s only five star hotel and, as such, has all of the facilities that you would expect of such an establishment. A double room will cost you from around £200 per night, but that will include free use of the car park, Wellness, spa and both indoor and outdoor swimming pool facilities. The Grand has two restaurants, one of which boasts two rosettes.

RICHADA are however still in pursuit of the best afternoon English Tea in the country and, in terms of reputation, the Eastbourne Grand sits up there with such luminaries as the Ritz in London and Betty’s in Harrogate.


......This time we are back in Sussex, just 25 miles east, along the coast, from our home city of Brighton, in Eastbourne, centre of what many regard as the English Costa Geriatrica. Eastbourne is actually a lovely, mainly Victorian, typically English sea side holiday town, rather less lively than Brighton, but definitely having a genteel charm of its own.

Eastbourne Sea Front is packed with hotels of varying quality, but, unarguably, prime of them is The Grand, standing a little aloof in its own grounds in a very slightly raised position to the west of the main hotel strip.

Anyone in Eastbourne will be able to point you in the direction of The Grand, but, being a very substantial, white, Victorian, building it is not hard to find, heading to or from the town centre on the B2103, Beachy Head road.


When you eventually discover the cost of this experience, I hope that you will not think ill of me saying that we were in Eastbourne and did this somewhat on impulse.

Last weekend (15 & 16th August) was the annual Eastbourne Airborne event; we attended to see two specific flying demonstrations – the Vulcan Bomber, which will not fly again after the end of the current display season, and the ever-exciting Red Arrows.

Between these two displays there was nearly a two hour window, ideally suitable for afternoon tea.

My wife had been recommended to try tea at The Cavendish opposite the Band Stand by a client who lives in Eastbourne. Due to the enormous crowds on this area of the front and The Cavendish having an all-day Airborne menu, their usual tea was not available, she walked into, and booked, tea at The Grand instead.


The location has already been covered in the “Where in the World” section, save to say here that, unlike the other Eastbourne sea front hotels, The Grand is located in its own grounds set back from the main road, this also provides it with a spacious car park which offers level access to the ground floor of the hotel.

Eastbourne is the kind of town that attracts the rather more mature, well healed seaside visitor and The Grand is ideally set up to accommodate them. Level access from the car park enables even wheel chair users easy use of the facilities here, the downstairs doorways and corridors being extremely wide.


The front door was wide open on this particular Saturday afternoon, but there are two doorman on duty anyway. Outside it was a rather hot and humid day, noisy too with both the crowds and air show taking place. You enter the very spacious lobby and reception area of The Grand and it is like walking into a cool oasis of calm.

This truly is the grandest of Victorian architecture, the manicured gardens and white facade of the hotel, which, being completely honest looks ripe for a refresh, prepare you completely for the restrained Victorian decadence within.

Bearing in mind the age and size of The Grand, its interior has a welcoming, luxurious feel, but not in any way that would put off those less than comfortable in smart clothes.

The Grand Hall in which tea is served is situated at the rear of the hotel, directly behind the restaurants and reception area. At around three storeys in height, with stained glass windows on two sides at a high level, this room provides a unique ambiance in which to indulge in that most British of pastimes, afternoon tea.

We were expecting formal tables and chairs, starched white table cloths etc, here you have a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, we were seated on a two seater settee with tea served on a low coffee table, yes, the napkins were starched white cotton, as was the table cloth. Other tables were more conventional dining tables, the chairs around them were winged arm chairs, the whole ambiance is one of discreetly smart informality.

As one would expect in a five star hotel, the toilet facilities, located on the ground floor were immaculate.

THE MENU: 12 / 15

We have enough experience of afternoon tea in various places in order to know now pretty much what to expect. Here at The Grand I was struck by the simplicity of choice – again, particularly bearing in mind the cost. In a sense there is only one fixed menu for adults, plus the option of a glass of champagne with it, or a children’s menu, which is only served with at least one accompanying adult.

If you are a vegetarian, I would suggest contacting The Grand first as, unusually, I saw no reference to a vegetarian option being available.

Champagne not being our afternoon tipple, we plumped for the standard afternoon tea, which followed the lines of this great British tradition everywhere. Bringing the word menu back into play here for a moment, there are a bewildering number of teas, coffees and soft drinks to choose from to accompany the meal – we both plumped for Earl Grey tea with lemon.

THE PRICES: 11 / 15

The standard tea is £25.50 per person at The Eastbourne Grand. Should you wish to indulge in a glass of Canard Duchene Leonie NV champagne to go with it you will pay £33.50 per head, looking at our fellow diners, about 50% who take tea here, actually take up this option.

The children’s tea is £13.50.

Whilst, irrespective of the quality of the food or service, this is what I would expect to pay in a really good hotel, it has to be said that far better value may be found elsewhere, especially in a traditional seaside town like Eastbourne which is well endowed with tea rooms.

THE SERVICE: 15 / 15

I could not help but think that this is partly what you are paying for. A great hotel is made or broken by its staff; here at The Grand the service was superb and formed the very hub of the experience itself.

The smartly uniformed staff are very well trained, immaculately turned out and are discreetly friendly without being fawning or over-bearing. Whilst the surroundings are undeniably smart, there is no reason for anyone to feel ill at ease dining here as the staff are so very welcoming. Our waiter was even happy to take a couple of photographs of us about to enjoy our tea!

Whilst the menu is set, our waiter did ask if we had any allergies, presumably they are able to swap certain ingredients to suit, this may also apply to vegetarian options.

THE DRINKS: 10 / 10

We only had the opportunity to sample the Earl Grey tea, but I can tell you that in all honesty it was the best Earl Grey tea that I have ever tasted! Served traditionally in a tea pot with a separate pot of water and a tea strainer; the sliced lemon was provided in a separate dish.

The only complaint here, if it is one, is that the tea and water are served in silver tea pots, the handles of which are too hot to handle when first put on the table – here at The Grand they know this, and provide a paper napkin with which to protect your hand, the presence of which, being me, you only discover after burning your finger the first time!

THE FOOD: 13 / 15

The teas are served on a traditional three tiered cake stand, one per couple, which is less than ideal as the cakes provided were all different. Personally I prefer Bettys approach here, smaller cake stands, but one per person – saves fighting over the jam, butter and cream too, which here are served on a separate dish, again shared between each couple dining.

Two of each flavour of sandwich is provided, which is just as well as they are tiny triangles, too small to cut in half and share. All of them proved moist and interestingly each sandwich consisted of a different type of bread. The sandwiches are served with a fresh, crisp salad garnish and dressing.

Egg mayonnaise is a pet hate of mine, but served here with tomato in soft grain white bread it was more than palatable. Cream cheese with cucumber in malted brown bread proved a touch insipid, as did the Coronation Chicken in soft grain white bread, which was nowhere near as good as the one served at the Tea Cosy in Brighton. Sandwich highlight at The Grand was undoubtedly the oak smoked Scottish salmon in multigrain bread.

We are never sure if there is a “proper” order to eating high tea, even Bettys couldn’t enlighten me there, so, by our own habit, we move on next to the scones course. Very obviously freshly baked, still warm, they had a lovely irregularly shaped homespun appearance, simple as they were, they were excellent. Served with butter, strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream, the only criticism here being that there was not really enough jam for the four scones provided.

This is the first tea that we have been served with fresh strawberry quarters adorning the jam – a very attractive touch I thought that.

The next decision is harder; do we tuck into the beautiful little cakes and pastries or eat the Eaton Mess from the tall glasses in the middle? We decide on the cakes.

With the four cakes all being different and us both wanting to try each one, we ended up cutting them in half and having a bite of each. An interesting and superbly decorated array they were too, from spongy chocolate delights to a delightful fresh fruit tart they were fresh and, of their type, not nearly as sweet and sickly as you would expect such confections to be. For someone like me, not having a sweet tooth, they were ideal.

Rounding off with the Eaton Mess was a great call, served in a tall, narrow glass, creamy, but with a tart raspberry flavour to it and topped off with a bite sized meringue; this concluded our tea in fine style.


This is undeniably an extravagant treat and at this price you have every right to expect an experience well out of the ordinary. The Grand in Eastbourne provides it.

However, looking at the £18.50 charged by Bettys in Harrogate or York, for a very similar experience, but with food that, we both agreed, has the edge on this, I have to say that, unless Bettys proves, after all, to be it, RICHADA, even after The Grand experience, are still looking for the best afternoon tea in the country!

Putting that score in perspective, here is a comparison with other eating places rated on the same scoring system:

Bettys – Harrogate – 94% (Tea and Lunch)
Osso Buco – Weybridge – 94% (Dinner)

The Grand – Eastbourne – 90% (Tea Only)

Donatello – Brighton – 88% (Lunch and Dinner)
The Tea Cosy – Brighton – 86% (Tea Only)
Breakfast Club – Brighton – 70% (Breakfast)
Stanmer House – Brighton – 44% (Lunch Only)


Tea is served daily between 2.45pm and 6.30pm.


The Grand Hotel
King Edwards Parade,
East Sussex,
BN21 4EQ

Tel: 01323 412345

The Grand is one of four hotels in the Elite Hotels group, if this is the kind of experience that you would like to gift to someone, Gift Certificates may be purchased from any of the hotels: Ashdown Park, Luton Hoo, Tylney Hall and The Grand, or online at

(c) RICHADA Ciao 22.8.15

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Comments on this review

  • Classicc published 28/08/2016
    Brilliant review!
  • ilusvm published 24/08/2016
    Fabulous review. I got married at the Grand 2 weeks ago! (might be time to dust off the cobwebs and write a new review soon!) x
  • supercityfan published 27/12/2015
    Excellent review
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Product Information : The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

Manufacturer's product description

Hotel - King Edwaroad's Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EQ - 4 Stars - 152 Rooms

Product Details

Rating: 4 Stars

Rooms: 152

Type: Hotel

Address: King Edwaroad's Parade, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EQ

City: Eastbourne

Country: England

County: East Sussex


Listed on Ciao since: 05/12/2006