Arriving at the Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne, on a warm, late spring day was perfect.
Perched high on a hill overlooking the sea, this magnificent Victorian building looked splendid in the bright sunshine – it really is a glorious spot. Situated further west than the main seaside attractions of Eastbourne, it enjoys a more peaceful location and l must say it is all the better for it. Eastbourne might not be a noisy town but there is nothing worse than being woken by slamming car doors, buses trundling around or pubs turning out in the evening.
The hotel’s name originates from the 19th Century, when it was a hydropathic establishment treating patients in lavish surroundings, including baths, recreation rooms and the like.
Nowadays, the visitors can still enjoy treatments in the Five Elements Spa and there is a hair salon on the ground floor adding to the relaxation of a beautiful hotel in a stunning setting. The entrance lobby and ground floor areas retain an old-fashioned charm with gothic columns merging with wood paneling while the newer conservatory area, where you can take afternoon tea, is bright and airy and overlooks the beautiful lawn at the rear of the hotel.
On arrival we were greeted by a very helpful and pleasant receptionist who dealt with our check in and offered a porter facility to help us with our luggage.
We were guided to a sea-view suite on the second floor that had large picture windows, allowing us to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the sea to the rear of the hotel and the cliffs to the west. You get the feeling that on a clear day you could see France.
The suite’s lounge area was spacious and well-furnished with two sofas. There was a large bowl of fruit on the coffee table and a small table well-stocked with plenty of tea and coffee-making supplies. Oh, and a copy of ACES magazine which was a lovely surprise.
The bedroom was large but felt even larger with the windows flooding sunshine into the room. I could get used to this. The bed was supremely comfortable and the bathroom was bright and airy.
After settling into our room, we wandered down to the Conservatory to enjoy a glass or two of bubbles and the General Manager, Jonathan Owen, came to welcome us and regaled us with the future plans for the hotel.
At the time of our visit, there was work in progress to build a gazebo to the right of the lawns which will accommodate private parties and will be licensed to hold weddings. I cannot imagine a more beautiful setting for anyone planning their special day.
For businesses, the Hydro has a good range of meeting rooms that can cater to between 10 to 120 guests and there is a private dining room for delegates. There is free, uncapped Wi-Fi and unrestricted parking. They have very competitive delegate packages, the details of which can be found on their website at www.hydrohotel.com/packages/
Dinner was served in the Crystal Restaurant – a very large elegant room with high ceilings and impressive chandeliers. The restaurant can cater for many guests (the hotel has 82 bedrooms, having recently completed a new third floor suite). The menu was extensive and varied and all the restaurant staff were very polite and helpful, particularly Rosie, the Restaurant Manager. Knowledge of the menu is a bug bear for me but the staff were very well briefed and could answer all my questions.
After considering the options, we both opted for the steak which was cooked to perfection. Having eaten rather well over the previous few days, one course was enough for us and we decided to enjoy some of the sea air.
We finished the evening by having a leisurely drink on the terrace as the sun went down and reflected on a very pleasant day at the Hydro.
We both slept like contented logs that night in the comfortable bed and enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the Crystal Restaurant the next morning. My full English was well cooked and very tasty and my husband’s poached eggs were cooked exactly as he asked.
We had to leave fairly early as we had to be somewhere by mid-morning, but our stay at the Hydro was marvelous and bravo to Jonathan and all his wonderful staff. We will be back.
We look forward to visiting again one day to witness the improvements which are in the pipeline.