I sent my friend whose children are slightly older than us to review the Butlins Wave Hotel (courtesy of Butlins). This is what they thought. The Wave Hotel is the one to stay at in the Bognor Regis Resort if you have kids from about 7 upwards at it even has a games room!
As a family of four who had never been on a Butlins holiday we were all excited to finish our half term holiday off with a break, we were slightly sceptic and not sure if a Butlins break was going to be for us. We have two girls age 8 and 12 from St Albans in Hertfordshire. We checked out the Butlins web site prior to setting off to see what kind of activities we were going to do. I also downloaded the IPhone App which allowed us to see what kind of actives shows, restaurants and provided as handy map while we were there.
First impression of the hotel was that it looked very modern with well landscaped gardens and surrounding not what we had expected at all, having seen other holiday parks in other parts of the country. The Wave Hotel & Apartments at Bognor Regis did not disappoint, we parked right outside and entered the building it had a cool reception area with Arne Jakobsen inspired egg chairs and the girls went straight in to the games den next to the check-in desk, making the check-in wait much easier. We were met with a Butlins representative who was very friendly and we had a laugh with him while waiting to check in.
The first impression of the hotel room was absolutely brilliant, as the girls said “best room ever” they had their own room with a bunk bed all themed on a nautical theme they had their individual TV’s and DVD players at the end of the bed with headphone sockets, so no more arguments about what they were going to watch! (The girls don’t have TV’s in their bedrooms so having this on a holiday was a dream for them)
The grownups part of the room was clean and modern with a sea view and balcony. The room had a small fridge where we kept a few items in, which came in very handy and tea and coffee facilities. The cleaning service included in the stay missed out a few things such as towels not replaced and we had to phone for extra toilet paper as nothing was left after the room had been serviced. But when we notified reception it was put right quickly.
All the outdoor adventure activities looked to be fairly new and well looked after, unfortunately the indoor Skyline Pavilion looks a bit old and worn-out inside but it did still provide the typical seaside attractions out of any bad weather. Our 8 year old had a go at the indoor play area and found it challenging and fun as there were many places to explore, it was supervised by the entrance of the play area and Butlins staff was also inside the play area.
As soon as we arrived we booked Archery for us all, the girls had tried it before but not my husband and I, we also booked the adventure pack for the girls that included climbing, zip wire and high ropes for the girls to do over the weekend.
There were plenty of time slots to choose from and we were told if the weather was unsuitable for the activity they could be re arranged for us. As it turned out it was too windy and they had to close the Zip wire when we had our slot, but the Butlin’s staff just told us to come back later that day and they would fit us in. The girls really enjoyed all the activities with both of them reaching the top of the climbing wall. The archery was a good activity for us all to join in and the instructors made it fun for us all
Our catering was the half board at the Deck Restaurant, also called Premium dining. We had wanted to go to the Turner restaurant before we arrived but to be honest once we had been to the Deck Restaurant we really did not need it.
The Deck Restaurant is decorated in a modern style with a mix of chairs and tables and the lamp shades change colour giving it an upmarket modern restaurant feel. The food is served buffet style and it does get busy but never so bad that you feel you can’t get to the food you fancy and there is plenty of everything.
The children have their own little counter with school dinner trays for them to help themselves . Our 8 year old daughter loved helping herself to exactly the food she wanted although this did lead to some interesting mixes! The children’s section was typical children’s food but of a good quality, i.e. the chicken nuggets were made of chicken breast.
My husband enjoyed having a roast which was different every night, and I liked the pasta and the grill stations which served dishes like vegetables skewers and chicken grilled, there was plenty to choose from. My favourite was the hot pudding section, traditional British sponges with custard or help yourself to soft ice from the machines.
At the Deck Restaurant you can arrive whenever you want to, which is great until they have timed event such as the fireworks display which then meant everyone went to the restaurant at the same time and we ended up queuing outside at 5pm for ½. We thought maybe time slots or the scheduling of any special events not to happen during the dining hours would help this problem, which is operated at all-inclusive holidays.
The entertainment was varied with a full programme for the kids and adults in the evening. We took the opportunity to experience events we probably would not have gone to normally. One of those was the wrestling, our 8 year old said “have they practised this before?” I then had to explain the whole premise that it was more a show than a sport. We also all went to the evening Street life show which was more up the girls street, it was very well put together and we all enjoyed our self while having a drink in the Centre Stage.
Other facilities we made use of was the Splash Waterworld, the fun fair rides and hire of peddle go-carts a walk on the beach while we were there, the Splash Waterworld is just great for big children and small, it was clean and well-staffed with life guards and on the 2 occasions we went not too busy.
The staff at Butlins you cannot fault, they all seemed very happy from the instructors at the Adventure activities to, the Spar shop staff all very keen to help and always with a smile on their face.
All in all our stay in Butlins was a real treat for the family with plenty to keep us occupied and we would definately recommend Butlins to our friends for a fun great value holiday.