(Goddess Bec was sent off with the family to Butlins Shoreline Hotel in Bognor Regis – here’s what she had to say…)
I have to admit to giggling a bit when LittleStuff asked if I’d like to review a two night stay at Butlins.
Let me explain.
Growing up, in my teenage years I *may* have got tipsy on alcopops and *may* have climbed up a tree and over a fence and *may* have gone to the Butlins disco whilst dodging many a security guard. On a weekly basis.
I say may have. Not saying it definitely happened.
Anyway my first thought was will they even let me back in? I mean imagine the embarrassment of being carted out by security aged 28 and one quarter, in front of my children?
And my second thought was sod it, we haven’t had a holiday since having children and the kids will love it.
And they did.
They really really did.
As soon as we got there we booked onto a character breakfast for the next morning where the likes of Bob the Builder, Billy the Butlins Bear and Daisy the cow come and greet the children while you are stuffing your faces with breakfast.
But before I go into the character breakfast I just want to talk a little bit about the staff and checking into the hotel.
So check in. The staff could not have been more helpful, thorough or courteous. This was proper customer service. Which I’m going to be a complete snob and admit it surprised me. I imagined Hi-De-Hi happy campers, cheap and cheerful. But was so surprised. Really attentive staff and the hotel (The Shoreline) was fantastic. It was impeccably clean. And the rooms were fabulous. Large and spacious. Modern and immaculate. Incredibly comfortable beds, a television at the foot of our bed, with a DVD player and the same in the kids bedroom. Which was fab as Monty snuggled down to a DVD while I unpacked our cases. We also had a fridge in the room which meant we could buy milk for the kids bedtimes and keep water and snacks etc cool during our stay. Stuff like this makes a big difference to parents. Sad as it is, it does!
Monty loved the novelty of sleeping in a bunk bed and Blossoms travel cot was pristine. We took our own bedding for her but we didn’t use it as the bedding supplied was spotless.
As you meander around the hotel disco music is played through speakers in the hallways. Some may have curled their lip at that. Not me! I strutted down every hall way, often forgetting that there were other people staying there. So I dread to think how many strangers witnessed my best disco moves but who cares? I was on holiday! (And remember- it’s been a LONG time!)
I have to admit to having fairly low expectations of the food. We had breakfast and dinner included in our stay and we had these in a buffet style restaurant at the hotel. It was so much better than I had expected. I honestly thought I would be eating chips with everything but the choice and quality of food was brilliant. Not greasy, convenience style food but carvery roasts, curries, noodle dishes, salads, plenty of fresh fruit and veg to choose from. And great puddings. I became a bit childlike about the puddings oh and the cookies! They were freshly baked and gooey! Yuuu-um!
So, the character breakfast. Great idea but I have to admit that most children found the dressed up people a bit overwhelming and what started out as a good idea ended up being a dining room full of wailing kids. I came out in a stress rash.We went for breakfast at a different time the next day to avoid the characters and the wailing. And the rash.I scoffed a well cooked English breakfast both days, so did my husband and the kids feasted on cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, muffins and pastries.
Once in the actual resort itself Monty enjoyed all the rides and our pockets were haemorrhaged of change as we were surrounded by machines that took our pound coins and gave our three year old a sixty second ride. Sigh. My one complaint (other than having my pockets robbed of change) was that small people had to go on rides by themselves which meant that we couldn’t take Blossom on much as at one year old she needed to go on our laps. But she did have a nice soft play area to play in which was staffed, well equipped, clean and also calm! Yes really! In the main fairground outside there was a bit more we could take her on and she enjoyed the merry go round.
One thing the children really got the most out of was the entertainment crew. There was constantly a show on at the skyline complex and Blossom and Monty watched in awe. He was really chuffed he got to see the Thomas the Tank Engine show. And both of them adored watching the evening entertainment which was a Billy the Butlins Bear show. This included a dancing cow singing the Beyonce song but with the words ‘If you like me then you’d better put a ring through it’ complete with fosse dance moves. Surreal.
The real icing on the cake for us was after the show when we went back to the hotel. Billy the Butlins Bear came to the hotel foyer dressed in his pyjamas and dressing gown and the children were able to put him to bed in his bedroom. I kid you not the detail in this bears bedroom was fantastic and I cracked up at the pictures on the wall of Billy with Busted, and Billy with Prince Charles. Hee Hee!
When I grow up I quite fancy being on the entertainment crew at Butlins. The wigs, the high kicks, the headset mike like what that there Kylie Minog-uemousee uses? Where do I sign up?
One thing I wasn’t expecting to do at Butlins was use the spa. I got my eyebrows done while I was there and it was bliss. Half an hour child free while someone ripped off the top hairy part of my eyelids. Well the brow actually and it bloody hurt but did I mention the child free part? Yes. Ahhhh.
In summary, Butlins, it is what it is. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways. And it showed me I have the elbow skillage to win a fight in an all you can eat pizza place. Actually I knew that already. What it really showed me was that my children really did enjoy having a holiday. So may be in future we’ll have to sacrifice elsewhere to make sure they get one. I vote the husband has to forgo new underwear and we just eat a lot more beans. Parp.