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This is A Shorefine Hotel - And Butlins Isn't Bad Either!!
Butlins (Bognor Regis)
Member Name: Samm0
Butlins (Bognor Regis)
Date: 18/08/11, updated on 10/02/12 (275 review reads)
Advantages: Facilities, Cleanliness
Disadvantages: Sea View
Having read some unfavorable reports on Dooyoo and other sites, I must say I was somewhat apprehensive as to what we might expect.
Our holiday took place one week prior to the usual school Summer holidays. We paid £840 for a family room at The Shoreline Hotel, this included breakfast and evening meal.
Prices increased significantly for those holidaying any time after this up until the beginning of September.
We found Butlins without too much trouble, it was well sign posted. Upon arrival at the gate we were greeted by a friendly man who provided directions to our accommodation. A short drive past the fun fair and The Ocean Hotel and we were in our designated car park directly outside The Shoreline Hotel.
We took the minimum of luggage when checking in initially and returned for the rest when we had got our bearings. We discovered later that there were some porters available and also luggage trolleys similar to those used at British Rail. Never mind!!
Check in at the Shoreline was trouble free. We had been advised that our room would be available from 3pm, however we arrived at 1pm and gained entry straight away. We were given two key cards and told not to keen them close to mobile phones as they may become deactivated!
We were given a quick run down as to the booking process with regard to meals within the hotel and elsewhere on the site and also an information pack detailing activities throughout our stay.
For those waiting there is an 'adult' seating area in reception as well as one for the children - small tables and chairs, bright coloured sofas and a large flat screen tv playing the usual kiddies favourites.
There is also a selection of complimentary beverages which I thought was a nice touch.
The famous Billy Bear lives at The Shoreline Hotel, children can visit his bedroom for story time. Unfortunately, this only occurred once during our stay and mum, oops, neglected to book it until too late. It was fully booked. Must make a mental note for next year! To give myself some credit, I had expected story time in Billy Bears bedroom to take place around bedtime, not at 2.30pm!
Our room was on the second floor. The hotel has four floors serviced by two lifts.
I had tried desperately to book a patio room so that my son could come and go at his leisure but unfortunately there were none available so we settled for the Columbus Quarters with a Kingsize bed, children's den area with cross over bunks and a partial sea view.
Our initial reaction to our room was great. It was very modern, extremely clean, a lot of thought seemed to have gone into the design and layout. I would liken it to a more advanced Premier Inn (not one of the old fashioned ones!).
Upon entry, the children's den was directly to the left, my son called the crossover bed a cabin bed. This room had it's own storage area and a tv (not flat screen) and dvd player (dvd's can be borrowed from reception free of charge, there is however a £10 deposit. The movies are not that up to date so you may want to bring a selection with you as we did).
The bathroom separates the den from the main bedroom. It has a bath with overhead shower and toilet. Complimentary toiletries are provided as is a safety step for the little ones not tall enough to use the sink.
There was also a rubber duck on the edge of the bath, aaaah :-)
The shower was quite forceful and was always lovely and hot - towels are replenished daily although there were little reminders to consider the environmental implications, fair enough.
The main storage area is opposite the bathroom, it is quite plentiful, certainly enough space for a family of four. The wardrobe area also harbors a safe to which you set your own code and an ironing board and iron.
Tea and coffee facilities and a hairdryer are situated in the main bedroom.
The main area is partially carpeted and boasts a kingsize bed (very comfortable, quite firm mattress). The space directly underneath the full length windows is laminated - great for us as we had taken the baby's walker and he was able to move around with greater ease. There are also two leather armchairs and a small table.
We did clutter our area slightly, moving the travel cot provided (£10) from the area directly outside the children's den so that we could keep a watchful eye during the night.
The main area also had a flat screen tv with limited freeview channels and a dvd player. The tv wasn't massive but plently large enough to be viewed from the bed.
My only criticism of the room was the view from the windows. Unfortunately, my partial sea view could only be gained by sticking my head out of the window, looking to the right and ignoring the cars in the car park.
Our full frontal view was the car park for the hotel - at least we could keep an eye on the car!!
I have to admit I was really disappointed. The others didn't seem to mind so all was not lost.
The room was serviced to a high standard on a daily basis. Tea/coffee etc replenished, beds made with hospital corners - well not quite, baby's clothes folded and even towel art on the bed!
There was no shortage of staff within the hotel, wherever you looked you could usually see someone cleaning! And always with a smile on their face and a cheery hello!
I had expected to experience quite a lot of noise due to the number of bedrooms within the hotel and obviously the vast numbers of children an infants in residence but this was not the case. The rooms were quite well sound proofed and only occasionally did we hear little running feet overhead.
The rooms are also temperature controlled if you so choose. Alternatively, the windows slide open with a barrier across preventing any accidents. Also proves a handy clothes airer!
As part of our dining package, we ate breakfast at The Shoreline. This was buffet style. I wasn't expecting much having had a dreadful experience at Haven the previous year. To my great relief the food on offer was of a pretty high standard and replenished on a regular basis.
Continental style - croissants, rolls, muffins, cheese, ham, cereal, porridge, fruit and various various fruit juices or for those who like to set themselves up for the day ie me! The full English - bacon, fried eggs, scrambled eggs (poached and boiled were available to order), mushrooms, beans, grilled tomatoes and black pudding I don't think I have missed anything out!
The children have their own lowered service area with a limited range but could also choose items from the adult menu. Vegetarian sausages were available here so my partner (veggie) was a regular here every morning. Tea, coffee and toast could be ordered from the extremely attentive waiters and waitresses upon arrival.
The Shoreline Restaurant operates a traffic light system advising guests as to the busy times. The only difficulties we experienced were on check in/out days when we had to wait around ten minutes for a table. If you are aware of this you can plan accordingly.
Dinner can be eaten in The Shoreline or Ocean Hotels - booking was advised so we did this before leaving on a daily basis. The dining package also allows guests to eat at The Sun & Moon Pub, or Papa Johns - booking not required. Food vouchers are provided upon arrival and must be handed in on a daily basis in whichever establishment you choose.
We found the food and service to be so good at The Shoreline that we did not venture elsewhere. We were quickly and efficiently seated at our table each evening by staff who really seemed to enjoy working there and appeared genuine in their conversations instead of making small talk.
Having worked in the hospitality/service industry on and off over the past few years (living in Blackpool it is the done thing!) I couldn't believe the attitude of the staff. Most people I have encountered in MY employment took no pride in their work and generally wanted to be somewhere else., certainly not the case here!
There was a variety of food on offer each evening. The children are once again catered for separately if they so choose. They are also able to create their own ice cream mountains with various sprinkles and sauces from Billy Bear's ice cream station.
Adults may be tempted by a plentiful salad bar, a range of starters eg soup, prawn cocktail and a vegetarian alternative as well as the main courses.
On offer typically each evening would be a joint of meat with various trimmings, an abundance of veg, potatoes etc as well as at least three other hot dishes - hot and spicy noodles, chicken jalfrezi, chilli and a vegetarian selection.
The food was always hot, tasty and of a high standard and the best thing was you could go back for more....and more....I think I put on at least half a stone and my partner weighed in with an extra 4lbs!
There were two or three desserts available every night, or fruit for those managing to stick to healthy eating!
Drinks could be ordered from your waiter/waitress upon arrival and quickly refilled when empty. There seemed to be drinks offers on a couple of times a week eg pint of Carlsberg or a glass of wine for £2.40. Unfortunately I had taken a liking for Gaymers Pear Cider! I often couldn't finish this - undoubtedly due to the amount of food I had consumed, thankfully I was able to return to my room with the remnants!
Drinks are paid for at the end of each meal - if you run out of cash, don't worry, there is a free to use cash in reception - find the life size Billy Bear and turn right!
The Restaurant which is situated directly underneath The Shoreline Hotel, does have an outdoor seating area which due to the dreadful weather we were unable to use - Bognor Regis the sunniest place in Britain - until we arrived! It is also surrounded by a large grassy area with a boat shaped sand pit a the centre. This provided my 7 year old with hours of fun (he didn't mind the odd shower!) and also encouraged him to eat his meal more quickly. Result!
There are a number of patio rooms overlooking and providing direct access to this area, I would swoon at them on a daily basis, sob.
So much so that on our day of departure I called in at the onsite booking office and paid the deposit for next year, requesting a sandpit view - I need to get a life!
Butlins as a resort:
Butlins has as much or as little entertainment a family might require. The majority of which is housed in The Skyline Pavilion - home of The Skyline Gang - my son loved to watch the daily shows and went out of his way to make it part of his day!
There are also various other eateries, bars and late night entertainment venues.
Children are permitted in all areas until 12pm at this point they are asked to leave as we discovered at our peril. We were given around 30 minutes notice.
Bearing in mind that the bars close at 1am and many children were in the older age bracket or sleeping babe in prams it did seem a little mean to eject them!
A holiday is but once a year, a lie in can be had by all and late nights are something of a treat when at home!
Daytime activities in The Skyline Pavilion include a play area similar to that of a Wacky Warehouse, a toddler soft play area and also various fun fair rides for the younger ones - they seemed to be pitched at a maximum age of around 9 years, height restrictions were also in place meaning that older children could not accompany their siblings.
The rides and play areas are closed at 6pm sharp - far too early in my opinion. The kids have at least another couple of hours play in them at 6pm!
There is an wooden outdoor play area located at The Sun & Moon Pub, this is open until 'dusk'. The park is physically closed by an attendant when Butlins see fit - once again, too early - is it not better for the children to play safely outside rather than sit with their parents in the pub? Or is this perhaps a way to increase bar revenue??
There is a fun fair aimed at older children and adults adjacent to The Ocean Hotel. Don't expect any wild rides although there are a couple that tickle your tummy as well as the usual dodgem cars and merry go round etc. My son particularly enjoyed the trampolines, he doesn't ask for much!
Organised activities for all age ranges take place daily - it is however MOST advisable to book any activities as soon as you arrive as they get booked up very quickly. Bookings are taken for the week, this was something we did not realise and had been booking on a daily basis. Because of this we didn't we were unable to take part in a few things but substituted them for others.
My son is an 'old' 7, his friends at home are 9/10yrs and he struggled somewhat to fit in the supposed suitable activities age bracket - 5-7 years. After a couple of days we decided he'd had a birthday and he was able to join the 8-11 group, a bit naughty but essential white lie!
During our weeks stay, he enjoyed archery, fencing and football. These activities are free of charge. We did however pay for swimming lessons - £5 per half hour.
Other payable activities include the cinema, bungee trampolines, climbing wall, golf etc.
If you are considering trying any of these, activity passes are available for £12 on arrival or can be bought prior to arrival for £10.
I think this is something we will take up next year.
The pool is a little dated but has loads for the kids to do, small slides for toddlers and the more scary ones for older children - the type where you sit on inflatable dinghy's, or drop out of a giant bowl into 2m of water.
There is also a wave pool and jacuzzi.
Parent and toddler sessions are held between 9-10am daily - these sessions are described as quieter but we always found them very busy. We were also told that the pool became quieter after 3pm - it didn't!
If you don't fancy the pool, you could always try a swim in the sea. Butlins backs on to Bognor Regis shingle beach (take appropriate footwear) and can be by the day visitors entrance. It's then a 2 minute walk away. We had a bit of a paddle during a brief break in the showers but it was freezing so we didn't last long!
The Butlins resort on a whole is extremely well maintained, very clean, staff in all areas are friendly and polite - try as hard as I could, I failed to find a grumpy one!
We had a great time here, the accommodation was flawless with the exception of the partial neck bending sea views could not be faulted. The food was great, far exceeding our expectations and the staff friendly, efficient and happy! What more could a holiday maker as for?! Oh yes....the sun!!
4.5 Dooyoo Stars, half a star lost for the car park view!
I DID ORIGINALLY SET OUT TO WRITE A REVIEW REGARDING THE SHORELINE HOTEL AS I BELIEVED IT WARRANTED IT'S OWN CATEGORY, UNFORTUNATELY AFTER CONTACTING DOOYOO i WAS ADVISED THAT IT COULD ONLY BE REVIEWED WITHIN THE BUTLINS REMIT.
I WOULD REALLY HAVE LIKE TO SPEND MUCH MORE TIME WRITING ABOUT BUTLINS FACILITIES BUT TIME AND AN ACHING HAND PREVAILED!
Summary: A Great Family Holiday
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