Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Ocean Hotel, Butlins

Those lovely people at Butlins invited me and mine, along with some other British Mummy Bloggers, journos etc to the launch of their new hotel, The Ocean in Bognor.

Never one to pass up a decent freebie, we jumped at the chance. It was a great end to
our camping holiday in the Witterings, and the sun continued to shine for us. That's nearly a whole week of golden rays for us. Mmmmmm.

Before the launch, we were put up at the Premier Inn, where Els beat J in a pillow fight and we laughed our socks off to Ice Age 3 in the cinema near the hotel.

The Ocean hotel was GORGEOUS. Really funky, bright and modern (see Els' Pop Art style room in the photo). And they have a 'no monsters under the bed' guarantee with underbed lighting. Nice touch.

The redcoats were positive and helpful without being annoying or insincere. I was impressed. Really impressed.

Kitschy disco lifts, complete with UV lights and funky '70s sounds, had us grooving with strangers whenever we left our room. In
fact, during the tour our group included the Mayor of Bognor Regis in full bling, er, regalia and I'm sure I detected a little wiggle from her on the way up (to Disco Inferno).

By some clever trickery with lights and sensors, an interactive-seeming floor kept Els amused making the fish swim away from her feet.

Kids clubs and various on-site entertainment are included in a Butlins stay. Shame you had to pay extra to go into the lovely spa. But hey, at least there was a spa!

I thought around £100 per night for a family of four (midweek low season) was a pretty good deal considering our room at the Premier Inn was £84. Although I guess we're in high season now so I'm probably not comparing apples with apples.

I think a 3-night stay at The Ocean in high season is £800 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I'd rather take myself off scuba diving in the Red Sea for a week, and take Els camping on my return for that budget. But that's a personal choice, I'm sure many of you would disagree.

Anyhow, the Premier Inn didn't have a Bob the Builder show, huge soft play contraption or fairground rides thrown in. Butlins certainly did.

And some amazing circus acts.

I wasn't too keen on the plethora of sweetie machines and crappy gambling/arcade games in the main entertainments hall though. Cue much wheedling and 'it's not fair'. You'd haemmorhage money if you stayed too long in there. Probably best to pull the little dears swiftly past the tat and towards the swimming pool which was fab. Whirlpool, jacussi section, little slides, flumes..

One teensy criticism of the pool though - Els isn't a small 6 year old but still was too small for all of the flume rides. Even if she had made the required height, we wouldn't have been allowed to go on them together - unlike the flume at our local pool - so that would have put her off anyway.

All in all, we had a lovely time. The Ocean Hotel certainly changed my perceptions about Butlins.
Not just mine by the looks of things: Ocean Hotel Reviews.

P.S. NixdMinx's miniminx is adorable, And one more makes 4 I really enjoyed our chat and meeting your lovely family!


Chic Mama said...

Sounds great, I've enjoyed reading all the reviews. It does sound quite expensive though doesn't it. The restrictions would be hard as well if you have lots of children with different ages like I do.
What a great freebie though. :0)

amy said...

awwww thanks hun! I loved meeting you and chatting, it was so nice to see you and your family. maybe next time i might not be wielding a menu trying to beat away wasps lol! hope you had a goos jounery home and i hope i get to see you all again xxxxxx

nixdminx said...

hello there - thanks for the compliment - can't wait til we all get together again and have a lovely rest of the summer, I'm just about to embark on a complete overhaul of garden and house while sans enfant xx

A Modern Mother said...

Sounds like you had a good time. Can you really go deep sea diving and camping for £800?!

Anonymous said...

It sounds really good. I'd heard Butlins were doing this and it's good to hear such a positive review. I think the problem may be the Butlins name as it conjures up the wrong image in the minds of some people. Maybe they should think of rebranding in line with this new offering.