* Prices may differ from that shown
**Background** After we came back from our summer holidays this year, I was suffering from the post-holiday blues so we decided to book a night away as something to look forward to. Not having a huge budget, going very far was out of the question, so after a trawl through the internet, when we discovered that we could stay at The Grand Hotel in Scarborough for the night for the pricely sum of £67 for our family of five (two adults, two children, one infant), including dinner and breakfast, we jumped at the chance. Interestingly, this was booked through Superbreak and booking it direct with the hotel gave a much higher price. **Arrival and parking ** We arrived at the hotel yesterday afternoon, a cool Sunday afternoon in late October. Parking wasn't exactly easy, as the hotel doesn't have its own car park and the only parking is pay-and-display parking at the front of the hotel, which was really busy. We eventually managed to get a space and paid the parking for the evening. Parking is free between six pm and nine am but it wasn't that cheap outsdide of these hours. **Check in** Check in was really quick and easy and we were soon given our room keys for two adjacent rooms. These were actual keys as well, and not swipe cards like we always seem to get these days. The receptionist talked us through the meal voucher for our booking, told us where the restaurant was and gave us directions to our rooms. There were signs everywhere offering upgraded rooms and dining option for £10 per person, per night but we stick to the basic option. Getting to our room proved a slight challenge. We found our way to the lift and we were quite amused by the handwritten sign next to it, promising us we would get stuck in it if we tried to ride with more than three people in it at a time. The lift took forever to come and we decided not to risk entrapment so we travelled to our room in two separate parties. **The rooms** Both of our rooms were identical in every way. Each room contained two beds, a television and a selection of drawers and tables that were possibly older than I am. Not that I minded that, neccessarily as the room reminded me of my Gran's old house. Additionally, the room itself smelled very much like my gran's old house - not a dirty, old person smell in any way, but remniscent of old lady's bubble bath or face cream. I didn't mind the smell so much as I found it quite comforting but I appreciate that many people wouldn't want to sleep in a room that smells of my elderly dead Gran. The bathroom was small, but very clean, with a small selection of toiletries, piping hot water and a good supply of fresh, clean towels. Later in the evening, when we slept in the beds we found they were fantastically comfortable, with plump fluffy pillows and a light but cosy duvet. It was possibly one of the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept in. Also, there was no outside noise at all, possibly because we were right at the end of the corridor but we did get a super night's sleep. The only slight noise was the noise of seagulls the following morning but as we had a sea view this was to be expected. **Hotel facilities** The hotel itself has a large entrance hall with a sweeping staircase up to a snooker table. It has a couple of restaurants, the ordinary Harbour Lights restaurant where we ate and the Premier Restaurant where you can dine if you pay the upgrade fee. There are a couple of bars and my husband was very impressed with the prices. He paid £6.50 for a vodka and large coke, a pint of lager and two large glasses of coke and he'd expected to pay almost that just for the vodka and coke at hotel prices. The hotel also offers cabaret entertainment every evening. The evening we visited the entertainment was bingo, followed by a singer. We didn't stay for it so can't comment on whether it was any good or not. This takes place in the Cabaret Ballroom. The hotel also apparently has a second ballroom that can cater for conferences and functions. We noticed a huge board advertising weddings at the hotel, comprising an afternoon reception for 50 people with an evening reception for 100 people for £999. Not being in the market for a wedding I don't know if this is a good deal, but it sounds like it if you want to hold a wedding at The Grand Hotel. **The Restaurants** Our stay included dinner on the first evening and breakfast the following morning. The restaurant is a self-service buffet style eating establishment. The dinner choices included beef and Yorkshire pudding and salmon mornay. We had a very tasty soup and bread rolls to begin, followed by beef and Yorkshire pudding with vegetables. The beef was very nice but the Yorkshire pudding and vegetables showed very definite signs of being around for a while as the pudding was rock hard and the vegetables were soft to the point of being completely squished. Dessert was a choice of gateau, chocolate cake and custard or tinned peaches and cream. I wouldn't say that the catering was of greatly high quality but then again it wasn't completely inedible either. The following morning, breakfast consisted of a choice of tinned fruits, yoghurt, pastries, toast and traditional breakfast items such as sausage, bacon, beans, fried bread and suchlike. All were hot and tasted quite pleasant, though we did go for breakfast as soon as the restaurant opened so everything would have been fresh. The restaurant itself was clean and bright, dirty plates were cleared quickly and the highchairs provided for the baby were all clean. **The Surroundings** The hotel is built at the top of a cliff. Acccess to below is easy but it is quite a steep walk back up - especially with a pushchair. The shopping / eating establishments found close to the hotel are a strange mix of the tacky and the quite attractive with everything you would expect to find in a traditional seaside town. The hotel also has a small tourist information section, featuring leaflets for all the local attractions, such as a Sealife Centre, Model railway and Peasholm Park. **Hotel address and directions** (Taken from hotel website) St. Nicholas Cliff Scarborough North Yorkshire Follow A64 (York), turn right at Traffic Lights. Keep left and turn left at 2nd set of lights. Go straight over the roundabout and keep going straight. Look out for the hotel on your left. **Final Thoughts and Observations** As far as price goes, we thought that the price we paid really couldn't be beaten. The rooms themselves, though old fashioned were really fine for what we wanted and the location of the hotel is close to all facilities, including the shopping centre. The food wasn't fantastic but it was edible, and at breakfast it was actually quite nice. The hotel itself is showing its age in a couple of places, for example we saw wallpaper peeling in a couple of places and the lift really could do with upgrading, but apparently the hotel is undergoing a multi-million pound renovation project so I imagine this will be one of the things that are fixed. I think the hotel must be reasonably popular as there were people of all ages in the various areas of the hotel and we heard more than one person trying to book for Christmas to be told that the hotel was completely full. If yo're looking for somewhere cheap and comfortable and you don't mind if it's stylish or not, The Grand Hotel would be a definite option.
I had a very hectic Christmas last year cooking for the family and generally doing far too much eating and drinking, so when it came to New Years Eve I was worn out, and to be quite honest just could not face another knees up to see the New Year in. My husband came up with the idea of going for a pint at tea time then back home for a night in front of the television. I agreed with that idea and then he piped up that we would have to go to bed early because we were getting up at six in the morning to drive to Scarborough and staying over night in the grand Hotel. Scarborough is about three and a half hours drive from where we live so we took a steady pace travelling over the moors keeping away from the motorway. It was great no stress and gorgeous scenery. There was quite a lot of snow on the moors but the roads were clear and all the trees looked as if they had been sprinkled with icing sugar it was just like a typical Christmas card scene. We stopped for breakfast along the way and finally arrived in Scarborough at about lunch time feeling totally refreshed after the mad week that we had had. We managed to find a parking space outside the hotel and check in was very quick and easy, we paid £75 for the one night and this included evening meal and breakfast the next morning. The only thing that we were not expecting was a £4.50 charge for parking but never mind it was not worth worrying about. The main reception area was very regal looking with a huge stair case going up to the second floor I have never seen a staircase like it, and the leather sofas placed throughout the reception gave the whole hotel a welcoming feel. There are three lifts to access the floors and these moved very slowly compared to other lifts that I have been in but again it did not cause us a problem we were there to unwind after all. Our room was on the fourth floor and to our delight it was a sea view with a large bed, sofa, television and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was large with a Jacuzzi bath in and a nice touch I thought was the bottles of lotions and potions provided they certainly hadn't scrimped with these. Now I come to the comical part of this tale.....I just had to try this Jacuzzi bath so I filled it up with piping hot water and poured a liberal amount of bubble bath in, as I said the management had not been stingy with the stuff. I got into the bath and then turned it on, wow was it powerful especially on full blast, I tried the low setting but that was a wee bit tame for me.......Yes I bet you have guessed by now....There was bubbles every where I couldn't see a thing and had to fight my way out of the foam to find a towel. After cleaning up the bathroom and putting up with my husbands rips of laughter we decided to take a walk on the promenade, we were not expecting much to be open with it being New Years Day but there were people every where I was surprised. We bought a bag of chips to eat as you do when you go to the sea side and just wandered it was great. Before we returned to the hotel we decided to have a dabble in one of the amusement arcades and I won £65 on a fruit machine after three goes so we scooped up the money much to the disgust of the lady on the next machine, and we took a walk back to the hotel. This hotel is actually on a cliff top and walking down to the promenade earlier I didn't realise how much lower the prom was to the hotel. Never mind I remembered that there was an escalator to take you back up to the hotel so we walked right to the end of the pier and alas it was not working that day with it being a bank holiday. It was a painful climb up a load of steps and I was starting to feel really cold, finally at the top we staggered into the hotel and straight to the bar for a brandy, it certainly made me feel better and the second one definatley hit the right spot. The evening meal was served from 5.30 to eight o'clock so we decided to go down at half seven. The restaurant was a huge room and I liked the way the tables were placed there was plenty of room; I just hate a restaurant that packs people in like cattle. The buffet style meal was great, there was plenty of choice from fish to three sorts of meat, and all the vegetables were fresh. Everything was piping hot and I can honestly say we both thought it was excellent right down to the efficiency of the staff. This hotel has definitely got its catering right. Our room was very comfortable and after a good relaxing sleep we decided to try the delights of the restaurant again for our breakfast. Again it was spot on we were brought our pot of coffee within seconds of sitting down and we enjoyed a full English with toast and marmalade. I did have a good look at what was on offer, cold meats, cheese etc , fresh fruit, cereals and yoghurts there was something to suit everybody's taste and it was all displayed nicely. After we checked out and got in the car we both said at the same time 'Now that's a hotel that I would stay in again.' So if you are ever in Scarborough do give this place a try it is excellent value for money.
A couple of weeks ago I saw 'Sid and Nancy', the Biopic of Sid Vicous and his relationship with Nancy Spungen. Gary Oldman was wonderful as Sid, doing to him what Geoffrey Rush did to David Helfgot in 'Shine'. But I'm not a fan of the Sex Pistols. In fact, the Punk era stands out, to me, as a gaping hole in musical history, filled with maggots. What I did adore about the film is the references to the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. I am intrigued and captivated by hotels, especially if they have a literary background, or something like a Stephen King style story attached to them, that I can sink my teeth into. The Grand Hotel in Scarborough is the exception. No gruesome tales of Punk heroes, but the perfect situation for a break by the sea. I have stayed in the hotel over six times in the last year, which wouldn't usually be regarded as out of the ordinary. However, I live less than a mile from the great Victorian building that sits with its elbow resting on the St. Nicholas Cliff in Scarborough's South Bay. It's like the Queen popping over to the London Savoy for a night when she has a perfectly nice little place a few miles down the road. I simply cannot resist checking in. But this is what the Grand Hotel does to you. I first visited the hotel when I was nine years old with my grandparents and, having already seen 'The Shining', my imagination started running amock. The plush red carpets and occasional soft lights down the long, often creeky corridors, just add that extra hint of Agatha Christie to the place. But there is nothing sinister about the Grand Hotel. In fact, it is one of the most comfortable, pleasant and warm hotels in which I've ever had the pleasure of staying. There is the suitable literary link, in that Anne Bronte died in a house on the site of the hotel. And historically, the hotel is leaking with wonderful stories about Winston Churchill's sui te and Broderick's fantastic design of what stands out as Scarborough's finest hotel. The rooms are tall, spacious and very comfortable. They come in three price ranges, the cheapest being just as creeky but just as enjoyable to use as the supreme suites. And most of the rooms are en-suite, which is always an asset in a building with such long corridors. TVs are also included, along with the usual coffee, tea and accompanying kettle. And if you manage to be situated at the front of the hotel, with a blacony, you can enjoy tea in front of the unbeatable curving vista of Scarborough's divine South Bay. The Lighthouse is best photographed from a front room at the Grand. And no matter which floor you're on, the stairs are accompanied by trustworthy lifts. At any time of year, the Grand is perfect. The nightly entertainment from a team of truely proffessional entertainers, with a Pontins/Butlins edge, is top notch. The hotel does not allow children to stay, hense the mature attitude of the entertainers. For the quieter guest, a drink on the lobby balcony is just your cup of tea. And, as the hotel is so large, the sound does not carry much further than the ballroom doors. The meals are excellent. The three course dinner in the evening is a cross between a good old fashioned English nosh-up with a fine European, gourmet feel. And the breakfast is just as good as the view from the Grand Restaurant, which overlooks the bay. For £17.50 per person a night out of season, and just a few more pounds in season, there is nowhere else worth staying in Scarborough if it's the hotel experience you're after. And I must add, the Grand is central in Scarborough. A few steps takes you into the bustle of the town centre, and a few the other way, onto the picturesque promenade. The Italian Gardens are just over the Spa Bridge to the side of the Grand and the Spa complex, which frequently entertains with music ha ll shows, jazz music and classical recitals, is a very short walk along the prom. Yet, if you decide to stay in the Grand, don't hesitate to use their small Casino, visit the Craft Fair on Saturdays in their Lounge or play Darts, Snooker and many other games in the Games Room. There's even an information desk and gift shop offering postcards, sweets and other holiday essentials! Where else but the Grand?