The Grand, Eastbourne: A refreshing ginger renewal

Stephanie Cavagnaro enjoys a refreshing ginger renewal treatment by the seaside Wednesday, 23 September 2015

By Stephanie Cavagnaro

Syncopated jazz danced into the afternoon as I arrived at The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne – the only five-star seaside hotel in Britain. Built in 1875, the late Victorian-style property is known for its rich musical heritage. This is where Claude Debussy corrected proofs of La Mer in 1905, Frank Bridge completed his work on The Sea in 1911, and the Grand Hotel Orchestra broadcast live on the BBC from the hotel's Great Hall every Sunday from 1924 to 1939.

But the music I'd come for was the sleepy tunes wafting into the wellness centre. The hotel's spa consists of heated indoor and outdoor pools, a steam room, Jacuzzi, and dry saunas within each changing room.

Given the size of the hotel, with its high vaulted ceilings, stately rooms and glinting chandeliers, I was surprised the spa's facilities weren't as extensive as I'd expected. However, the treatment menu was impressive, with plenty of wraps, scrubs, massages, facials and specialised pregnancy and male grooming therapies.

I spent a few blissful hours gliding between the steam room and the Jacuzzi before plonking myself poolside on a sunny recliner. Later that day, I was in a treatment room ready to try the Ginger Renewal, a new 85-minute therapy that uses ginger root's healing properties. Since it contains antioxidants, it naturally decreases inflammation and inhibits the harmful free radicals that cause skin damage and aging.

Even though I frequently use ginger in cooking, I expected 85 minutes of the stuff to be overwhelming, but I was pleasantly surprised by its subtle, uplifting scent. An invigorating, full-body exfoliation kicked off the treatment: a Kerstin Florian ginger scrub was worked into my body and removed with soothing hot towels.

Next up was a back and neck massage using organic ginger oil, sweeping strokes and warm stones to work out the kinks. A foot and pressure point scalp massage finished off the therapy, leaving my body relaxed and nimble, and days later my skin still seems softer and suppler.

Later that evening, I arrived at the hotel's award-winning Mirabelle restaurant to live piano music and a lovely candlelit table. My three-course vegetarian menu included a chickpea and Florence fennel soup, delicious Spanish vegetable paella with smoked paprika peppers, and a neatly presented chocolate mousse.

The whole evening felt lavish, but unpretentious. In fact, the hotel is a big draw for families with informal family dining options, goodie bags, a staffed playroom and even junior afternoon tea.

After my meal, I headed to my airy Master Sea View Suite. The bedroom and lounge were traditionally decorated and spacious in a way that many modern hotels can't afford to be. I sat at a table adorned with fresh flowers to watch a blue moon rise up over the English Channel. After such a brilliant day, I felt perfectly at ease in a way that only seems possible at the seaside.

grandeastbourne.com

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