When it comes to family holidays I have the same fear wherever we go “what will the children eat?” and so Butlins wasn’t going to be any different at all. At home I know how to work my way around mealtimes to keep Little Bean and Beanie Boy happy, for the most part Beanie Boy doesn’t eat too badly, it’s just when he eats with Little Bean that he becomes fussy.
Staying at the Ocean Hotel we had the Hotel Dining package but that didn’t meant that we had to eat at the hotel every night, if we wanted to eat in one of the other restaurants on the resort we just needed to tell the Butlers in the Ocean Hotel the day before and they would issue us with tokens which gave us a food allowance, all that we would need to pay for was our drinks and any food over the voucher value (we never had to pay for anything other than our drinks).
The part that we found most difficult to get used to was booking our meal slot for the our evening meals, we aren’t exactly the swiftest to get ready in the mornings so we often had to choose from the time slots which were left and they were generally around 6.45pm which meant that we were always too late for the Tots disco. My one recommendation to anyone staying at Butlins would be to get in as early as you can to book your meals so that you don’t miss out on evening entertainment, particularly if you have young children.
Back to the food though . . . on our first evening once seated in the hotel dining room Hubby set off with the tiddlers and Curly to choose their meals. Curly came back every happy with a large plate of gammon and vegetables, I was amazed when he said that he had chosen this meal himself, I assumed he would have gone straight for meat and chips but how wrong could I have been. In fact, every meal (apart from pizza) he chose himself was a large plate of vegetables and meat of some description. He was also extremely happy when we told him that he could eat as much as he wanted – it turns out he is definitely his father’s son in that regard!!!
Little Bean and Beanie Boy came back with big smiles on their faces and on their plates as they had found McCain’s Smiley Faces. Beanie Boy chose a burger in a bun and Little Bean opted just for the bun – it wasn’t the healthiest of meals but at the minute we are just dealing with one meal at a time where she is concerned. Curly used to be a fussy eater too but just look at what he chooses to eat now, that is my light at the end of the tunnel!!!
Hubby opted for a chicken curry with rice, whilst I visited the pasta station where the chef prepared a large plate of Spaghetti Carbonara just for me and it was delicious. Each night there were plenty of different dishes to choose from which kept everyone happy. There was only one night where Little Bean couldn’t find anything that she liked so I spoke to the chef who prepared her a plate of fish cakes and smiley faces without any fuss. This really impressed us (and Little Bean).
Breakfasts were like a feast for us, we all love a good cooked breakfast (except for Little Bean) but she was happy with her cereals, toast and croissants. We filled ourselves up for the day ahead and didn’t even begin to feel hungry again until tea time!! The children had their usual lunches of sandwiches, fruit pouches and crisps which we bought from Tesco’s just down a short drive from the resort.
We dined out on two evenings to get a different experience. When choosing where to dine we spoke with the Ocean Butlers who asked a few questions about our food preferences and that of the children before recommending The Beachcomber. It was such a good choice too, the decor was really nice and surprisingly clean and tidy when you consider how busy it was. The most impressive thing for us was the service, the staff were really attentive to everyone (especially the children) and so cheerful, I think they had all been implanted with the ‘Butlins happy chip’ – it certainly makes for a more pleasurable experience.
Whilst we were away we would be celebrating Little Bean’s 5th birthday so we asked her what meal she wanted for her birthday and she chose Pizza so that evening we booked into Papa Johns where you could have a Buffet Style meal – again this pleased Hubby and Curly no end as they burned a trail in the carpet going back and forth two or three times!!
Restaurants at Butlins Bognor Regis:
- Turners – traditional British family food
- South Coast Restaurant – situated in The Shoreline Hotel a lovely place to eat for breakfast, dinner or tea/coffee and snacks during the day.
- Kaleidoscope Restaurant – situated in The Ocean Hotel, a changing menu every day means you’ll always have plenty to choose from
- The Beachcomber Inn – a spacious, modern restaurant designed with families in mind.
- Papa John’s – perfect pizzas and lots of them!!
For the one part of the holiday that I was completely dreading, I have to say, yet again Butlins surpassed my expectations and made the whole process stress-free, isn’t that what holidays are all about?