My characters in Kurinji Flowers stay for a brief honeymoon at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne – in the winter of 1936. As I happened to be in Eastbourne this weekend to meeet up with old schoolfriends I asked the hotel if I could have a look around and was treated to a comprehensive tour of the place.
What a wonderful hotel it is. I stayed there for a night back in the mid 80s on an advertising agency jolly but as that was spent in a booze fuelled blur and was about 30 years ago I didn’t remember much about it.
A charming lady, Madeline (who it turned out went to my old school) showed me around, gave me a complimentary copy of a lavishly illustrated book on the history of the hotel and treated me to coffee in one of the beautiful lounges. I took some photos and the visit will be hugely helpful in giving me a better sense of the place.
Back in the thirties, the BBC broadcast every Sunday night from the hotel (I’ve written about this before here). As it happens, the hotel still has a string quartet playing regularly in the famous lounge. The acoustics here were judged outstanding by the BBC outside broadcast people – possibly due to the columns, high ceilings and irregular shape (see photo).
I will have to find an excuse to treat myself to a couple of nights there some time.