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Dec, 2011

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Butlins boast that they have been putting smiles on faces since 1936 – and those smiles are somewhat broader now because Britain's best known holiday centre has changed with the times. The old fashioned chalets have been replaced by modern facilities, and when my wife Heather and I visited the Bognor Regis resort for a weekend break we enjoyed a high standard of accommodation and a good choice of food. We stayed in one of two imposing hotels, built in the last six years, called the Shoreline, and there is a third opening soon. What impressed us most was the helpfulness of the staff. Both those on reception – especially the charming Amy – and those in the restaurant demonstrated that the Butlins staff training courses are on the ball. On one occasion we were the last in the restaurant and were politely asked if we had everything we needed, instead of being encouraged to leave. And when we required a table in a hurry at their peak dining hour, a very obliging Karmel came up trumps. Similarly, when we had a problem with a temperamental photo booth that burnt DVDs after superimposing our heads on gyrating singers, Alex quickly appeared to put things right. There was plenty of entertainment, not all of which was to our taste, but we enjoyed the panto, the wrestling, an Abba tribute act and comedian Tucker. The only downside was that the two theatres attracted so many people that late-comers had to stand. You can pick where you eat from a choice of several restaurants, including celebrity chef Brian Turner's eatery. But we preferred the wide variety of selections provided by the buffet at the Shoreline. Other attractions included the Splash Waterworld, various sports activities, the Ocean Spa, an amusement centre, a funfair, a cinema, a visit to Santa's reindeer and a huge polar bear called Bjorn. With the new Wave Hotel and apartments due in May, incorporating quirky under-the-sea design features and a Kindle Library, the Butlins Bognor centre should be attracting even more families this year.


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