I have just attended a conference in Eastbourne and if ever a hotel needed "The Hotel Inspector" to call, Mansion (Lions) Hotel was it. With a prime seaside location, fabulous views and close to both beach and town centre and good travel links, this should be a hotel to recommend to everybody. Instead I will not be advising anybody to stay. The only reason why I have not graded this hotel as terrible is that when I stayed for two nights, while attending a conference, I had a huge room with a wonderful sea view. That was the upside of my stay. The downside - the hotel desperately needs an overhaul. It is tatty, down at heel and so very very tired. Curtains, both window and shower were hanging off their respective rails. Nearly every piece of furniture in my room was broken in some respect, including the vast battery operated clock on the wall. The bed's sheets appeared clean although of cheap quality but when was the duvet cover last changed? I put something on a chair and clouds of dust arose. The bathroom, although very small despite the vast size of the bedroom, was clean apart from a horrible damp patch in one corner with peeling, flaking paint. The towels were small and past their best. The whole hotel was in desperate need of repair, refitting and redecoration. I also expect nowadays to be able to access a few more tv channels then 1 to 5, and a couple of radio stations, including Radio 4, should be a minimum. The reception area was small and full of tat. I got in the lift, which was creaky at best, to be assailed by the overpowering smell of stale fat frying somewhere; I presume the hotel kitchen. I felt very sorry for the coachload of elderly visitors who sat in a dismal line along one wall on my first evening while a not very good entertainer bellowed "Delilah" at them. It was insulting to one and all. By the way this made it impossible to sit in the bar and have a drink mid-evening with colleagues and be heard and by later in the evening the bar was closed. Many of my colleagues had tales to tell of being locked out at midnight and then being interrogated when eventually somebody appeared to open the door. Breakfast was at best adequate but only just, not helped by staff who did not speak much english. The receptionist on the second night was unhelpful, I would even go as far as to describe her as rude. All in all a poor experience. I could not see how the hotel merited AA 3 stars and I certainly think they need to up their game not only for the Conference trade but also for the tourist business. This hotel appeared to be part of a chain and from talking to others who were at the conference and stayed in the sister hotels, there was not much difference between them. If "staycations" and economic conditions encourage people to stay in the UK, and locations are sought for conferences and holidays then this set of hotels needs to work a damn sight harder to take advantage of the trade and develop the local economy. Eastbourne could be a lovely shortbreak resort or conference centre but with hotels like Mansion (Lions) bringing down it's reputation that business will elude the town. If you want a place to stay in Eastbourne this hotel should not be your first, second or third choice.
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