Butlins on the crest of a Wave

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Star opening...With TV's Angela Griffin
THREE'S a crowd? Not when it comes to Butlins seaside hotels. 
 
The new £25m Wave Hotel & Apartments, richly deserves its place alongside its two sister hotels at Bognor Regis. And Butlins has been pretty clever in ensuring their latest swish property — resembling a huge ocean cruise ship — stands out from any crowd. 
 
State-of-the-art Wave is geared towards families with children between pre-school and teenage, billing itself as a "tween hotel". 
 
TV actress Angela Griffin officially opened Wave and took daughters Tallulah Jae, eight, and five-year-old Melissa to try out the hi-tech facilities including a games room packed with whizzy consoles, iMacs and iPod docks and a Kindle library. 
 
Angela said: "Wave is absolutely amazing, perfect. I am mightily impressed. The hotel takes Butlins to a whole different level." 
 
The Wave's brightly-coloured family suites have a separate kids' room housing bunk beds with a flat-screen TV at the bottom of each bed!
 
Holby City and Mount Pleasant star Angela added: "What's great is that the kids are in the same room yet have their own space. The apartments are also top class — I am definitely coming back to stay in one of those for a week." 
 
Her girls had a brilliant time on the West Sussex resort with Tallulah Jae proving to be a natural on the High Ropes course and Melissa clearly a racing car driver in the making. 
 
"They are having a fabulous time as there's such a great choice of activities, both in the hotel and on the resort. And so many of them are free so you can have a really economical holiday," said Angela.
 
"We love holidaying in the UK and I feel I have now discovered another little bit of Britain coming here. The drive from London to Bognor was beautiful, miles of stunning countryside."
 
Wave, which has 29 self-catering apartments and 215 family rooms, joins the Shoreline geared for families with younger children and the Ocean, better suited for adults and older kids. 
 
The new two and three-bedroom apartments are impressive, incredibly spacious with well-equipped kitchens and large balconies with sea views. 
 
Hair stylist Michelle Sultan, of Battersea, enjoying a break with her eight-year-old son Amir, said: "Both the apartments and rooms are so well thought out, perfect for kids — no sharp corners and plenty of space for all their stuff.  The apartments would be equally good for a large group of friends to come to stay too."
 
Another family, Tracey and Richard Chatterley of Eaton Bray, Beds, said they'd probably have trouble dragging their kids — Nathaniel, seven, and five-year-old Alexandra — out of the bunk beds every morning!
 
"They haven't got TVs in their bedrooms at home, so having them at the end of their beds is a real novelty," said Tracey. Nathaniel added: "It's brilliant and I also really love the blue lighting under the bed." 
 
The use of subtle lighting, colour and ocean-themed decor is hugely effective throughout the whole hotel.  White ribbons blowing like waves stand outside and a block of blue discs, resembling running water, shimmer behind reception. In the coffee shop on the ground floor, sails hang from the ceiling and the sofas are shaped like giant sea plants.
 
The apartments have a fish-frieze along one wall and even the shower heads light up! 
 
Breathing a sigh of relief that the whole project had finally all come together this week, resort director Jeremy Pardey said: "Wave is beautiful and everything about it fits its name. I think it really comes to life at night when the lighting effects give you the impression of being under water. 
 
"The hotel is a great addition to a resort which has created an environment and provided an excellent team to give families the best holidays possible." 
 
The beauty of Butlins is that if it's not warm enough to lie on the sandy beach or swim in the sea, you have Splash Waterworld where the temperatures are similar to being in the Caribbean. Raft rides, flumes, water cannons, wave machines and a lazy river are all housed under a huge airy dome.
 
Kids aged four to 11 can learn to swim and those confident in the water can paddle kayaks or zoom round on aqua gliders. 
 
Billy Butlin introduced dodgems to the UK and all three resorts — Bognor, Skegness and Minehead — still have them in funfairs. And you don't have to worry about how many times your kids go on the rides because most are all included in the price of your break. So are the shows, sports and kids' clubs.  
 
Adults are well catered for with a number of bars and restaurants. I can vouch for the chicken and trifle at Brian Turner's restaurant, the blueberry muffins in the cafe, the pasta at the Deck and the pampering in The Ocean Spa which has a snow cave and outdoor hot tub.
 
There's no wonder I was pretty sad to Wave goodbye!
 
GETTING THERE: Three nights room-only at the Wave Hotel & Apartments for two adults and two children aged 2-14 from £295. Visit www.butlins.com/wave or call 0845 070 4730.
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