Photographed by Emma Croman

A stylish stay embracing the Eastbourne coastline at Port Hotel

I grew up near Heathrow airport and used to go on family holidays to seaside towns when I was younger. My parents loved the nostalgia of their own childhood holidays. Bournemouth for my mum, and Selsey for my dad. They wanted my brother and I to experience the ‘sea air’ for ourselves. What drew us to these towns was simply the idea of escape and rest with a change of scenery. 

What seems to be trending now however in places like Brighton, Cornwall, and even off-grid rural areas, is accommodation which supports visitors’ needs for a place to escape and rest. Boutique hotels are replacing bed and breakfasts, and eco friendly glamping sites are replacing caravan parks. My first impression when I walked into Port hotel in Eastbourne was “I don’t need to go anywhere. I have everything I want and need to enjoy my time right here in this very room.”

There is a joke in Fawlty Towers that goes, “this is the worst-run hotel in Western Europe” and the responding punchline is, “there’s a place in Eastbourne.” Port hotel is the complete opposite to the butt of a joke.

Port Hotel is stylish and comfortable. And, it’s not often a hotel inspires the design details to add to your own home. 

Photographed by Emma Croman

The black paint on the exterior of the hotel establishes the chic modernism that this seafront townhouse has come to represent. There are outdoor bistro sets laid out on the terrace to enjoy a coffee or cocktail. As I walked in, there was no grand reception entrance but rather, I was confronted by the dining area. On one side of the open plan room was the bar stocked with local spirits and wines. On the other was a cosy seating corner with a fireplace and shelves stacked with coffee table books and quirky decor. The cork flooring with sand and blush coloured furniture compliments the outside beach location beautifully. It successfully represents its surroundings, which was the initial inspiration for the interior design carried out by Imraan Ismail. 

Founded by Peter Cadwallader, and Ian and Clive Douglas, this team joined forces alongside Isamail to open the hotel’s door in 2021. Across the hotel is 19 rooms in total including two family rooms on the ground floor. It should be noted that this is not an accessible hotel, with no lift for wheelchair users. I was blessed with one of the six bedrooms with a sea view which continue the pebble-like palette. Meanwhile, the back rooms which overlook the town and South Downs have a sage and moss green scheme to reflect their view. 

Photography by Emma Croman

As soon as the door to my room was opened, I was impressed by the natural light flowing through the floor to ceiling windows. There was a table and chair setup by the large windows. It provided the perfect spot to look out to the waves. Binoculars poised on the welcome letter was just one of the delightful details.

Port hotel truly encourages a tranquil connection to the coast. 

Also in the room was a record player and records to spin beside the huge king size bed. Books on interior design, fashion photography, and the Sussex landscape added to the home away from home vibe. The fridge was stocked with complimentary water and there is a WhatsApp number for the hotel reception. This can be used 24/7 to to ensure guests get everything they need at the tap of a text. 

In the bathroom half of the room was the finest touch – a freestanding egg bath with a sea view. The toilet and shower were separated by their own cubicles to ensure privacy with plenty of towels, flannels and a hairdryer too. 

After a great night sleep in the cosy bed, I helped myself to a coffee from the Nespresso machine (make sure you ask reception for some milk!). Then, I watched the morning dog walkers from my window seat, mug in hand. The only hindrance to my sleep was the slight hum of traffic along Royal Parade. Breakfast is served 7:30-12 Mon-Thurs and has longer hours on weekends. There were lighter options of granola, porridge and toast available, or the usual brunch suspects. Including, a full breakfast – meat, veggie and vegan options – scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast, bacon with homemade waffles, seasonal hash, and I went for the avocado toast. 

By evening, this dining space offers a delightful dinner service with head chef Alex Burtenshaw.

All the food is proudly sourced in Sussex with all ingredients coming from within 30 miles of the property. Behind the bar you will also find local artisanal brands. 

My breakfast was ordered alongside a small pot of tea and a bottle of orange juice. The avocado was piled high in a generous layer on top of my soft granary toast. It was well salted with sweet tomatoes bound through. I ordered it to come with smoked salmon which was served generously too. Port hotel is well worth the visit simply for the food alone. 

Overall, there was not much to fault Port Hotel on, apart from the accessibility issues, and it is clear to see why it has gathered so much positive press attention. It exemplifies how seaside towns are becoming more stylish and boutique by showcasing stunning design and embracing nature on its doorstep. 

PRICES

£90 for Cabin Rooms

£120 for Town Rooms 

£140 Dog Friendly Rooms 

£180 Sea View Rooms 

£230 for The Studio Apartment 


www.porthotel.co.uk @stayatport   11-12 Royal Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7AR

If you’re staying at Port Hotel, make sure you dine at Skylark in the Little Chelsea District…

The Skylark Story – a must visit restaurant in Eastbourne

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