Hotel review

Beachfront hotel review: The Inspector is impressed with the beach at Relais Cooden in East Sussex

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Inspector is impressed with this seaside hotel in East Sussex – a warm place to visit whatever the weather

  • The inspector calls the Relais Cooden Beach hotel, near Bexhill-on-Sea, and discovers it has a ‘nautical theme’
  • He stays in a bedroom at the top of the house with views of the sea and Eastbourne in the distance
  • At dinner, the seafood cocktail “hits” but he is less convinced by the salmon fishcake main course
  • Remember, the inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is

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The Frenchman responsible for redesigning the Relais Cooden Beach hotel near Bexhill-on-Sea was apparently inspired by Nantucket on the US east coast. Which is a great compliment to the good old Channel.

And it works. Even arriving on a windy, wet November night, it’s uplifting. Bright and cheerful.

I love the wallpaper of palm trees in front of the front door, then it’s all open, with various twists to create cozy spaces, plus a central fireplace with wraparound seating and a hip bar. Red and white stripes add to the nautical theme.

The inspector calls at the Relais Cooden Beach hotel (pictured), near Bexhill-on-Sea

Above is the restaurant, The Rally, which nods to the building's automotive past

Above is the restaurant, The Rally, which nods to the building’s automotive past

Trend: in the photo, the bar where

Trending: Pictured is the bar where ‘red and white stripes add to the nautical theme’

It’s a sister hotel to Relais Henley, and Cooden Beach station is just a two-minute walk away, with direct trains to London.

There has been a hotel here for nearly a century, but it was only recently that Grace Leo took over what was once the De La Warr family home (of British motorsport fame) and set out to transform it into a chic East Sussex seaside outpost. ‘, as he claims), which should prove extremely popular in the summer.

It’s a 1930s building and once the work is complete there will be a spa and 45 rooms.

Mine, at the top of the house overlooking the sea and Eastbourne in the distance, is classed as single but there is just enough room for a double bed.

The Frenchman responsible for redesigning The Relais Cooden Beach hotel near Bexhill-on-Sea was apparently inspired by Nantucket on the US east coast.

The Frenchman responsible for redesigning The Relais Cooden Beach hotel near Bexhill-on-Sea was apparently inspired by Nantucket on the US east coast.

Once the various works are completed, there will be a spa and 45 rooms, reveals the inspector

Once the various works are completed, there will be a spa and 45 rooms, reveals the inspector

“What a joy it will be to dine outside on the huge terrace (pictured) when the weather permits,” says the inspector

The basin in the shower room is so small that it is impossible to wash your face without splashing your feet. And attention to detail is needed in the main hallway where some of the door handles and radiators are of a different age and much less salubrious.

The restaurant is called The Rally, in honor of its automotive past. My seafood cocktail is up to snuff – a bit more accurately than the big salmon fishcake main course. But what a pleasure to dine outside on the huge terrace as soon as the weather permits.

There is only one other person having lunch at the same time as me and I wonder if he finds the music too loud as intrusive as I do. Nothing against Ed Sheeran and Craig David, but there is a time and a place.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Le Relais Cooden Beach, Cooden Sea Rd, Bexhill-on-Sea, TN39 4TT. For more information call 01424 842281 or visit therelaisretreats.com/coodenbeach.

Evaluation:

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