Hotel review

Hotel review: Inside the East Sussex pub with rooms refurbished by hotel inspector Alex Polizzi

“I had to prove to myself that I can still do it,” says Alex Polizzi, who, after a decade of teaching hapless hoteliers how to improve their game in Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector, is putting the finishing touches on his new project.

“And,” she adds, “it was an opportunity to do something with my mom.”

Few hoteliers have been as influential as Alex’s mother, Olga. Tresanton, which opened in St Mawes in 1998, has helped give Cornwall its reputation for upscale style. And The Endsleigh in Devon, which Alex opened for his mother in 2005, has brought significant verve to the country hotel scene.

Alex Polizzi’s latest project is The Star in the village of Alfriston in East Sussex

“I needed to prove to myself that I can still do it,” says Alex, who has spent a decade teaching hapless hoteliers how to improve their game in The Hotel Inspector on Channel 5. Pictured is the Library of the star

“I had to prove to myself that I can still do it,” says Alex, who has spent a decade teaching hapless hoteliers how to improve their game in Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector. Pictured is the star’s library

The Star is a truly British mix of a 15th century inn plus later additions and modern extensions, writes Sarah

The Star is a truly British mix of a 15th century inn plus later additions and modern extensions, writes Sarah

The food?  Chef Tim Kensett has cast his net over neighboring countryside and coast for his menu, says Sarah

The food? Chef Tim Kensett has cast his net over neighboring countryside and coast for his menu, says Sarah

Sarah describes the rooms as a love letter to the English countryside and its artisan traditions

Sarah describes the rooms as a love letter to the English countryside and its artisan traditions

Over the past 18 months, the couple have renovated The Star, a truly British blend of a 15th century inn, along with later additions and modern extensions in the village of Alfriston in East Sussex. He was once a part of Trusthouse Forte, the group owned by Charles Forte, Olga’s father and Alex’s grandfather.

The Star is not just a family affair, it is also a village affair. The local blacksmith made the table lamps, the curtain maker lives nearby, and the books in the hotel library come from Much Ado, the bookstore four doors down.

The backbone of The Star employees is also local. “My vice-principal has five grandchildren and they all work here,” says Alex. – Our painter’s daughter and the plumber’s son too.

The Star has 30 rooms, all different and decorated with wallpapers and soft spring colors

The Star has 30 rooms, all different and decorated with wallpapers and soft spring colors

The Star is in one of Sussex's main wine regions ¿and to help guests explore it, the hotel has Panama hats and Rockfish rain boots in all sizes to borrow

The Star is located in one of the main wine regions of Sussex. To help guests explore, the hotel has Panama hats and Rockfish rain boots in all sizes to borrow.

Furniture ranges from antique to mid-century to modern with confidence, Sarah enthuses

Furniture ranges from antique to mid-century to modern with confidence, Sarah enthuses

Alex and his mother chose art, from Glyndebourne programs to linoleum cuts

Alex and his mother chose art, from Glyndebourne programs to linoleum cuts

Alex says The Star project

Sarah describes the bathrooms as beautifully balanced between gray marble and sage-painted wood planks

Alex, left, says The Star project “was a chance to do something with my mom.” Sarah describes the bathrooms as beautifully balanced between gray marble and sage-painted wood planks

TRAVEL FACTS

The Star, Alfriston, East Sussex. B&B from £ 190 per night. Visit thepolizzicollection.com for more information.

Furniture ranges from antique to mid-century to modern with confidence. Alex and his mother chose art, from Glyndebourne programs to linoleum cuts, and commissioned an intricate floor painting for the restaurant. There is spirit, too – the library has a secret door that leads to the restaurant, and a shelf is supported by a giant wooden hare’s head.

If The Star has evolved over the centuries, so has the neighborhood. The fields are still strewn with sheep, but it is now one of Sussex’s main wine regions.

USP: Style consumed within a community. Step outside and you’ll find churches, the village park, and the very first National Trust property. The Star’s bar, still in the oldest part of the building, is friendly, with old beams and highly chosen wines and beers. Dogs are welcome.

The rooms: With wallpapers and soft spring colors, the 30 rooms – all different – are like a love letter to the English countryside and its artisan traditions.

The bathrooms are beautifully balanced between gray marble and sage-painted siding. There are flowers everywhere.

The food: Chef Tim Kensett has set his sights on the neighboring countryside and coast for his menu, with mackerel paired with rhubarb, chili and horseradish, South Downs spring lamb, turbot and Jerusalem artichoke. Breakfast is served in an extensive 16th-century buffet, with local honey and yogurt accompanied by sausages, smoked salmon and granola.


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