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Seaside hotel review: The Inspector is impressed by Relais Cooden Beach in East Sussex

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The Inspector is impressed by this seaside hotel in East Sussex – a heart-warming place to go to irrespective of what the weather

  • The Inspector calls at Relais Cooden Beach hotel, near Bexhill-on-Sea, and finds it has a ‘nautical theme’
  • He stays in a room at the highest of the home with views of the ocean and Eastbourne in the gap 
  • At dinner, the seafood cocktail ‘hits the spot’ but he’s less convinced by the salmon fishcake principal course
  • Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it prefer it is 

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The Frenchman charged with redesigning The Relais Cooden Beach hotel, near Bexhill-on-Sea, apparently took inspiration from moneyed Nantucket on America’s East Coast. Which is a giant compliment to the nice old English Channel.

And it really works. Even when arriving on a blustery, wet November night it’s uplifting. Shiny and cheery.

I just like the palm tree wallpaper opposite the front door after which it’s all open-plan, with various twists and turns to create cosy spaces, plus a central fireplace with wraparound seating and stylish bar. Red and white stripes add to the nautical theme.

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

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

Above is the restaurant, The Rally, which nods to the constructing’s motoring past 

Trendy: Pictured is the bar where 'red and white stripes add to the nautical theme'

 Trendy: 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 simply a two‑minute walk away, with direct trains to London.

There’s been a hotel here for nearly a century however it’s only recently that Grace Leo snapped up what was the De La Warr (of British motorsports fame) family home and set about transforming it into a classy East Sussex seaside outpost (or ‘resort’, because it claims), which is more likely to prove hugely popular in summer.

It’s a Thirties constructing and once the works have been accomplished there can be a spa and 45 rooms.

Mine, at the highest of the home with views of the ocean and Eastbourne in the gap, is categorised as a single but there’s simply enough room for a double bed.

The Frenchman charged with redesigning The Relais Cooden Beach hotel, near Bexhill-on-Sea, apparently took inspiration from moneyed Nantucket on America¿s East Coast

The Frenchman charged with redesigning The Relais Cooden Beach hotel, near Bexhill-on-Sea, apparently took inspiration from moneyed Nantucket on America’s East Coast 

Once various works have been completed there will be a spa and 45 rooms, the Inspector reveals

Once various works have been accomplished there can be a spa and 45 rooms, the Inspector reveals 

'What a joy it will be to dine outside on the huge terrace (pictured) when the weather permits,' says The Inspector

‘What a joy it’s going to be to dine outside on the massive terrace (pictured) when the weather permits,’ says The Inspector

The basin within the shower room is so tiny that it’s unattainable to scrub your face without splashing your feet. And a focus to detail is required within the principal corridor where a few of the door handles and radiators belong to a unique and much less salubrious age.

The restaurant is known as The Rally, in honour of its motoring past. My seafood cocktail hits the spot — slightly more accurately than the large salmon fishcake principal course. But what a joy it’s going to be to dine outside on the massive terrace when the weather permits.

There’s just one other person eating breakfast similtaneously me and I’m wondering if she finds the far-too-loud music as intrusive as I do. Nothing against Ed Sheeran and Craig David, but there’s a time and a spot.

TRAVEL FACTS

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

Rating:

 

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