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The Inspector calls at a Dickensian hotel in considered one of England’s prettiest towns

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Higgledy-piggledy rooms and creaking wooden floors: The Inspector calls at a Dickensian hotel in considered one of England’s prettiest towns

  • The Inspector travels to East Sussex and checks in to The George in Rye
  • The hotel has 34 rooms and parts of the constructing date back to 1575
  • A fireplace closed the hotel three years ago, however it’s risen from the ashes in style 

The hearth that closed The George in Rye three years ago should have been traumatic for its owners. But even perhaps they’d agree that what’s risen from the ashes is even higher than what was there before, for that is an inspired revival of considered one of this historic town’s most elegant buildings, dating back, in parts, to 1575 but with a fairly Georgian frontage.

Inside, higgledy-piggledy doesn’t quite do justice to the warren of 34 rooms, some reached by their very own little stairs or along narrow corridors. There’s even a ballroom (in-built 1818 for farmers coming to market), with bow windows, de Gournay wallpaper, chandeliers and small minstrels’ gallery.

I’m struck by the unique art and wood-panelled snug opposite reception, while the bar has a Dickensian feel: brass candlesticks, high-backed chairs, creaking wood floor. There’s a fairly courtyard on the rear of the constructing and an extra sitting room on the primary floor.

A fireplace closed The George in Rye (above) three years ago. ‘What’s risen from the ashes is even higher than what was there before,’ declares the Inspector

The Inspector describes the hotel's refurbishment as 'an inspired revival'

The Inspector describes the hotel’s refurbishment as ‘an inspired revival’

The picture above shows how the hotel has made the most of its coastal location

The image above shows how the hotel has made probably the most of its coastal location

It’s not overly busy and so I’m upgraded (without having to ask) and am led as much as my room at the highest of the home, where William Morris-style floral wallpaper covers each the partitions and ceiling. A free-standing bath and separate shower await within the spacious bathroom.

The restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays — and it’s a Tuesday. However the receptionist hands me a flyer detailing various options nearby.

First, though, I actually have a drink within the bar. The guest before me has ordered a few cocktails, however the barmen can’t find any cocktail glasses.

‘Would a wine glass do, as a substitute?’ he asks.

The Inspector's room has William Morris-style floral wallpaper

The Inspector’s room has William Morris-style floral wallpaper

Historical gem: Parts of The George in Rye date back to 1575

Historical gem: Parts of The George in Rye date back to 1575 

Pictured is Mermaid Street in Rye, one of the prettiest towns in England

Pictured is Mermaid Street in Rye, considered one of the prettiest towns in England

Something similar happens to me on getting back from dinner. I order a cognac, but there are not any suitable glasses. The barman suggests a glass; I steer him towards a sherry glass. Not good.

Breakfast is a jolly affair, with an open kitchen and probably the most technically advanced coffee machine I’ve ever seen. It’s a tablet with various options on the screen. Press on any of them and your chosen coffee starts pouring from a close-by tap. Ingenious.

But The George as an entire exudes an modern use of space and Rye is fortunate to have it at its heart.

TRAVEL FACTS

The George In Rye, 98 High Street, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7JT. Doubles from £143 B&B. For more information call 01797 222114 or visit thegeorgeinrye.com.

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