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By Christine Fleming

If you fantasise about seaside living and leading a more sustainable life, then Eastbourne’s Port Hotel is a dream come true.

Located right on the seafront, it puts a focus on the use of sustainable building materials and locally sourced produce, and delivers pure guilt-free luxury.

It’s more than just a hotel, it’s a place for those who want to rest their world-weary heads, reset and leave daily life behind.

Here’s what happened when we checked into their studio apartment for the night.

GETTING THERE

Eastbourne pier
Eastbourne pier. Credit: Port

Eastbourne is a mere hour-and-a-half train-ride away from London Victoria, or less than hour from Brighton, so getting to the hotel is easy peasy.

Once in town it’s just a short walk to get to the seafront itself, complete with an amble past the iconic pier on the way. Before you know it you’ll see a warm inviting glow emanating from the moody yet stylish looking dark grey frontage of Port Hotel welcoming you in.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Port hotel bar
The stylish bar. Credit: Port

From the moment you step through the door of this boutique beachfront abode it feels like the home away from home you wished you had.

Based in what was once a beachfront townhouse, the whole ground floor entrance of Port Hotel is one big open plan lounge/ bar/ dining area that is stylish yet homely at the same time.

Combining chic furnishings, including a retro reading chair and bubble like sofa with sustainable cork flooring and pastel walls, it’s interiors heaven. During the day the space is entirely bathed in natural light courtesy of two large bay windows that overlook the sea and it oozes a sense of calm that is hard to beat.

THE ROOMS

Port hotel Eastbourne bedroom
The light and airy bedrooms. Credit: Port

There are 19 beautifully designed rooms at Port Hotel, including ones that are suitable for those travelling as a family or with dogs. We recommend opting for a seaview room if possible, as after all, there really is nothing quite as satisfying as watching the waves crash on the shore from the comfort of a cosy warm bed.

Checking in with the super friendly Charlie, we were led to the hotel’s Studio Apartment – the largest room with the most spectacular view. With floor to ceiling sash windows and a balcony that overlooks Eastbourne pier, this room has real wow factor. In fact, it is the kind of space that instantly makes you want to redecorate your own home.

A super-king size cloud like bed with sustainable wood wall mounted headboard commandeers one side of the room, while a luxurious cushion stacked sofa-bed sits at it’s foot like a decadent present of pure comfort. 

Port hotel Eastbourne bathroom
Dreamy bathrooms. Credit: Port

But that’s not all. There’s also a thoughtfully placed table and chairs set up in the room’s bay window, complete with a pair of binoculars for spying on the world outside, piles of art books scattered around to inspire you, and even a Crosley record player within arm’s stretch so you can set the mood. Plus there’s a light bathed study area should you be more of a working-holiday type of guest and a Nespresso machine ready and waiting to fuel you while you do.  

It would be remiss to not mention the bathroom. My god the bathroom! Accessed through sliding doors, there a swish shower stocked with eco-friendly faith in nature products, double sinks set against the most beautiful of terrazzo tile backsplashes and wait for it…a huge oval bath right in the middle of the room. Should you dare, you can bathe with a view, as if you leave the sliding doors open you enjoy a direct eyeline to the bay window and out to sea.

FOOD & DRINK

Port hotel restaurant
The chic restaurant. Credit: Port

A stay at Port Hotel would not be complete without sampling the locally sourced goodness available on their menu. Hell, that plus divine cocktails make this a place to come even if you aren’t lucky enough to have booked a room.

Drinkers and diners can sit anywhere they like in the open plan ground floor entrance space of the hotel, but we recommend nabbing a table facing the bespoke built bar. Why you ask? Because watching the bar staff work their cocktail magic while positioned in front of a moon shaped light installation is like witnessing a piece of intoxicating physical art.

The ethos at Port Hotel is one of sustainability and giving back to the community around them. Head chef Alex stays true to these ideals and nearly all the produce is sourced from a 30-mile radius and evolves with the seasons to ensure your tastebuds get the very best.

Delivering fine dining at an affordable price, and with very little difference to what is offered on the full menu, the hotel offers a Port20 menu that is an unmissable foodie experience.  There are several options to choose from for each course, and as well as three-courses for £20, there is the added bonus that these guys are hot on their allergies should you have any.

Port hotel lounge
The lounge area. Credit: Port

On our visit we tried a Homemade Gravadlax and Beetroot Remoulade that was a masterclass in delicately balancing flavour. Warm Figs with Homemade Cheese Curds and Hot Smoked Salmon were bursting with tongue tingling surprises. And local strawberry ice cream took us right back to the joys of being a kid again.

In addition to fabulous food, Port Hotel also has a well-curated wine list, two local beers on tap at any time and a delicious cocktail menu (with happy hour offers) of classics with a twist, like their house pear martini.

Oh and if you opt for breakfast you’ll be treated to delights such as just toasted granola and the type of full-English you’ll want to write home about.

EXTRAS

Port hotel Eastbourne hero
A sea view room. Credit: Port

It’s all about the little touches that add to the experience here. On arrival guests are asked what type of milk they prefer so it can be decanted into a mini milk bottle to take to their rooms. There are fancy board games and books scattered around both rooms and communal areas to enjoy. And there are luxurious waffle robes in your room, to lounge around in as you pace the beautiful cork flooring during your stay.

OVERALL VERDICT

It may have only been open since lockdown, but this boutique hotel is definitely one to watch. A truly special place, Port Hotel is warm, inviting and makes you wish you never had to leave. With sea views and a sense of stylish calm, this gem of a hotel with serious sustainable credentials takes a trip to the seaside to a whole new level.

Rooms start from £89 a night

Book a stay at Port Hotel here

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