What could be better for recharging the batteries than a luxurious hideaway with the beautiful British coastline a mere stone’s throw from your front door? The Gallivant Hotel, tucked behind the dunes of Camber Sands promises a gorgeously golden sandy beach, comfortable beds and fresh, local produce served up in the Hotel Bistro by a classically-trained chef. Too good to be true? My husband and I were eager to find out.
Nestled behind sandy dunes, the Gallivant Hotel is a former motel with a contemporary, laid back feel. All 18 bedrooms are individually decorated with artisanal driftwood and retro touches. I loved the colourful 70’s phone so much it became my mobile wallpaper. We chose to stay in a Beach Hut room, which is ideal for families or for extended stays as it is the most spacious. A quick peek in the bathroom revealed a generous white suite with shower and bath, complete with fluffy white bath robes and toiletries from The White Company.
After a brisk walk along the beach – which is just a three minute walk from the hotel – our appetites were well and truly whetted, and we couldn’t wait to see what Head Chef Trevor Hambley (a former colleague of Marco Pierre White and Jean Christophe Novelli), could conjure up. We sipped locally-produced sparkling wine in the pretty Beach Bistro restaurant, surrounded by young couples and cheerful families from the local area, while we feasted our eyes on the menu. Pan-fried scallops to start were plump and juicy while the fillet of Dungeness cod with mushroom duxelles and tomato fondue was divine. My husband enjoyed his duck breast with peppercorn sauce but after much discussion, we concluded that the moreish platefuls of seafood were by far the best choice. We rounded proceedings off with a spectacularly good vanilla-infused Pear Tarte Tatin, complemented by five-year-old Somerset brandy.
Well-rested after a peaceful night’s sleep in the huge, comfy bed, we headed down to breakfast the next morning. Admittedly still sated from the previous night’s gluttony, we were confronted with yet more reasons to tuck in. Breakfast at the Gallivant is a bright and breezy experience with a variety of mouth-watering options, including a huge Full English. I took a trip down memory lane with scrummy boiled eggs and Marmite soldiers; childhood comfort food at its best – and the perfect way to end a lovely stay.
A stay in the beach hut room costs £195 per person, including breakfast and dinner, or £135 B&B. For more information, see thegallivanthotel.com
IN THE AREA…
The Gallivant Hotel is the perfect base for visiting the lovely Dungeness – a popular spot for fashion shoots – and the quintessentially English town of Rye. With only one day to explore, we spent most of our time wandering the cobbled streets of Rye, which felt a bit like stepping back in time, with old-fashioned sweet shops, beautiful old churches and curio-packed antique shops to discover. We ate lunch at Edith’s House, a cute vintage café which offers a warm welcome courtesy of Roux, the owner’s inquisitive dog, before stopping for a piece of homemade Lemon Drizzle cake and coffee in the quaint surroundings of The Apothecary. More information on Rye and the surrounding area, see the Visit 1066 Country website.