Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Gallivant Hotel, Rye

I was a guest at The Gallivant recently as part of a preview for Wild Boar Week, which is in full swing now. Whilst I have already shared some thoughts on this in my previous post, here is a recommendation for a truly wonderful seaside hotel in glorious East Sussex.

The Gallivant is described as ‘shabby chic’, and whilst it certainly fits that criteria; it is more on the chic side. The d├ęcor throughout is full of neutral creams and beiges, with stylish flashes of blue and nautical touches here and there, which seems very fitting as the hotel is within stumbling distance of Camber Sands stretch of golden sandy beach.

I enjoyed a double room, and given that prices for a B&B here start at a reasonable £115, I was impressed at the level of comfort and luxury in the large room. I walked into an already warm, well lit room – which was very welcome as it was a cold, blustery, wet October evening. There was a large double bed, a small living area with a little sofa, table and chair as well as tea making facilities.

A large TV stood on a unit with a DVD player, several books and magazines about the area and some reading material – including a Harry Potter book – I was happy as that would be my reading matter to fall asleep to later.

A smart and immaculately clean bathroom finished the room, and after a quick freshen up I joined the rest of our party for a meal at The Beach Bistro, the restaurant headed up by Trevor Hambley which is part of The Gallivant’s exquisite charm. This was a bespoke meal in honour or Wild Boar Week and you can read about this here: Wild Boar Week and The Gallivant Hotel, Rye.

I had a very comfortable night’s sleep in the room – the bed was divine, and on retiring to the room and in the morning before breakfast, the small touches which elevate The Gallivant to such a high standard of seaside hotel were made apparent. The Gallivant bathrobe and beach bag are handy little touches, along with The White Company toiletries that adorn the bathroom. But something which I thought was fantastic was the traditional tea caddy in the living area. With a proper teapot, a couple of mugs and a caddy full of different teas and coffees I was spoilt for choice in the morning and the final, personal flourish of The Gallivant which I thought was just great was the homemade biscuits left for the guest in a little jar. It’s such a personal little touch but it’s these little things that make The Gallivant a home away from home – it was a shame to leave that day.

Breakfast at The Gallivant is a laid back affair – with a self-service selection of cereals, toast, homemade preserves, homemade bread and pastries, fruits and yoghurts along with a range of juice. The cooked selection was wide and varied, and I was sad to still be full from the evening before, so I opted for a simple breakfast of toast with homemade strawberry jam – very satisfying. If you were in the mood for something heartier than myself; you can indulge in a full Enlglish breakfast, eggs in a multitudes of ways, sandwiches, porridge and even French toast – all served in The Beach Bistro.

We enjoyed a woodland walk as part of the Wild Boar Week festivities that morning and on our return, ahead of checking out of The Gallivant we had a final lunch, prepared for us by lovely Trevor Hambley at The Beach Bistro and what a gorgeous lunch it was. We had requested something light after our hearty wild boar meal from the night before and Trevor certainly delivered.

As with the night before our meal arrived picture perfect on beautifully unusual crockery - just another of the little touches that make The Gallivant such a delight.

We had pan-fried fillets of gurnard with potatoes, sea purslane (a kind of sea vegetable) and an extraordinary orange and saffron hollandaise sauce. It was fresh, fragrant and magnificent. The fish was light and flaky – cooked to absolute perfection and the accompaniments expertly chosen. Another great meal.

We shared a final pear tarte tatin as we had all enjoyed it so much the night before – and if you do choose to visit, this is a must order. The picture alone speaks for itself I think.

One of the great things about The Gallivant and The Beach Bistro is that 80% of the seasonal menu is sourced from local fisherman, farmers and artisan producers throughout East Sussex – and with the sea a stone’s throw away and the Romney Salt Marshes just next door, where the lamb in particular is revered it is a true foodie haven.

I had a great overnight stay at The Gallivant and would have no qualms returning or recommending this gorgeous beachside retreat to others and I have to say it’s not just a summertime hotel either. With glorious Rye only a ten-fifteen minute drive away, I think it would make an idyllic Christmas shopping break. We had some time in Rye before heading home on Saturday afternoon and it is such a glorious little English town, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. With olde world tea shops a-plenty, quirky little gift shops and cookware shops with unusual items within, it is a lovely place to while away a few hours.

From London St Pancras you can travel to Rye for only £11 return on Southeastern trains, changing at Ashford and picking up the Southern Trains line to Rye which takes 90 minutes in total. There is also ample parking space available if you live, like me only an hour and a half or so away from The Gallivant.

To make a booking or find out more about The Gallivant check out the website:

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