Hotel Highlights

  • Stylish and sympathetic coaching-inn conversion
  • Super-comfortable rooms, quaint cobbled streets, antiques shops and buckets of seaside charm
  • Take a picnic to Camber Sands – seven miles of rolling white-sand dunes – just two miles away


This East Sussex boutique hotel is one of the most inspiring coaching-inn conversions we've seen in Southern England. The George in Rye’s high ballroom walls are hung with a diverting bird-patterned wallpaper; the chairs clad in monochrome Florence Broadhurst textiles. Its decor makes for love-at-first-sight stuff, and it's neatly placed in the quietly charming, pottering-pace coastal town of Rye.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The George in Rye with us:

A seasonal pre-dinner cocktail each in the bar or restaurant


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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Need To Know


34, including five junior suites.


11.30am (but flexible on request). Earliest check-in, 3pm.


Double rooms from $138.63 (£83), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast. One-night bookings for Saturdays incur a £50 supplement.


Let the George organise you tickets to one of the world-class gardens nearby, or book some in-room pampering treatments with one of the therapists from the nearby Aveda spa.

At the hotel

Courtyard garden, DVD library, private dining and screening room, in‑room spa treatments, free WiFi, bike hire. In rooms, flatscreen TV, Vi‑Spring bed, Frette linens, marble‑edged (or roll-top) bath, rain shower head and Ren toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Each room is unique, so you’re bound to have your own preference, but we like cosy, pretty room 3; room 10 in the eaves with a roll‑top bath; and peaceful room 9. Room 6 has a gorgeous shower stall made from a wig cupboard. For a special weekend, book suite 1 for its double‑headed walk‑in shower. There's no lift, so some rooms (for example, room 25) aren't ideal for guests who have trouble climbing stairs.


Lavender‑filled pillows and luxurious bottles of wild fig oil imported from Florence make evenings-in even more relaxing.


Welcome. An extra bed (£20) or cot (£10) can be added to rooms and babysitting can be arranged with advance notice. There's also a baby-changing room near the restaurant.

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This property is suitable for weddings

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Food & Drink

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The brasserie‑style Dining Room has been expanded with Paul Gordon (who won acclaim at Qualia in Australia) the head chef responsible for the hotel’s traditional English cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients.

Hotel Bar

Sip on a Rye Smile whiskey cocktail or glass of Sussex wine amid the George Tap’s attractive mish‑mash of wooden tables, benches and chairs; it stays open until the last guest leaves.

Last orders

The George Tap bar stays open until the last guest goes to bed.

Room service

Light snacks available 24 hours; from 7am to 10pm, you can order from the restaurant’s menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Laid‑back layers; something a little smarter for dinner.

Top table

Nestle in a corner at either end of the long banquette, or outside in the Garden Courtyard on balmy evenings.

Local Guide

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Have a meal at The Ship Inn (+44 (0)1797 222233) at the bottom of Mermaid Street. The menu champions local, seasonal ingredients, with dishes ranging from the
traditional (potted shrimp with potato and thyme bread) to the unexpected (grilled sea trout with sushi rice, pickled vegetables and avocado). Rye might seem an unusual spot to find authentic Italian, but The Tuscan Kitchen (+44 (0)1797 223269) on Lion Street is run by a husband-and-wife team, and ingredients are plucked from their farm in Italy. Just outside the town’s mediaeval gate, Landgate Bistro (+44 (0)1797 222829) has an excellent menu of classic and contemporary British dishes. Savvy diners will love The Gallivant on New Lydd Road in Camber Sands (+44 (0)1797 225057), where grill-focused grub is made with sustainable, free-range and organic ingredients (meats are locally farmed, and only non-threatened species of Rye Bay fish are used).

Local cafés

There’s no shortage of cafés and tearooms in Rye, but you’ll be magnetically drawn to the cream cakes and savoury temptations at Fletchers House on Lion Street (+44 (0)1797 222227).

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Cobbled Cinque Ports streets

The George in Rye

98 High Street, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7JT, United Kingdom


The nearest airport is London Gatwick, an hour and a half from the hotel.


Rye station is closest, a tiny two-minute drive away. From here, you'll be able to reach Ashford International and the Eurostar ( in 20 minutes.


From Gatwick, you'll need the A23, M25 and A21. The drive from London should take just under two hours, escaping the city on the M25 and picking up the M20. There's no parking at the hotel, unless you're lucky enough to nab a street spot outside, but there's a handful of car parks within walking distance (drop off your luggage at the hotel first). The hotel recommends the Cattle Market (closed Wednesday night and Thursday) or Railway car park; the 24-hour charge for which is £1.50 and £2 respectively. Parking on the High Street is free overnight; during the day, a one-hour limit applies.


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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Nick Hussey , Promoter and producer

This hotel review of the George in Rye is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2.

Considering I’d just slipped a disc and had promised to cycle over the Alps the following Monday, our stay at the George in Rye needed to live up to expectations. That, or my pathe...

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The George in Rye

Anonymous review by Nick Hussey, Promoter and producer

This hotel review of the George in Rye is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2.

Considering I’d just slipped a disc and had promised to cycle over the Alps the following Monday, our stay at the George in Rye needed to live up to expectations. That, or my pathetic squeals of pain would reverberate through their towel cupboards and kitchens and onwards to those very edelweiss gorges. Thankfully, the hotel has a reputation for being comfortable and traditional, yet styish – thanks to being touched by the hand of film?set designers. Just what the doctor ordered.

Mrs Smith drove under an ancient fortified Old Town gate, dropped me outside the George, unloaded the bags and told the staff that on no account was I to carry anything. Humiliating verbal castration upon arrival. Great. While she searched for a (rare) parking space, my bag-heaving receptionist was very sweet. I asked if I could store my bike in the garage, which was of course fine. I tried to explain that cycling was good for my back, to assuage my guilt at the exercise/laziness contradiction. She really didn’t mind. But the poor disbelieving Shakespeare-lookalike barman-cum-bag-wallah nearly herniated himself with Mrs Smith’s make-up and a year’s supply of fluorescent Lycra.

The first thing we noticed about this 18th?century coaching inn was that the new owners seem to have achieved what few proprietors of these ancient public houses up and down the country have: a modern, redesigned interior that is still sympathetic to the original character of the building. It’s not just that the black tar?encrusted beams have all been sand-blasted clean, or that the sticky red paisley carpets have given way to the original flagstone tiles. It’s that no detail, from the nickel-coated plug sockets to burnished copper radiators, has been overlooked. Tightly packed with long sofas, chairs and beams, the George rises above the seagull-echoing street in a warren of little floors. Our room is extremely light and well planned, rendering it utterly inviting, helped in no small way by soft-touch scented pillows and hot-water bottle cosies. The bathroom has a Victorian-style bath cum shower, and is Aveda-product equipped, while soft-blue wood panelling lends a gently nautical air. As soon as she opened the ‘G’-branded wooden box to find an incredibly varied selection of teas, Mrs Smith immediately set to work preparing that most British of refreshments in celebration.

The owners, Katie and Alex Clarke, have links with set design and prop buying, making for a tasteful but vibrant and diverse decorative scheme: psychedelic Beatles prints sit alongside pockmarked beams and distressed leather. On our way to dinner, we nosed our way into the beautiful airy ballroom as it was being prepared for a wedding. The high walls are hung with a diverting bird-pattened wallpaper, and the chairs are clad in monochrome Florence Broadhurst textiles. It is decor that makes for love-at-first-sight stuff.

Chef Rod Grossmann’s menus create bold but well balanced flavours. Local produce is at the fore, and starters such as dressed crab and smoked duck are quite something. The wine we chose was English: Sandhurst Sussex Pinot Noir – what an extraordinary revelation. Having tasted no better Gevrey?Chambertin from Burgundy itself, it instantly became an all-time favourite.

We weren’t the only ones feeling celebratory, don’t forget. And, as many of the bedrooms lead straight to the ballroom’s heavy doors, that night, as we climbed the stairs in a pleasant post-prandial daze, a growing din of wedding-reception disco filled us with dread. But, thanks to some extraordinarily good soundproofing, Mrs Smith, with her owl-standard hearing, was able to restrict her deadly talons’ nocturnal tasks to clutching the crisp bedding.

Next morning, at a slobbish 10.30am, we took breakfast in our slightly small but excitingly bouncy bed. I went all full English; Mrs Smith purred as she lapped up home-made yogurt and raspberry compote. Later, while she pottered about Rye, buying fudge and millinery just up the High Street, I went for a cycle, and found the landscape around Rye flat, windy and abundant in sheep. I attempted to ride along Camber Sands, but couldn’t. I sank. Children laughed at me; adults pointed. But the incredible light on the beach, glistening on sand and glittering on waves, made up for my public humiliation.

Having wound my Lycra’d way back through bobbing poppies and pea fields stretching into the horizon, I was looking forward to bar snacks and bitter. A superb lamb burger, sticky caramelised chunky chips and a fresh local pint did the trick, and I happily read the papers on the enclosed, decked courtyard of the George. Luckily, no one appeared to derive too much amusement from my hairless thighs.

Smiles were more forthcoming during our visit to the nearby pampering palace, the Rye Retreat, however, where Mrs Smith had booked me in for a full-body massage and facial. Having only read of such things in sneaked teenage glances through mum’s copies of Cosmo, I was a tad nervous, and desperate to let all the nice ladies know that I fancied girls. They didn’t seem to care, and Karen, my masseur and face-scrubber, soon put me at ease. I came out smelling of tangerines and lemon sorbet. The back was in a dreamy state and Mrs Smith was warbling something about fantastic bum toners; life was pretty good.

Rye – you made converts of us. OK, this East Sussex spot may present more-than-ample kitsch bric-a-brac window-sniggering opportunities, and maybe its one-way system is a little annoying to first-time users, but the charm and romance of this ancient fishing town is undeniable. And, if it is trying to shrug off its unfair bucket-and-spade image, then the George in Rye will help its cause no end. And as for my slipped disc – well, our weekend worked a treat on that, too.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The George in Rye's Guestbook below.



Stayed on 25 Nov 2013

We loved

I liked the cosy and sophisticated decor; friendly, attentive staff; and the good food and great atmosphere.

Don’t expect

The WiFi could be improved.

Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on 10 Sep 2012

We loved

We had a beautiful room - it's a very old building full of character and history and our room had this by the bucket-load. The general atmosphere is a very relaxed one, staff are very friendly and accomodating. The food is great here and reasonably priced. We will most certainly go back to this fab hotel.

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on 17 Aug 2012 yes

We loved

Our room, number 9, was charming and cosy. I'd mentioned when booking that it was our wedding anniversary and we found a bottle of chilled bubbly and posh choccies in our room on arrival. The staff were all extremely welcoming, and we had a really nice, relaxed meal in the bistro. It was just a very chilled out weekend away, and Rye is a pretty town to potter about in (without ever really getting too far away from the hotel).

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on 19 Jun 2012

This was our first visit to Rye and we'll definitely be returning to this pretty historical little town, full of independent shops. The George is at the heart of Rye situated in the High Street. For a real flavour of bygone England our first suggestion would be to stroll through the very pretty churchyard behind the George down a cobble street to the view at the end. If you're looking for lunch in Rye I would recommend eating at The George where we had the Middle Eastern mezze, which was delicious and filling. Finally if the sun is shining whiling away a few hours in the medieval courtyard at the Mermaid Inn is a must.


Rating: 8/10 stars


Stayed on 18 May 2012

This was our first visit to Rye, and our first visit to The George. Our initial reaction on walking out back to our room was, ‘this does not look promising’. How wrong we were, we loved the room, loved The George and loved Rye. Almost everyone at The George was friendly and helpful – there was an odd surly individual – but we all have off days. This is not a five-star, waiters everywhere, Michelin-starred establishment; but it is friendly, atmospheric and comfortable, with good food and drink. Try it; we did and we were delighted.

Rating: 8/10 stars