Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Port Hotel

Price per night from$128.27

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP93.33), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

‘Bourne supremacy

Setting

South Downs stopping place

Cast aside mobility-scooter and saucy-postcard preconceptions: Port Hotel in Eastbourne grabs your attention with style and swagger. It’s been discerningly dressed by interiors upstart Imraan Ismael, who takes the doughy greens and sunset pinks of Eric Ravilious’ South Downs watercolours as inspiration in his land- and sea-facing rooms; rooms where you’ll find Rico chairs, poured concrete sinks and Haeckels bath products. Some rooms even sport free-standing tubs and expertly curated vinyl. Forget chip shops, too: Port’s all-day restaurant serves adventurous sharing plates, Sussex wines and a knock-out brunch (‘til 2.30pm, hangover heroes), both inside or on the terrace. The townsfolk may be of a certain age but boutique stays such as this: very now.

Smith Extra

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A bottle of Sussex wine

Facilities

Photos Port Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

19 rooms, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £105.00, including tax at 12.5 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t usually include breakfast. There’s a minimum stay of two nights on weekends.

Also

For £15 (or £20 for seafood), hotel staff will put together a picnic hamper for you to take on walks over the South Downs.

At the hotel

All-day restaurant and bar, sea-facing terrace, herb garden, free WiFi. In rooms: TV, fridges, tea and coffee, Haeckels bath products.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms have the knack of putting you at ease thanks to soft land- and sea-inspired hues, unfussy fixtures and fittings, and beautifully contoured Rico chairs and George Sowden-designed kettles. Best of all is the suite on the first floor. This has a tall ceiling, Crosley record player (the rare Bill Withers LP went very well with a negroni at sunset) and a free-standing tub by the beach-facing window.

Packing tips

If this was its Fifties heyday, we’d say a carrot to give your donkey-ride donkey. Perhaps for the best, such pastimes are no more; though you may find shaved carrots in the kohlrabi and mango slaw downstairs.

Also

There are five floors here (including the lower-ground floor) but no lift, so if you’re less mobile, opt for one at a lesser altitude.

Pet‐friendly

There are three rooms at the hotel where dogs (under 15kg) are welcome to stay, with cosy beds provided. Pooches that don’t shed fur are preferred by staff. See more pet-friendly hotels in Eastbourne.

Children

This is a fairly grown-up boutique hotel; children can be accommodated but the hotel makes no extra provision for them.

Food and Drink

Photos Port Hotel food and drink

Top Table

On summer days the terrace is the place to be. On cooler afternoons and evenings, indoors is bright and breezy with inviting, peach-toned hanging banquettes and chunky modern barrel chairs.

Dress Code

Blend in with pastel woollens or stand out with sunny Hawaiian shirts or shorts.

Hotel restaurant

Most of the ground floor and the patio out front is given over to eating and drinking, and you should make it your priority, too, on account of Port’s menu of lively sharing plates such as barbecued lamb rump with peanut curry and lime pickle, rabbit and pistachio terrine with seaweed hot sauce, lobster and prawn croquettes with homemade Marie Rose dressing, and grilled nectarine panzanella with pine nuts – followed by the chef’s board of Beal’s Farm charcuterie and choice Sussex cheeses or, for sweeter tooths, salted caramel waffle with Kahlua ganache.

Hotel bar

The counter in the restaurant doubles as the bar, behind which you’ll see a well-curated collection of whiskeys, gins and other spirits, as well as plenty of Sussex wines. It’s a comfortable space for apéritifs or late-night tipples, sipped here or outside on the sea-facing terrace. We recommend pairing your after-dinner cheese board with a glass from Port’s, ahem, port (and sweet wine) selection, such as the fruity Graham’s LBV or the Chateau Mignets Sauternes from Bordeaux.

Last orders

Port has a 24-hour licence meaning that, conceivably, you can order another round at any time. Perhaps that’s why brunch runs from 7am to a very generous 2.30pm. Dinner is served between 6pm and 9:30pm.

Room service

There’s no menu as such but call reception and staff will bring you drinks and snacks as you require.

Location

Photos Port Hotel location
Address
Port Hotel
11-12 Royal Eastbourne Parade, Eastbourne BN22 7AR
Eastbourne
BN22 7AR
United Kingdom

Overlooking the beach, the sea and – a pebble’s punt to the right – the pier, Port Hotel is easy to spot thanks to its jet-black frontage, which stands out from the row of cream-hued townhouses on Royal Parade.

Planes

Being London’s southernmost airport, Gatwick is geographically closest to Eastbourne; from there it’s less than an hour by train to the coast. If you’re flying into Heathrow, Stansted or Luton, you’ll have to travel by train into London to then head south, or you could hire a car.

Trains

Direct trains take an hour and a half to Eastbourne station from London Victoria, or you can depart from London Bridge, changing at Gatwick. There are connections along the south coast, too, with Hastings to the east (30 minutes away) and Brighton to the west (40 minutes away). From the station, it’s a 20-minute walk through the town centre and along the seafront, or jump in a taxi for a five-minute journey to the hotel.

Automobiles

Parking is a little hard to come by along Royal Parade, but the hotel provides one free parking permit per room per night.

Worth getting out of bed for

The South Downs Way is a 100-mile hiking route between Winchester and Eastbourne that weaves through woodland, idyllic farmland, pretty village greens and genteel pubs, and along dramatic cliffs such as the Seven Sisters. Attack it in chunks or one mammoth adventure. You might make your pre-hike preparations at the Grosvenor Hotel in Stockbridge (why not stop a night or two?), which is a 20-minute drive from Winchester. In any case, we recommend ending your sojourn in Eastbourne, making Beachy Head your climax. That way, your reward is Port: a fitting finale to a week or long weekend away. After nursing aching feet in your suite’s hot tub and restoring energies with a local Gun Brewery IPA or an expertly mixed espresso martini, you might fancy seeing what’s what along the waterfront.

With its domed pavilion, Eastbourne Pier is one of the more photogenic on the south coast, and although its Victorian tea room and chip shop make a decent stab at harking back to yesteryear, we’d recommend admiring it from afar – and instead turning inland, through the pedestrianised town centre towards Grove Road. Here you’ll find one of the town’s more pleasant string of shops and cafés. Turn once again towards the sea and stroll 10 minutes to the Towner Gallery, home to a collection of Eric Ravilious’ most cherished South Downs landscapes, as well as works by Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Alfred Wallis and more. If an adventurous spirit in the vein of The Famous Five grips you, seek out the mystery of Sussex’s hill figures. The Long Man of Wilmington and the Litlington White Horse are six and eight miles away, respectively.

Local restaurants

Port Hotel is a more-than-safe bet when it comes to Eastbourne’s culinary offering, especially considering the propensity of the town’s run-of-the-mill bistros and takeaways. However, head to Grove Road for Seven Sisters gin-cured salmon with organic cucumber, lime, fennel and Nasturtium; braised ham and Black Bomber cheddar croquettes with wasabi aioli; or pan-seared Gressingham duck breast with hasselback potatoes and sautéed sweetheart cabbage at Skylark, whose high ceilings and cake-filled countertop welcome patrons from brunch to supper. And it wouldn’t be the seaside without an ice cream: head to Fusciardi’s, just two minutes’ walk from the hotel, for traditional toffee crunch or rum and raisin cones, lovingly scooped by third-generation members of the Italian family who opened the shop here in 1967. 

Reviews

Photos Port Hotel reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beside-the-seaside boutique hotel and unpacked their ironic sticks of rock and naughty Sixties postcards, a full account of their weekend break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Port Hotel in Eastbourne…

According to travel writer Paul Theroux, the reputations of England’s south coast towns have been forged more on the sound of the name than by lived – or visited – experience. Camber Sands has a nice lilt but, in his mind, didn’t live up to expectation. Bognor Regis, which sounds ugly, was in fact quite pleasant. Since Theroux was writing, Eastbourne, with its fairly benign moniker, has become a byword for a lot that is wrong with the British seaside. Let’s be honest: it doesn’t evoke the same frisson as Lecce, Fréjus, or even Brighton. But much effort has gone into reversing those opinions, not least by the good townsfolk themselves (not all of them are OAPs) and by the waves of the newly arrived, drawn to the coast by the WFH freedoms afforded by the 2020 pandemic.

And so to Port Hotel, an attention-grabbing boutique hotel designed by interiors up-and-comer Imraan Ismael, which has chosen for its home not Deal, nor Brighton, not even Hastings; but Eastbourne. There is much to love here; and more so if you take a Theroux-esque journalistic attitude. Why did England’s coastal towns take such a downward dip in the late 20th century, and what, post-pandemic, is their future now? The Port is perhaps your answer to the latter. Co-owner and managing director Peter Cadwallader is clear about his target audience: ‘Discerning 20- or 30-something couples from the big cities will love it here, especially if they’re hiking across the South Downs,’ he explains over a pot of Hoogly tea. ‘But older couples who make Eastbourne an annual pilgrimage are welcome, too.’ With south London an hour away by train, and the town a terrific start or end point on one of the UK’s most picturesque hikes, we heartily recommend making Port your south-coast port of call.

Price per night from $128.27

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