Marie Claire: The Zanzibar hotel

St Leonards-on-Sea hasn't quite reached Brighton heights, but with its blustery seafront location, maze of old town cobbled streets and a burgeoning rise in boutique hotels, it can't be long before an influx of Londoners start making it their weekend home-from-home. And when they do, the Zanzibar will be waiting. Located slap-bang on the coast, this charming little hostel has the vision of a boutique hotel, with the hands-on, family feel of an up-market B&B. Rooms, of which there are just eight, are styled around global themes, with names like 'Mythical Morocco' and 'Just Japan'. Ours - 'Sensual South America' - came complete with free standing, Jacuzzi bath and solid wooden breakfast table looking out onto the ocean. With such lavish dining facilities, it seemed rude not to have breakfast in our room (especially with, hurrah! no tray charge) and we happily sipped our Buck's Fizz (me) and freshly squeezed juice (him), while nibbling on boiled eggs and soldiers (me), full English (him) and a beautifully displayed platter of fresh fruit (we fought over the pineapple). Prices are all-inclusive (very un-Brighton), so you get your champagne breakfast, newspaper, Molton Brown goodies, wi-fi and parking all thrown in, but it's the service that makes this little gem worth the trip: our lovely host even stood out in the cold to keep hold of the parking space right outside the hotel's door for us. Just the kind of added extra you can't put a price on. Details: Zanzibar International Hotel, Nine Eversfield Place, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex TN37 6BY (01424 460109)


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