Easy Escapes: Port Hotel, Eastbourne

Up-and-coming and seriously soothing, Port is a seaside bolthole waiting to welcome you.

Port hotel review: The studio
(Image credit: Emma Gutteridge)

Up-and-coming and seriously soothing, Port is a seaside bolthole waiting to welcome you.

When you think of Eastbourne, you likely think of Beachy Head, Mr Whippy, and fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.

But what once was a sleepy seaside town, often thought of as Brighton's less well known sister, has had something of a revamp in recent years and now boasts several independent restaurants, up-and-coming galleries, and boutique hotels, like Port.

Port Hotel review: "A blissfully soothing weekend by the sea"

Why go

For a blissfully soothing weekend by the sea in an independent hotel that takes pride in every detail. Situated on the seafront, Port is located in an old Victorian building, yet while the exterior is more traditional, indoors you're greeted with an uber-modern pastel, black, and terrazzo-speckled interior design.

Picture stylish Scandi touches complemented with plenty of cork, oak, and marble and you're on the right track to picturing what designer Imraan Ismail has created. Port is a chic and comforting bolthole, and the food a celebration of local producers - the perfect combination for a weekend away.

Plus, it's a only short walk from Eastbourne station when you get there (25 minutes) and an hour and a half on the train from London, too.

The vibe

As above, the team have gone above and beyond to give the hotel a unique feel and it's worked. Even the exterior stands out - a stand-out black compared to the older hotels' dated white facades.

There's plenty of local artwork on display throughout the hotel and a mix of modern and 70's music playing throughout the day in the main lobby.

Expect a warm, buzzing, and friendly atmosphere, and a mix of hotel guests and locals popping in for brunch, dinner, or cocktails. Dogs are welcome, too.

Port hotel review

The rooms

We stay in The Studio - room five - which has vinyls and a record player and an effortlessly elevated feel. If you've got a sea view room - there are six in total out of the 19 rooms Port offer - do grab the binoculars and while away some time ocean gazing, preferably with a cocktail in hand.

Rooms are spacious - the bathrooms even more so - and both decorated with a soothing mix of stripes, pastel pink and pistachio-coloured walls, and warm blonde oak shelving units peppered with sea-themed ceramic ornaments.

Plus, all of the in-room amenities have been selected with the planet in mind. Expect Who Gives A Crap eco-friendly loo roll, Faith in Nature shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, Bird & Blend teas, and more.

Don't miss Towner Gallery, Nelson Coffee Company, and the walk up to Beachy Head, while you're there.

The food

Simple, fresh, flavourful and championing local produce and producers, their menu is small but packs a punch. Offering plenty of fresh seafood, local cheeses, and homemade pasta, they largely come in small plate form designed to share.

We particularly enjoyed the red lentil dip - creamy and more-ish - and popcorn mussels. Don't miss the opportunity to grab a drink at the bar, either - they have plenty of delicious gins on offer, and it's the perfect cosy nook to enjoy a nightcap.

Port hotel review

How to book

Double rooms are available from £120, with an additional fee of £16pp for breakfast.

Port, 11-12 Royal Parade, Eastbourne BN22 7AR, UK. porthotel.com

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.