Social Media

The Gallivant hotel review: garden-side suites, roll top baths & exquisite food just outside Rye, East Sussex

• Rating: 9/10
Rooms at The Gallivant start from 
$323 (£257) a night
Check current rates and availability

It’s no secret that hotels with bathtubs are my weakness, add into the mix a private garden terrace, artfully designed suites and one of the best restaurants outside of London and you’ve got The Gallivant. 

Pretty unfamiliar with the UK’s south coast, aside from the delightful harbour town of Lyme Regis and the awe-inspiring Jurassic Coast, I decided to make the most of a long weekend and head towards Rye, intending to visit Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, after a one night stay at The Gallivant.   

breakfast menu and jug of coffee at the gallivant hotel in East Sussex
Breakfast menu and coffee at The Gallivant

Sitting directly opposite the rugged sand dunes of Camber Sands, the hotel from the outside doesn’t look all that special, and I think that’s down to the fact that in years gone by it was actually a motel. But once you step inside everything changes with the most wonderful interiors and friendliest staff. 

What’s the vibe at The Gallivant?

First up, The Gallivant is a four-star hotel but should really be a five due to its boutique vibe, faultless interiors and top-class menu—I actually don’t think there is anything they could improve on. The reception is decked out in old black and white beach-town postcards and there’s a selection of Wellington boots and quirky hats for guests to borrow during a stay. Directly to the right as you enter is a central open bar surrounded by low leather and Scandi-style chairs, patterned rugs and a piano and it’s here the hotel serves its complementary daily 5pm wine, sourced from local vineyards. The small but delightful restaurant sits just beyond the bar and there’s an outdoor space for eating on sunnier days. The style and feel of the place is very much laidback beach-chic with nods to the British seaside in the form of framed vintage swimsuits and nostalgic memorabilia. 

How are the rooms at The Gallivant?

I stayed in a luxury garden room, known as the Trafalgar Suite, or room 20 which had its own little private terrace. The suite was the closest one to the road but I didn’t hear any noise throughout my stay. Inside were so many thoughtful touches like a bag with beach towels, candle lanterns for use at night and for turn down truffles and a flask of ’sleepy-time’ tea were bought to my room. Bookshelves surrounded the huge bed and artwork echoed the main spaces of the hotel with a framed retro swimsuit and old-school postcards.

bed and tray of drinks at the gallivant hotel in East Sussex
My bedroom (room 20) at The Gallivant hotel

Much like my stay at Mallorca's Can Bordoy Grand House the main event, was of course the roll-top bath sitting in the centre of the room. Wicker light fittings and tones of sea blue and mint green added to the beach vibe and as well as the tub my room had a rainfall shower and full marble-topped washstand with Bamford bath and skincare products.   

bathtub in garden suite at the gallivant hotel
The beautiful roll top bathtub

What is there to eat and drink at The Gallivant?

Depending on which room package you opt for there are various complimentary drinks and bites on offer throughout the day. English wine at 5pm and all day elevenses served in the library room are just a couple of examples. But the main event is dinner—a real highlight of my stay and some of the best food I’ve eaten in a while. Headed up by Jamie Guy, the mouth-watering menu is made up almost completely of British and locally sourced ingredients. I tried a glass of local organic English sparkling wine, served by the very friendly and knowledgeable Elton, and a complementary beetroot dip served alongside pink chicory. Then to start, Rye Bay scallops with Jerusalem artichoke and pickled kombu caught my eye—totally wholesome and delicious, yet it was the main course dish that absolutely blew me away. Rye Bay mullet cooked to heavenly perfection with pickled mussels and a mix of Indian spices, just delicate enough to compliment the subtle flavour of the fish without being overbearing. 

fish and Indian spices at the gallivant hotel
Rye Bay mullet with Indian spices at The Gallivant

Side dishes of potatoes with fennel and rosemary, and hispi cabbage with umami butter and sourdough crumb were outstanding in their simplicity and flavour—I just can't stop thinking about them and Jamie’s beautiful menu. 

Any highlights?

camber sands and retro postcard in East Sussex
Camber Sands is just a five-minute stroll away

As mentioned above, the restaurant and menu are truly brilliant and a big draw, but it’s also the welcoming warmth of the staff that makes a stay at The Gallivant truly special. There were so many delightful elements to my stay, from the stunning bathtub and complimentary G&Ts upon arrival, to the artful decor and of course the location, just five minutes from the ocean. The whole stay was a highlight, from start to end, I literally cannot fault it, book your stay immediately.

Anything they could improve on?

Nothing at all.

Follow @thegallivant

Check rates on

Post a Comment


Theme by BD