Staycation trips: Inspector visits the Scandi-chic Port Hotel in Eastbourne

The Inspector pays a visit to the Scandi-chic Port Hotel in Eastbourne, where he pays £200 for a sea view room that has ‘the feel of a refurbished 1970s bed-sit’

  • The arrival of Port was controversial, especially as the exterior was painted black
  • The inspector is surprised when his Campari order stuns one of the bartenders
  • His room has high ceilings and a freestanding bath in front of a window

Controversial: some people did not like the dark exterior of the Port Hotel

The opening of Port Hotel is cited as further evidence of Eastbourne’s renaissance, echoing the artistic heels of the upgraded Towner gallery.

Some have even gone so far as to call Eastbourne the new Brighton, but after walking from the station past boarded-up inns, charity shops and downtrodden takeaways, that seems optimistic.

Not everyone was equally enthusiastic about the arrival of Port, mainly because the owner painted the outside black instead of the white and cream that is usual on the coast.

But it’s here – and busy on a damp Tuesday night. The ground floor, with its cork floors, pink walls and Scandinavian decor, is used as a bar/restaurant. It’s casual and reasonably priced, but not the sort of place for a night out.

Upstairs there are 19 rooms, five of which, including mine, overlook the pebble beach towards the pier. Room Six is ​​large, with high ceilings and a free-standing bath in front of a window. A separate toilet and shower cubicle are cut into the room, giving it the feel of a refurbished 1970s sitting room.

A bedside lamp hangs from the ceiling and there is a turntable with some vinyl records.

The owner is a property developer – and it shows. A hotelier would realize that a freestanding bath without soap or shampoo is annoying. I will place a chair by the bath for this. My room (no breakfast included) cost £200 (£180 if prepaid). For that money I would expect the person behind the bar to know what I mean by Campari.

The inspector's room looked out over Eastbourne's shingle beach

The inspector’s room looked out over Eastbourne’s shingle beach

She looks at me as if I’m speaking a different language. Fortunately, her colleague comes to the rescue.

I order the whipped salted cod – but it’s so salty I only get two scoops. The main course of roasted cod with cannellini beans is a definite improvement.

I wake up on a gray morning. Yet the sea fascinates in its melancholic way. I order two soft boiled eggs for breakfast but two poached eggs appear. It doesn’t matter, but things will have to tighten up if Eastbourne ever becomes the new Brighton.


Port Hotel, 11-12 Royal Eastbourne Parade, Eastbourne, BN22 7AR.

Doubles (weekdays) start from £120. For more information call 01323 438526, or visit