Nestled just behind the sprawling dunes of Camber Sands, The Gallivant is an oasis for anyone well in need of some ocean air, a full belly and a good night’s sleep. In short, it’s an overworked Londoner’s paradise.
Cool Cali-meets-Scandi decor makes up for the somewhat unassuming exterior of this former 1960’s motel. White washed wooden floor boards, artfully scattered faux-fur throws and tall pillar candles burning in shell laden storm lanterns create a sense of seaside-luxe that far exceeds the usual chintzy British ‘bucket and spade’ vibe. In fact, The Gallivant wouldn’t be out of place on the shores of Malibu or on the Instagram feeds of Scandi’s most ‘hygge.’
The word ‘character’ is often a polite way of suggesting that somewhere is a little outdated. In this case, however, there is a real sense of charm and attention to detail that makes The Gallivant feel like someone scoured your Pinterest boards for your ideal home, then threw in the sense of calm and luxe that comes with being well looked after by a hotel. Guests are encouraged to grab a pair of flip flops, borrow a blue-striped beach towel and head over to the dunes, returning to complimentary freshly baked cake and a steaming cup of Tea Pigs brew…
A night or two in a Luxury Garden Room will have you mentally redesigning your entire house. A super-king size bed takes pride of place, flanked by velvet armchairs and an array of literary delights from D H Lawrence to Vogue. A large flat screen sits tastefully on the wall, though you’re unlikely to want to turn it on, opting instead for a long hot soak with locally-sourced Bramley bath products in a large roll top tub. A glass of chilled Chapel Down sparkling English wine balanced on the bath caddy and a fluffy white robe awaiting you.
Double French doors open out onto a semi-private decking in the tranquil pebbled garden; tall grass, Verbena and Echinacea swaying in the sea breeze. It’s an idyllic place to sip your morning Nespresso or relax after a treatment in the Beach Hut – a small but perfectly formed spa room offering everything from exquisite facials to a Himalayan salt scrub.
The hotel operates an impressive local radius when it comes to sourcing everything from its beauty products to its beef. Thoughtful maps demonstrate exactly where your food was reared, farmed, caught and harvested whilst the bar stocks the largest collection of English sparkling wine in the country. Whilst supper didn’t quite hit the spot, the inclusive breakfast is an outstanding spread from homemade granola and earl grey compote to toasted coconut bread and yogurt panna cotta. There’s even complimentary Bloody Mary’s if you’re feeling brazen enough.
In terms of locality, there really is no need to venture any further into Camber than The Gallivant. In all honesty, there’s nothing there. Instead, enjoy being just a hop, skip and a jump over the dunes from one of Britain’s most stunning beaches and venture into the nearby town of Rye to explore nooks and crannies and the infamous Mermaid Street.
Only a two hour drive or a 90 minute high-speed train into Rye away from London, The Gallivant is the perfect staycation for anyone looking to destress and reconnect with themselves. It feels a million miles away from the bustling city without compromising on quality or modern luxuries, the attention to detail and special touches well warranting the price tag.
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I stayed with compliments. All views and imagery are entirely my own.