Perched a stone’s throw away from Camber Sands beach you’ll find The Gallivant, a charming seaside getaway just 10 minutes drive from the picture postcard town of Rye. In 2019, The Gallivant had a spruce up, the full refurbishment presented an upgraded look for the hotel that set it in a new league, comparable to the top cult staycation spots in the UK.

Striking a balance between farmhouse chic blended with modern Cali design, the decor takes seaside style to new heights. The perfect blend of raw materials, earthy hues and quirky furnishings work in harmony to create a country living aesthetic that’s very easy on the eye and makes for great interior inspo. Retro swimwear features throughout the hotel, framed as artwork to pay homage to its coastal location. The snug is the spot for chilling out, leave your phone in your room and grab one of the vintage wooden games or delve into the extensive collection of coffee table books scattered around, as you melt into a cosy corner and switch off.

It’s hard to believe that (on a good run) you’re less than 2 hours away from London with the natural surroundings The Gallivant is blessed with, encouraging you to disconnect and slip into a slow pace of life from the moment you arrive. It’s a rarity to witness the sunrise and the sunset in the same place, and Camber Sands beach is graced with both every day. Pick up a picnic blanket to lay on the sand dunes and admire the majestic moments of watching the sun unveil from the sea at dawn and the final flickers of daylight at dust, sipping on a cocktail courtesy of the hotel bar.

Scented with Bamford’s signature calming blends, the 20 rooms include the Snug Cabin and Baby Hampton and Large Hampton, which are adjoined to the main building and the Garden and Luxury Garden rooms, all of which have a back door that enters out into the coastal garden. The rooms each have a personality of their own, with no two being the same. The freestanding roll-top tub plonked in the bedroom is too good not to take a dip, made all the more indulgent with the Bamford bath salts. The room amenities are both luxe and practical, a reusable water bottle to refill at the bar, Teapig tea bags for a morning or bedtime brew, a Nespresso coffee machine, an eclectic mix of books stacked on the shelves and a pick of Bamford toiletries (much to my delight).

If you speak to anybody in the hospitality industry at the moment there seems to be one common thread, that good staff are hard to come by, but The Gallivant most certainly doesn’t seem to be having this issue. The service epitomises excellence, boasting amiable yet professional staff that are attentive in a laid-back fashion. It’s the little things; sipping on a morning coffee in the snug, the host will greet you with the daily newspapers; if you’re off for a walk and the weather is on the turn, they’ll sort you out with wellies and a rain mac and to top it off, at precisely 5pm daily, guests are welcomed to a glass of English wine!

Aligned with the seasons, the local menu, consisting of sea, land and vegetarian dishes, is concise, uncomplicated and enticing. As the saying goes, if you’re by the sea then seafood is the notable choice and The Gallivant does a superb job, with Maldon rock oysters, cured chalk stream trout, wood-roasted gurnard fillet and a whole Rye bay fish featuring at various points on the menu, alongside the “plateau fruits de Mer” sharing plate; an exquisite pick of crab, oysters, Atlantic prawns, mussels, large crevettes, sourdough bread and seaweed fries. Championing local English wine, The Gallivant work in conjunction with vineyards in the bordering counties of Kent and West Sussex to pair alongside the dishes and the man to lead the way is Paul, the restaurant manager. Delivering an elevated impact on the dining experience, Paul’s sommelier knowledge leaves you in safe hands!  Breakfast is served until 11am, putting contemporary twists on classics. ‘Bean Power’ got my vote; grilled sourdough topped with slow braised beans in a rich tomato sauce, spinach and a faultless poached egg. It’s a real pleasure to relish in the chef’s take on culinary skills, whether you’re a hotel guest or passing through Camber Sands, the restaurant is open to all for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

There is no better way to commence your day than a morning yoga flow in the charming studio at The Gallivant. At 8am each morning, guests are welcome to join a 1-hour class designed to calm the mind and spark restorative movement in the body. One-to-one sessions are also available if you’re after a bit more privacy. The Gallivant also have a Peloton bike on-site if you’re looking to get your sweat on during your stay.

The Bamford Cabin is the dinkiest, most endearing spa you’ll ever lay eyes on. Nestled amongst the trees in the coastal garden, the wooden hut accommodates a cosy treatment room for one. Sharing an aligned philosophy, The Gallivant are proud to be one of the few partners of the Bamford Wellness Spa to offer their signature treatments including the De-stress massage and B Silent Treatment. Meeting high standards, the therapists are individually trained by the Bamford Spa team for the most tranquil experience.

Diversifying their wellness offerings for 2023, The Gallivant’s new ‘Cosmic Wellness Series’ aims to help you navigate the mystical world of spiritual wellness. Curated by The Gallivant’s in-house Spiritual Wellness Guide, India Terry, the calendar is filled up with a stellar lineup of inspiring talks, workshops and day retreats, from yogic mindfulness practices directed by the lunar and solar cycles, ReWild events designed to reconnect you with the nature and creative workshops led by local artists and guest experts. The timings of the events have been meticulously programmed by India to harness the cosmic energy at the specific time, whether it’s setting intentions at the new moon or uncovering the endeavours of mercury retrograde. Setting themselves apart from the rest, the Cosmic Wellness Series makes a welcoming change from the typical wellbeing programme we’re used to seeing. The awakening experiences are the ideal interludes during a staycation at this serene seaside haven.

Offering an upmarket take on a half-board service, ‘The Complete’ encompasses the very best of elements of The Gallivant. Pulling out all the stops, ‘The Complete’ includes an overnight stay, a three-course dinner, breakfast, drinks on the dunes, daily yoga and wellness classes, English wine at five and turndown ‘We Have Drift Off’ tea. It’s a service not many UK hotels favour as it comes with slight preconceived notions, but done right, which evidently The Gallivant has succeeded, it makes for the ultimate relaxed stay that’s a far cry away from an ‘all inclusive’, no buffets in sight!

All in all, The Gallivant will blow your expectations, the food, the interiors, the location, the hospitality…everything is on point. It’s not often that hotels that boast these qualities bother with such an extensive holistic wellness programme and yet The Gallivant has executed a spiritually uplifting series that will thrill passionate wellness-seekers as well as inspire novices to delve into the wellbeing realm.

For more information visit thegallivant.co.uk

words by Isabelle Shury