The Gallivant is conveniently located right next to Camber Sands. You don’t actually get a sea view from this “coastal motel”, but a 30 second walk over a sand dune and you’ve got the most beautiful of beaches. We make the most of it as soon as we arrive with a bottle of Nyetimber (English sparkling wine) and some blankets – a lovely touch.
But enough of the English seaside, what’s the hotel like? Well that too is gorgeous. It’s all one level; there’s a large restaurant to the right, a small reception area in the middle and rooms to the left. It’s not big, it’s not grand but it’s charming.
Our Baby Hampton room, number 4, is small but cosy in a seaside kind of way. There’a a view of the carpark through the bay window (cushions galore make that a lovely place to sit) but some well placed plants and a slatted blind cover it well. The bed is bouncy and soft; the kind you let an ahhhh as you lay back on.
The bathroom has a small bath cum shower but with plenty of marble and a plethora of Bamford products, it feels luxurious. I even break my rule of only having a soak in freestanding bathtubs. Ooh err.
We have dinner in the restaurant which offers a menu of locally sourced and simply cooked ingredients. There’s even a map explaining where everything comes from which is nice to see.
Bouillabaisse (£9.50), that pungently fishy soup, comes with a crouton and big dollop of aioli, which helps detract from some of the fishiness. It’s a winter warmer but not one for the faint hearted. Escabeche with pickled cucumber (£8.50) is another bold seafood hit.
Partridge (£21.50) comes with a little leg pithivier which is a pleasant surprise. The pastry is buttery and crisp and the meat inside is soft and rich. Essentially it’s meat, gravy and mash – a combo which never disappoints. Sea bass with celeriac puree (£22.50) has the crispy, salty skin you long for with fish. Again, it’s all about simplicity and quality.
Puds are the standout dishes; blackberry mousse and sorbet and carrot cake with ginger ice cream. They both look beautiful and although being sweet neither are sickly. It’s worth noting that the bar is only very small so if you’re looking for an after dinner drinky, you’ll have to race the other diners to get a sofa.
After a relaxing sleep we attack the breakfast buffet which has loads of homemade goodies; granola bars, banana bread, Madeleines. The Full Gallivant (£9) looks a bit sorry for itself though which is a shame. The quality is good but the cooking and presentation are less so. And the muffins with the eggs bennedict (£7.50) are burnt.
Before we leave for London, our friends Jane and Hugh take us to Knoop’s in nearby Rye for a hot chocolate which has dozens of strengths to choose from – a must visit. All in all we felt sad to leave to The Gallivant and Camber Sands. When you live in London, little one nighters can do you the world of good and this is just the ticket.
Would we go back? Yes.
We stayed and dined as guests of the hotel