With a collection of awards under their belt, including the UK’s Coolest Beach Hotel, The Gallivant hotel promises a chic beach-break on the East Sussex coast for dogs and dog lovers alike. Set beside the dunes of Camber Sands beach, with a top restaurant serving up skilfully prepared local produce and dog-friendly rooms bedecked in nautical charm, The Gallivant certainly lives up to the hype.
The hotel is based in a former 1960s motel, but has since been given a charming coastal refresh, though still managing to maintain the motel feel with low-level architecture and road-side locale. With the lovely Camber Sands beach just across the road The Gallivant feels like an American coastal motel, but with a Scandinavian minimalist twist! With a rare British summer’s day in full force during our stay it felt positively Hampton-esque – the perfect place for gallivanting on the beach with the dog!
There are 20 individually designed rooms at The Gallivant, ranging from the “Cosy” room that myself and my pampered pooch Kipper stayed in, to the “Luxury Garden Room” (pictured above) – the hotel’s most luxurious room with a semi-private outside decked area, freestanding roll-topped bath and walk-in monsoon shower. Even though my “Cosy Room” was smaller in size, it was more than comfortable, with an inviting king-sized bed and tasteful coastal design – think muted tones, linens and drift wood, as well as high-end bathroom toiletries, fluffy bathrobes and super soft bed linen as standard.
Being in the main hotel building also afforded us access to the Larder of Guilty pleasures – essentially an extension on your in-room minibar but with a bit more choice including posh popcorn, locally produced sweet treats and a stocked bar – though human only, not for dogs.
PET FRIENDLY PERKS
The Gallivant allows one well-behaved dog per room in selected rooms. This has to be arranged prior to your stay and they will also provide a comfy rug, toy, water bowl and some dog biscuits. Dogs aren’t allowed on furniture, but with most of them likely covered in sand from the beach we felt that fair enough! The main perk for dogs staying at The Gallivant really is the location and the fact that their humans can enjoy such a luxurious break without leaving them at home. The staff were also extremely welcoming and we weren’t made to feel as if having a dog with us was an inconvenience.
FOOD & DRINK
Whilst the beach-side location and tasteful décor already propel The Gallivant into one of our all-time favourite dog-friendly spots, it is the food that really excelled during our stay. The Gallivant have gone all-out when it comes to ensuring the serve up top notch food, with chefs Oliver Joyce and Kevin Bennett heading up the kitchen. Between them they have worked in some of the UK’s best restaurants, including Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and even Buckingham Palace!
On offer is a skilled and tasty menu of locally sourced ingredients from sustainable sources – in fact they boast that 95% of their fresh ingredients are from 10 miles or less of The Gallivant – giving the menu a wonderful local charm to it.
Dogs aren’t allowed to accompany guests into the main restaurant, however, the staff are more than accommodating and they will make a space for them on the terrace if you don’t like leaving your pooch alone in the bedroom. The lovely lady on reception even offered to have our dog sit on reception with her if we wanted! Being a rare warm British evening we opted to dine on the terrace.
We settled in with drinks in hand and a tasty amuse bouche of asparagus soup with crispy courgette on top courtesy of the chef. I opted for the crispy lamb breast with wild garlic and creamed potato and my companion tried the local mackerel with fennel – both of which were woofed down in a matter of minutes!
Next up was the slow cooked pork belly and the Dungeness Dover Sole with potted shrimp – again, both were absolutely delicious and cooked to perfection. We almost didn’t have room for dessert, but somehow managed to squeeze in a lemon meringue pie (of the deconstructed variety) and a cheese board with locally produced cheeses and a lovely card telling us about each one. The whole meal was a testament to the great British produce on offer and was all served up presented beautifully.
WHAT TO BRING
The hotel will supply a dog rug and water bowl upon request. If your pooch prefers the comforts of their own bed, the free parking just outside the hotel means that bringing your own necessities is pretty convenient. The staff are also so helpful that if you have forgotten something they will no doubt go out of their way to assist.
WHEN TO GO
Anytime! With the beach on the doorstep summer is a fantastic time to stay at The Gallivant – dogs can tire themselves out running around the sand dunes and across the vast expanse of sand at low tide, while humans can enjoy a sun downer on the terrace followed by dinner. However, we can imagine a wonderful wind-swept winter walk followed by a hot toddy in the cosy dining area also wouldn’t go amiss!
“Having rolled around in the sand for a good few hours at the beach and chased a few seagulls off I felt pretty exhausted, so the super comfy room was perfect for a quick dog nap before dinner – even if I wasn’t allowed on the bed! Mum even took me for a posh meal, where I got lots of fuss and a few treats of my own. Beach and treats – perfection!”