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Hotel Highlights

  • Stylish and sympathetic coaching-inn conversion
  • Super-comfortable rooms, quaint cobbled streets, antiques shops and buckets of seaside charm
  • Take a picnic to Camber Sands – seven miles of rolling white-sand dunes – just two miles away

Overview

A truly impressive transformation of an old East Sussex coaching inn, the George in Rye hotel feels like it was always meant to be this elegant blend of historic and contemporary on a classic cobbled street. The lounge is all traditional wood panelling and oil-on-canvas portraiture, and the bar blends original features (such as an exposed wood ceiling) with modern décor (Florence Broadhurst textiles, slick hanging lights). Each of the rooms has been decorated differently with a range of styles from sleek mod to quirky Regency.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The George in Rye with us:

A seasonal pre-dinner cocktail each in the bar or restaurant

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The George in Rye

2-Night mid-week break with one dinner

Facilities

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

34, including five junior suites.

Check–out

11.30am (but flexible on request). Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $134.00 (£83), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast. One-night bookings for Saturdays incur a £50 supplement.

Also

Let the George organise you tickets to one of the world-class gardens nearby, or book some in-room pampering treatments with one of the therapists from the nearby Aveda spa.

At the hotel

Courtyard garden, DVD library, private dining and screening room, in‑room spa treatments, free WiFi, bike hire. In rooms, flatscreen TV, Vi‑Spring bed, Frette linens, marble‑edged (or roll-top) bath, rain shower head and Ren toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Each room is unique, so you’re bound to have your own preference, but we like cosy, pretty room 3; room 10 in the eaves with a roll‑top bath; and peaceful room 9. Room 6 has a gorgeous shower stall made from a wig cupboard. For a special weekend, book suite 1 for its double‑headed walk‑in shower. There's no lift, so some rooms (for example, room 25) aren't ideal for guests who have trouble climbing stairs.

Packing tips

Leave the coolbox behind; the George in Rye can pack you up a fabulous hamper to take on your coastal forays – the dunes of Camber Sands are the perfect picnic destination.

Also

Lavender‑filled pillows and luxurious bottles of wild fig oil imported from Florence make evenings-in even more relaxing.

Children

Welcome. An extra bed (£20) or crib (£10) can be added to rooms and babysitting can be arranged with advance notice. There's also a baby-changing room near the restaurant.

Read more

Food & Drink

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

The brasserie‑style Dining Room has been expanded with Paul Gordon (who won acclaim at Qualia in Australia) the head chef responsible for the hotel’s traditional English cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients.

Hotel Bar

Sip on a Rye Smile whiskey cocktail or glass of Sussex wine amid the George Tap’s attractive mish‑mash of wooden tables, benches and chairs; it stays open until the last guest leaves.

Last orders

The George Tap bar stays open until the last guest goes to bed.

Room service

Light snacks available 24 hours; from 7am to 10pm, you can order from the restaurant’s menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Laid‑back layers; something a little smarter for dinner.

Top table

Nestle in a corner at either end of the long banquette, or outside in the Garden Courtyard on balmy evenings.

Local Guide

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Browse the antiques shops along the Strand Quay, or stroll down to gorgeous Camber Sands with a bulging picnic hamper packed for you by the George in Rye. Ramblers will enjoy the High Weald Landscape Trail and 1066 Walk, both of which start at Rye; visit www.highweald.org for routes.

Local restaurants

Have a meal at The Ship Inn (+44 (0)1797 222233) at the bottom of Mermaid Street. The menu champions local, seasonal ingredients, with dishes ranging from the
traditional (potted shrimp with potato and thyme bread) to the unexpected (grilled sea trout with sushi rice, pickled vegetables and avocado). Rye might seem an unusual spot to find authentic Italian, but The Tuscan Kitchen (+44 (0)1797 223269) on Lion Street is run by a husband-and-wife team, and ingredients are plucked from their farm in Italy. Just outside the town’s mediaeval gate, Landgate Bistro (+44 (0)1797 222829) has an excellent menu of classic and contemporary British dishes. Savvy diners will love The Gallivant on New Lydd Road in Camber Sands (+44 (0)1797 225057), where grill-focused grub is made with sustainable, free-range and organic ingredients (meats are locally farmed, and only non-threatened species of Rye Bay fish are used).

Local cafés

There’s no shortage of cafés and tearooms in Rye, but you’ll be magnetically drawn to the cream cakes and savoury temptations at Fletchers House on Lion Street (+44 (0)1797 222227).

+ Enlarge
Cobbled Cinque Ports streets

The George in Rye

98 High Street, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7JT, United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is London Gatwick, an hour and a half from the hotel.

Trains

Rye station is closest, a tiny two-minute drive away. From here, you'll be able to reach Ashford International and the Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) in 20 minutes.

Automobiles

From Gatwick, you'll need the A23, M25 and A21. The drive from London should take just under two hours, escaping the city on the M25 and picking up the M20. There's no parking at the hotel, unless you're lucky enough to nab a street spot outside, but there's a handful of car parks within walking distance (drop off your luggage at the hotel first). The hotel recommends the Cattle Market (closed Wednesday night and Thursday) or Railway car park; the 24-hour charge for which is £1.50 and £2 respectively. Parking on the High Street is free overnight; during the day, a one-hour limit applies.

Reviews

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The George in Rye Hotel – East Sussex – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Nick Hussey , Promoter and producer

This hotel review of the George in Rye is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2. Considering I’d just slipped a disc and had promised to cycle over the Alps the following Monday, our stay at the George in Rye needed to live up to expectations. That, or my pathetic squeals of pain would reverberate through their towel cupboards and …
Read more

The George in Rye

Anonymous review by Nick Hussey, Promoter and producer

This hotel review of the George in Rye is taken from our latest guidebook, Mr & Mrs Smith: Hotel Collection – UK/Ireland Volume 2.

Considering I’d just slipped a disc and had promised to cycle over the Alps the following Monday, our stay at the George in Rye needed to live up to expectations. That, or my pathetic squeals of pain would reverberate through their towel cupboards and kitchens and onwards to those very edelweiss gorges. Thankfully, the hotel has a reputation for being comfortable and traditional, yet styish – thanks to being touched by the hand of film?set designers. Just what the doctor ordered.

Mrs Smith drove under an ancient fortified Old Town gate, dropped me outside the George, unloaded the bags and told the staff that on no account was I to carry anything. Humiliating verbal castration upon arrival. Great. While she searched for a (rare) parking space, my bag-heaving receptionist was very sweet. I asked if I could store my bike in the garage, which was of course fine. I tried to explain that cycling was good for my back, to assuage my guilt at the exercise/laziness contradiction. She really didn’t mind. But the poor disbelieving Shakespeare-lookalike barman-cum-bag-wallah nearly herniated himself with Mrs Smith’s make-up and a year’s supply of fluorescent Lycra.

The first thing we noticed about this 18th?century coaching inn was that the new owners seem to have achieved what few proprietors of these ancient public houses up and down the country have: a modern, redesigned interior that is still sympathetic to the original character of the building. It’s not just that the black tar?encrusted beams have all been sand-blasted clean, or that the sticky red paisley carpets have given way to the original flagstone tiles. It’s that no detail, from the nickel-coated plug sockets to burnished copper radiators, has been overlooked. Tightly packed with long sofas, chairs and beams, the George rises above the seagull-echoing street in a warren of little floors. Our room is extremely light and well planned, rendering it utterly inviting, helped in no small way by soft-touch scented pillows and hot-water bottle cosies. The bathroom has a Victorian-style bath cum shower, and is Aveda-product equipped, while soft-blue wood panelling lends a gently nautical air. As soon as she opened the ‘G’-branded wooden box to find an incredibly varied selection of teas, Mrs Smith immediately set to work preparing that most British of refreshments in celebration.

The owners, Katie and Alex Clarke, have links with set design and prop buying, making for a tasteful but vibrant and diverse decorative scheme: psychedelic Beatles prints sit alongside pockmarked beams and distressed leather. On our way to dinner, we nosed our way into the beautiful airy ballroom as it was being prepared for a wedding. The high walls are hung with a diverting bird-pattened wallpaper, and the chairs are clad in monochrome Florence Broadhurst textiles. It is decor that makes for love-at-first-sight stuff.

Chef Rod Grossmann’s menus create bold but well balanced flavours. Local produce is at the fore, and starters such as dressed crab and smoked duck are quite something. The wine we chose was English: Sandhurst Sussex Pinot Noir – what an extraordinary revelation. Having tasted no better Gevrey?Chambertin from Burgundy itself, it instantly became an all-time favourite.

We weren’t the only ones feeling celebratory, don’t forget. And, as many of the bedrooms lead straight to the ballroom’s heavy doors, that night, as we climbed the stairs in a pleasant post-prandial daze, a growing din of wedding-reception disco filled us with dread. But, thanks to some extraordinarily good soundproofing, Mrs Smith, with her owl-standard hearing, was able to restrict her deadly talons’ nocturnal tasks to clutching the crisp bedding.

Next morning, at a slobbish 10.30am, we took breakfast in our slightly small but excitingly bouncy bed. I went all full English; Mrs Smith purred as she lapped up home-made yogurt and raspberry compote. Later, while she pottered about Rye, buying fudge and millinery just up the High Street, I went for a cycle, and found the landscape around Rye flat, windy and abundant in sheep. I attempted to ride along Camber Sands, but couldn’t. I sank. Children laughed at me; adults pointed. But the incredible light on the beach, glistening on sand and glittering on waves, made up for my public humiliation.

Having wound my Lycra’d way back through bobbing poppies and pea fields stretching into the horizon, I was looking forward to bar snacks and bitter. A superb lamb burger, sticky caramelised chunky chips and a fresh local pint did the trick, and I happily read the papers on the enclosed, decked courtyard of the George. Luckily, no one appeared to derive too much amusement from my hairless thighs.

Smiles were more forthcoming during our visit to the nearby pampering palace, the Rye Retreat, however, where Mrs Smith had booked me in for a full-body massage and facial. Having only read of such things in sneaked teenage glances through mum’s copies of Cosmo, I was a tad nervous, and desperate to let all the nice ladies know that I fancied girls. They didn’t seem to care, and Karen, my masseur and face-scrubber, soon put me at ease. I came out smelling of tangerines and lemon sorbet. The back was in a dreamy state and Mrs Smith was warbling something about fantastic bum toners; life was pretty good.

Rye – you made converts of us. OK, this East Sussex spot may present more-than-ample kitsch bric-a-brac window-sniggering opportunities, and maybe its one-way system is a little annoying to first-time users, but the charm and romance of this ancient fishing town is undeniable. And, if it is trying to shrug off its unfair bucket-and-spade image, then the George in Rye will help its cause no end. And as for my slipped disc – well, our weekend worked a treat on that, too.

The Guestbook

Reviews of The George in Rye from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Comfortable surroundings and good value for money. Good 24-hour escape with the husband!

Rating: 7/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

This hotel has a great location, nice room, good food, nice staff.

Don’t expect

The bath/shower screen didn't move, which meant I found the step in to the bath was difficult.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We liked the gorgeous, stylish rooms and the opportunity to buy your favourite decor from the hotel. The fabulous towns of Rye and Winchelsea were also fantastic.

Don’t expect

There is no parking at the hotel and it's difficult to find a place to briefly pull up outside to drop off luggage and seek directions to the carpark.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We thought the service at the hotel was brilliant, the staff were very attentative and nothing was too much trouble for them. 

Don’t expect

The room that we stayed in was a bit small and was overpowered by the four poster bed.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The hotel has friendly staff, spacious rooms, a great central location, and a lovely outside space for breakfast.

Don’t expect

We didn't have anywhere to park.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The staff was very friendly and attentive. We were upgraded to a suite, which was a surprise and a delight – fantastic break! Thank you!

Don’t expect

Parking is a bit of an issue, but that is to be expected with Rye being such an old town.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the quirky style in a period building.

Don’t expect

The Grill was quite ordinary, but perhaps one shouldn't expect fine dining in Rye. There wasn't enough space to put one's clothes if staying for more than one night.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The food was excellent and the rooms nicely decorated.

Don’t expect

Hotel doesn't have a car park: you have to park by the train station, which is only a few minutes' walk away but it's annoying having to schlep your bags.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the cosy and sophisticated decor; friendly, attentive staff; and the good food and great atmosphere.

Don’t expect

The WiFi could be improved.

Rating: 8/10 stars