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“British beach chic”
Review of The Gallivant

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The Gallivant
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Camber
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 19, 2013

I stayed here for a wedding and thought it was a great place for the event and as somewhere to stay. The room was a little bit on the small side but the bed was very comfy and the bathroom was new and a good size. I actually liked the lack of wardrobe/hanging things on the wall; it made it easier to make outfit choices! It was clear that the hotel team work really hard on weddings; providing flip flops for everyone for canapés on the beach was a really nice touch - definitely one of the best weddings I've been to! All in all a wonderful place to stay, especially if the weather's on your side which it was for us!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank aleightonbrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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848 - 854 of 1,420 reviews

Reviewed July 16, 2013

I have recently visited the Gallivant and was surprised at how different it was to what was represented on the website. I was expecting an idyllic retreat but this felt like a motel in a very busy location. The beach is across the road from the hotel and was absolutely packed. Overcrowded is an understatement. Cars were parked for a mile or so along the road and the traffic was awful. Some friends who were also staying had to walk an hour from Rye train station as they could not get a taxi.

The hotel décor is pretty but the rooms were definitely nothing special. Our room was £125 a night and the room was very small with a limited view. The bathroom was nice enough but there were no little extras that made it seem homely. Tiny bottles of shampoo, normal tea and coffee and that was about it. I've had more extras in a basic chain hotel. There was no wardrobe only hangers on the walls which made it feel smaller than it was. One thing that seemed odd was the pricelist in the room for any extras like the beach bag, rubber duck, biscuits and key fob. They were very over-priced and the pricelist seemed out of place with the general atmosphere that was trying to be created by the so called shabby chic décor.

The food was great and I think this is a great restaurant but not a great hotel. The staff were ok but one person, I'm not sure if she was the manager, was very unfriendly. The drinks were also on the expensive side, although this depends on what you are use to paying. A bottle of larger and a single gin and tonic was around £9.

All in all very disappointing and does not do what it says on the tin.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Clare032
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We stayed in a delux room which was quite large, with sofa, coffee table and very comfy bed. Very clean and we thought nice decor.Nothing outstanding though and as others have reviewed not sure we got value for money. Seating outside needs attention.As one reviewer said the website sells a perception not a reality which disappoints.Reception, manager and some waiting staff were friendly and helpful. Location is great. Sadly I possibly think we chose the wrong dishes from the Bistro menu, as having eaten there before and been pleased we didnt really enjoy our meals this time. The service wasnt great either, having been asked if we would like a dessert menu ,20 mins later it hadnt arrived and we had to request it again. To be fair the manager apologised and our desserts came quickly.The breakfast was really good a varied menu and delicious ..Would we stay again not sure... possibly

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank starryknightKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

I stayed here not long ago for a wedding and my overall impression was that it wasn't bad but at £125 a night it is very overpriced. The setting is nice enough although it's not a beachside location. You do have to cross a road and go through a car park to get to the dunes which are beautiful when you get there. No view to speak of.

The rooms were the let big let down for me. If I said travelodge with driftwood that might be a little harsh but they were sort of that. The bathroom was definitely straight from a travelodge though! The beds were comfy and facilites decent. The corridor to the room had some unfinished bits and looked a little scruffy.

The food in the restaurant was very good in the evening with some nice wines to go with it. Breakfast was awful. Definitely the worst poached egg I have eaten (full of water and tasteless) and the breakfast staff a bit dippy.

Overall not bad but overpriced by £30-35 a night.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

I booked the Beach Hut room for my girlfriend's birthday one Saturday night in July. There was a two night minimum stay specified, but one night was OK with reception when I phoned. I could only find the rate on the Mr and Mrs Smith website and it included dinner, bed and breakfast.

The location is perfect, with miles of sandy dunes minutes away and Dungeness nature reserve not far. The only drag is the main road which you have to cross to get to the beach. It's a public beach too, and it was the hottest day of the year. My coastal bolt hole dreams were shattered!

This is not a beach hut by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a suite as it says on the door! It's the end room of single storey construction that feels like a motel. You can still see the shadow left by the old Bar N Grill signs on the roof. There is space outside your room, but it just offers a view of the car park. Plus you will have to move your legs out the way when your neighbours come through.

The room had a whiff of toilet when we first entered, but that eventually passed. The bed was enormous and we had a peaceful sleep. The luxurious bedding and driftwood fittings are a pleasant touch. A few books to read, a big TV, biscuits and a comfy sofa all help you feel at home. The doors, windows and bathroom fittings (all plastic) need replacing just to help the room cut its ties with the motel history. When you book and pay for 'The Suite' you expect it to feel extra special. It didn't. And it was the closest room to the road.

Our seating options for a drink before dinner were not ideal. Either a few pub tables strewn along the side on uncut grass, or right under a very loud speaker next to the bistro. We went back to our room instead.

Dinner was excellent, I had trouble choosing from the well planned menu; it was all very tempting. The chef clearly concentrates on doing a few things to a high standard. Great to see dab and mussels rather than over-fished cod and salmon. The bistro is relaxed and service prompt and friendly. Breakfast was hearty, from a thoughtful menu and high quality. I looked forward to both meals and was happily and contentedly fed.

I hovered between 3 and 4 as the overall score for a while. The main reason I gave 3 is value for money. The review may seem negative, but I feel the rate I paid gives me a right to be so. The owner has clearly worked hard to get The Gallivant this far and it's nearly there. I just don't think it's fair to charge that much yet. I feel the website sells a perception, not a reality.

We had a pleasant stay overall, and would happily come back to the bistro anytime. Thanks for having us.

Room Tip: The Beach Hut room is not worth the extra money, plus it is the room nearest to the road.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank pnm563
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2013

The term "Shabby chic" could have been invented because of this hotel. Fortuitously we had already concluded, from Trip Advisor reports, that we should expect quality but not top end luxury, and we thoroughly enjoyed our "3 night explore package".

The hotel is a single storey structure which is located on a fairly quiet road which separates it from the famous dunes. It is not part of a row of hotels and it's location gives a pleasant feeling of openness. The furnature, throughout the hotel, is made from whitewashed drift wood,

The 3 main plus features are:

1/ It's location near to the dunes and beach, Rye and Dungerness. It was a joy to be able to be able to walk the dunes and beach within minutes of finishing an excellent breakfast.

2/ The kitchen can only be described as outstanding and is certainly the most outstanding single feature of the hotel.

3/ The staff who seemed to have representatives from most European countries plus the Baltic, have clearly been carefully selected. They were all personable, competent and helpfull while retaining their interesting national characteristics - particularly from Estonia. Special thanks is due to the Hungarian receptionist, with a name that starts with U, for finding us blankets instead of the dreaded douvet.

The bedrooms are fairly basic but do feature a large comfortable bed, a flat screen TV plus DVD player and light proof lined curtains. The bathroom was particularly nice, clean, and modern. It incorporated bath shower and rubber duck.
The wardrobe however, is a row of pegs on the wall with coathangers on them. Do not take to many cloths!

Overall, an interestingly different but pleasurable experience

Room Tip: The hotel is located on a fairly quiet road (very subjective). The premium rooms (eg No.8) are locat...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Cedric324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

I've been kind and gone for very good over average on my rating because it is definitely better than average but there are a few basic things which need to be sorted or which potential guests should be aware of.

On the positive side:
- the hotel has a briliant location for a summer break - it is not "on" the beach but is a 2 minute walk across the road and up the dunes from stunning Camber sands.
-The deluxe room (in which we stayed) was spacious and simply decorated in a modern, beachy style with a huge TV and comfy sofa.
-The staff were charming, helpful and friendly, both at reception and in the restaurant.
- the food was fantastic - a huge variety of cooked breakfasts and dinners were delicious (although not many options for vegetarians). The salt marsh lamb was fantastic and the tarte tatin was a sensation.

However, there are a few basic things which need to be sorted:
-the main issue is the water in the bathrooms. Either tepid or scalding with very low pressure. From previous reviews this has clearly been an issue before but nothing has been done. The bathrooms generally are very sparten and a bit tired looking and could do with a refurb - the shower head and flex in our bathroom was very worn.
-the pillows were small, hard and flat. Fluffy pillows should really be a no-brainer for a boutique hotel. Again, this is something mentioned in previous reviews which should have been sorted by now (at no great cost).
- service in the restaurant. The restaurant appears to be understaffed. It may not be, but it was very difficult (at every meal) to get the waiting staff to take our order or notice us when we wanted something as they rushed past. We sometimes had to get up and find someone to take our order. When we did speak to them they were lovely, but there needs to be clear training from the management to ensure waiting staff keep an eye on each table and notice when guests need service.
- I had expected better sleep quality. The hotel is next to a road which can be noisy if you have a room facing the car park, but this is not the hotel's fault. However, at no significant cost they could provide disposable ear plugs in these rooms (which is something I've seen done at other hotels).

I've tried to be fair in my review, and we did have a very enjoyable break because of the super location by the beach (and the lovely town of Rye), and the fantastic food and friendly staff. However, the hotel is not cheap, and if it is not going to provide luxury (which wouldnt be right for its style and location), it must get the basics right for the price. If it can correct these points I would definitely visit again next summer (or even out of season if the price is right).

Room Tip: If you are a light sleeper ask for a room away from the car park/road or bring ear plugs
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank 4MR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Gallivant

Address: New Lydd Road | Rye, Camber, Rye TN31 7RB, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > East Sussex > Rye > Camber
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Camber
Price Range: $138 - $214 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Gallivant 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to our coastal restaurant with rooms, across the road from the dunes of Camber Sands and beautiful sandy beach beyond. Inspired by the coastal motels you might find in California, we're a calm and relaxing hideaway from the stresses and strains of modern life. We have 20 amazing bedrooms all decorated with an eye to the Hamptons and serve great food using almost exclusively locally sourced fresh ingredients. In 2016 we were included in The Times 'Coolest Beach Hotels - No. 4', The Mirror's 'Top 10 Seaside Hotels in the UK' and Squaremeal's 'UK's Best 100 Restaurants'. The private coastal garden incorporates mini secluded decks behind all the Garden and Luxury Garden rooms and is also home to The Beach Hut, where guests can enjoy relaxing massages and lovely facials after a day on the beach using ethical and natural health and beauty products that are exclusively blended in the UK. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Place At Beach
Place At The Beach Rye

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