10 of the chicest British seaside hotels for a last minute bank holiday escape


eady for one last hurrah this summer? Then why not push the boat out at these chic seaside retreats, just a stone's throw from the water's edge, where you can soak up the last golden days and balmy nights. From the ruggedly handsome Cornish coast to the charming Kent seafront, you're guaranteed a restorative break with laid-back service, rejuvenating sea air and delicious local fare.

The Rose, Kent

Seth Carnill

After serving pints on Deal's high street for over 200 years, The Rose has been lovingly transformed into an eight-bed boutique hotel by its new owners, Christopher Hicks and Alex Bagner. The couple have lived in the area for over a decade and clearly have good taste - playful interiors mix bold paint colours, vintage lighting and retro furnishings to dazzling effect. Luckily for foodies, the acclaimed Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes also happens to be a friend of theirs and has collaborated on a menu that showcases the freshest wild, foraged and earthy ingredients from the Kent coast.

Highlights include grilled local skate and oyster mushrooms with cap brown butter and kale, and cured sea trout with charcoal cream and celeriac ribbons. Price: rooms from GBP100 a night; therosedeal.com The Gallivant, East Sussex

The Gallivant

As guests of The Gallivant, you can be floating in the sea minutes after you wake up, thanks to the hotel's proximity to Camber Sands.

This Hamptons-style bolthole oozes coastal character with ocean blues, weathered antiques and framed vintage swimming costumes on the walls, and many of the spacious bedrooms come with their own lavender-filled gardens. During the day, thoughtful staff members will pack you a beach bag containing a blanket, striped towels and flasks of water - at night it might contain pre-made margaritas to be drunk lying on the sand as the sun goes down. Return to the restaurant for delectable dishes - think wood-grilled Angus porterhouse or monkfish tail - before a nightcap and a game of backgammon in the cosy snug.

Price: rooms from GBP170 a night; thegallivant.co.uk The Swan Southwold, Suffolk

The Swan Southwold

Base yourself at the colourful and charismatic seaside nest The Swan at Southwold to discover the town's revitalising beach, myriad bookshops and iconic pier, known for its weird and wonderful games arcade. The property's distinctive Georgian facade belies its bright, modern interiors - expect seriously comfortable four-poster beds, sofas upholstered in neon fabrics and jazzy rugs, and copper fittings that reflect the historic Adnams brewery next door (tours as well as gin-making sessions are available for guests).

You can also sample their beers and spirits in the hotel's Tap Room bar, served alongside tasty small bites, or reserve a table in the Still Room for more formal plates of slow-cooked duck leg, roast chump of Suffolk lamb and Sutton Hoo chicken ballotine. Price: rooms from GBP200 a night; theswansouthwold.co.uk Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall

Hotel Tresanton

An immediate hit when it opened in 1998 with the hotelier and designer Olga Polizzi at the helm, Hotel Tresanton is credited for putting St Mawes on the map as one of the UK's most fashionable destinations.

Today, it remains just as popular; the 30 bedrooms are filled with stylish antique furniture, and interesting art and sculpture from Cornish artists including Barbara Hepworth. Outside, you'll find a Mediterranean style garden and a delightful sea-facing terrace for alfresco dining - breakfast is a real treat, with smoked kippers, fluffy pancakes and freshly made smoothies. During the warmer months, a skipper can take you sailing around Falmouth Bay on Pinuccia, an eight-metre Italian racing yacht, and there's a beach club with sun loungers to relax on.

Price: rooms from GBP270 a night; tresanton.com The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

The Pig on the Beach

Fancy exploring the golden sands and limestone stacks of the Jurassic Coast, England's only natural World Heritage site? Then book a room at The Pig on the Beach, the ideal place to recover after long cliffside walks, with vistas over Studland Bay, and the Isle of Wight in the distance.

Originally the home of the aristocratic Bankes family of Kingston Lacy, the hotel's decor nods to its former owners' idiosyncratic tastes with rambling staircases, yellow-painted turrets and freestanding bathtubs. Spa-afficionados will love the two treatment cabins, set in a wild meadow, offering soothing facials and massages that use organic Bamford products. Price: rooms from GBP225 a night; thepighotel.com

Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Watergate Bay

Stay closer to the water than ever before at one of seven beach lofts at the Watergate Bay Hotel in the north of Cornwall. Come morning, slide open the floor-to-ceiling windows and make the most of your private access straight onto the sand with a sunrise surfing session, or curl up with a book in the hanging chairs by the fire. Some rooms have deep Japanese baths by the window with incredible sea views, and all are dog friendly.

During your vacation, you'll be paired up with a host to help with any requests, great or small, and there's also a communal pantry so you can enjoy in-room breakfasts or load up a hamper with freshly baked cakes to eat on the beach. Price: beach lofts from GBP545 a night; watergatebay.co.uk Artist Residence, East Sussex

Artist Residence

The iconic seaside destination of Brighton is home to a vast pebbly beach, a four-mile promenade and pier, and the enchanting Artist Residence, a bohemian bolthole on the city's Regency Square.

There's eye-catching artwork at every turn - as part of the building's refurbishment, artists were offered free board in return for paintings and murals - and thoughtful details like mini Smeg fridges, Bramley bath products and Roberts Radios in the guestrooms to help you settle in. Downstairs is a lively eatery and bar that serves coffees and cocktails from breakfast to bedtime, or why not curate a beach picnic from the nearby delis, that might include cheese from Curds and Whey, charcuterie from Barney's and tapas-to-go from Mediterraneo. Price: rooms from GBP95 a night; artistresidence.co.uk

Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa, Devon

Salcombe Harbour Hotel

Don your Breton stripes for a trip to the pretty town of Salcombe, which hugs a harbour on the Kingsbridge estuary in South Devon, and check in to the sleek waterfront retreat, Salcombe Harbour Hotel & Spa. A calming palette of nautical blues, creams and greys greets you, and there's a superb spa with a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam rooms, and five ESPA treatment rooms. The Jetty restaurant serves up succulent seafood - hungry visitors should opt for the Surf & Turf platter that comes piled high with garlic tiger prawns, scallops, mussels and sirloin.

Light-filled suites have balconies for yacht-watching, or you can climb to the rooftop terrace for afternoon tea and an equally mesmerising view. Price: rooms from GBP234 a night; harbourhotels.co.uk The Reading Rooms, Kent

The Reading Rooms

Built in the 1770s on a tree-lined Georgian square in Margate and named after the places that were the height of fashion in the town's heyday, The Reading Rooms is an adults-only B&B with two huge suites, each covering an entire floor of the townhouse.

Breakfast is served in-room, so you can feast on fresh fruits, pastries, smoked salmon bagels and more, while wearing just your dressing gown and slippers. The beach - and its famous sunsets - is five minutes' walk away, plus don't miss a visit to the Turner Contemporary gallery and Dreamland, an amusement park based on a traditional English seaside funfair. Price: rooms from GBP225 a night; thereadingroomsmargate.co.uk

Three Mile Beach, Cornwall

Three Mile Beach

Created by the Audley Travel founder Craig Burkinshaw and his partner Joanne Le Bon, Three Mile Beach is a collection of 15 sophisticated self-catering cottages, hidden among golden sand dunes on the north Cornwall coast near St. Ives. Interiors are cool and calming with splashes of colour, and there's plenty of fun for families and groups of friends alike, with wrap-around terraces, sunken cedar hot tubs, barrel saunas, board games and barbecues.

Well-equipped kitchens make whipping up meals a breeze, but if you'd rather chill out completely, it's possible to book a private chef, order homemade dishes for the freezer or get a takeaway from the resort's street food truck.

Price: a three-bedroom beach house from GBP4500 a week; threemilebeach.co.uk