Somewhere to stay: Zanzibar International Hotel, Hastings
Trendy accommodation with a truly international style, in East Sussex. By Catherine Butler
With its elegant villas lining the gardens of Warrior Square, its grand hotel and promenade, St Leonards-on-Sea was the place to be for well-heeled Victorians. In recent years, the resort had lost much of its charm, but the opening of the Zanzibar International Hotel in 2005 has restored some glamour.
Zanzibar is more a trendy B&B than a hotel. Its eight en-suite bedrooms are stretched across the various storeys of this dizzyingly tall house on the seafront, a short stroll from the antiques emporiums, smart restaurants and cobbled streets of Hastings Old Town. Each room takes its theme from owner Max O’Rourke’s travels around the world and three have sea views: the cool, minimalist ‘Antarctica’, the earthy toned ‘Africa’ (above) and ‘South America’ with its Brazilian hand-carved bed and freestanding bath, separated from the sleeping area only by drapes. If you’re not keen on too many stairs, opt for a room on one of the lower floors; bijou ‘Bali’ has French windows that open onto the garden. Bathrooms are sleek and contemporary with a good range of L’Occitane and Molton Brown toiletries.
Service at Zanzibar is friendly and unobtrusive, and the breakfasts that are usually served in your room include a vegetarian or traditional full English and kippers. The hotel doesn’t offer dinner, but that is a great excuse to visit nearby eateries such as St Clement’s, specialising in local seafood. If hearty, home cooking is more up your street, try Pomegranate in the Old Town for French-inspired fare.
B&B from £145 for a double room (£40 single-night supplement on Sat)
Zanzibar International Hotel, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex (01424 460109; www.zanzibarhotel.co.uk).