Short stay: Beachcroft Hall & Beach Hut Suites, Felpham, West Sussex, UK
Four designer Beach Hut Suites sit just yards from Felpham’s beach. It’s a bucket and spade shoreline where seagulls call and sea breezes rustle the palm tree planting.
Ivon Blumer architects have created a gentle-blue-clapperboard homage to beach life. Four huts named Beach, Sand, Pebble and Shell – each spread over three levels,- elevate beach hut design to fashion-shoot chic. Huts are staggered so that each terrace is not overlooked.
Check-in is at The Beachcroft Hotel. Across a narrow seaside lane, the four huts have their own car park, with a charging point for electric vehicles.
To help with the welcome, in the usual style of Peter de Savary hotels, there is a decanter of sloe gin and a bottle of dry white wine chilling in the SMEG fridge. In that mini red fridge, there is also milk to go with coffee from the coffee-maker.
On a mezzanine level, the master bedroom has views through a porthole to the ocean. A large bed dressed with white linens dominates the room.
Two giant champagne style corks serve as bedside tables. Retro railway posters from the great age of the illustrators promote escapes to the British sea-side resorts. On the ground floor there is a small bunk room, ideal for two children.
A tardis-like shower dominates a bright, white bathroom on the ground floor. A porthole of a mirror continues the maritime theme.
A large vase of artificial blooms brings colour to a bathroom which provides plenty of room for all of the family’s toiletries.
It’s a minute stroll across the road to the Beachcroft Hotel and the indoor pool. The Tamarisk restaurant serves a classic British menu. Melon, pate and soup are all available for starters. Within yards of the ocean, scallops served with a black pudding crumb is a favourite starter.
Similarly amongst the chicken, lamb and steak it is hard to resist the freshest and firmest of fillets of sea bream, resting on risotto and surrounded by roasted heritage tomatoes. For classic seaside fish and chips look to the Monty’s Bar menu – which can also be taken in the Tamarisk Restaurant.
William Blake and his serene vision of Felpham, “Heaven opens here on all sides her golden gates”, is the inspiration for Blake’s Bar and Terrace. Morning begins with coffee and move on through the day to provide beachside bistro dining.
West Sussex is a magnet for foodies. The Artisan Bakehouse offers one and two day courses in an idyllic rural location. Sourcing much of their flour from Tetbury, the courses look at the journey of wheat to the loaf. Introductory one day courses give guests the opportunity to make four different types of bread, learning different kneading techniques as they progress.
Bread guru, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, teaches on some of the courses. Many who take his introduction to sourdough return for the two-day sourdough masterclass. Throughout the year classes are also provided on Mediterranean breads and Viennoiserie. Occasionally, the bakery hosts artisan chocolate-making classes too.
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Bait to plate fly fishing is available at Fin and Forks, near Arundel. Guests have a guided fishing session, an afternoon in the smokehouse kitchen and Chef’s table dining.
Designated as a Dark Skies reserve, the South Downs of West Sussex provides great opportunities for star-gazing too.
Other nice touches
Bikes are available from Beachcroft Hotel to explore the region. The huts are located on a seven mile coastal trail for biking or walking. Guests are given a booklet of walks, coastal and country, to help them discover West Sussex, including trails through the South Downs National Park as well as overlooking The Solent.
Picnic hampers can be ordered for beach, country or an al fresco lunch on the huts’ decking terraces.
Four-legged friends are welcome and there is a dog-station of treats and water near reception. In fact, Monty’s Bar is named after Peter de Savary’s dog.
The beach huts, sleeping two adults and two children are available from £275 per night.
That includes breakfast which can either be taken in the Tamarisk Restaurant or delivered as a continental breakfast to the beach hut.
The best bit
Kathleen Fraser’s design runs with the beachside theme. The tall lounge with its aquamarine sofa and shades of sea-blues soft-furnishings is cooled by a ceiling fan shaped as a propeller.
Light wood floors and wide bi-fold doors allow light to flood in to the lounge. A tall sun-drenched portrait of bathers, filled with bright colours of a summer beach, dominates.
The final verdict
West Sussex is a hidden gem. Too many travellers rush through as they head for Brighton and Portsmouth. Particularly strong on foodie experiences, the South Downs National Park and its surrounds has much to offer.
The Beachcoft Hotel Beach Hut Suites provide a stylish base at peaceful Felpham. Kathleen Fraser’s imaginative interior design captures the simple pleasures of the Great British seaside getaway.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Beachcroft Hotel and Beach Hut Suites.