Travel in 2020 was a guessing game. Trying to plan a trip away, even for a UK staycation, would fox even the smartest superforecaster. However, after a number of false starts and dashed hopes, we were lucky enough to find a lockdown-free window that allowed us to take a trip to West Sussex.
Our destination was Felpham, a small village close to the seaside town of Bognor Regis. This proximity meant we could enjoy the traditional delights of Bognor – handsome pier, amusements, crazy golf (even a Butlin’s, if that’s your thing) – while still having our own cosy coastal corner to retreat to.
Our two-night stay was based at the Beachcroft Hotel’s fabulous new Beach Hut Suites. Now if, like me, your vision of a beach hut is one of those colourful but small shelters that sit prettily on many of the UK’s beaches, then you’re in for a surprise. Because while the traditional beach hut may be fine for an afternoon’s relaxation, it’s hardly the sort of place you’d want to spend a night.
The Beachcroft’s huts, though, are next level – more like a small house, but one filled with luxurious, thoughtful touches. From the complimentary sloe gin and bottle of wine on arrival to the smart design throughout – a porthole situated at pillow height so you can gaze at the sea while in bed, a corner sofa in the lounge that also gives a wide-angle view of the crashing waves – we were charmed from the moment we walked in.
While our bed was on the mezzanine level, with that fabulous sea view, our daughter was equally taken with her cute little bunk bed room – particularly as a bucket, spade and cuddly toy had been left out for her. Her room was next to the bathroom, which had a powerful rainfall shower.
In keeping with our covid-aware ‘low touch’ times, we were pleased to see the room came with a Nespresso coffeemaker, smart TV (with Netflix), Smeg fridge, kettle and lots of tea, coffee and biscuits. Naturally, we raced through the biscuits (well, my husband and daughter did) but the main hotel, just across from our hut, was only too happy to oblige with as many packets as we could handle.
We ventured out from time to time, including one memorable meal at the brilliant gastro pub The George in the quaint nearby village of Burpham. My husband also enjoyed morning runs along Bognor seafront – “bracing” was the word he used for these – but honestly some of our loveliest moments came from sipping tea, eating cake and playing board games while looking out at waves crashing on a shore just a few metres from our window. It felt very British, very safe and utterly right for these strange times.
We also popped over to try the hotel’s restaurant for dinner – and enjoyed breakfast there every morning. The latter was great but the dinner was really something, with way more flair and care than you might expect from a hotel tucked away in the quiet corner of a West Sussex seashore. From grilled sea bream to a delicious duck breast, and some seriously moreish deserts, I’d encourage every visitor to book for dinner here at least once during their stay.
Should you want to venture further then the city of Chichester is worth a look. It offers great walking and cycling routes, as well as a harbour which has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Beauty and is a perfect viewing spot for birdlife.
So when regulations allow, I’d encourage everyone to check out these brilliant Beach Hut Suites and find their own little piece of quiet paradise on England’s coast.
Big love to you all.