Launches and Openings

International Hotelier acquires one-of-a-kind beachfront hotel on the Sussex Coast

  • April 2021

Grace Leo announces the acquisition of The Cooden Beach Hotel

April 2021 – Grace Leo announces the acquisition of The Cooden Beach Hotel, a one-of-a-kind property located on a private beach in East Sussex.  With 41 rooms and suites, the 1920s landmark building features a beachfront restaurant with a spacious open terrace offering unspoilt sea views. The hotel will remain open throughout the busy 2021 staycation season and is set to undergo a full renovation, benefiting from Grace’s global reputation for creating exceptional hotels and resorts in unique locations, and reopening as a full-service beach resort in Spring 2022.

Grace comments, “Once I had seen The Cooden Beach Hotel, I was in awe of its unique location and possibilities.  I have developed upscale resort hotels in far-off destinations like St Barth’s, Mustique, and St Jean-Cap-Ferrat, so my instinct says that there’s no reason why we can’t recreate that idyllic resort experience in a hotel that’s on the English coast, despite the cooler climate. Our plans are to create a haven for our guests to rest, relax, and be nourished in a beautiful seaside setting.”

Located just two hours from London with direct trains from London Victoria, the Cooden Beach Hotel is an undiscovered destination for city dwellers looking for a restorative escape to the English shores. With a vision for transforming this hidden gem into a stylish hideaway, elegant beach furniture and a new standard of beach services are being introduced this summer – guests can reserve a sun lounger and order refreshing drinks, cocktails, and champagne from sporty beach attendants. Massage cabanas will also be available for alfresco spa treatments, embracing the healing sea air, whilst yoga and stretching classes will be introduced to invigorate the health and wellbeing offering.

The beachfront brasserie, with its outdoor dining terrace, specializes in fresh and seasonal British food from the region, including freshly caught local lobster and seafood, traditional fish and chips, and the ultimate ‘Surf & Turf’. The restaurant is open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The ambition is to turn Cooden Beach into a new destination for greater Londoners, akin to the Hamptons on Long Island being “the” weekend escape destination for New Yorkers, creating a sanctuary for leisure, well-being and remote work away from the city. Following an extensive refurbishment program in Spring 2022, the hotel reopens as The Relais Cooden Beach, a lifestyle choice for modern living on the English coast.

With the purchase of The Cooden Beach Hotel, Grace is expanding the collection of curated bespoke hotels in unique waterside locations. The Relais Henley, opens in Summer 2021 to welcome the Royal Regatta, in the quintessential English town of Henley-on-Thames having undergone a stylish renovation. The Grade II listed landmark is located alongside the majestic River Thames and surrounded by the bucolic Chiltern Hills.

Grace’s partner, Tim Hartnoll, is the executive chairman of X-Press Feeders, part of the Sea Consortium group, a global shipping company based in Singapore. An avid sailor and rower, who grew up between England and Singapore, Tim is a global investor whose hospitality interests include the Bawah Reserve in the Anambas Archipelago in Indonesia.

Grace and Tim plan to grow the portfolio of UK hotels in unique waterside locations, reinvigorating iconic properties and unearthing hidden gems. The new breed of luxury boutique properties will embrace traditional English hospitality, provide thoughtful service and deliver personalised guest experiences.