Launches and Openings

The Relais Cooden Beach reveals new design with breezy, coastal interiors

  • 13 October 2022

The Relais Cooden Beach

13th October 2022The Relais Cooden Beach is transformed into East Sussex’s most stylish beach retreat, with the reveal of its thoughtfully renovated interiors. With a vision to redefine the concept of an English seaside resort, international hotelier, Grace Leo, introduces a contemporary new style and elegance to this landmark seafront hotel. 

Owner-operator of The Relais Cooden Beach, Grace Leo says, “I’ve always been captivated by the location, there is nowhere along the East Sussex coastline quite like The Relais Cooden Beach, where you can step from the hotel on to the beachfront and enjoy uninterrupted views of the English Channel. We have breathed new life into the interiors, creating a resort for all seasons and putting the undiscovered coastal destination on the map.”

Paris-based designer, Pascal Allaman, draws inspiration from the elegant yet relaxed beach resorts of New England and Southern France. Having worked previously on Grace Leo’s first The Relais Retreats waterside outpost, The Relais Henley, the emphasis is once again on capturing the essence of the destination and embracing the rich colour tones of the surrounding area, in this case the seascape. 

The impact of the redesign can be felt from the moment guests arrive and are welcomed into a spacious and inviting reception area with views out to sea. Moving through to a lounge with green velvet sofas, high back rattan chairs and baby grand piano; an immediate sense of relaxation is felt within the refined yet informal surroundings. Incorporating a sense of play, a new games room, features a bespoke billiard’s table, as well as board games to while away the hours on rainy afternoons. 

Entering the bar and restaurant, the scale and transformation of the hotel can be best appreciated. The bar, with its beautiful bamboo roof, oversized natural wood counter and vibrant rattan down lighting and accessories, is a striking nod to beach bars on faraway shores.  Taking centre stage, is another bespoke feature, a circular fireplace with wrap-around cushioned seating and a library, providing an elegant nook for any time of day. 

Grace comments, “The fireplace perfectly reflects this hotel – it’s stylish, warm and inviting, a place that can be enjoyed all year round. It’s firmly establishing itself as the heart of the hotel.” 

The restaurant beyond the bar, named the Rally Bar and Restaurant in honour of the sporting history of the area as the home of British Motorsports, benefits from dramatic sea views in every direction and an abundance of natural light. 

The interiors embrace the hotel’s signature colours of ‘English Channel Blue’ and Persimmon, which are present in the striped nautical-inspired wallpaper, glassware and tablescapes. The introduction of stylish banquette seating and coastal heathers help define atmospheric cosy corners. 

The restaurant spills on to an expansive terrace, a much-loved feature of the hotel, which is open during all seasons and offers the best waterfront seat in the house for a Sussex afternoon tea, light lunch, or hot toddy under the stars. Firepits and sofa seating brings the relaxed beach bar ambiance to life. 

Whether dining indoors or alfresco, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel, with daytime menus featuring signature Sussex produce and freshly-caught seafood from local fisherman. The grilled sea bass, seafood risotto and crayfish and prawn salad and ‘catch of the day’ are among some of the hotel’s signature classics. The bar serves local draft beers and ciders and sparkling wines from local vineyard, Rathfinny Estate, and in the evening signature cocktails are made by award-winning bar manager who takes inspiration from the heritage of the area.

During warmer months, the Beach Club opens, spilling out onto the hotel’s private lawn and pebbled beachfront, where guests are served refreshments from the comfort of stylish sun loungers and vintage striped deck chairs. The Elva bar, named after a heritage racing car manufacturer in Bexhill, is equally well positioned for enjoying the beachy outlook and doubles up as an event and co-working space. 

Located across three floors of the hotel, forty of the forty-five rooms have undergone total refurbishment, embracing the tranquil breeziness of the rest of the resort, with many offering ocean views across the Channel. The classic seaside stripe, bold patterned carpets and beachy florals punctuate the interiors of each room, with wainscot-panelled headboards, and mid-century style daybeds completing the fresh new look.  Amenities are provided by Aromatherapy, aptly known for their restorative and rejuvenating qualities.  

In spring 2023, a further five suites will be completed on the ground floor of the hotel and a wellness centre will offer four new treatment rooms, with therapies inspired by the restoring nature of the sea. 

Rooms at The Relais Cooden Beach start from £194 for a Cooden Double room, including bed and breakfast. For Londoner’s, the best and most sustainable way to travel is by train. Tickets from London Victoria to Cooden Beach are available from Southern Rail from as little as £5.50. Families can also benefit from £2 tickets for children under 16. Find out more at

For guests travelling by road, a private car park is located behind the property.