The Inspector stays at a new hotel in Hastings… and finds it 'grim'

Hastings is said to be the new Brighton… but when the Inspector visits, he stays at a ‘grim’ and ‘soulless’ new hotel and has a ‘spectacularly awful’ dinner in the town

  • The Inspector checks into a studio room at Vive Hotel, set near Hastings’ station
  • ‘The whole confection is grey and tinny, with a tiny shower room,’ he writes  
  • READ MORE: Best vs worst seaside resort – we pit Bamburgh against Skegness

We keep hearing that Hastings, on the south coast, is on a roll. It’s even been described as the ‘new Brighton’. A friend, who moved there not so long ago, loves the place but has often said that what it lacks is a good hotel.

Then I received an email from her saying that Vive had opened near the station in a grotty part of town but that it looks ‘stylish’ from the outside.

And it does in comparison to the other drab, run-down buildings on Havelock Road. But, inside, it’s grim.

The idea is to create a ‘convergence between hotel and apartment’, according to the blurb, ‘with a twist of industrial art deco — inspired by the brutalist 1960s architectural exterior’.

It’s a collaboration between Jason Bull, former owner of Ibizian hotel Es Vive, and its designer Sean Cochrane.

The Inspector checks into the newly-opened Vive Hotel in Hastings, which is said to create a ‘convergence between hotel and apartment’

When Es Vive was sold to Lionel Messi, the pair opted to take on this former university building in Hastings. Each of the 49 studio rooms is equipped with a basic kitchenette.

Very basic. There’s a jar of instant coffee and some tea bags — and two depressing sachets of longlife milk in the fridge. No water.

A plastic cheese plant sits on the window sill, along with other fake ferns. The whole confection is grey and tinny, with a tiny shower room. It’s only been open a few months and already the loo seat in my room needs urgent attention. For some reason, the TV is mounted on a wall at a right angle to the bed, making it impossible for two people to watch.

The Inspector dines at an Italian restaurant called Bella Napoli on the seafront. ‘I am presented with a spectacularly awful “traditional prawn cocktail”,’ he writes 

And for a hotel billing itself as offering a ‘well-deserved dose of modernity,’ getting online is absurdly laborious.

It requires a ten-digit, upper and lower case (plus numbers) password, which takes you to an entirely different site requiring a different username and another password.

The bar, restaurant and spa aren’t yet up and running. They’re meant to come on stream in October and eventually there will be 98 rooms.

So I head for the seafront and find an Italian restaurant called Bella Napoli, where O Sole Mio comes through the sound system just as I am presented with a spectacularly awful ‘traditional prawn cocktail’.

Walking back into Vive is a soulless experience. Yes, Hastings might be in need of a good hotel — but this isn’t it.


Vive Hotel, Havelock Road, Hastings TN34 1BE. Doubles are priced from £220. For more information, call 07593 647313 or visit

Rating out of five: *

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