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A cool and comfortable boutique hotel above a brilliant restaurant in – where else? – Bexhill-on-Sea!

There's a tide of gentrification spreading along England's South Coast, and although it has some way to go in Bexhill, the signs are that this sleepy seaside resort is beginning to wake up. First, there's the handsome spread of the De La Warr Pavilion, whose art deco elegance dominates the town's seafront gardens; the town's long-established contingent of Italian restaurants has recently  been swelled by a couple of decent new arrivals. And then there's the brand-new Driftwood, just a couple of minutes' walk from the De La Warr and the seafront, where designer values and good food reign in what is undoubtedly the most appealing of the town's latest lodging and dining options – with six individually designed bedrooms above a sleek restaurant that among other things serves an authentic and frankly delicious take on, yes, Austrian food!

First the rooms, which are rustic and contemporary at the same time, with bespoke padded headboards, king or super-king-size Hypnos beds with good quality linens, funky bare-brick feature walls and sleek oak panelling. There's a fridge with complimentary water, coffee- and tea-making facilities, homemade Austrian cookies, and – a nice thought for weary travellers – a beer. Each room has a digital radio, free wifi and smart TVs, and although bathrooms are on the small side, they have large walk-in rainfall showers, robes and Noble Isle toiletries. The nicest rooms are the larger ones at the front, where there's room for a sofa and a table and chairs that (just about) look out over the sea. All in all you couldn't be more comfy, and owners Seng and Greg are always on hand to make sure you have everything you need. Breakfast is prepared to order and very good, with everything from a decent Full English to French Toast and eggs with soldiers.

The restaurant's Austrian leanings are down to owner Seng's Austrian wife, who brought over a chef from back home to cook up his favourite dishes from his home region of Styria – a left-field choice but an inspired one, the result being a short and affordable menu that's full of the sort of tempting treats you don't get to eat very often. There are plenty of non-Austrian dishes – always a 'catch of the day', a burger, and pasta dishes – but we like the Austrian dishes best: käsespätzle – the lightest egg noodles you'll ever eat – tafelspitz or slow-boiled rump of beef, delicious Styrian spring rolls, zingy potato salad, great wiener schnitzel and lots of things made with pumpkin seed oil – for example rindleischsulz or beef and root vegetable terrine. Desserts, too, are predictably irresistible, with homemade strüdel, sachertorte and more. Just as well, perhaps, that all you have to do is climb back up the stairs to your very comfy bed and switch on Netflix.


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