Best Boutique and Luxury Hotels in South East England

Hotels, B&Bs, country houses, inns, restaurants with rooms

The South and those who live there are seen as a bit soft by the rest of Britain. The weather is a few degrees warmer, the landscapes are softer, and the beaches in the summer are filled with holidaymakers. You can go hunting for fossils along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, work out how they built Stonehenge, and wander around the Palladian architecture of Bath. There is much to see from the castles at Windsor, Leeds, Hever, and Bodium to hundreds of miles of coastline filled with superb beaches.

The directory below presents some of the Good Hotel Guide's selected hotels in South East England. You can use Advanced Search or click on the map to see other South East England hotels.

Where to stay in South East England - Berkshire, Essex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent

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Featured hotels in South East

Gravetye Manor, EAST GRINSTEAD, Sussex

‘All was quite perfect’ according to visitors to this luxury country house hotel (Relais & Châteaux). Once the home of William Robinson, pioneer of the English natural garden,


Stone House, RUSHLAKE GREEN, Sussex

Henry VII was on the throne when the original timber-frame, tile-hung house was built by the Roberts Dunn family, whose descendants still live here. The later Tudor, gabled building with massive oak


Montagu Arms, BEAULIEU, Hampshire

In a pretty village within the New Forest national park, this Georgian country house is a ‘very special place’, says a visitor in 2015. ‘It may not have the trappings of some larger establishments,


Chewton Glen, NEW MILTON, Hampshire

‘Faultless’ service is reported by a visitor this year to this luxury country house hotel (Relais & Châteaux) on the edge of the New Forest. It is privately owned; Andrew Stembridge is managing


Cliveden House, TAPLOW, Berkshire

‘A very special place where affluent hotel-goers can experience luxurious country house living as it used to be.’ Visitors were impressed in 2015 by the restoration of this illustrious stately home on


Hotels in South East

  • The Millstream, BOSHAM, Sussex

    In the village where King Canute failed to stop the incoming tide, the Wild family’s hotel ‘appeals strongly to a mature clientele who value the traditional decor and ambience’, said Guide inspectors.

  • The Waterside Inn, BRAY, Berkshire

    In a 16th-century village on the banks of the River Thames, chef/patron Alain Roux’s restaurant-with-rooms has long held three Michelin stars for the ‘excellent’, classic French cooking. The dining

  • drakes, BRIGHTON, Sussex

    Close to the pier, this modern hotel occupies two Regency town houses on the seafront. It is owned by Andy Shearer; Richard Hayes manages, with ‘courteous, helpful’ staff. Bedrooms vary in size: some

  • Hartwell House, AYLESBURY, Buckinghamshire

    Recommended ‘without reservation’ this year, this ‘blissfully quiet’ stately mansion, home to Louis XVIII during his exile from France, is run by Richard Broyd’s Historic House Hotels for the National

  • The Town House, ARUNDEL, Sussex

    ‘The food and the welcome are superb’ at Lee and Katie Williams’s ‘pleasant’ restaurant-with-rooms at the top of the High Street. It is within walking distance of the antique shops and historic sites

  • 36 on the Quay, EMSWORTH, Hampshire

    ‘A great experience’, Ramon and Karen Farthing’s restaurant-with-rooms is in a 17th-century building on the harbour of a pretty town. Gary Pearce is the chef (‘his cooking didn’t disappoint,’ says a

  • Read's, FAVERSHAM, Kent

    Near the old market town of Faversham, this ‘impressive yet homely’ Georgian manor house is run with ‘friendly professionalism’ as a restaurant-with-rooms by Rona and David Pitchford. The

  • The Griffin Inn, FLETCHING, Sussex

    Owned by the Pullan family, this 16th-century Grade II listed coaching inn, with beams, horse brasses and ‘country-style bedrooms’, is in a pretty village overlooking the Ouse valley. ‘We cannot

  • The Old Store, HALNAKER, Sussex

    ‘Standards remain the highest’ at Patrick and Heather Birchenough’s B&B on the edge of the South Downs. Once home of the village bakery and shop, the Grade II listed 17th-century brick-and-flint house

  • Britannia House, LYMINGTON, Hampshire

    Two minutes from the water in this ‘lively’ seaside town, ‘enthusiastic, amiable’ host Tobias Feilke has created ‘a warm and homely environment’ in his B&B. It occupies two houses opposite each other:

  • The Old Railway Station, PETWORTH, Sussex

    On a disused railway line bordered by woodland, this B&B with a difference occupies a renovated Victorian station building and four restored Pullman carriages. Hosts Gudmund Olafsson and Catherine

  • Romney Bay House, NEW ROMNEY, Kent

    ‘More like a home than a hotel’, Clinton and Lisa Lovell’s 1920s house has a ‘stunning position’ between a golf course and the sea on the Kent coast. It was designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis,

  • The George in Rye, RYE

    One of Rye’s oldest coaching inns (established around 1575) has been renovated with great style by the owners, Alex and Katie Clarke. On the high street, it consists of a series of interconnecting

  • Jeake's House, RYE , Sussex

    Once the ‘deeply cherished home’ of American writer Conrad Aiken, this 17th-century wool store and adjoining Elders House is run as a B&B by Jenny Hadfield. ‘Very nice owner and staff, splendid

  • Zanzibar International Hotel, ST LEONARDS-ON-SEA, Sussex

    ‘With an exotic name, themed bedrooms, showers that say “welcome” and “goodbye”, there is a splendidly quirky feel about this small seafront hotel.’ Guide inspectors this year enjoyed the informal

  • Rylstone Manor, SHANKLIN, Isle of Wight

    Within easy reach of the town, Mike and Carole Hailston’s ‘delightfully relaxing’ small hotel is in a public park on a cliff above Sandown Bay, with steps going down to the shore. The house was built

  • The Three Lions, STUCKTON, Hampshire

    Jayne and Mike Womersely count ex-Python John Cleese – along with Prince Andrew, Madonna and Status Quo – among former guests at their ‘English auberge’ in a converted New Forest farmhouse. This is a

  • Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, Kent

    ‘An excellent choice, within walking distance of the historic Pantiles.’ Period details mix with smart, modern rooms in this outpost of the du Vin group. It occupies an 18th-century Grade II listed

  • Wartling Place, WARTLING, Sussex

    ‘We were very pleased with the rooms, the atmosphere, the garden and the breakfast.’ Visitors to nearby Glyndebourne were ‘delighted’ by Rowena and Barry Gittoes’s tastefully furnished B&B in a Grade

  • Crossways Hotel, WILMINGTON, Sussex

    A visit to Clive James and David Stott’s restaurant-with-rooms has become ‘an annual ritual’ for a long-time Guide reader who reports this year: ‘Happily, it’s as good as ever.’ Within easy access of

  • Park House, BEPTON, Sussex

    ‘Everything is of the highest quality: the food, the table, the delightful staff.’ Praise again in 2015 for the O’Brien family’s ‘very pretty’ Victorian country house close to the South Downs.

  • Langshott Manor, GATWICK, Sussex

    There are exposed beams and feature fireplaces in this ‘beautiful’ Elizabethan timber-framed manor house in ‘peaceful’, well-kept grounds close to Gatwick airport. It is part of the small Alexander

  • The Royal Hotel, VENTNOR, Isle of Wight

    Close to the seafront and town centre, this traditional seaside hotel is ‘all the better’ for its ‘olde-worlde charm’. It is owned by William Bailey, and managed by Philip Wilson with ‘very friendly

  • Grand Hotel, EASTBOURNE, Sussex

    'Impeccable.' Regular guests at this 'beautifully run' Victorian hotel on the seafront like its 'old-fashioned' feel and 'wonderful service'. Traditionally furnished rooms are 'sumptuous'; many have

  • Paskins, BRIGHTON, Sussex

    ‘Met my needs perfectly.’ Friendly hosts Susan and Roger Marlowe run their characterful Art Deco B&B in two Grade II listed 19th-century houses near the seafront in Kemp Town. Bedrooms are immaculate

  • Five, BRIGHTON, Sussex

    A stone’s throw from the seafront, Caroline and Simon Heath’s homely B&B is in a Regency town house within easy reach of shops and restaurants, the conference centre and universities. Well-equipped

  • Hell Bay Hotel, BRYHER, Isles of Scilly

    The ‘end-of-the-world’ quality appealed to a visitor this year to Robert Dorrien-Smith’s small hotel. It faces the jagged rocks of Hell Bay on the smallest of the inhabited Scilly Isles. The only

  • Hotel TerraVina, NETLEY MARSH , Hampshire

    ‘Welcoming hosts’ Gérard and Nina Basset brought a wealth of experience with them when they transformed this red brick Victorian villa on the edge of the New Forest into a stylish, modern hotel.

  • Swan House, HASTINGS, Sussex

    By the ‘charming’ 14th-century St Clement’s church in Hastings Old Town, this timber-framed Tudor cottage (built in 1490) is run as a contemporary B&B by the owner, Brendan McDonagh. He has given the

  • JSW, PETERSFIELD, Hampshire

    Chef/patron Jake (Saul) Watkins is an ‘accommodating’ host at his restaurant-with-rooms, a former coaching inn in a market town within the South Downs national park. His philosophy is simplicity on

  • The Marquis at Alkham, ALKHAM, Kent

    In the countryside, close to Dover and the Channel Tunnel, this contemporary restaurant-with-rooms is in a 200-year-old inn overlooked by the 12th-century St Anthony’s church. It is managed by David

  • Ocklynge Manor, EASTBOURNE, Sussex

    Close to the seafront, this pink Georgian mansion stands in stunning gardens with an 18th-century gazebo, an ancient oak and plenty of places to sit. It was once the home of children’s book

  • Hastings House, ST LEONARDS-ON-SEA, Sussex

    Steps from the sea, Seng and Elisabeth Loy’s ‘immaculate’ B&B is a four-storey Victorian house given a ‘modern, stylish’ interior. The greeting is warm (a welcoming drink might be offered). All of the

  • The Crab & Lobster, SIDLESHAM, Sussex

    In a peaceful situation on the banks of the Pagham Harbour nature reserve, this 350-year-old inn has been renovated in spare, modern style by structural engineer-turned-hotelier Sam Bakose and his

  • The Wykeham Arms, WINCHESTER, Hampshire

    Between the cathedral and the college, this 18th-century former coaching inn has open log fires, and characterful nooks and crannies embellished with pictures, ale mugs and memorabilia. It is managed

  • Rooks Hill, CHICHESTER, Sussex

    New owner Erling Sorensen runs this smart B&B in a Grade II listed former farmhouse in a little village at the foot of the South Downs. Bedrooms have feather pillows, crisp linens, a hospitality tray

  • Lime Wood, LYNDHURST, Hampshire

    In a ‘dream location’, ‘smack bang in the middle of the New Forest’, this ‘relaxed’, family-friendly country house hotel occupies a ‘stunning’ Regency manor house in extensive grounds adjoining forest

  • Old Whyly, EAST HOATHLY, Sussex

    In the East Sussex countryside, this Grade II listed Georgian manor house has medieval origins and a history spotted with drinkers, card players and deer poachers. Today, run as an upmarket B&B by

  • The Five Arrows, WADDESDON, Buckinghamshire

    Built on the site of a coaching inn to house the architects and craftsmen who built Waddesdon Manor, this half-timbered building is a small hotel with ‘good vibes’. It is run by the Rothschild family

  • Black Rock House, HASTINGS, Sussex

    On a quiet residential street on a hill above the town, this ‘handsome’ Victorian villa is run as a B&B by the owner/manager Yuliya Vereshchuk. ‘She is a terrific host who works really hard to keep

  • Crouchers, CHICHESTER, Sussex

    In open countryside where pheasants can be seen roaming the fields, Lloyd van Rooyen’s much-extended hotel is set in ‘refreshing greenery’ close to West Wittering beach. Simply furnished bedrooms are

  • The Reading Rooms, MARGATE, Kent

    With distressed walls, polished wooden floors, original shutters and antiques, there is an air of ‘dilapidated grandeur’ at this upmarket B&B in a stylishly restored Georgian town house minutes from

  • The Ship Inn, RYE

    A ‘charming hodgepodge of a pub’, this 16th-century building was once used as a warehouse to store contraband seized from smugglers. It is owned by Karen Northcote; Theo Bekker is the manager. The

  • Thurnham Keep, THURNHAM, Kent

    Amanda Lane extends a friendly welcome, with tea and freshly made scones, to B&B guests arriving at her childhood home, a ‘very impressive’ Edwardian house on the North Downs. At the end of a long

  • Belle Tout Lighthouse, EASTBOURNE, Sussex

    ‘The views are fantastic’ from this ‘lovely and unusual place’, a decommissioned lighthouse on the chalk cliffs of Beachy Head. It is owned by David Shaw; Ian Noall is the manager. Individually

  • Coast, BEXHILL ON SEA, Sussex

    ‘A delight.’ In a coastal town reputed to be the birthplace of British motor racing, Piero and Lucia Mazzoni run their ‘lovely’ B&B in an Edwardian villa close to the seafront. ‘Impeccably decorated

  • Deans Place, ALFRISTON, Sussex

    On the outskirts of a pretty medieval village, this country hotel stands in ‘lovely’ gardens on the banks of the Cuckmere river. Liked for its ‘nice traditional feel’, it is owned by Michael Clinch;

  • Hillside, VENTNOR, Isle of Wight

    With ‘superb views across the sea’, this small hotel has a ‘modern, fresh’ decor and an extensive collection of bold contemporary art. ‘Exceptional standards of service’ are provided by the owner,

  • Sissinghurst Castle Farmhouse, SISSINGHURST, Kent

    Sue and Frazer Thompson’s elegant B&B is in a Victorian farmhouse filled with pictures, fresh flowers, and a mix of contemporary and period furniture. Restored by the National Trust, it is on the

  • Wingrove House, ALFRISTON, Sussex

    Guests are pleased to return to Nick Denyer’s welcoming restaurant-with-rooms, in a 19th-century colonial-style house fronted by an elegant veranda. Friendly and ‘relaxed’, staff willingly supply maps

  • The Hope Anchor, RYE , Sussex

    A once-upon-a-time smugglers’ refuge, and a watering hole for sailors and shipbuilders past, this white-painted, family-owned hotel stands at the end of a cobbled street. It has good views across the

  • Starborough Manor, EDENBRIDGE, Kent

    At the top of a tree-lined gravel driveway, this 18th-century manor house was in a decrepit state when bought by Jonathan and Lynn Matthias. ‘The restoration is very impressive,’ say Guide inspectors

  • The Cat Inn, WEST HOATHLY, Sussex

    Opposite a ‘lovely’ old church in a village on the Sussex Weald, Andrew Russell’s 16th-century inn has many fans. ‘The welcome was warm, and the owner and staff were helpful and considerate,’ say

  • The Little Gloster, Gurnard, Isle of Wight

    Chef/patron Ben Cooke and his wife, Holly, run their charming restaurant-with-rooms by the water’s edge, on a little bay just west of Cowes. The much-praised restaurant has Scandinavian-inspired

  • Wallett's Court, DOVER, Kent

    In a pretty hamlet near St Margaret’s Bay, the Oakley family’s quirky hotel has a broad choice of accommodation, and plenty to occupy young guests. There are spacious traditional rooms in the

  • Green Oak Barn, BERWICK, Sussex

    In landscaped gardens, Christine and Colin Munday’s wine centre includes a well-regarded restaurant, ‘comfortable’ accommodation and a shop with more than 140 varieties of English wines. ‘Smart’

  • The Pig, BROCKENHURST, Hampshire

    ‘Not grand, exactly; neither is it a shabby country pile; like that last bowl of porridge Goldilocks tried, it is just right.’ Warm praise comes from a trusted Guide correspondent this year for this

  • The Halfway Bridge, LODSWORTH, Sussex

    Flanked by the rolling countryside and ancient woodland of the South Downs, Sam and Janet Bakose’s refurbished 17th-century coaching inn is popular with walkers. Locals and families are likewise drawn

  • The Pig in the Wall, SOUTHAMPTON, Hampshire

    Set into the medieval city walls, this ‘smart, shabby chic’ B&B hotel occupies a ‘charming’ 19th-century building in the ‘interesting’ old town. It is part of the small Home Grown Hotels group of Pig

  • The Old Vine, WINCHESTER, Hampshire

    ‘Perfectly situated’ for both spiritual sustenance and shopping therapy, Ashton Gray’s small, design-conscious hotel is in a Grade II listed 18th-century inn opposite the cathedral green. Elegant,

  • Ocean View House, VENTNOR, Isle of Wight

    Sarah Smith’s ‘gorgeous’ B&B is in a Victorian villa at the top of a steep hill, with ‘beautiful views’ over Ventnor. It is ‘a wonderful place’ where guests in search of ‘privacy and relaxation’ are

  • Rocksalt, FOLKESTONE, Kent

    ‘Modish and imaginative’, Mark Sargeant’s well-regarded restaurant (co-owned with Josh de Haan) is a striking dark-timber-and-glass building cantilevered over Folkestone’s fishing harbour. It has

  • Number One Port Hill, HERTFORD, Hertfordshire

    Well placed for visiting the town, Annie Rowley’s B&B is in a Grade II listed Georgian town house mentioned in the Pevsner architectural guide to Hertfordshire. It is filled with chandeliers, huge

  • The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

    Returning guests like the ‘old-fashioned in the best sense’ feel and ‘unfailingly helpful staff’ at this ‘impeccable’ traditional hotel, a majestic Victorian building on the seafront. Many of the

  • The Master Builder's House, Beaulieu, Hampshire

    In a ‘lovely setting’ by a river estuary, this 18th-century building has ‘a real feel of history’. Part of Christoph Brooke’s Hillbrooke group, it enters the Guide thanks to a positive report by

  • Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, Canterbury, Kent

    Guests have private access to the cathedral precincts from this ‘very special’ purpose-built hotel and conference centre in the grounds of the UNESCO-designated World Heritage site. ‘I couldn’t resist

  • The Crescent Turner Hotel, Whitstable, Kent

    On a hill outside the town, this red brick hotel (Bespoke Hotels) is set in large gardens with wide views of the Kent coast. It is named after JMW Turner who painted in the area; prints of his works

  • Hannah's, Winchester, Hampshire

    Once a stable, then a dance hall, Hannah McIntyre’s small B&B, in a quiet mews off the high street, has been winsomely refurbished to include modern country-style bedrooms, a book-filled library with

  • The Church House, Midhurst

    In the centre of the market town, guests are greeted with tea and home-made cake at Fina Jurado’s B&B, in a spacious, elegant home formed from four cottages dating back to the 13th century. The house

  • The Laindons, Hastings

    Sara and Jon Young run their modern B&B and coffee shop in a Grade II listed Georgian building on the historic high street of Hastings Old Town. Spacious, high-ceilinged bedrooms, each with a tiled

  • Woodlands Lodge Hotel, Southampton, Hampshire

    In a semi-rural setting, Imogene and Robert Anglaret’s dog-friendly hotel has direct access into the New Forest from the garden. ‘It’s not grand, but the bedrooms and sitting rooms are comfortable,

  • The Barn at Roundhurst, Lurgashall

    Surrounded by ‘beautiful’ countryside, Moya and Richard Connell’s ‘delightful, friendly’ B&B is on the family’s ‘neat and tidy’ organic farm within the South Downs national park. ‘We spotted an alpaca

  • Pelham Hall, Burwash

    Within the Sussex Weald, an area of outstanding natural beauty, this restored 14th-century hall house has been turned into an elegant B&B by owner Matthew Fox. The house is eclectically furnished with

  • Tylney Hall, Hook, Hampshire

    ‘We all felt special.’ In ‘lovely, peaceful’ countryside, this privately owned Grade II listed Victorian mansion (Pride of Britain Hotels) has ‘fantastic grounds and facilities’ and ‘excellent’ staff.