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;
It has six individually designed bedrooms above a sleek restaurant that among other things serves an authentic and frankly delicious take on, yes, Austrian food!
The rooms 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.
The restaurant downstairs serves a variety of things but specializes in Austrian dishes – a left-field choice but an inspired one, with a short and affordable menu that's full of the sort of tempting treats you don't get to eat very often.
Try the käsespätzle – the lightest egg noodles you'll ever eat – tafelspitz or slow-boiled rump of beef, 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.