For this month’s hotel review, Sussex Business Times enjoyed an overnight stay at the very local Boship Farm Hotel, getting a taste for all it has to offer it’s guests

The Boship (Lions) Farm Hotel is the most recent property added to the Lions Group portfolio, all of which are now owned by Mr Sheikh Abid Gulzar, who has over the last few years made quite the reputation for himself since moving to Eastbourne from London with an aim to innovate and improve the town and its surrounding areas. With its 17 acres of beautiful countryside land, the hotel is home to a variety of wildlife and creatures. Located 9 miles away from Eastbourne itself, the hotel is just a 10 minute drive from Hailsham’s high street, Herstmonceux Castle and Science Centre.

The Hotel is an original 1690’s country house that now boasts more than 40 en suite bedrooms with 4 function rooms. The Boship (Lions) Farm Hotel would make the perfect venue for a family weekend away, a romantic couple’s break or a picturesque wedding. All the staff at the hotel are completely committed to caring for their guests and ensuring each and every one gets the maximum out of their stay – something SBT got to experience first hand.

The owner of the hotel himself – a busy man at that – made himself available to me for a quick chat, explaining his daily responsibilities with regards to his hotels in Eastbourne and surrounding areas, and how he ensures everything is run smoothly and to the highest of standards. He employs only the best staff in the hospitality sector, all of whom were attentive, polite and on hand to cater to our every need.

Of course, the hotel itself sports many different features and facilities. Outside sits a refreshing outdoor heated swimming pool, which is open from May through to September. While it had closed by the time I arrived, I can only imagine how relaxing a swim would have been. Beside it is a full-sized tennis court, offering guests a friendly match in the sun, or equally as nice – guests can unwind on the pier overlooking the scenic lake that surrounds the hotel. In addition to this, outside the front of the building you will find a children’s playground, along with a huge amount of free parking for the residents of the hotel. The Tudor Bar is located on the ground floor in the main building of the hotel – open until 11pm for both residents and non-residents – surrounded by unique, original décor and an open log fire. Equally, the reception desk is open 24 hours a day, which allowed us to go out and explore the nearby surroundings once we’d settled into our room.

The hotel has 4 function rooms available – The Tudor Lounge, Sussex Room, Willow Room and Oak Room – and caters to functions of all kinds, whether you are looking for a private room to conduct interviews or huge room hire for a large wedding. I was given a tour of each of these function rooms (all of different sizes and boasting different themes) and having attended an event at the Boship (Lions) Farm Hotel once before a few years back, I can vouch and say that it would make a suitable venue for events and occasions of all kinds.

The hotel also has its own restaurant, serving food daily to both residents of the hotel and walk-in guests. There is an extensive wine list, as well as draught beer and a variety of spirits, all served in a relaxed but classy environment. With a menu designed to compliment the choice of available beverages, it’s clear to see that everything is thoroughly thought through. Carvery is served on Sundays from midday until 3pm, while the kitchen staff are responsible for ensuring a regularly updated menu, relevant to the seasons and taking on board customers’ requests and recommendations.

Upon arrival I was taken aback by the overpowering exterior – the main building towers over you as you enter the spacious car park, overlooking a garden filled with colourful flowers and rustic seating. I was welcomed in with a huge smile by two members of the front of house staff. Both were incredibly friendly and made us feel at home straight away. We were given the key to our room with no complications, to which we soon made our way. When walking through the main hotel building to our room, I noticed that it’s very misleading from the outside – it’s a lot bigger and more spacious than you’d expect it to be, and each room boasts a refreshingly plain design, decorated with antique accessories and lighting. Our room in particular was not in the main building, but outside, where I also noticed that each en suite came in hand with its own parking space – ours sat right outside of our door!

The room itself was just what you’d expect; immaculate with fresh bed sheets and clean towels sat on the bottom of our bed with shampoo, soap and shower gel. On the dresser sat a kettle, selection of teabags and coffees, sugars and milk, and the room also came in hand with electrical appliances such as a hairdryer. The en suite bathroom was also spotless and of course, I had to try out the shower during my stay.

While the bed was relatively hard, I had a sound night’s sleep and made my way to the restaurant the following morning for breakfast. Mr Gulzar had mentioned during our chat the previous day that all of the hotel’s ingredients are sourced locally, and after spotting the breakfast buffet on my way through to our table, I could hardly wait. On offer were sausages, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, hash browns, fried toast, beans and egg – scrambled and fried. Down the other side of the buffet sat cereals, fruit, tea, coffee and fresh juice – there isn’t much else you could have wanted, unless you’re more of a croissant kind of person. Each of the tables was nicely presented, laid up with cutlery and napkins and the perfect level of background music circulated the room. The only critique I really have in this area is of the room itself – slightly too big for the amount of tables within in it. The tables felt very far away from each other and gave off a slight representation of a school canteen. Of course, the breakfast itself was delicious, only making me regretful of not trying the restaurant’s menu the night before!

All in all, the Boship (Lions) Farm Hotel is a beautiful and professionally run venue, perfect for overnight business stays, family getaways, meetings, casual meals or special occasions. Staff with impeccable manners and service, a wonderfully clean room and lots to do and see on site made for a lovely stay. Four stars from SBT, and we will be sure to return soon!

The Boship (Lions) Farm Hotel

Lower Dicker


BN27 4AT

01323 844826