Bexhill’s Cooden Beach Hotel put up for sale

The owners of a popular Bexhill hotel are considering selling their business after almost 15 years.

James and Lesley Kimber pictured outside The Cooden Beach Hotel
James and Lesley Kimber pictured outside The Cooden Beach Hotel

Entrepreneur James Kimber and his wife Lesley have owned the Cooden Beach Hotel, in Cooden Sea Road, since February 2005.

However, the four-star beach hotel has been put on the market with the married couple looking for a new owner who ‘wants to continue investing’ into it.

James, who, prior to buying the Cooden Beach Hotel, had been in the hairdressing business, said: “At this point, we are considering a sale. We have to retire at some point but we are not in a rush.

The Cooden Beach Hotel. Picture supplied by James Kimber

“So we have consulted with an agent to find out where we are.

“At this point, we have nothing on the horizon despite all the gossip that’s going around the town. We are very much aware that the Cooden Beach Hotel is very important to the town.

“We are only going to sell to somebody who wants to continue investing into the hotel.”

James said the hotel’s freehold, listed at £8.5 million, comes with planning permission to build more rooms above the Brasserie on the Beach restaurant.

The Cooden Beach Hotel. Picture supplied by James Kimber

These seven sea view rooms will take the total number of rooms from 41 up to 48.

He added: “The Brasserie on the Beach has become the main restaurant in the town and we employ over 100 staff throughout the hotel. The hotel is under full management with our general manager Jenny Undasan and department managers and assistant managers continuing, so everything will carry on in the same way.

“It will be sold as a going concern. This is for the security of all the staff, and the security for all and future events booked at the hotel. Nothing will change.”

James said the decision to sell the business was made approximately six weeks ago and all staff members were made aware.

The Brasserie on the Beach restaurant at the Cooden Beach Hotel. Picture supplied by James Kimber

He added: “As soon as I decided to look at retiring I told the staff as I have been with some of them for nearly 15 years. I wanted them to be fully in the picture.

“We live close to the hotel and if it is sold we are local enough to come to the hotel and continue to support it.”

James and his wife Lesley said they have no plans to move out of the area.

“My wife and I are part of the community here,” James added.

“I realise how important the hotel is to the local community. If and when the time comes, it will be going to somebody to make further investment.

“We have owned the hotel for nearly 15 years. During that time we have invested several millions into the hotel. This has included various extensions, refurbishments and building the Brasserie on the Beach.

“I am fully aware of how important the hotel is to the town. It’s been there since 1928.”

See more: