Terrible 1402 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

What We Love

  • A charming historic hotel in Rye, with breakfast and optional three-course dinnerDining on delicious local fare at the double AA Rosette-awarded restaurant
  • Relaxing amidst the authentic historic interiors of this charming hotel
  • Exploring Rye - a cute cobbled town that's sure to delight

What To Know

  • The hotel's cozy bar has an enormous fireplace surrounded by lounge chairs
  • Rumor has it the Elizabethean Chamber room is haunted
  • Free WiFi is super spotty
restaurant Bar


A historic smugglers' inn with award-winning dining in Rye – includes breakfast and optional dinner

The Lowdown

Mermaid Street in Rye exhibits some of the best antiquity to be found in the UK, and this extends all the way to The Mermaid Inn, which was originally built around 1156. If its walls had ears, they’d have been privy to conversations among Catholic priests on the run from the Reformation, smugglers planning their next shady move and Canadian officers talking strategy during the Second World War.
Ships’ timbers were used in The Mermaid Inn’s reconstruction in 1420, as well as baulks of Sussex Oak, and fireplaces were risen from French stone that was scavenged from the harbour. Not much has changed since, making this a truly unique destination in the East Sussex countryside. What’s more, it’s furnished to perfection, with antique four-poster beds in some rooms, providing a welcome respite behind latticed lead windows.

How to Get There

The Mermaid Inn
Mermaid Street
Rye, TN31 7EY United Kingdom


Shame about the smell
christine s

We had a very nice room (number 20) and I must agree with a previous reviewer that it does have a very strong smell to it especially in the bathroom. The room itself, although being the way out to the fire escape, was very nice with a four poster bed which was a nice surprise. On the afternoon we got there we thought someone was drilling as there was a very loud noise in the room that sounded like it but this noise happened again at 11.30pm and at 7.50am so I am puzzled as to what this was. I was annoyed as it woke me in the evening and again in the morning. It may be something to do with the kitchen as well as the smell as the extractor was outside the room. I also noticed that the pillows did not have any pillow protectors and also a blind in the bathroom would be nice. The shower is very poor with a very weak flow. On a better note we didn't have enough tea and milk and we asked at the reception and some were brought up to our room within minutes which was great. Also the breakfast was faultless and a special mention to Katrina who is a lovely charming young lady who couldn't do enough for you. She is an asset to the hotel. The bar staff were very friendly and helpful and the prices reasonable.

Never again

This is a really old hotel full of charm with a good pub and an efficient head bar man. When we arrived on the Sunday at 13:30 we were told that we couldn’t check in until 14:00 and we should put our bags back in the car because there was no where to put bags. The same girl on reception told us that most of the staff were out on a charity boat race that day so we should expect that things would take a bit longer.
We came back at 14:30 and checked in then waiting for someone to show us to the room and take our bags, which didn’t happen so we found the room ourselves.
Our room was a four poster at £200 a night and was small and very over priced but looked great on the website.
Our room (no 20) doubled up as the fire route in the event of a fire which meant added lighting in the room and a break glass thing in the front door.
Every day we were there it stunk of food, mornings and evenings. When I complained at reception I was told it was the fish and chip shop a few doors down and there was nothing they could do. When I explained that the smell was at 7:30 in the morning that was ignored. I heard another guest complain to the same girl on reception and was also fobbed off.
On every occasion when I dealt with the same girl on reception she was just not interested. I strongly suggest she find another means of earning a living as dealing with the public is not something she seems to enjoy.
On a positive note breakfast was good and the waitress pleasant and helpful.
I will return to Rye but there are other places that offer better value and a welcome.

The Gem here is the Restaurant.

I have left a review separately for the restaurant which is excellent....so to separate the hotel as a place of sleep compared to a place to eat is the only way I can give the hotel and restaurant it's respective honest review.

I have a lot of time for this hotel having used it over many years, usually staying for a night or two, this time we stayed for four nights. The room for us was a little small, booked for us so not the fault of the hotel, it was ok and in an old hotel you have to make allowances.
However, I'm not sure if there is a staff shortage and although the room service were friendly and helpful where possible I think there are some areas for improvement. The room could have been cleaner, mainly dusty, the bed headboard, the bottom of the radiator and even the coffee tray were very dusty. Please clean glasses properly, one of ours had been cleaned with an old dirty towel, it stank inside. The shower room had no extractor and there was no shelf or place to put wash bags. The shaving light has aged and gives off a yellow hue. And please...one bath towel each is not enough. On the plus side the shower itself was good.

The reception could do better, I asked three times for extra hangers and they eventually arrived when I went to the reception. I have to be honest and say the welcome was not the best, some staff members are better than others and checking out was a chore with an incorrect bill presented and having to wait around whilst 'paperwork' was fetched.....something I had to sort out with the person who had pre-paid the stay for us.

The bar staff were excellent and the breakfast service and food good, although please serve toast with the tea and not expect us to keep asking for it.

I would recommend this hotel, its a fabulous old historic building, it has faults as old buildings do, but its still an experience worth having. I just think some of the service provided needs to sharpen up. We will of course return...but back to the bigger rooms I think.