Staycation hotel review: Inside Alex Polizzi’s coaching inn with rooms in Alfriston, East Sussex

The Inspector calls at a hotel in an ‘impossibly pretty village’ run by fellow inspector Alex Polizzi – and declares that it ‘delivers with aplomb’

  • The Star, a 15th-century former coaching inn, is located in Alfriston, East Sussex 
  • The Inspector gives it five stars despite requesting to switch rooms upon arrival
  • Remember… The Inspector pays his way – and tells it like it is…

You may have watched the build-up to the opening of The Star on Channel 5’s Alex Polizzi: My Hotel Nightmare.

The last of the three-part series aired on Thursday, complete with all the trials and tribulations of restoring a 15th- century former coaching inn at the heart of impossibly pretty Alfriston in East Sussex to a 30-room hotel jointly owned by Alex and her formidable mother, Olga Polizzi, daughter of the great hotelier Lord Forte.

‘It must have been good publicity,’ I remark to the quietly spoken man on reception.

The Star, pictured, is a 30-room hotel jointly owned by Alex Polizzi and her mother Olga

The Inspector likens the hotel’s decor to ‘a glorious English summer’s day’ 

‘Amazing,’ he says. ‘You should see the emails we’ve had.’

But The Star still needs to deliver — and it does, with aplomb. It’s an absolute beauty, like stepping into a glorious English summer’s day. No two colours clash, with lots of green hues, inspired art, delicate wallpaper, sumptuous fabrics, marble bathrooms, wooden floors, antique furniture and an exquisite attention to detail.

The main entrance is round the back where rooms have floor-to-ceiling French doors and Juliet balconies. We’re in a part of the hotel built in the 1930s and are paying £310 B&B. I had assumed we would have a bath for that sort of money.

I call reception and ask politely if we can switch.

‘We have one available suite with a bath. It’s two categories higher than where you are now, but we can of course offer it for the same price.’

The Star has 30 bedrooms, one of which is pictured. The Inspector’s room featured ‘two windows that open wide and an interesting selection of books’ 

The Inspector was impressed to see hotelier Alex Polizzi running the restaurant, pictured, and taking orders  


The Star, High Street, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5TA. 

B&B doubles from £190. For more information call 01323 870495 or visit 


Impressive. Gorgeous room, too, with a floral sofa at the end of the huge bed, two windows that open wide, an interesting selection of books (selected by Alfriston’s Much Ado bookshop), Bramley lotions and potions.

What’s also mighty remarkable is that Alex is running the restaurant, taking orders, fetching and carrying dishes, calling the men ‘Sir’, the women ‘madam’. 

We have drinks in the delightful courtyard before moving into the dining room.

We’re surprised there are only three choices for starters and main courses. The only meat dish is liver.

To our amazement, Alex is also in charge of breakfast in the morning, meeting and greeting, fresh as a daisy. And the food is too.

‘Never been so exhausted in my life,’ she says. But it doesn’t show. What a trooper.