Along with the Lido to the south, the Ocean Hotel (sometimes known as the Grand Ocean Hotel) is another fine example of thirties seaside architecture in the south coast village of Saltdean.
Indeed, it was constructed by the developers responsible for the Lido and much of the actual village, the saltdean Estate Company, formed by speculator Charles Neville in 1924.
The Ocean Hotel was acquired by Butlins and opened its doors for business in May of 1953 after an extensive refurbishment. Six months of hard work had gone into restoring the near-derelict building to its former glory.
As luck would have it the hotel turned out to be excellent investment for Sir Billy Butlin. With its close proximity to the bright lights and night-life of Brighton, the hotel proved a very popular destination for honeymooners throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies.
It stayed in their ownership until Rank Leisure, the owner of Butlins, put all of the Butlins hotels up for sale in 1998. They went to the Grand Hotel Group.
There is so little demand for accommodation in the hotel now, that plans are being made to house asylum seekers there, which is currently rousing local protest.
Unfortunately, the front view from the hotel (which faces north-east) was blighted in the 1950s when the countryside opposite it was redeveloped for housing.
However, the hotel appears to be in good condition, retaining many original features, including glass-brick columns flanking the main entrance, and the mouldings on the ceiling of the foyer. Due to its slightly off the beaten track location, it is not somewhere you would find without looking for it, but it is a beautiful building.
The sun shining over the hotel…
Looking southeast over the facade.
Looking west, showing the curve of the facade.
Inside the foyer, showing the original ceiling mouldings.