A decade at the Cooden Beach Hotel

james kimber owner of the cooden beach hotel
james kimber owner of the cooden beach hotel

It is 10 years since James Kimber fulfilled a lifelong dream to own the Cooden Beach Hotel.

He made the front page of the Bexhill Observer when he bought it and admitted it could cost more than £1 million in refurbishment.

In the end he had to pay more but it’s been money well spent as far as James is concerned - and he has now started the process over again with bedrooms being redecorated and a new extension on the front of the building.

Prior to buying the hotel James had been in the hairdressing business and owned 400 salons around the world emplying 6,000 staff.

He made quite a name in that world - buying the business owned by one of the first celebrity hairdressers, Raymond, who was known as Teasie Weasie to an adoring clientele - and went on to place the crown on a couple of Miss United Kingdoms and was even a Miss World judge in 1988 when Eric Morley was still running that particular show.

But when James sold his business he saw that the Cooden Beach Hotel was available and plunged headlong into a different world.

He said: “I always loved the Cooden Beach Hotel. I tried to buy it in my 30’s, the last time it was privately owned, but it was bought up by a big company. So when I sold the hair and beauty business I saw the hotel was for sale again and I thought I would get it this time. i have always loved it. It is in the most fantastic location, spectacular.”

James is equally besotted with Bexhill having lived here for many years. His father had a butcher shop in Western Road, and the family lived upstairs for some time. James went to catering college for two years and also learned hotel management at Hastings College before deciding to go into the hairdressing trade.