English seaside hotels: The Big Six

From scenic Studland Bay to a slice of the Hamptons in Sussex

The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

The latest addition to The Pig litter has just opened on Dorset's scenic Studland Bay. The group's first beach hotel follows a country house in the New Forest, a city pad in Southampton, and a rural retreat in the Mendip Hills just outside Bath. Opened within the shell of the old Manor House Hotel, it features uninterrupted views of dune-backed sands and the sea. Decked out in the same shabby-chic style as its sister properties, it contains 23 rooms, with rustic wooden floorboards, four-poster beds, botanical prints and soft, pastel shades. Elsewhere, expect a greenhouse-style restaurant by chef James Golding that uses produce from the hotel's kitchen garden and a dinky spa concealed within two converted sheep huts.

The Pig on the Beach, Studland Bay, Dorset BH19 3AU (0845 077 9494; thepighotel.com). Doubles from £139, room only.

The Mizen Head, Northumberland

This restaurant-with-rooms sits in the tiny village of Bamburgh on the sweeping Northumberland coast. Freshly-caught seafood and fine-quality meats are the order of the day, with dishes that range from seared scallops to lobster thermidor and Scottish Borders charcuterie. Roaring log fires, parquet floors, and a grand staircase give way to six rooms upstairs, furnished with either coastal or country views. Offshore, Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands beckon for coastal exploration.

The Mizen Head, Northumberland, NE69 7BS (01668 214 254; mizenheadhotel.co.uk). Doubles from £90, B&B.

Titchwell Manor, Norfolk

From the north Norfolk village of Brancaster, this hotel looks out across open marshes to the North Sea. Housed in a former Victorian farmhouse, it has been owned by the same team, Margaret and Ian Snaith, since 1988. Some of the rooms shrug off the traditional nautical palette of coastal hotels in favour of audacious, clashing colours, while others keep it calm and neutral. Downstairs, there are two restaurants, the Eating Rooms and the Conservatory, both run by the Snaith's son, Eric.

Titchwell Manor, Brancaster, Norfolk PE31 8BB (01485 210221; titchwellmanor.com). Doubles from £95, B&B.

The Scarlet, Cornwall

The Scarlet stands above Mawgan Porth beach on the north Cornwall coast, with an adults-only policy that makes it ideal for a romantic getaway. Add to that a sought-after spa – with tented treatment rooms, an indoor pool and a clifftop hot tub – and you're in couples heaven. Each of the rooms boasts its own outdoor patch, from private courtyards to garden terraces and balconies. Many cast their eyes across the Atlantic, while those that don't will find the sea waiting through the windows of the hotel's restaurant.

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, TR8 4DQ (01637 861800; scarlethotel.co.uk). Doubles from £195, B&B.

The Gallivant, East Sussex

The Gallivant prides itself on bringing a slice of the Hamptons to the shores of Sussex. Set back from dunes of Camber Sands, it's decked out in soothing coastal colours of blues and whites. Rooms come with homely touches: books, beach bags, and regularly refilled cookie jars. Downstairs, there's a Larder of Guilty Pleasures for guests to tuck into and a seafood restaurant by Ben Fisher, who trained under Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. Food is sourced from within a 30-mile radius, supplied by local fishermen and farmers.

The Gallivant, Rye, East Sussex, TN31 7RB (01797 225 057; thegallivanthotel.com). Doubles from £115, B&B.

The Reading Rooms, Kent

The Reading Rooms is testament to the changing face of Margate, which has recently welcomed the Turner Contemporary gallery and replaced tired seaside shops with quirky boutiques. Opened in 2009, it's run by a cosmopolitan couple who graduated from backgrounds in graphic design and the music industry to open this luxury B&B. There are three huge rooms, each with floor-to-ceiling windows, antique floorboards, and hand-carved beds. The best is Room Three, up in the eaves, with views of the sea.

The Reading Rooms, Margate, Kent CT9 1PH (01843225166; thereadingroomsmargate.co.uk). Doubles from £150, B&B.