Mrs M Lewis, who unfortunately passed away last October at the grand old age of 102, joined the management team in 1929 and saw many changes to the hotel, Eastbourne, and the hotel industry since then. She has welcomed many famous faces into her hotel including cricket legends Len Hutton, Geoff Miller and Imran Khan and theatrical stars Albert Finney, Fenella Fielding and A E Matthews.

Mrs Lewis’s son Edward Lewis was made a partner in 1969, and says “We are very proud of the fact the hotel has been in the same family ownership since 1912. It is this that has given the hotel a personal touch that is still very evident today. We are flattered that so many guests express their appreciation of this fact.”

In 1912 Mrs Lewis’s aunt, Miss Robinson, purchased two private houses in Lansdowne Terrace on the seafront opposite the Wish Tower and Western Lawns, forming the humble beginnings of the hotel. It prospered during the 1914-18 War and steadily expanded, consisting of five inter-connected houses with 72 letting bedrooms by the outbreak of the Second World War. Edward Lewis’s father Alan, who died in 1988, joined the team in 1939. The hotel was then closed to the public from 1940 until 1946, during which time it was acquired by the War Department and occupied by troops who were manning a coastal battery of the Royal Artillery stationed on the slopes of the Wish Tower.

Edward Lewis well remembers living in the hotel as a young schoolboy when it re-opened after the Second World War when his parents and maternal grandfather were getting everything back up to speed. 

In those post-War days guests would only be able to book for 7 or 14 nights, and had to arrive on a Wednesday or a Saturday. However, there were many long-term residents, some of whom stayed for up to 15 years. 

Margaret Lewis was very much involved in the maintenance and décor of the hotel, and showed real flair.

Continuing the family connection, Edward Lewis’s Sister, Rosemary Bowker, joined the hotel as a partner, but sadly died in 2004. The hotel hopes to continue in the family with Catherine Clifford rejoining the hotel this year as Sales & Marketing Executive.

In 1953 Mr and Mrs Alan Lewis, together with Mr Robinson, purchased the adjoining Burns House Hotel and incorporated it into the Lansdowne to give a total of 84 bedrooms.

Then, in 1959 , the partners acquired the neighbouring Beaulieu Hotel. This was considerably altered and refurbished and re-named the Lawns Hotel which operated as a separate unit until 1st January 1973 when it joined with the Lansdowne Hotel and became a 42 bedroomed hotel.

Today the Lansdowne has 102 bedrooms due to the introduction of ensuite bathrooms. The hotel consists of 13 originally separate private houses. It is a member of the Best Western Hotels consortium and has a 3 Star rating from the AA.


On the evening of Friday 14th September 2012 the BEST WESTERN Lansdowne Hotel celebrated 100 years of ownership by the same family. It was a champagne and canapés event, attended by the Mayor and Mayoress, Stephen Lloyd MP, local hoteliers, members of the family, the hotel management and several longstanding guests.

Margaret Lewis, Edward Lewis’s mother, also attended and at the time she was about to turn 100 years old!

Mr Lewis gave a brief history of the hotel from its small beginnings in 1912, and the hotel now looks forward to its 200th birthday!

The evening was greatly enjoyed by all those present.


Old hotel information circa 1929