A wedding party were among more than 20 guests evacuated following a fire at the historic George hotel in Rye in the early hours of Saturday morning.
No one was hurt in the blaze that spread quickly through hidden cavities of the 16th-century, 46-bedroom property and took hold in the roof void.
Fire fighters from the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service carried out "significant salvage operation" to save as many of the guest's belongings as possible, including the bride's wedding dress. Bride and groom Sarah Hopkinson and Neil Speller were forced to cancel their wedding.
Dan Channon, incident commander, said: "This was a challenging incident due to the complex nature of this old building in a confined part of the town.
"Crews had to work extremely hard in arduous conditions, using breathing apparatus, to bring the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to other properties."
The hotel has thanked the local community and fire service for their support. It tweeted: "We are overwhelmed by the incredible support received from the local community following a fire at the hotel in the early hours of this morning. East Sussex Fire Service were on site within five minutes and everyone was evacuated safely and nobody was hurt.
"We'd like to thank the fire service and our staff for their outstanding efforts. We're devastated our beautiful building has been damaged and work starts today to get everything up and running as soon as possible.
"We'd like to thank our wonderful guests who have been amazing in their response."
MP for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd tweeted: "Sad and upsetting to see such fire damage to the wonderful the George, a valued family hotel in the centre of beautiful historic Rye."
The cause of the fire is now being investigated.
Dating from 1574, the George was bought in 2004 by Alex and Katie Clarke and reopened in 2006 after an extensive renovation. Weddings are held in an original Georgian ballroom. The hotel is currently closed and all enquiries are being directed to sister hotel, Rye Lodge.