Hotel Review: The Grand Brighton, Brighton in East Sussex
Leading travel writer Nick Constance stays at The Grand Brighton, Brighton in East Sussex.
The Cat In The Hat
It’s a bit of a shock, when you rock up to a hotel and the doorman is a more dapper dresser than you are. Kitted out in bowler hat and tartan trousers, by tailor-couturier Gresham Blake, the theatrical attire certainly give you a flavour of what’s to come.
Located between Brighton Palace pier and the destroyed west pier, The Grand Brighton is looking as fresh as ever, due to a recent grilion-pound facelift.
The building’s façade has benefitted mostly from the work, but there are also signs of freshness in the public areas, too. Gone is the chintzy headache of the past – in its place, a calming, neutral tone prevails.
Our room was a sea-facing ‘Collection Deluxe’, which roughly translates to spacious double room with kick-arse view and a balcony big enough for 2 chairs and a table: particularly magical when the sea roars into life.
Twenties style furniture, lavish bedding and nautical-themed artworks elevate it a notch above the norm. On a slightly negative note: our bathroom boasts an above-the-bath power shower, but I couldn’t help wishing we had a walk-in shower. However, it is a graceful Victorian-Italianate building, so a bath definitely suits the décor.
Unsurprisingly, The Grand also boasts a 1st floor gym and a gloriously restful spa in the basement. 8 treatment rooms surround a thermal suite and a pastel-toned relaxation room, where Regal day-beds and sumptuous sofas are the order of the day.
Certain treatments come with extras such as fruit platters, or a glass of house fizz. Treatments include use of all facilities; otherwise expect to pay £19.50.
“Afternoon ‘Tea by the Sea’ is served in the elegant Victoria Terrace. If you fancy shaking things up a little, try the wittily entitled Brighton G & Tea, for those who don’t believe in choosing between tea and gin.
Nibbles and light brunches are also served in the Terrace. Monday to Friday – sittings at 14.30 and 16.30 / Weekends sittings 12.30, 14.30, and 16.30.
Alternatively, head to GB1, the hotel’s (mainly) seafood restaurant. From oysters to sweet scallop and black pudding starters, the dishes are as well priced and presented as they are skilfully cooked.
Alan White’s passionate kitchen brigade strives to add a fresh twist to classic British cuisine. Try a fresh Fillet of bream, a South Coast Lobster, or go for broke with a grilled Southdown Rump of Lamb.
We love the breakfast menu offering cook-to-order treats such as eggs Benedict and Kippers, Bucks Fizz and Mango and Passion Fruit smoothies. We even spotted a tray of avocado on Sourdough toast, for all you wellness warriors out there.
The regular buffet, meanwhile, is an endless spread of porridge, salmon, ham, sausages, bacon, beans, eggs, breads and yoghurts…English breakfast gone nuclear.
After breakfast, we take a 2 minutes stroll to the British Airways i360 tower, the ultimate way to see the coast. I didn’t think I’d have much to say about a glass pod sliding up a down a giant metal pole, but to gawp at the landscape and coastline, 450ft below, is really quite a buzz.
However, I’m not convinced the retro-spaceship design suits the Brighton vibe, but a ticket to ride is certainly something to have up your sleeve.
“Guests often tell us that a flight in the pod leaves them feeling relaxed and refreshed”, says Lena Koskela, head of sales and marketing. Well, she would say that, wouldn’t she?
To be fair it was a neat treat, before heading back to London, on the Sunday morning, particularly as we enjoyed a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine from the high-flying bar.
Hurrah for fancy-pants hotels. Wish you were here.
Address: 97-99 Kings Rd, Brighton & Hove, BN1 2F
Phone: 01273 224 3000
Main image credit: Simon Callaghan Photography