Since the days of King George IV, Brighton has been one (if not the) premier seaside getaway for Londoners. Its reputation as a place to let loose and relax by the sea continues today, and a host of accommodation options is on hand to provide exactly the sort of lodging you require.
With its quirky promenade and amusement pier, Brighton has plenty of fun to balance its more genteel historic core. It’s both sophisticated and lighthearted, catering to a growing gay scene as much as families on holiday. A dedicated nudist beach just east of town proves that Brighton is trying to be all things for all tourists ― a tactic that just might work in understated England.
The best hotels in Brighton tend to be in the heart of town, overlooking the sea. Names like The Grand have been hosting the rich and famous for centuries, but lately a rise in trendy boutique hotels has seen new establishments laying claim to the title of coolest lodging in town. Not everything is expensive in Brighton, however, so budget travellers have plenty of hotels to choose from right in town as well.
Our Favourite Brighton Hotels:
The Grand: Brighton’s top address has been hosting guests since 1864 and continues to offer the best in location and Georgian splendor. Opening right onto the seafront promenade, this hotel is one place where you won’t need a car to reach the beach or the attractions of town. Rooms are spacious and well-apportioned, but certainly not cheap.
Thistle Brighton: more modern than the Grand but boasting an equally sumptuous location overlooking the seafront promenade, the Thistle Brighton is one of the town’s top hotels. The rooms are huge and incredibly comfortable, and the hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and two excellent restaurants.
The Claremont: just next door in Hove, this Victorian masterpiece has been lovingly restored into one of Brighton’s coolest boutique hotels. High ceilings, tall windows and just the right amount of Victorian décor give The Claremont loads of aesthetic charm. It’s just minutes from the heart of Brighton for pedestrian convenience.
Hilton Brighton Metropole: this historic building dates to 1889 and is currently Brighton’s largest hotel. Its central seafront location puts it right in the heart of the action and the spacious rooms, with sitting areas and posh bathrooms, invite lingering at home. But cosy would not be an apt adjective for the Metropole, which is popular with conferences and other large events.
Barcelo Brighton: the town’s oldest hotel dates all the way to 1559, though most of its current building is from the late 1800s. The largest of Brighton’s mid-range hotels, the Barcelo is popular with large groups and visitors looking for a seaside location on a budget.
Blanch House: for a hip stay in a cool, restored Georgian building just two blocks from the beach, the Blanch does the trick. Its rooms each have their own theatrical theme, which is a turn-off for some, such as Morocco or Snowstorm. But the downstairs bar is among the town’s trendiest and its restaurant is top-flight.
Nineteen: this incredibly modern, urban-style hotel offers a thorough dose of big city in Brighton. It’s location in the up-and-coming Kemp Town district only adds to its allure, while the blindingly white rooms boast contemporary art on the walls and state-of-the-art bathrooms.
Cowards Guest House: excellent value for visitors who don’t need bells and whistles in their hotel. The rooms in this wonderfully-maintained, Regency-era house from 1807 are simple and comfortable, and the scene here is as gay-friendly as anywhere in Brighton.
Legends Hotel: Brighton’s busiest and liveliest gay-friendly hotel is just the place for a fun and rowdy weekend at the beach. The hosts go out of their way to make everyone’s stay perfect and the rooms, while sometimes a bit noisy, are as clean as a whistle.