Why come to Brighton? Why not, is easier to answer!
The jewel of the UK’s seaside towns has it all: along with it’s long, pebbly beach complete with pretty beach huts, roller coasters on the pier and the eyesore that is better when you’re on it – the i360 viewing platform; the pretty city boasts one of England’s oldest Victorian bandstands- dating back to 1884, but it’s not all about the history; there are award-winning eateries with more vegan dining you can shake a stick at; art house cinemas, all kinds of festivals, restored theatres, a zip line and Soho House! Framed by the stunning vistas of the South Downs to the north and the long promenade which meanders from Hove Lagoon to Brighton Marina, the city is united with its neighbouring Hove, and you can enjoy everything from jellied eels, to tarot readings through live music pumping from the plentiful terraces. Whilst fish n chip takeaways wrestle for space with ice cream booths, retro clothes stores, rollerbladers and of course, plenty of hens along the lively front.
Away from the seafront are the pretty South Lanes and North Laine with their unique collection of residents and vintage jewellery and boutique stores; whilst the Royal Pavilion and Gardens is a must visit to inspect the unique, mini Taj Mahal which was built for King George IV. The maximalist design is nothing short of spectacular, and everyone should visit to enjoy the flamboyant interiors which consist of extravagant gilded dragons, celestial carpets and hand-painted Chinese wallpaper.
Not quite on par with the decadence of the Pavillion, Brighton’s second Grand Dame is the iconic Grand Hotel which is situated in a prime position overlooking the crashing waves of the English channel. Giving seagulls a run for their money, this Brighton institution has been around since 1864, and it still boasts a dramatic frontage, complete with bowler-hatted door-men to welcome you in; and plenty of original features, including sturdy marble pillars and original terrazzo flooring. Grand by name, grand by nature, the central staircase is certainly worth a mention. Winding seven floors and crowned by a crystal chandelier, you’ll feel like a princess as you descend; whilst the rooms are traditional with modern touches, like a teapot shaped kettle, huge TV and fluffy robes.
Almost a third of the hotel’s art-deco inspired bedrooms are sea-facing, and the sash floor to ceiling windows and terrace door in my room gave an uninterrupted vista of the ocean and the mesmerising fire-ravaged West pier, which is being chipped away with every storm. Although it would have been easy to spend my time in the beautiful bedroom, and enjoy a book with a view, this is Brighton after all, and there was lots of exploring to be done.
Returning to the hotel for dinner, I enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails in the Victoria Bar (and highly recommend The Bramble) before retiring to Cyan restaurant. Adjacent to the Bar, situated at the front of the building, the diner is cosy with contemporary touches, classic dishes. and seafront views beyond the large window. Seafood and fish are a specialty, but veggies, vegans and very well catered for too. I chowed down on the Classic Fish Pie which was hearty and delicious, whilst my date enjoyed Thyme Roasted Chicken and confirmed it was the best she had ever tasted!
Even more food was consumed at breakfast; well it would be rude not too as the Lounge and Terrace was transformed into a decadent buffet with eggs made to order, and a vast array of artisan bread, veggie sausages, locally made yoghurts, waffles, porridge, salmon, ham and croissants! If only I had time to use the gym to work it all off!
As impressive on the outside as the inside, this 201 room property is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway and there may just be a reason why Brighton is great place for a dirty weekend!
Address: 97-99 Kings Rd, Brighton & Hove, BN1 2FW
Phone: 01273 224 3000