The Amsterdam hotel is somewhat of a Brighton institution. One of two openly gay hotels on the seafront, it is has a thronging terrace scene attracting clients of all sexualities while inside its sauna is a well-known meeting place for members of the gay community. If the drinking and leisure aspects of the hotel are rightly renowned, not as much can be said for the rooms which are basic, uninspiring and rough around the edges (fair enough as accommodation seems to play second fiddle to entertainment here). Not the place for a family holiday (kids not allowed) but rather for groups of friends or couples looking to meet and party with a clientele made up to a large extent by gays.
The Amsterdam enjoys a prime seafront position on Marine Parade, towards the Kemptown district of Brighton, just a few minutes' walk from Brighton Pier. The town centre, as well as the North Laines and South Lanes, is easily accessible by foot. Trains from the station, a 15 minute walk or five minute taxi ride away, serve Gatwick airport (30 mins) and London (50 mins on fast train). If you are arriving by car, see reception for an on-street parking permit or alternatively you will find several public car parks in the area.
Although the Amsterdam is a preferred choice for gay visitors to Brighton, guests of all sexualities are welcome, and indeed do stay, at the hotel. The same goes for the staff which is not uniquely homosexual either. As soon as the weather permits, the hotel's terrace becomes packed with sun worshippers nursing a cold beverage and the atmosphere is infectious. Even if you don't stay in the hotel itself, come and enjoy a beer at this legendary spot along with other good natured folk.
The pale yellow building that is the Amsterdam sits on the corner of Marine Parade and Broad Street and could easily be mistaken for a bar or pub at first site. Enter to the side of the terrace and go through the bar to get to reception just behind where one of the open, fun-loving staff will get you checked in and store your luggage if necessary. The reception area is a small room with tons of information on local attractions, cabinets of silver jewellery on sale and a cash machine just outside. Just behind the lobby is the (in)famous male-only sauna and steam room, a well known haunt among the gay community. It also boasts a small gym and chill out zone and stays open til the wee hours of the morning. Entry is just £5. The hotel is general is clean although it could do with a little face lift in terms of paint and general upkeep. The corridors are pretty drab and no real effort has been made to brighten the place up. There is complimentary wifi throughout the hotel but no PCs for guests so you will have to bring you own laptop for internet access. Kids and animals are not permitted in the hotel.
The hotel has 26 rooms divided into five different categories: back view, oblique sea view, sea view, boutique and penthouse. All rooms are decorated and appointed in a similar way with pale and dark peach coloured walls, cheap wooden furniture including drawers, bed side table and chairs (in some rooms these are wicker) and either carpet or wooden flooring. The beds are dressed in decent linens and have on them your towels and toiletries nicely laid out. All rooms also have a flatscreen television, tea and coffee facilities and telephone while some of the larger ones also have DVD players and a balcony with furniture looking onto the sea. The bathrooms, some of which are actually wet rooms (not very practical), are standard affairs with open showers and some are in need of renovation as the signs of wear and tear are starting to show. The largest room, the penthouse, has a separate salon with leather armchairs and sofas, a hifi, sofa bed for extra guests, iron and ironing board, a cordless phone, fridge and a heater and fan (none of the rooms have a/c). The room itself boasts a four-poster bed and its bathroom has a bidet and a skylight meaning plenty of natural light filing the room. While it is the largest room, the term penthouse is likely to disappointment most who take this room as the décor is less than impressive and you can find far better rooms in Brighton at the same price (perhaps not with the same view).
Food is served throughout the day at the Amsterdam while the bar is open from 11am until late every day. The breakfast room, which is just next to the bar seating area, is, like the rest of the hotel, pretty bland and poorly decorated. Choose between the usual continental breakfast or go for something a little more filling in the form of a cooked breakfast. For lunch service moves into the main bar and terrace where you can order a range of dishes such as burgers, salads and steaks. After 7pm pizzas only are available both in the restaurant and in your room. The terrace out front is one of the most popular places in Brighton to enjoy a drink in the sun and always has a great atmosphere.
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