Just as with the Best Western, the big advantage of the Holiday Inn is that you know what to expect and you can be sure of a certain level of quality and service. The Brighton property represents good value for money and offers a good range of facilities for the leisure or business traveller. It has a decent location on the seafront, generously sized rooms and a reliable restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. Although this is not the place to stay if you are looking for something special or a bit of luxury, it is a good compromise for a families with a budget or groups of friends who'd rather spend their money on having a good time in Brighton. Just be aware that this is a very popular venue for conferences and the hotel gets a lot of coach parties.
The Holiday Inn is right on the seafront on Kings Road, just a couple of streets up from Regency Square and almost directly opposite the burnt West Pier. The centre of town and its shopping area is about a 10 minute walk away while the city's other attractions such as the Pavilion, Palace Pier and The Lanes and North Laine are a little further away. Trains from the station, a 20 minute walk or 10 minute taxi ride away, serve Gatwick airport (30 mins) and London (50 mins on fast train). If you are arriving by car, then you may park your car in the car park under hotel at the rate of £17.50 per day. You must register the vehicle at reception beforehand as you'll need a token to enter the car park. There are other public car parks close by but these are further away and may be more costly.
The hotel has been a Holiday Inn for just over six years now, but was originally a Bedford property followed by a Hilton. Like many of the other seafront hotels, it welcomes quite a large number of groups, bit it holiday-makers or conference attendees which means you may need to book in advance and avoid travelling at periods when there are important events going on in the city. The hotel is 100% non-smoking. If you are bringing your dog with you then you should know that there is a £15 per night charge and that they are not permitted to enter the bar or restaurant areas.
It has to be said, that the Holiday Inn's building, a towering concrete monstrosity, is the most unsightly on the seafront, possibly in the whole city. Inside however things take a turn for the better with the modern lobby whose central feature is a gold coloured table upon which is a pretty flower arrangement with a slightly overpowering odour. The reception desk to the left is staffed by polite, attentive staff while much of the rest of the lobby's space is taken up with leather sofas with the lift bank located conveniently at the rear. The modern art on the walls and the chandelier of suspended glass spheres finishes off a pleasant first impression of the hotel which is spoilt only by the presence of posters and stands advertising the hotel and its services. Just to the back right of the hall is a small play area for babies, complete with television, videos and toys to occupy them during check-in for example, a nice touch unique to the Holiday Inn. The hotel does have a fitness centre with a good range of both cardio and weights machines however if you feel what's on offer doesn't meet your requirements, then the hotel has an agreement with an offsite gym the details of which you can pick up at reception. Wifi is available throughout the property although this is charged at £10 for 24h, £7.50 for 4 hours or £5 for one hour. If you don't have a laptop with you then you can still access the internet in the business centre which has several coined operated PCs which are charged at £1 for 10 mins, but includes printing. The hotel keeps it public areas in good condition although during our visit there were tables and chairs from the various conferences taking place clogging up the corridors. In general though, access to the rooms is easy, especially with the lift to get you up to the higher floors.
There are three types of room at the Holiday Inn, each category having a sea view and non-sea view option. Rooms are pretty basic and functional, but they are spacious, clean and comfortable. The colours are sober and there is no real attempt to brighten up the rooms with paintings (which are as bland as the wallpaper) or flowers or to add special features. The standard room has a regular double bed dressed in good linen with a burgundy plaid laid across its foot. The headboard and bedside tables are one unit of cheapish wood and the same material is used for all the furniture in the room which consists of a small table and chairs, drawer unit with regular television and desk. Upon this latter you'll your tea and coffee facilities and hairdryer while just in front is a mirror for makeup etc. There is a closet just next to the front door with ample hanging space where you'll also find the iron and ironing board. The bathroom is fairly old-fashioned and could do with updating, especially as there are signs of wear and tear. It has a bathtub with shower and Dove toiletries in holders. The king rooms have a larger bed, a more generous bathroom and a fridge, while the executive room has extra comforts such as leather furniture, stocked minibar, safe, robe and slippers and complimentary shoe shine. These latter rooms can be found on the fourth floor where children and pets are not permitted. Two positive aspects of the rooms are that they have air conditioning and double glazing, blocking out the noise from the main road.
The hotel's dining area, The Garden Room, is a bright, spacious open-plan restaurant with flashes of two tone brown floral wallpaper and abstract paintings (for sale) on the crisp white walls. Plenty of bare-topped tables with tall back chairs fill the space which is used for breakfast and dinner services. Both meals are served on a buffet basis. In the morning, between 7am and 10 am (7.30 and 10.30am at weekends) the hot section includes full English breakfast, while also available are pancakes, kippers, cold meats and cheese, cereal, yoghurt, fruit, patisseries and juices. The dinner menu changes weekly but will always include both meat and fish options together with a range of accompaniments including fresh vegetables, potatoes and salads. All the desserts on the buffet are made in-house. The bar, which you won't miss for its bright purple-painted walls and pool table and its centre, is open from 10am until late and serves food all day long. If you're in a rush in the morning you can grab a breakfast bap or a piece of fruit or pastry. Otherwise, throughout the day, a range of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, pastas and salads are available as well as small snacks and desserts. Many of these dishes are available 24 hours a day and can be brought to your room (subject to a small extra charge). Every month the bar puts in place a theme, for example St. Patrick's, and serves specially prepared food and cocktails. This is also the place to come and watch the match at weekends.
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