There is something particularly serene about The White House. Maybe it's the light that fills the hotel, perhaps the highly tasteful, soft on the eye furnishings or possibly the fact that it is tucked away from the main road with a front garden in which you can bronze for part of the day. Whatever it is, this is a delightful place to stay and comes highly recommended no matter how long your break or your motives for being in Brighton. What's more, you will not come across a more genuine, good (dry) humoured and helpful proprietor than the larger-than-life Sean. If you only stay for one reason, let that reason be him.
The White House is situated on Bedford Street which runs off of Marine Parade up to Bristol Road. Slightly out of the town centre, in the Kemptown area of Brighton, it has a quiet spot and has the advantage of facing the sea rather than towards the street which means the possibility of full sea views in some of the rooms. At the top of the road and along Upper St. James Street you'll find some local shops, although the main tourist attractions (Brighton Pier, Pavilion, North Laine, The Lanes) are a 15-20 minute walk away. Trains from the station, a 20-25 minute walk or 10-15 minute taxi ride away, serve Gatwick airport (30 mins) and London (50 mins on fast train). If you are arriving by car then on street parking is available near the hotel which will cost a maximum of £5 for 24 hours. Permits can be bought at reception.
The White House is a guest house, which means that Sean and his wife Kathryn are not always on site. To save you having to wait, therefore, on the doorstep upon your arrival, you should try and let them know roughly what time you will be turning up so they can be there to welcome you and check you in. Sean, who used to be a roaming chef, and Kathryn, a nurse, took over what was an old-fashioned bed and breakfast eight years ago and have slowly but surely created the wonderful property we see today.
If we were to put the hotels in Brighton in order of homeliness, then The White House would be right up there. Access to the guest house is through a small gate, which leads into a cute front garden with pot plants, a table and chairs and most important of all, direct sun light. When you arrive, Sean or Kathryn will either come and meet you from their place round the corner or will already be on site, tending the garden or putting the finishing touches to your room. Once past the porch, with its inviting armchair and fun little objects on the window sill and walls, you'll come to the stairs and be taken straight to your room where check in is done (no reception here) and keys to the property handed over. Being a small hotel there is nothing in the way of fitness of wellness facilities or a business centre, but there is wifi throughout. The condition of The White House is impeccable and is as spotless as it is welcoming. Kids are very welcome here, but animals are not accepted.
10 beautifully appointed rooms are spread over four floors at The White House. Each one has similar amenities including complimentary water, tea and coffee facilities (with a Kit Kat), alarm clock radio and television, with a feature wall covered in designer wallpaper of various brands. All the floors are fitted with sea grass which feels nice underfoot and never seems to stain. The beds are dressed in soft cotton sheets and have your folded towels ready at their foot, with a 'do not disturb' heart placed on top. There are two single rooms, which, while small, are still big enough to move around in and have everything you need for a short stay, apart, perhaps, from a telephone. The shower and sink are built within the room, while the toilet is separate, and it will be no surprise that The White Company provide the toiletries. The four small doubles are again, not huge, but certainly sufficiently spacious for a break of a few days. One of them has a warm red floral patterned wallpaper from Romo with matching cushions on the bed and bedside lamps along the same colour scheme. There is a short desk on which are the tea and coffee facilities and above which, on a stand, is the regular television. The separate bathroom has a shower and is tiled simply with beige rectangles. There are three feature rooms too which boast leather bed frames, flatscreen televisions and extra space in both the room and bathroom, while at the top of the pile is the suite with a separate living space featuring a sofa, coffee table and rug and long wooden sideboard upon which is a turquoise vase, which breaks nicely the brown tones of the room, and above which is a white painted mirror. It also boasts an iPod docking station and a balcony with garden furniture. None of the rooms have air conditioning but fans can be provided if necessary, as can iron and ironing boards and a place to keep valuables.
Breakfast is served downstairs in a bright, wooden floored room which also acts as a small gallery, with pints for sale. The light wooden tables each have a sleek glass vase with a single flower and are set for two. At one end of the room is a giant floor-to-ceiling blackboard with the breakfast options scrawled on. As well as the full English there is a veggie option, smoked salmon and eggs served on sesame and sunclover toast and kippers. Sean uses primarily local ingredients and the eggs are all free range. As you'd expect from someone who used to be a professional chef, the hot breakfasts are delicious, and the scrambled eggs are to die for (the secret ingredient, according to him, is love). If the weather is good enough guests are welcome to take their morning meal in the front garden.
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