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Hotel Blanch House Hotel 3 star
Easyexperts
Brighton, United Kingdom -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

It's remarkable what you can find these days behind the façades of the Victorian terraces that line the streets off of the seafront. Probably the best all-round hotel package in Brighton, Blanch House gets it spot on from the rooms' design to the superb restaurant and from the choice of staff to the cocktail bar where any self-respecting dipsomaniac would want to be seen. The experience and enthusiasm of the husband and wife team is there for all to see and we challenge you not to enjoy your stay at this property. Although kids are allowed at Blanch House, it is essentially a retreat for couples looking for a sexy weekend away from the big city. A big thumbs up from easyvoyage.co.uk!

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    Location 9.25 /10

    Blanch House is tucked away on Atlingworth Street, just off of the Kemptown end of Marine Parade, a few doors down from Kemp Townhouse. Although slightly out from the centre of town, all the major attractions (the Pavilion, The Lanes, North Laines, Brighton Pier) are within 10-15 minutes on foot. 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). Vouchers for pay and display parking on the seafront can be bought at reception if available, otherwise there free parking at the marina, a 15 minute walk away.

    Accommodation 8.20 /10

    Each of the 12 rooms at Blanch House has a name and theme of their own and is decorated uniquely. Although there are no categories as such, there are three different sizes of room. The loosely Oriental-themed Sakura, an example of a standard room, has its walls covered in beautiful Japanese floral-print wallpaper, and has matching red lamps, curtains and a wonderfully comfortable bedspread. It has to be said that despite the tasteful decoration, the room remains a squeeze and that without any hanging space besides a coat stand in the corner. The only other storage space is a wooden dresser upon which are the television and DVD player and the complimentary filtered water in personalised bottles. Other amenities include an old school telephone (internal use only-you can make external calls from reception), air conditioning and tea and coffee facilities. There is no safe in the room, although you can leave things at reception and iron and ironing boards are on request. The bathroom, which is a better size, has a bathtub, branded toiletries in holders, hairdryer and great big bath towels. Other standard rooms include the hugely popular Alice, which is Amanda's take on Wonderland with silver and pearl print wallpaper, a mirrored headboard and ceiling and crystal chandelier. Orchid, with its superb wallpaper and mirrored furniture and Renaissance with its equally attractive red and gold wallpaper and worn furniture are other examples of (slightly more spacious) standards. There are four rooms which, although they have the same amenities, are more generous in size. One such room is snowstorm whose bed is surrounded above by a curtain of hanging mobile-like chains and which has more snow shakers in the bedside tables and dresser. Boogie Nights with its loud orange and black 70s wallpaper and Moroccan, the authentic-looking North African-themed room, are also of the same size. The hotel's biggest, and arguably most impressive, room is Decadence, a suite boasting a huge bed dressed in burgundy, a deep soaking tub inside the room itself and a mirror opposite the bed which doubles up as a television (and whose remote control lights up in the dark!).

    Overview 7.45 /10

    Similarly to many hotels in Brighton, the reception is found in the front room together with the bar. However unlike all other hotels, you'll find James waiting for you at the desk, who is quite possibly one of the most pleasant and charming young men you'll meet in Brighton. The trained architect, who reminds of Mike Myers in Austin Powers minus the purple velvet suit, has found his calling here, running the show during the day and putting a smile on guests' faces as he does it. Check-in at the small desk is a breeze and once done you'll be shown to your room and your luggage brought up to you if you can't manage it up the narrow staircases. Although the hotel does not have its own fitness and wellbeing services, VIP day passes for the Escorta gym are available at the special price of £1 per couple. As well as the fitness centre treatments such as reflexology, aromatherapy and different types of massage are also available at varying prices. The hotel has complimentary wifi throughout the building, although the signal is much stronger in the lobby than it is in the rooms. All public areas of the hotel are kept spick and span and feel homely with a spotless carpet (the industrial cleaners were there during our stay) and plants. Watch out too for the cabinets displaying snow shakers from around the world collected by Chris and Amanda as well as their friends which lend an equally familiar feel to the property. Please note that the hotel is a non-smoking zone.

    Food and drink 8.70 /10

    Some would say that the best things about Blanch House are the bar and restaurant, and we would tend to agree with them. The reasons why they are so successful are two-fold: the passion and expertise of Chris and Amanda and the skill of the kitchen and bar staff. The room which serves as both the breakfast room and restaurant is a wonderfully pure space, almost entirely white, with a beautiful leather banquette of the same colour wrapped round the edge and designer white chairs on the other side of the simple square wooden tables each adorned with a yellow tulip. The photographs on display on the walls were taken by an evidently talented young girl, a friend of Chris and Amanda's daughter. The only other decoration is three vases placed in seemingly random positioned alcoves which are mirrored on the other side of the room with protrusions of exactly the same shape, almost as if the two sides of the room have been ripped apart imperfectly. The breakfast, which was hosted on this occasion by the alluring Maddy, was one of the best we had, both the regular and vegetarian cooked breakfasts being delicious. But this was nothing compared to what awaited us that evening. Dan Jackson, the delightful and down-to-earth head chef, cooked up a storm in his kitchen, including a flavoursome butternut squash and ginger soup, a succulent sirloin of Sussex beef and to finish a triumphant elderflower pannacotta, served up by Ingrid, who is as appealing and witty as the food is scrumptious. Our meal was washed down with a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, chosen from a well considered wine list. It would be criminal not to head to the bar after dinner, and being no crooks we joined Chris and Amanda and their many guests for a cocktail at the award-winning watering hole. The drinks list is extensive and the cocktails are revised every six months or so by Chris, his friends and others in the know. For something out of the ordinary, try the Leftfield, which mixes Plymouth gin, elderflower cordial, balsamic vinegar and noilly prat with a silver skinned onion at the bottom-a taste sensation. If cocktails are not your thing then go for a rum (Chris' speciality) of which there are several varieties. With such innovative drinks and an electric atmosphere, this is the perfect way to end your day and what's more, you only need stagger up a few flights of stairs to bed! Ask the hotel team for information on their cooking club and cocktail school and take the opportunity to learn from the best.

    To know

    Opened back in 2000 after the two year renovation of an old-fashioned B&B, Blanch House was one of the very first boutique hotels in Brighton. The much-loved Chris and Amanda are the perfect hosts and they can be found invariably in the bar of an evening mingling with guests and sharing stories about each of their pasts. Before opening up Blanch House, Chris was one of the foremost bar managers in London, heading up the Groucho Club and Pharmacy and overseeing the opening of, among others, the GE club for Conran. Still today he is often asked to oversee the setting up of bars for example in Ibiza where he and Amanda are currently in the middle of a six-stint (they'll be back, thank goodness, in October 2010). Amanda's previous life was in PR before she moved into interior design and her touch can be seen throughout the hotel in the rooms which she designed herself. There is one feature of the hotel that is absolutely unique to Blanch House and that is Pollux the dog! Named after the French character in The Magic Roundabout (Dougal in the English version), the affectionate Hungarian sheepdog, which resembles a walking mop head, sweeps around the property tranquilly, and is somewhat of a mascot for the hotel. Over the years many a famous guest have made Blanch House their base when in Brighton including Renee Zellweger, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Oasis, the Wu Tan Clan and Damon Albarn.

    Equipment

    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Animals allowed

    advantage

    • Welcome
    • Room décor
    • Restaurant
    • Owners/staff
    • Bar/atmosphere

    disadvantages

    • Size of some rooms
    • Lack of storage space

    Traveller Reviews

    -
    • Overall Score -/10
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