Hotel Imperial Hotel 5 star
Brighton, United Kingdom -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

The Imperial, unfortunately, does not deliver what its name promises. Seemingly stuck in the early 1990s, it is a sad-looking hotel with an old-fashioned infrastructure which, although may offer some sort of old worldly British charm for foreign guests, is just not up to the standard of the rest of the hotels in Brighton. What's more, this hotel is a fair bit away from Brighton's main attractions being situated as it is in Hove. It's not all doom and gloom though as the hotel is clean and quiet and some rooms have a sea view. Recommended for families on a budget or for those who are more interested in what Brighton as a town has to offer.

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    Location 3.0 /10

    The Imperial is located in Hove, a little outside of Brighton proper, a short way up a street leading off of the seafront. While this means that the surroundings are a little calmer and quieter, the centre of Brighton is a good 20 minute walk away. There is little of note in the immediate surroundings aside from the seafront and its multicoloured beach huts. Trains from the station, a 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 see reception for an on-street parking permit at £4 per day. Alternatively, there are several public car parks in the area, but these are further away and more costly

    Accommodation 6.95 /10

    The rooms at the Imperial are basic, functional affairs and won't be winning any design or innovation awards soon. They are however clean and correct and perhaps most importantly quiet as they are slightly back from the seafront. The standard room, which it must be must is of a generous size, is decorated in a typical English style with a blue patterned carpet, striped floral curtains and the kind of wallpaper you'd expect to see in Hyacinth Bucket's living room. The furniture consists of sturdy dark wood bedside tables and lamps, a desk with drawer unit beneath and a wardrobe in the same material. Amenities include a flatscreen television with 80 freeview channels, telephone, tea and coffee facilities and trouser press. The bathroom, all in white, is equally basic and a little rough around the edges. It has a bathtub, hairdryer and toiletries come in unclassy sachets. Single rooms (a little smaller) and triple rooms (roughly the same size) have the same amenities and are decorated and appointed similarly. The executive double rooms are a little more comfortable due to extras such as the four-poster bed, larger television, seating area and enhanced bathroom featuring a sunken tub, modern vanity and backlit mirror. Being a listed building, the hotel has not been able to install air conditioning in its rooms although fans are available if needed.

    Overview 6.20 /10

    As was touched upon above, the outside of the hotel's exterior doesn't leave much to be desired. The respectable lobby is clean and tidy but has little character aside from the painted and photographed beaches scenes on the wall. The furniture has seen better days as have some of the paint work and the plants which are far from the pretty flower arrangements of other establishments. Things don't get a whole lot better in the featureless lounge just off of the reception area where the armchairs and sofas provide a place to relax with a book or to enjoy a drink from the hotel's bar. The rest of the hotel's public areas, while clean and tidy, are equally as uninspiring although the Tate exhibition posters that line the corridor walls bring a little life to the interior and give you something to look at at what can be a long journey from reception to your room. The hotel has complimentary wifi throughout although there are no PCs for general use so make sure you bring your laptop if you need to be online. As is often the case, the hotel is as good as its staff, so don't expect sparks from the personnel who are polite and obliging but lack the personality the hotel is also missing.

    Food and drink 6.70 /10

    The French would definitely have something to say about the fact that the hotel's restaurant is named Hamilton's Brasserie, it not resembling in the slightest an eatery of that kind. Situated in the front of the hotel, it has a banquette stretching round two sides of the room with tablecloth-less tables and shabby chairs filling the space within. Again, the space is tired, with a few black and white prints on the wall and some weary-looking plants for decoration. Breakfast is served between 7am and 9.30am (8am to 10.30am at weekends) and offers the choice of continental or cooked. The lunch (12pm to 2.30pm) and dinner (6.30pm to 10pm) menus are identical and offer a wide range of snacks and meals throughout the day. For something light go for one of several salads, the mussels or something to dip such as prawns of potato wedges. For something a little more substantial there are various meat and fish options such as beef stroganoff, steaks and baked whole trout or alternatively less sophisticated pizzas, pastas and burgers. Although we did not visit the kitchen, from the list of dishes served it is likely that most of the dishes offered are ready meal-type affairs which are simply heated up before serving.

    To know

    The hotel, which has been the Imperial for the last 30 years, is housed in a 19th century Georgian property made up of three houses knocked through together. It is constantly being renovated where necessary and during our visit the next step was to replace the signage and repaint the exterior (not a bad idea). Being a listed building, it has not been possible to install air conditioning throughout so you'll have to leave open the windows for some fresh sea air at night.


    • Car park
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa


    • Sports equipment



    • Quiet location
    • Clean
    • English charm


    • Some distance from main attractions
    • Dated décor and design

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