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Hotel The Grand Hotel 0 star
Easyexperts
Brighton, United Kingdom -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

There is no doubt about it; there is still a buzz around The Grand that no other hotel in Brighton can compete with. Very much the old boy of the city's hotels, its history and sheer physical grandeur on the seafront continue to attract every type of guest and there is no sign that this is about to stop. It has managed to remain faithful to its Victorian roots, in many respects the real pull, while at the same time adding sufficient touches of modernity so as not to lose out to the explosion of boutique hotels over the last decade. An opulent setting, spacious rooms with unbeatable views and unrivalled service make of The Grand the only place to stay for that authentic British seaside holiday of yesteryear for families, couples or friends. Quality never goes out of fashion.

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  • Seaside
  • Family
  • International Standard
  • Well located
  • Gastronomy
  • Charm
  • Flight
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    Location 3.0 /10

    The Grand occupies a location on the seafront fit only for a hotel of its caliber. Right next to the Brighton Centre for conferences and concerts, it is just in front of Churchill Square and all its shopping as well as minutes' walk from Brighton Pier, The Lanes, North Laine, the Pavilion and a host of restaurants, bars and shops. Trains from the station, a 15 minute walk or 5-10 minute taxi ride away, serve Gatwick airport (30 mins) and London (50 mins on fast train). If you are arriving by car, the hotel has a 40-space secure car park charged at £25 per day. Alternatively there is an NCP car park not far away which charges £15 for 24 hours, although this is further away and is not manned.

    Accommodation 8.20 /10

    The room offering at The Grand is fairly simple - you can choose between the standard room (with or without sea view), the deluxe (which all have balconies and sea views) and the suites (of which two are duplexes). The room types are further divided into those which have been refurbished and those which have not. The former group's décor is quite dated, although the rooms themselves are in a good condition. They remain very traditional in their upholstery, furniture and amenities and the colours used are fairly sober. The new rooms however make use of brighter colours, modern fabrics and have more up-to-date furniture and amenities which would not look out of place in a trendy boutique hotel. Standard rooms are very spacious due to the age of the building and have amenities including regular television, Sony Playstation, tea and coffee facilities, iron and ironing board and complimentary water. You'll find too a seating area with a table and chairs as well as ample storage space in the cupboard and cabinet. The bed is dressed in comfortable, high quality linens while flora and fauna prints are hung on the wall. The bathrooms, tiled in white with black marble vanities, are bright and spacious and have Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and either shower or bath. You can enjoy even more space in the deluxe rooms, the refurbished ones boasting flat screen televisions, a chaise longue at the foot of the bed and beautifully finished cabinetry and plush carpets. In addition these rooms also have iPod docking stations and air conditioning. The bathrooms are ultra-modern and have smart marble topped wooden vanities with Axor hansgrohe fittings. The likes of Sir Ian McKellan and Eddie Izzard have stayed in rooms such as these. The suites offer a high level of luxury with extra bedrooms for friends and family, separate living areas with minibars and a sizeable bathroom with both shower and bathtub. Although the décor in this latter is quite dated, it is due for renovation soon.

    Overview 8.95 /10

    One of the most impressive hotels from the outside, The Grand lives up to its promising name. An imposing Victorian building which has been a seafront landmark for years, simply gazing up at it tells you that something unique awaits inside. Up the several steps beyond the entrance the carpeted lobby unfolds before you with the concierge desk followed by the reception and their polite, well-turned out staff on the right, the elegant lounge (but not so elegant bar) to the left and the grand staircase and its galleries up head under a magnificent glass dome. The lounge, with its intricate moulded-stucco ceilings, sober wallpaper and wing backed armchairs arranged around delicate round wooden coffee tables defines exactly that this hotel is all about, while the portraits, fireplace and its ornaments and the view out to sea complete the old British Victorian seaside picture. The only thing that takes away from this is the modern chill out music in the background and the unsightly beer taps at the bar. That said, on Friday and Saturday nights a jazz band comes in to entertain and make use of the slightly battered piano sitting to one side. If you look closely at the pistachio green marble pillars at the entrance to the lounge you'll see engravings which date back to when the hotel served as south HQ during the Second World War. Access to the rooms is either via the staircase at the back of the lobby (an extremely agreable way to ascend) or by one of the lifts. Either way, you'll easily find your room and your luggage won't follow too far behind. The public areas of the hotel, which, in the main, are well kept with a few hints of wear and tear in some places, are pleasurably spacious and open, avoiding that claustrophobic feeling you may get in some of the boutique hotels. Wherever you turn there'll be an old print on the wall, a bust on the window sill or a plant bringing life into the hotel, which makes a pleasant change. The hotel does have its own wellness and fitness facilities, however these are closed for renovation and archaeological work until the end of 2010. For the moment there is a mini gym on the first floor open to guests with ample equipment for a complete workout. Complimentary wifi is available throughout the hotel although there is no business centre. The most unique service offered by The Grand however is Annabel Olivia, its 43ft Bavaria yacht moored at Brighton Marina and available for cruises along the coast. As well as being able to host meetings there are several packages available if you simply want to enjoy a relaxing time with friends or family aboard this luxury boat. You can go for the half day sail (£80) with breakfast, the full day sail (£140) which includes lunch and tea too or the sunset sail (£40) where you'll be offered beverages while watching the day come to an end.

    Food and drink 8.20 /10

    The hotel's grand restaurant King's is one of the most elegant places to eat in Brighton. With lofty ceilings, imposing marble columns and a view out onto the seafront, it is the perfect setting for any meal. Meticulously laid tables, each one with a custom made metallic animal at its centre, extravagant flower arrangements and the crystal chandelier complete the scene which extends into the terrace which runs along the outside of the hotel. Breakfast includes everything you'd expect it to with a full range of continental offerings plus a range of cooked options with full, veggie and other hot breakfasts available. Lunch and dinner ???. The service is professional and friendly although not as impressive as at some of the other hotel restaurants we ate at. For something a little lighter, head to the Victoria Lounge, Bar and Terrace where you can enjoy a traditional round of sandwiches, afternoon tea or, after 6pm, a cocktail or glass of wine to the backdrop of the piano sounds. To take tea on the terrace is an experience not to be missed and something to tick off on your Brighton 'to do' list together with sitting in a blue and white striped deck chair on the beach and walking along the sea front with a portion of fish and chips.

    To know

    Although the hotel has a history going back to 1864, when it was purpose built for Londoners coming to the south coast for a seaside holiday, it's for events 120 years later which the hotel will always be remembered. On 12th October 1984, during the Conservative Party annual conference, a bomb planted by the IRA exploded in the bathroom of the room occupied by Margaret Thatcher, the then Prime Minister, in an attempt to assassinate her. Although she survived, five other died and tens of others were injured. The hotel reopened in 1986 after renovation and modernisation. Despite the attack, it is still used to this day for political conferences. During WWII, the hotel served as the HQ for the south of England. The Grand continues to be one of the most popular locations for weddings, events and conferences not only in the city, but in the south of the country.

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Spa

      wellness

    • Sports equipment

      gym

    advantage

    • History
    • Typical Victorian décor
    • High level of service
    • Terrace
    • Size of rooms

    disadvantages

    • Some signs of wear and tear
    • Fitness facilities currently closed
    • Weddings, stag/hen dos create noise

    Traveller Reviews

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    • Overall Score -/10
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