It must be said that however good a hotel the Thistle is once you pass through the front entrance, the exterior is unsightly! A huge concrete construction with blue tinted glass, it is an eyesore which ruins that part of the seafront. That said, guests will be sleeping inside in the newly refurbished rooms and not camping outside, so this minor flaw can be forgiven. Upon entering, you'll see the Otium gym right in front of you (more below) and a set of stairs to the right which lead up to the lobby and rather splendid atrium, which is quite possibly the grandest of all Brighton hotel halls. To the right hand side is the reception desk under a columned gallery and behind which are the some of the most pleasant and professional staff members to be found in the city. The lobby is centered on a seating area with comfy sofas and armchairs which themselves are surrounded by big green plants and even a few small trees, which makes such a difference when you walk into a hotel. Running off the central area are the bars, breakfast room and above, the restaurant, with the Pecksniff's Pamper Studio to the back. This latter, run by the Brighton-based fragrance house, offers a full range of treatments including massages, reflexology, manicures and pedicures, waxing, hairdressing and makeup services, as well as a few packages combining the above. Otium, at the hotel's entrance, is one of the best gyms in Brighton (on which £750,000 was spent last year) and has a top quality gym with the option of a personal trainer, a pool, sauna and steam room. The corridors, which have recently been refurbished, are still in great condition and are easy to negotiate, and have pictures along their walls of Brighton scenes. The whole hotel has wifi coverage, although this is chargeable, and there is a business centre for those without laptops. The Thistle is an entirely non-smoking establishment.