Brighton boasts an enviable waterfront – think Palace Pier, sandy beaches and colourful beach huts – so a room with a view is a must. Thanks to a Regency-era construction boom in the early-19th century, most hotels feature tall bay windows and balconies, which are all the better for taking in the city’s sights.
This wedding cake of a hotel has held its prime seaside spot since 1864. Waking up in crisp Egyptian cotton sheets, surrounded by Art Deco-styled furnishings, you’ll enjoy views over the sea and burned-out West Pier. This same view can also be enjoyed from the lounge, which serves up Sunday roasts with all the trimmings and luxurious afternoon tea spreads of scones and cakes, alongside a menu of 30 teas. Being in the city’s centre, all of Brighton’s major attractions are mere minutes away.
Forget your idea of a conventional chain hotel, this city-centre outpost of the Harbour group pops with deeply pigmented colour and maritime flourishes. Regency-era bay windows capture the magic of the promenade; during Brighton and Hove Pride every August, side rooms have views down the entire parade route. Grab a window seat in Harby’s Diner for a fairground-themed afternoon tea, or leave it all behind at the subterranean spa, built in former smugglers’ tunnels. Palace Pier and the Royal Pavilion are both within 10 minutes’ walk.
The ivory-walled Old Ship Hotel has occupied its spot on the southern edge of Brighton’s Lanes district since 1559. Take in the promenade and Palace Pier from nautical-themed rooms (some even come with vintage brass telescopes), though keep in mind that not all rooms face south, so it’s best to enquire when booking. Herby mussels and tender steak are on the menu at the Mess Deck restaurant, best enjoyed on the seafront terrace during summer and by the fireside in winter.
Repeat visitors to Brighton may wish to swap the traditional picture-postcard pier views for one that is different yet no less spectacular. Brighton Marina is a display of private yachts and fishing boats – and many of the rooms at this modern boutique, along with the suntrap terrace of the Chez Mal Bar, look right out to this scene. Kick back with friends and drink your way through the never-ending cocktail menu, based around lofty themes like love, forgiveness and power.
The clue is in the name – all but one room at this Kemptown boutique face south toward the sea and the amusements of Palace Pier. Opt for the rooftop sea view room, with a pine staircase leading to a sheltered balcony, for the best vantage point going. The dining room also overlooks the seafront; start your day right here with a breakfast of sourdough toast and continental favourites, which have an emphasis on local provenance.
This Kemptown boutique, comprising two handsome Georgian townhouses, is within strolling distance of the beach and Sea Life Centre. It’s reportedly a celebrity favourite for its free-standing roll-top tubs with seaside views, while rooms evoke Art Deco luxury with deep-pile crimson rugs. Fancy a flute of champagne and rose petals in the bath? Drakes’ staff will organise that for you. Elsewhere, gourmet French cuisine at Amarillo restaurant comes courtesy of former Michelin-star chef Ian Swainson.
This boutique, spread across two narrow Regency townhouses in Kemptown, delights with on-trend printed fabrics and subtly themed rooms. Although it’s not directly on the seafront, some views from rooms frame the pier, while select suites and superior rooms have small balconies. The hotel is located 13 minutes’ walk from the Royal Pavilion and 11 minutes from Brighton Dome.
This smart aparthotel complex occupies a former ice rink in the city centre, five minutes from the Royal Pavilion and beach. It’s not seaside vistas you’ll find here, but cityscape views. Modern, tartan-accented rooms pay homage to the city’s creative roots – and are fitted with complete kitchens, Sky-equipped TVs and washer-dryers – while there’s also a small gym on site.