Though Brighton is better known for old-fashioned seaside fun, the home of the Royal Pavilion – an opulent South-Asia inspired palace built for George IV – knows how to do luxury with an unconventional take. From the city centre to Kemptown, the city’s boutique hotels master inspired theme rooms from tranquil nautical cabins to bizarre boudoirs, while its atmospheric spas have eye-catching treatments like bee-venom and champagne facials.
This seafront institution is as grand as its name. Minutes from both Palace Pier and Hove Lawns, it’s perfectly placed for a stroll along the promenade – but arguably the best way to enjoy the view is from the emerald-accented tearoom over a pot of Ceylon and handmade scones. After your tea, indulge in a gold champagne facial at the spa or retire to your 1920s-furnished room to enjoy the gentle sage tones and a sea view.
Drakes sits on a plum spot on Brighton’s seafront, just south of the vinyl stores and LGBTQ cabaret bars of Kemptown. Thirteen of 20 rooms have a roll-top tub with stellar views of the shore – speak to staff beforehand to impress your partner with scattered rose petals in your bath. In the Amarillo restaurant, former Michelin-star chef Ian Swainson serves a menu bursting with indulgences such as truffles, squid ink and crème chiboust.
Occupying a former wine merchant’s store in Brighton’s cobbled Lanes district, Hotel du Vin is moments from both Palace Pier and the Royal Pavilion. Deluxe rooms sport twin rainfall shower heads and a roll-top tub, while even the smallest “cosy” rooms provide leather-trimmed beds, crisp Egyptian linens and Ren toiletries. The popular bistro serves a succulent Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
This primary-coloured outpost of the Harbour hotels chain occupies a prime seafront spot, minutes from Palace Pier and the the Brighton Centre. Harby’s Bar serves elevated pub classics, but it’s the enormous underground spa that’s the real draw. Sweat it out in the well-appointed gym, luxuriate in a sea salt scrub followed by a Rasul mud wrap, or sink into a wood-panelled hot tub with a flute of champagne.
Room with a sea view or room with a hot tub? These are the difficult decisions you’ll have to make at this Kemptown boutique when opting for a superior suite. Additional options include a penthouse suite or a luxury family room that can accommodate up to five. Wake up to a buffet breakfast in the dining room featuring omelettes, eggs Benedict and a traditional English, before heading out to nearby attractions like Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion and Palace Pier.
England’s self-proclaimed original rock ‘n’ roll hotel, Pelirocco brings eccentricity to Regency Square with 19 individually designed rooms. Climb a bamboo staircase to your circular bed in the Japonesque Koibito Love room or whizz around a dance pole in the “Lovers Lair” suite, complete with three rooms. Extras are decidedly adult-themed: think hangover kits, in-room massages and Bloody Mary breakfasts in bed. If you do make it outside, the i360 and Brighton Music Hall a short hop away.
Brighton is world-renowned for its lively nightlife scene – and if there was ever a hotel to get you in the mood, it’s Malmaison Brighton. Neon lights in the bedrooms and eclectic design choices set the tone, while its terrace demands you sit out and enjoy a martini. Headaches from the morning after the night before will quickly be dispelled over breakfast in the conservatory; choose from pastries and muesli at the buffet or go à la carte with eggs Benedict and grilled kippers.
MoMA comes to Brighton at this art-filled city centre boutique just up from the i360 and Brighton Bandstand. Designer touches abound – think velvety tufted sofas and pendant lamps – but if you were ever to splurge on a premium room, this would be the time. The two spa rooms contain whirlpool baths and saunas, and the luxury duplex has an in-room cinema with on-demand popcorn. Don’t miss Una Bar for late-night Prohibition-era cocktails or breakfast pancakes.