A bed for the night in Brighton
Sunday 19 December 2004
A Regency town house on New Steine - a sea-facing square that was built during Thomas Reed Kemp's development of Kemptown - the hotel enjoys elevated sea views without having to endure the noise of the busy thoroughfare Madeira Drive, which runs the length of the seafront from the Palace Pier to Brighton Marina. The tall, narrow building is typical of the city's seafront architecture.
In a square predominantly featuring the typical British seaside chintzy b&b, Square breaks the mould with sleek contemporary interior design that manages to feel unpretentious. There is no reception and no "Do not disturb" signs, simply because guests won't be disturbed. But ask for something - be it Thai nibbles or fish and chips - and the ever-present and accommodating owner, Keith, will have it delivered. Guests feel like they are staying with a very fashionable friend rather than at a hotel. Rooms are kitted out with flat-screen televisions and DVD players, with a good stock of DVDs, clear Philippe Starck Ero(s) easy chairs, large free-standing Venetian-style mirrors, and chandeliers that are given a modern twist with reflective Perspex coverings.
The comfort factor
On first inspection the beds feel rather solid. However, the mattresses are made from visco-elastic foam, a material that was developed by Nasa to respond to the heat and pressure of astronauts' bodies. It moulds itself to the body to provide unparalleled comfort and orthopaedic support. Add to this extra thick down duvets, oversize pillows and faux-fur throws and cushions, and you're guaranteed a snug, restful night. Guests can also wind down with in-room massages and treatments, starting at £60.
The sea-facing bathrooms are one of the hotel's main draws. Glass panels allow guests to soak in a hot bubble bath while gazing out of the bedroom window towards the chilly Channel. The bathrooms are tiled floor-to-ceiling in black slate, with deep free-standing baths and glass showers. Not all rooms have baths.
The food and drink
There is no restaurant. However a complimentary buffet breakfast is provided until 11am at weekends (9.30am during the week) in the bar. Fresh bread, pastries, berries, yoghurts, ham, cheese, quail eggs, cereals, fruit juices and hot drinks are a refreshing alternative to those commonplace reheated bacon, sausage and egg breakfasts. The bar opens late and is well stocked with Veuve Cliquot, Bollinger, Laurent Perrier, Havana Club and a host of other cocktail components.
Kemptown is an up-and-coming district east of the Palace Pier and offers a slightly quieter alternative to its western counterpart. Boutiques and trendy restaurants and bars are found around the main thoroughfare, St James Street, at the top of the square. If you're looking for a bit of hustle and bustle, the Lanes and North Laine are just a short walk away.
The stairs are steep and narrow.
Doubles start at £140 including breakfast. An opening promotional rate of £80 per double is available Sunday-Thursday.
Square (01273 691777; www.squarebrighton.com), 4 New Steine, Brighton BN2 1PB.
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