Brighton certainly deserves its reputation as the UK’s hippest seaside city – witness its cool club scene, niche restaurants and quirky alternative vibe. And when it comes to hotels, there’s a clutch of gorgeously affordable boutique pads offering a personal side to Brighton’s vibrant spirit.
From boho establishments in the city centre, hotels with funky decor, to glamorous retreats with sea views – here’s our pick of Brighton’s finest.
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Best for boho glamour: Blanch House
This four-storey Georgian townhouse hotel kicked off Brighton’s passion for boho boutique establishments and its 12 themed bedrooms offer ultra-glam decor. Think sparkly chandeliers, dense colour notes, antique cocktail cabinets and Art Deco bits and bobs. Extra requests such as champagne, flowers or chocolates are happily accommodated and guests are rung in advance of their stay.
For a special treat, book the Moroccan Superior Double, or the grey and gilded Perriet Jouet feature room. On the ground floor is a cocktail and champagne lounge (Perriet Jouet is the house champagne), and award-winning breakfasts span homemade muesli to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs alongside coeliac options.
Doubles from £95, including breakfast
Best for chic but cheap: The White House
This smart whitewashed Victorian villa is only five minutes from the seafront and its 10 rooms favour a clean and contemporary look with fun sea-themed detailing, bright feature walls and plump velvet cushions. OK, the bathrooms are smallish, but feature fabulous Orla Kiely products. Family run and friendly, the White House is exquisitely quiet, and some rooms, including the suite, benefit from oblique sea views. Breakfasts cooked by the owner-chef are particularly good: think creamy wild mushrooms on a toasted brioche and locally sourced ingredients for the full English. In fine weather, this can be taken on the sunny patio.
Doubles from £80, including breakfast
Best for tranquil stays: The Claremont
How Hove has grown… No longer Brighton’s dull twin, the ’hood is now hugely des-res with a clutch of niche restaurants and bars as well as a quieter seafront. A tranquil oasis close to the beach is The Claremont which (unusual in this city) features an enormous walled garden. Order up a Pimms, enjoy sunny belt-busting breakfasts, or an indulgent afternoon cream tea. All of the 11 bedrooms in this double-fronted Victorian villa show a respect for its architectural footprint, and though the decor is a tad old fashioned, you at least get loads of space. Back rooms are best for peaceful nights.
Doubles £140, including breakfast
Best for kitschy vibes: The Oriental
Neighbourhood: City centre/West Pier
In a former life, this Grade II Regency pad was the home of the Brighton Belle nightclub where a youthful Norman Cook honed his skills. Today, The Oriental is an altogether quieter, less sticky establishment, yet still with kooky charm. Expect lashings of visual drama: wacky paintings and plum colour notes mixing with covetable vintage finds.
The nine gracious bedrooms are visually quieter with many featuring full length windows, ornate stucco and high ceilings. Book room 4 for dazzling sea views from its small balcony. Nice perks include complimentary coffee and cake on arrival and retro sweets in the bedrooms.
Doubles from £70, including breakfast
Best for old-fashioned seaside charm: New Steine
This boutique bolthole is perfectly placed for Kemptown’s alternative night vibe, being within walking distance of live music venues, burlesque bars and characterful pubs. Highly affordable and exuding Gallic charm (the owner is French) its 20 rooms (some with oblique sea views) range from cosy singles to a basement suite with its own quiet patio.
What New Steine lacks in terms of on-trend decor is compensated by singularly friendly service. Its bistro restaurant serves up well-executed French dishes and has an extensive wine list, and during Brighton’s May festival, New Steine’s basement stages live events and art exhibitions.
Doubles from £69 including breakfast
Best for romantic weekenders: Drakes
Neighbourhood: Kemptown seafront
An award-winning restaurant, Poirot-perfect art deco-styled bedrooms, roll-top baths and peerless sea views – what’s not to like about Drakes? This glamorous 20-bedroom establishment, set in a double-fronted Georgian property just minutes from the pier, is easily one of the sexiest boutique hotels offered by the city. Service is impeccable, the modern British cuisine memorable and the decor – from curvy cornices, warm elm wood detailing to handcrafted beds – all help to make for a super-stylish stay. Nice touches include complimentary vanity packs from The White Company and pre-ordered love hampers. Pick a city view room to avoid seafront noise.
Sea-facing doubles from £140, room only
Best for flea market snoopers: Snooze
Villagey Kemptown is packed with antiques shops and flea markets, so if that’s your bag book a stay at Snooze where retro decor is taken to a whole new level. Calm and stately Victorian villa on the outside, its eight bedrooms are a dizzy-making mishmash of flying ducks, fairground signs, Seventies pop posters and kitsch animal print fabrics. Fun, certainly; visually over-busy, yes – and yet somehow the overall effect works: even down to the Michelangelo Creation of Adam ceiling parody in the breakfast room. And oh, the breakfasts – meat and veggie full English, BLTs, hot buttered crumpets… need we say more?
Doubles from £75, including breakfast
Best for rock ‘n’ rollers: Hotel Pelirocco
Neighbourhood: Regency Square
Saucy, sassy and ever so OTT, the Pelirocco takes themed rooms to a whole new level. Mirrors on the ceilings? No problem. Fifties pinup decor? They’ve got it covered. Stetsons and yee-haw gingham? Book the DollyWould. If clashing and kitsch does it for you, then one of the Pelirocco’s 19 bedrooms is bound to please. Sure, it’s a little tired around the edges, but if you’re after fun then look no further. Super welcoming, and a firm favourite with locals, its breakfast room-cum-cocktail bar stages DJ nights and live gigs. Even better, they offer a rockstar-friendly midday check out.
Doubles from £59, including breakfast
Best for mingling with hipsters: Artist Residence
Neighbourhood: Regency Square
More boho club than boutique hotel, this heavenly 25-bedroom pad mixes dense Farrow & Ball colour notes and retro finds with hip commissioned artwork. Arty rooms with cool graffiti-covered walls or eye-catching murals take up one half of the double-fronted Regency townhouse; Classic Rooms, the other – and there are attractive aspects to both: copper slipper baths, retro radios, old Anglepoise lamps and lashings of reclaimed wood and tartan detailing. Hang out with hipster locals in The Fix (some great health-kick cocktails here), then head to the hotel’s groovy-looking Set Restaurant for seasonal and imaginative twists on modern British cuisine.
Doubles from £90, room only
Best for designer chic: Hotel Una
Neighbourhood: Regency Square
Book a sea-facing deluxe in this 17-bedroom townhouse hotel and you’ll get your own private balcony, oodles of beautiful Regency detailing and a spacious contemporary look. One-off designer furniture mixes with standalone roll-top baths, sumptuous platform beds and arty pendant lamps.
Hotel Una is one of the city’s most glamorous, and the owner and her architect husband have invested time and talent into making all rooms seriously stylish. One room has a private cinema with popcorn on demand; another, its own whirlpool and sauna. The cocktail bar is a calm haven, and breakfasts are imaginatively different and seriously top-notch.
Doubles from £110, including breakfast
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