AccommodationHotelThe Grand Brighton

The Grand Brighton Hotel is a grand Victorian-Italianate hotel on the seafront. It is regarded as Brighton’s top hotel and it is a top choice for people who want to experience the old-world grandeur of a Victorian-era hotel built in Brighton’s heyday.

The hotel was opened in 1864, immediately becoming Brighton’s grandest hotel. It was built around the same time that the lift was invented and it was home to the UK’s first hydraulically-powered lift outside London.

In 1984 the hotel hit the headlines when it was the target of the Brighton hotel bombing when the IRA planted a bomb in the hotel in an attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party conference that was being held at the hotel. The bomb destroyed a large part of the hotel, which had to be closed for reconstruction, and killed five people but the prime minister survived the attack. Although the IRA have set off much larger bombs during the Troubles, this terrorist attack was aimed squarely at the heart of government and has been compared with Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot.

After the bombing, the Grand was rebuilt and reopened in August 1986 and, more recently, it underwent a multimillion-pound refurbishment that was completed in 2013. The more recent refurbishment means that the standard of accommodation here is much better than other hotels in Brighton of a similar vintage.

The hotel boasts many period flourishes including marble Corinthian columns, pressed tin ceilings, chandeliers and magnificent feature staircases. Although the building is Victorian, the interior design is Art Deco inspired and some of the rooms have furniture in the style popular in the 1920s.

The hotel has 201 guest rooms on seven floors. The rooms are relatively spacious and all feature comfortable beds, a work desk, ironing facilities, tea and coffee making facilities and en suite bathrooms with bathrobes.

The best rooms in the house are those with a sea view. Not just because of the view but also because more effort appears to have been put into renovating these rooms.

There are also a handful of single rooms, which are a reasonably affordable way for people travelling on their own to experience a five-star hotel.

Several rooms at the hotel have been adapted for guests with disabilities.

Free Wi-Fi wireless internet access is available throughout the hotel.

There are several dining options at the Grand including the GB1 seafood restaurant and the Victoria Terrace, Lounge and Bar.

The Victoria Terrace, Lounge and Bar is an opulent space that is perfect for a drink or a light meal. This space hosts live music (usually jazz) on Friday and Saturday evenings and it is also noted for its brunch and afternoon tea.

Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, it is a great spot for afternoon tea. After all, this is a meal that is all about the experience so it is simply going to be better in an elegant Victorian-era room. However, some people remark that the afternoon tea is more like a cream tea (that is, more about the scones than the little cakes and tiny sandwiches) although this probably depends whether you choose the basic Victoria Terrace tea or the more expensive Victoria Grand afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, East Sussex (Photo ©VisitBritain/Ben Selway)
Afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, East Sussex (Photo ©VisitBritain/Ben Selway)

Fish is the speciality at GB1, the hotel’s restaurant, which has a menu based on freshly-caught local seafood and seasonal produce. Highlights of executive chef Alan White’s menu include sea bass pan-fried with suckling pig chorizo and those who don’t fancy seafood will enjoy the locally-raised Southdown’s rump of lamb. Although it is not cheap, prices are reasonable for what you get.

The hotel also features a fitness centre and wellness centre on the first floor where spa treatments are available.

Service is professional and many people say that the staff are the best thing about the hotel. That is high praise for the bowler hat-clad doormen when you consider everything else that the hotel has to offer.

The hotel is on the western edge of central Brighton, just a few minutes’ walk from the British Airways i360 observation tower. Most other attractions in central Brighton are not much more than a 10-minute walk from the hotel, including The Lanes, the pier, Brighton Dome, Brighton Museum and the Royal Pavilion.

The hotel has its own parking but it is very expensive at £35 per night.

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  • Parking (paid)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Non smoking rooms
  • 24-hour reception
  • Connecting rooms available
  • Cots available
  • Ironing facilities in room
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Flat screen television
  • Telephone in room
  • En suite bathroom
  • Hairdryer
  • Spa treatments available
  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Bar
  • Lift

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