Grand Hotel

By Sharron Livingston, June 16, 2011
The historic Grand Old Lady of Brighton dominates the seafront

The historic Grand Old Lady of Brighton dominates the seafront

This autumn, the Grand will be revered as the third structure in Brighton and Hove to be recognised by the Walk of Fame committee. A ceremonial plaque will be unveiled in Brighton Marina in its honour. It's a coveted accolade in Sussex, yet the hotel's fame as a one of Britain's icons reverberates far and wide.

Dubbed Brighton's "Grand Old Lady" - well, she is over 150 years old - its facade is a fine example of Regency grandeur. But to experience its archtectural beauty fully, I had to cross the road that separates it from the promenade and pebble beach to get a panaromic eyeful: a vast stretch of windows, ornate ironwork railings, stonework painted in wedding cake white, gables, the odd turret and topped with the British flag. I had to fight the urge to salute its majesty.

The Grand has been lording it over the English Channel since 1864 and during that time hosted artistocrats, celebrities and politicians. Margaret Thatcher almost ended her days here when in 1984 the IRA bombed the hotel to smithereens.

The public areas hark back to a bygone age with their ornate ceilings from where crystal chandeliers hang over marble floors covered with Victorian style rugs.

With its large armchairs to sink into and a waiter-serviced bar, it was easy to spend time there.

There is a lift to transport you to any one of the seven floors, but it felt momentous to climb up or swish down the majestic, spiral staircase for the heady view down.

My room, 326, a southfacing room was on the third floor. Large, domed French windows let in oodles of sunshine with amazing views over the Channel, the beach activities and the comings and goings on the promenade and even the pier. Yes, these rooms are more expensive than the ones at the rear, but the seafront eye-candy is worth it.

Décor is heralded as "Victorian splendour" and I liked the burgundy coloured theme from curtains to carpet and the drapes that fell from the four poster bed and I found the colonial fan attractive. Other rooms are furnished differently.

The bed, though comfy was, surprisingly, a small double. And though there are amenities such as free wi-fi, the TV was bulky and old fashioned.

Overall, the hotel, I am glad to say, does live up to its name and status.

RATES: Doubles from £125.00 B&B
TEL: 01273 224300

Last updated: 11:38am, June 16 2011