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Delivers everything you would expect from a boutique seafront hotel in Brighton
Drakes Hotel (Brighton)
Member Name: steedandpeel
Drakes Hotel (Brighton)
Date: 11/08/09, updated on 11/08/09 (102 review reads)
Advantages: Well designed, loads of great little touches, very helpful staff, great food and services, location
Disadvantages: Very expensive, no access for disabled customers, no passenger lift, parking is limited
I stayed at the Drakes Hotel in June for 3 nights on business and I must say I was extremely impressed - it was certainly the best hotel I have ever stayed in!
The hotel is conveniently located within two beautiful converted Regency buildings, right on Brighton seafront, approximately a ten minute walk from the bustle of the Lanes and the town centre. It is situated between the Palace Pier and Brighton Marina, although closer to the pier.
The hotel provides a range of accommodation; I stayed in the Yin Yang Sea View room, which was the cheapest at £100 per night. The room was supposed to be for only one person, but with its double bed, it could easily accommodate two people, especially if you were only staying for a night or two. The room was well laid out with a dressing table, small desk, flat screen tv, dvd player, en suit luxury bathroom with heated floor and most impressively, air conditioning. The design of the room was typical of a luxury, upmarket boutique hotel; all wood paneling, white Egyptian cotton sheets and splashes of colour in the large number of cushions provided. The bathroom was almost brand new and despite its small size, included a bath with a great power shower. The room also had a range of lighting options to allow you to choose the mood you want, including a green motion sensitive light in the bathroom to allow you to use the facilities at night without turning on the main lights. There were no curtains, but instead restored wooden shutters which really added to the character of the room.
The only downsides to the décor were the fact there were no wardrobes and the not very private bathroom doors. There was an electrically operated curtain with space for hanging a few clothes behind in place of a wardrobe, which only just accommodated my work suits. The bathroom had two double doors of obscure glass - they did not meet in the middle properly and there was no lock, so if you were staying with a partner, you would have to be very familiar with each other!
In terms of room facilities, a selection of toiletries by the White Company were provided to take away, as well as wall mounted soap, shower gel and moisturiser dispensers by the same brand. A white toweling dressing gown and slippers were provided to allow you to lounge around in comfort. In addition, a selection of new magazine, catering to a wide variety of tastes were provided. There was a hairdryer in the room and an ironing board and iron were available on request. There was also a laundry and dry cleaning service. One grumble was the fact the tea and coffee making facilities were tidied into a cupboard, so it was a pain to get them out to make a quick drink.
I should mention that the view from my room on the third floor was magnificent - facing south east across the beach and sea towards Brighton Marina. I was glad to be high up on the third floor, as there is a fairly busy road outside so the higher you are, the less the room noise is, as well as affording a better view. My colleagues and I all had sea views, although I would imagine that the view to the rear of the hotel would be a lot less pleasant.
Some of the other rooms in the hotel were much more expensive, but have features such as sunken bathrooms and roll top tubs in the middle of the bedroom. One of my colleagues had a more expensive room to me which was almost completely circular. I must say, that the entire layout and design of the hotel was very sophisticated and stylish, and the rooms themselves were scrupulously clean. The hotel operated a turndown service and adjusted the air conditioning in the rooms before we arrived back each evening which was much appreciated as it was a very hot week.
The hotel does provide room service, although I didn't try it. One of my colleagues did and although it was pricy, he said that the food was good. They are also able to offer a spa experience in your hotel room, although you would need to book in advance for this.
As my colleagues and I were staying for business, we had all driven as we had boxes of work with us. I was worried about parking, as I am a former Brighton resident and knew that parking is at a premium in this location. The hotel does offer a very limited amount of parking spaces at £12.50 per day. However, I was very lucky to get an on-street space in the adjacent square to the hotel at a cost of £9 per day. As I didn't need to move the car whilst I was there, this was quite a saving. The staff were also more than happy to provide change for the parking meter every night.
The staff were all excellent - friendly, helpful and accommodating. The hotel is more of a romantic getaway place, so not really set up for business - I think we were the only business customers there. However, despite practically taking over the bar every evening with our work papers, the hotel staff did not complain and were happy to oblige with sending and receiving faxes, photocopying and ordering taxis (although at a small charge for the faxing and copying). They couldn't provide printing facilities, however. The hotel also has free wireless internet for all guests which I found was easy to connect to and super fast.
The reception is located in the very stylish bar area; we didn't try any of the delicious looking cocktails on offer, but we did have complimentary teas, coffees and biscuits every day. I noticed that near the reception desk is also a bookcase full of books and dvds for guests to borrow - a great touch!
We did try the restaurant on our first night. This is located in the basement. We were the only customers there and were served by an attentive waitress. The food was gorgeous, although very expensive - glad my boss was paying! I had a poached duck egg that was actual 'egg' shaped. I've no idea how the chef managed to cook it! There was a good selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Breakfast is also served in the basement restaurant. The continental buffet had a good selection, but was at additional cost - I think it was £10 a day, which was very dear! You could also order a cooked breakfast at further additional cost.
Despite singing its praises, this hotel is not at all suitable for disabled people. Although this is not the fault of the hotel management as the buildings are Listed, the entrance is via steps and then there is no passenger lift. If you are a disabled person and had made it into the hotel up the steps, even the ground floor bedroom has additional steps. And don't even think about going for breakfast - the stairs to the basement were very steep. For able bodied customers, the walk up and down the stairs can be tiring. However, there is thankfully a luggage lift, as I had a suitcase, laptop and three large legal boxes of work materials to lug up and down to the third floor every day!
I wouldn't suggest this hotel for a family holiday or a bolt hole to lay your head - it is definitely for a special, romantic break. I would love to return for that purpose. It also coped admirably with the needs of business customers, despite not really being designed for that purpose. However, we were a small party of three; if you were a larger party I would suggest looking for a more business-orientated hotel.
It is undoubtedly pricey, but for a very special break I would assess it is worth the money. However, paying extra for breakfast is a bit cheeky - it would be much better to go and sample one of the many cafes in the surrounding area.
To summarise, this is a fantastic hotel that delivers everything that you would expect from an expensive boutique hotel located on Brighton seafront. However, you should be prepared to pay through the nose for it - OK for a short break, special treat, or if work are paying, but not if you are just looking for somewhere to sleep for the night.
The hotel website is http://www.drakesofbrighton.com/
This is a much modified and extended review of one I originally posted on TripAdvisor.
Summary: Perfect hotel for a romantic getaway (or dirty weekend) in Brighton
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