“ Address: 58 Regency Square / Brighton / East Sussex BN1 2FF / United Kingdom / Tel: 01273 325558 „
I went to Brighton this Easter for a stag do, and no, I wasn't there as the stripper. It was a joint, gay stag do, hence lots of Girls Allowed...and female friends were invited along too. Although the boys were staying in a sea front hotel, we ended up at the Queensbury which is just half a minute from the promenade, located on Regency Square.
We drove down from Manchester early on Good Friday, making decent time and arriving on the south coast in time for lunch - once we'd found some parking, that is. The hotel has no car park of its own, and on street parking is either short-term (2 hr max stay) or permit holders' only, but there is a very handy car-park located under the square. It costs £12.50 for 24hrs which is not too horrendous, though because it's barrier entry you cannot come and go during that time (and two 6 hour stays would cost more than a 24 hour one with their pricing structure). We lucked out - as we were going to move the car on the first morning a very kind person who has some sort of special exit pass handed us their ticket, essentially granting us another day there, so we got 48 hours parking for the price of 24.
The square is lined with very tall town houses on all sides. Some of these are now converted in to flats, while others are small hotels like ours. Arriving in the rain at about 12.30pm we were unable to check in, but left our bags in the dining room and went out to explore for a few wet hours. Check in is from 3pm, check out by 11am, and it's the sort of place where you'd want to arrive at a reasonable time for a chance of getting in, since they lock the front door when it gets late and do not have a 24 hour reception. You're given a front door key, though, so you can come and go as you please, and the lack of staff presence has its plusses: you could, for example, easily bring in a 3rd guest (even one with a 6 months pregnant belly) without anyone noticing. Not that we would ever have done something like that, of course.
We had booked online through the misleadingly named Late Rooms (we booked 3 months in advance) but paid on arrival. Reservations aren't always needed, but were essential for this bank holiday weekend. However, the hotel did allow short stays: we booked in for just a couple of nights, but most other places in the town had a 3-night minimum stay for Friday arrivals over Easter. We paid £75 per night for a twin room including breakfast. It wasn't cheap for what we got, but choices are limited at the seaside on public holidays, and the location was great. The hotel is very near the beach and the remaining pier, and just a few minutes from the shopping centre, the lanes, and the Odeon cinema among other places.
The hotel has rooms on a staggering 5 floors, with no lift. Inside it's rather pretty with lots of character - they have retained a lot of the original features, and there are chandeliers and mirrors aplenty as you stagger up the narrow, carpeted staircases. Most rooms are either twin/double or family-sized, but they have recently added a 7-bed 'party room' too.
Our room was on the 3rd floor, and pretty much what we were expecting from having read other reviews. If we'd not done so, we might have been surprised by the fact there was no ensuite, as such. We had a shower and a sink, but these were just in the corner of the room, with not even a screen or wall to shield them. Most rooms are the same but some superior ones do come with loos too - I can't confirm these are any more sheltered than the showers though I'd jolly hope so. However, every floor also has communal number 1ing and number 2ing facilities: some of these landing bathrooms had just a toilet, others had that and a bath, and ours seemed to be the best of all with a bath with shower attachment plus a toilet. The bathrooms were clean and well maintained, and didn't have any of the usual features of shared facilities akin to those you'd find in a hostel (random hairs in the bath, plugs that don't drain, absent loo paper, wonky door locks). Because our room was right next door to the bathroom, we ended up using that shower more, because it was spacious (the one in our room was a small cubicle, and alas no Tardis - if anything it seemed smaller on the inside). Though the hotel was booked out, a lot of time no one was around, so we had no problems scuttling around the communal areas wrapped only in the hotel-sized towels
Our room was not bad. We had twin beds (one pushed up against a wall) with a shared bed-side table and two bed-side lamps which was a bit over the top considering how big they were and how small the table was. They proved useful, though, as the over-head light was a bit naff. We also had a large freestanding wooden wardrobe and lots of removable coat hangers, plus a desk with big drawers though bizarrely no chair. The beds were comfy enough but very narrow - it's been ages since I was in a normal single bed, but these seemed like the super small ones (like they give you in uni Halls of Residence to encourage you to study rather than sh*g all night). The quilts were thin, and we didn't have sheets as well which was a little odd. The pillows were also rather anorexic, but we got two each which helped a little (as did sticking unused towels underneath to bolster them up). The headboards were rather hilariously identical to the one I had growing up, traingular and all plush and pink and stapled, and not at all the sort of thing you'd tend to find in a hotel. The room wasn't massive, but you could imagine there would be room for a large inflatable bed to be placed on the floor for an additional pregnant guest if you'd happened to have snuck one in. Not that we would ever have done something like that, of course.
The room came with the smallest flatscreen TV ever (about 15 inches) which was tuned in to a decent though not complete selection of Freeview channels. We also had a big kettle, two mugs and a large number though limited variety of teas and coffees. The two packs of biscuits were a nice and surprising touch for a place such as this, as was the fact that these were replenished each night. Other reviews had commented that the rooms weren't made up every day, but ours was and in addition to more biccies (I'd obviously hidden away the uneaten packets from Day 1 on the off chance the biscuit fairy might come in and leave more) we also had our bin emptied, fresh towels left and toiletries (ok, a tiny sachet of shower gel, and another of shampoo) deposited on the beds which had been made up, though since they contained just a fitted sheet and a quilt, this was hardly a massive task for house-keeping.
We had two issues with the room, neither of which was massive, but either of which could have proved irritating if we'd been staying longer. The first was the heating/cooling of the room: when we checked in we were soaking wet, so peeled off clothes and tried to dry them on the radiator, but this wasn't on, and didn't respond to our attempts to fiddle with the knob. On the second morning, conversely, we were rather warm and the room needed some air when the 3, sorry, 2 of us awoke. There was a large window but although you could open it up, it wouldn't stay lifted without something wedged underneath - we used the Daily Mail (finally - a purpose for that paper) but that only kept it a tiny bit ajar.
The second niggle was to do with the plug sockets, or lack thereof. There was only one accessible one in the room (and even that was being run on an extension cable the hotel had provided) meaning that at times we had to make the choice between TV or kettle or phone charging or hair appliances. So no hair straightening while drinking a cuppa and dialling in to order stuff we'd just seen on QVC, then. We're girls - that sort of multi-tasking would not have been beyond us.
The room was very plain in terms of its decor, in stark contrast to the attractive stairways and entrance hall, but it had all the basics, the carpet was nice (not noticeably worn and/or full of sticky patches) and the bedding and towels were both reassuringly white. There were two mirrors and the window had a blackout blind as well as curtains. It even had a sea view, though this was literally just a patch of sea in the distance, with no beach insight due to the buildings in the way.
The hotel has only one communal area, the breakfast room/luggage store. A self-service continental breakfast is included, served from 7.30am - 10am weekdays, but from 8.30am on weekends. To me that was just lazy - we were up before then, and since it was an unstaffed room they could easily have unlocked it at the same time of day, regardless of when in the week it was. Breakfast was simple but perfectly satisfactory for something free. There were loaves of sliced white and brown breads to toast (in 2 cool Dualit toasters, just like mine at home, natch). On these you could slap slices of cheese or ham or go down the route of selecting from their interesting selection of spreadable stuff. They had butter, but no margarine, clearly thinking it was more important to offer both shredded and shredless orange marmalade, lemon marmalade, blackberry and strawberry jams instead. There was no honey, but they did have a massive basket of pats of Nutella (or at least before I went in, they did). If you were hungry for variety, or didn't fancy toast, they also had a few different boxed cereals to choose from - no ordinary Corn Flakes or museli on our weekend, but they did have Frosties, Rice Krispies, Fruit and Fibre and Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, with a jug of milk. Though not yogurts or fruits were on offer, you could get your vitamins from the juices (proper orange and apple - not that faux-nectar stuff). After all this basic but perfectly adequate spread, the hot drinks at the end looked rather unappealing - a big tin of Nescafe, a plate of tea bags, and a big urn of hot water, plus little UHT milks. While it wasn't the most extensive breakfast in the world, the self-service set up meant you could go back for more until you were full / bored. A full cooked breakfast upgrade is available for £5 though we didn't see anyone taking up this option.
The breakfast room was quite small, and cramped as they'd put in more tables than fitted easily. The first morning a loud school group from the Netherlands were also in there, but on Easter Sunday it was just us and a couple of families. The place never seemed full, so they could have lost a couple of tables to allow more room for manoeuvring, and places to leave bags if you were leaving after breakfast and didn't fancy the mammoth climb back up to your room. We ended up sticking our suitcases in the grate of the fireplace while we wolfed down a quick snack, and could probably also have just about fitted in a bed-in-a-bag had we had one with us. Not that we would ever have done something like that, of course.
The hotel entrance had two doors that were locked at night (though both opened with the same key), and the place seemed pretty secure. It was noisy at times - thin walls meant you could hear people coming and going - but it didn't keep us awake, or raise us too early from slumber in the morning. Down by the entrance there was also a leaflet rack but this was rather bizarrely stocked with practically nothing to do with Brighton itself (more Hove and Eastbourne) and nothing as helpful as a city map. Conversely, the Hilton round the corner where we all convened to play "Mr and Mr" had much more on offer.
We didn't have much contact with staff in the hotel, though the person who let us in to leave our bags, the person who subsequently checked us in (from a cupboard with a drop down counter that was clearly masquerading as their reception area) and the person who occasionally came in to top up the bread at breakfast were all polite enough. Even better, they were prime candidates for the brilliant game that is 'Guess the nondescript accent of the hospitality trade's most recent immigration successes'. We also met a cleaner who was vacuuming the stairs as we checked in at 3.30pm: this seemed rather poorly timed, since you'd have thought Henry Hoover could have made his appearance in the window between 11am check out and 3pm check in, but although she didn't really move out of our way as we squeezed past, suitcases in hand, she did helpfully turn off the power long enough for us to pass.
The hotel has its own website which, to be fair, gives a very clear guide as to what you can expect both in terms of facilities and room set-ups:
Our stay was perfectly ok, but I wouldn't have wanted to stay more than a few nights, nor would I necessarily choose to return if or when I am next in Brighton. The bathroom arrangements were novel at first (and, it has to be said, one of the things that prompted me to write this - in all my years of hotel reviews, that had to be a first) but combined with the limited breakfast and lack of bar or lounge mean it gets only an average rating and a cautious recommendation from me.
You can book online directly with the hotel, or via various booking sites. Prices range from £20 - £50 per person per night - hence our £75 twin room rate.