The Grand Brighton – hotel review: one of Brighton’s most iconic hotels has had a grand makeover

Brighton’s historic seafront hotel – most famous for being bombed during the 1984 Tory Party conference – has had a multi-million pound makeover.

The Grand 2.0 sports a fresh new Victorian-Italianate façade, a buzzy cocktail bar and Duchess of Cornwall-endorsed spa featuring world famous bee-venom facials.

Where is it?

Slap bang in the middle of the seafront, between the city’s two piers (Brighton Pier, still in full swing, and the notorious West Pier, now derelict but a landmark in its own right). The city’s main attractions all lie within a 10-minute walk (or 10 seconds, if you’re heading for the pebble beach), including the station, so you can arrive on foot.

(The Grand Brighton)


The Grand 2.0 is a charming blend of past and present: elegant chandeliers and bowler-hatted doormen on arrival; green velvet sofas and sexy beach-view bathtubs in the rooms. The hotel retains many of its former features – the majestic Victorian façade, a brass band in the entrance hall, the iconic sweeping staircase in the centre – but there’s a fresh new look, with soft, pastel furnishings in the rooms and cool, on-trend menus in the spa and restaurants. It’s chic but unpretentious: the place is airy and elegant, without trying to be cool, and staff are polite and down-to-earth, offering to carry your bags on arrival and suggesting spots for lunch.

Which room?

Almost a third of the hotel’s art-deco inspired bedrooms are sea-facing and the most indulgent choice for a romantic retreat is the Deluxe Sea View featuring a giant four-poster bed, a beachfront balcony and a deep wooden bathtub overlooking Brighton pier – the perfect spot for sipping on a Brighton Gin (ready with Fever-Tree tonic, lemon and ice in your room on arrival). Expect Egyptian cotton linen, soft olive sofas and giant bay windows for gazing out over the promenade.

(The Grand Brighton)

Food & drink

The hotel’s 2AA Rosette restaurant, GB1, serves all things from sunrise breakfast cocktails to Sunday lunch, but seafood is the speciality, with an array of Poole Bay oysters, treacle-cured salmon and Keta caviar.

Ask for a table in the window and start with some fizz from the hotel’s new English sparkling wine menu, launched this summer. The smoked haddock kedgeree scotch egg for starter is another highlight.

The next day, afternoon tea is served overlooking the promenade: choose from a traditional cream tea; the hotel’s award-winning (and Insta-worthy) Grand afternoon tea; a champagne tea with Moet; and the ‘Brighton G&Tea’ featuring giant gin balloons and gin-themed accompaniments.  


The hotel has its own yacht – a 43ft Bavaria, the Annabel Olivia – and guests flock to the spacious subterranean spa in the basement, featuring world-famous bee venom facials from royal facialist Deborah Mitchell – the Duchess of Cornwall’s go-to. On arrival, you’ll be shown into a relaxation room complete with day beds, sofas and basket chairs hanging from the ceiling, before your treatment of choice. Check out the spa menu here

What to Instagram

Afternoon tea overlooking the beach and the Victorian façade in all its splendour – you’ll need to cross the road. Time it right and you’ll capture the Grand’s iconic Union Jacks blowing in the sea breeze.  

(The Grand Brighton)

Best for?

Beach lovers and couples in search of a romantic escape – the hotel is under an hour from London so even on a Friday night you can be sipping on Hendrick’s-infused Grand Cocktail before the sun goes down.   

How to get there

Trains are just 55 minutes from London Victoria, then it’s a five-minute taxi or 10-minute walk to the hotel.

When should I go?

July and August, if you want to make the most of the beach, but quick dips are encouraged all year round. You’ll be back in the bath in a matter of minutes. For culture vultures, Brighton Fringe takes place throughout May.  


Room rates start from £104, based on two sharing, on a bed and breakfast basis.


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