We have just returned from the most fantastic night at the seaside. It was wet and windy but the hotel was 100% what made it great for us. From the second we arrived to check-in, staff were exceptional. Fiona on reception was brilliant, asking us lots of questions and taking an interest in our journey. She told us that our room was ready a whole 3 hours early too which was music to our ears having a baby in tow!
We were directed to the underground car park and were met with two staff that had come down to help with our bags after being told my husband had a bad back. Our executive room was on the 5th floor and it was lovely. Very spacious with a king size bed, sofabed, coffee table, top of the range coffee machine, complimentary chocolates and drinks, a balcony and sea view. A travel cot had also been put in place for us which was a great help. The bathroom was also very large and modern, Austin loved crawling around on the shiny floor! We noticed how clean every area was and were very impressed by the little touches. There were choices on the bed between firm or soft pillows as well as very thick blankets, binoculars and a letter inviting us to take the blankets out to the balcony and use the binoculars to look out to sea.
The view outside wasn’t great at the time we visited as it seems the whole seafront is under construction! However, that’s absolutely nothing to complain about – the building work we could see wasn’t anything to do with the hotel – building work has to be done everywhere at some point after all! Here is the view from our balcony. I ignored the cranes and concentrated on the ocean.
After unpacking we headed back downstairs for a walk along the seafront. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk to the Sealife Centre and we are Merlin pass holders so we took Austin to visit the fish. I have to say I was very disappointed with the aquarium. Having visited many Sealife centres around the country, this didn’t compare at all. It was very small and we’d done the whole thing within half an hour! If you’re going to make a trip to one I’d suggest their London version as it’s much bigger and has much more to see. Austin seemed to enjoy himself though while we were there.
After the sealife centre we went onto the pier, into the arcades and eventually made our way back to the hotel getting caught in the pouring rain for the entire journey! We arrived back to hotel completely drenched. Austin had fallen asleep in his pram under the rain cover so we decided to head to the bar and get a drink while we had some peace and quiet. We were greeted immediately by a lovely member of staff who made sure we had drinks and were comfy. We had a nice chat and retired to the armchairs in front of the TV. I didn’t know they had Sky Sports and BT Sports at the hotel, so when we realised my husband was very pleased!
Shortly after we’d finished our drinks, Austin woke up. We gave him some dinner and headed up to the room with our free Starbucks (yes, they serve Starbucks too! The staff were training so we got to try some for free).
Austin loved exploring the large room, there was so much space for him to crawl around. We were thrilled to see that the TV channels included CBeebies! He watched some of his favourite programmes, crawled around some more and then it was bedtime.
He went to sleep with no fuss in the travel cot (we did bring an extra mattress with us as the standard ones in travel cots are always so thin and hard. Having said that, the one we were given was more padded than I’ve seen before so I think it would have been fine). Once he was asleep my husband and I had a long hot bath each, watched a film on the iPad and were asleep by 10pm.
In the morning we headed down for breakfast around 9am. The restaurant was quiet, clean and there was an excellent choice of well labelled food.
As you can see there was something for everyone. Everything looked fresh and tempting. It was great to see something different to other hotels too – a pancake station! There were so many toppings and fillings to choose from – I didn’t take advantage but wish I had.
We went for a variety of foods to fully test what was on offer. A fry up for us adults, a bowl of mixed cereal and dried fruits for Austin plus we all tried the toast and pastries. The food was lovely. The sausages didn’t taste cheap like they sometimes do in hotels and everything was piping hot which we were most impressed by. I can’t tell you the amount of luke warm hotel breakfast buffets I’ve previously endured, so this was a relief. Another thing I took note of was the salt and pepper grinders. There is nothing that winds me up more than sitting down to eat in a restaurant and having a shaker full of white pepper and powdery salt. It’s the cheapest corner to cut and really drives me mad. Black peppercorns and rock salt in grinders can boost even the worst food. White pepper shouldn’t even exist! Take note restaurant owners…
Checkout wasn’t until midday and I’m used to being booted out around 10am so it was a nice treat to be able to go back upstairs after breakfast, pack slowly and enjoy the last hour before heading home.
As a parent this sign in the lift went down extremely well. Austin makes a horrendous mess when he eats, so this was a really nice touch to see that the hotel understands that kids aren’t clean and tidy!
Lastly I want to mention the outside of the hotel. Let’s not beat around the bush – it looks like somewhere I wouldn’t want to enter out of choice. It reminded me of a tower block in Peckham!
However, it really was a very good lesson in not judging a book by it’s cover. As soon as we walked in to the modern, shiny lobby I realised the outside definitely was no representation of the hotel itself. There was a banner outside letting us know the hotel is having a makeover, so I’m sure improvements are being made! Either way, don’t let the outside fool you. The Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront was a fantastic hotel with exceptional service and great food. I would go back again in a heartbeat. If you’re heading to Brighton it’s definitely where I would recommend staying.
Thanks for reading!