For this month’s hotel review, Managing Director, Lee Mansfield enjoyed an overnight stay at Brighton’s Artist Residence

Artist Residence is an eccentric franchise of fun and friendly, intimate hotels situated in various locations across the UK, with venues in London, Cornwall and Oxford. This month, however, Sussex Business Times got the chance to stay at the chain’s Brighton hotel.

Artist Residence Brighton is a 23-bedroom townhouse hotel and cocktail bar centrally located in historic Regency Square, with sea views over the iconic West Pier. The original Artist Residence was opened in 2008 and has been a constantly evolving story of love. In 2012 we expanded the building, creating an additional 8 house rooms and The Cocktail Shack, which is very popular with local creatives. Although a small hotel, the staff at Artist Residence Brighton do everything in their power to make all of their guests feel right at home. We’re a small hotel at heart and want you to feel right at home.

Set within the backdrop of Regency splendour, Brighton was once home to the King of England and is now an eccentric cultural hub with many nooks and crannies to explore. We take great pride in offering down to earth hospitality, comfy beds, cool artwork, reclaimed vintage style and tasty home cooked breakfasts in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

The venue also serves as a hub and meeting point for the neighbourhood, with thanks to its prime location, hosting regular supper clubs and art workshops, making it the perfect pit stop for anyone out on business – or pleasure for that matter.

Of course, one of the common problems when staying in Brighton is parking – unless the destination has its own designated spaces of course, and despite arriving at 7pm (prime time for dining in the city and hotel itself, we were able to find a secured space directly outside, with locked gates, which was reassuring.

The hotel itself boasts a very underwhelming exterior, but the interior makes up for in entirely. Upon walking in, we were greeted by a member of the front of house staff, Jennie, who welcomed us in with open arms and a big smile, which was refreshing to see and made us feel at home instantly. The whole hotel had a buzz about it and I could tell that all guests and visitors were just as excited to be there as myself. While we knew prior to arriving that we wouldn’t be able to dine in the hotel’s restaurant that night due to it being fully booked, this was made harder upon arriving as the delicious smells coming from the kitchen invaded the rest of the hotel. The wallpaper throughout the hotel was bespoke; I’m assuming old-fashioned pieces reclaimed to create an artistic feel – the whole aesthetic was very different to any other hotel I’d stayed in.

We were shown straight to our room, which was what can only be described as outstanding. The room boasted a very quirky deisgn, with unicorn themed wallpaper, white washed doors to the en-suite and best of all, a perfect window view of Brighton’s seafront and the impressive i360. It was also very clear to see the outstanding level of hygiene; the bedding was fresh and there wasn’t an inch of dust or dirt to be seen.

After settling into our room, we made our way down to the cocktail bar, which I later found out had won last year’s Cocktail Bar of the Year. The bar itself was tiny (yet plentiful with different liquors) and heaving with people, which was to be expected for a Thursday night in the city, but what was surprising was the varied clientele; young couples, elder men and women plus your usual corporate crowd. It was lovely so see such a wide range of people, but of course it’s very clear to see why the Artist Residence would attract such custom. The barman was incredibly friendly and attentive, but not only this, seemed to be very knowledgeable as to what ingredients were in each beverage, which made it easy for us to trust his recommendations.

I opted for the Charlie and the Cocktail Factory, which consisted of Vodka and Peach with a Cream Soda top, while my wife chose the Lawn Bell, comprising of Red Pepper Gin and Apple. Both were beautifully refreshing and the dehydrated fruit added that little bit extra. We took our drinks, sat on the comfortable sofas in the bay window and watched the world go by – the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening.

During the evening we also came across a second, ‘secret’ bar if you like. Downstairs behind a wooden bookshelf sat an unexposed bar. This was, again, unlike anything I had ever seen before, like something out of a film and adding to the whole ambiance.

We dined at Brighton’s Salt Room, which is approximately a five minute walk away from the hotel. Whlie it was slightly disappointing not to be able to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, I take my hat off to the fact that it is obviously in popular demand. However, the hotel’s location makes up for it, with easy access to many of the city’s best restaurants.

Breakfast the following morning stayed on par with the rest of our Artist Residence experience; beautiful to say the least. The restaurant is small and intimate, with just 23 covers. I myself opted for the Full English breakfast, while my wife chose Eggs Florentine, and both of which were divine.

All in all, the Artist Residence Brighton is among some of the nicest hotels Sussex Business Times has had the pleasure of reviewing. Taking everything into consideration – location, cleanliness, staff, fun-factor and so on – I’d definitely give it five stars, and I can’t wait to return!

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