On arrival i was greeted with somewhat dis-interested and unorganised reception staff, after a substantial wait to be checked in i found my room to be of a lesser standard than expected from reviews i had read and complementary items at a minumum in quantity and quality.
I found the decore and fittings to be very dated and in desperated need of renovation, it felt more like a £30 a night b&b than 3 star hotel at £110 a night.
The most dissapointing factor was the bed/linen, the bed had a very old and uncomfortable mattress, i could feel every spring!
The linen was minimal and drew speculation to its cleaniness, one item clearly sporting additional human hair.
I also felt a sheet and thin blanket was a little less than substantial, the choice of a duvet would have been nice.
On arrival back at the hotel after an evening out, i was again greeted by somewhat rude and unhelpful staff who obviously saw higher importance in their own conversations than in guests needs and enquiries.
After a dissapointing nights sleep a good breakfast was desperately needed and it should have been for £12.95 a head but again was of poor value and considering the number of diners present was very slow.
This capped off a particularly dissapointing stay and when i asked if i could speak to management about my concerns i was informed that there was no-one available to speak to me at that time.
For the record i am not one to complain normally but this took the biscuit!
I stayed at the Courtlands Hotel in Brighton some two years ago, for a last minute weekend desperate revision school with the Open University, prior to taking my final examinations. The hotel is classified as three stars by the AA and RAC and it also has an RAC dining award.
As I was at a revision school, I did not pick the hotel myself, and when I saw the hotel leaflet which was sent with my class joining instructions, I did think that the hotel was definitely not one I would normally pick out myself. Although it certainly had elegance and grandeur, the bedrooms on the leaflet looked a little dated in terms of style. I was also advised I was booked into a single room and I could not check in until 430pm.
The hotel is located on Grand Avenue, Hove, and is a five minute walk from the sea front, and an ample selection of shops and restaurants at Hove. The property is easily reached by bus from central Brighton within a few minutes, and a taxi ride would cost about £6.
My rate was an £80 per person per night 24 hour delegate rate. The quoted web rack rate is £97.50 for a double room at the weekend and it is actually cheaper Sun-Thu, reflecting the fact that most trade is weekend not mid week in the area. Singles are available as little as £42 mid week for the Winter season.
The hotel is a large double fronted Georgian building, which is well kept and has its original feature sash windows. Two sets of modern glass doors lead to the reception area. Leading off the reception area are the very popular Nicks Place restaurant, a function room, suitable for weddings and parties, and a comfortable bar area which overlooks Grand Avenue itself. The hotel actually comprises of two large buildings which have been linked together at the lower levels, and this makes finding rooms slightly confusing at times.
There are a couple of small steps leading from the pavement into the reception and there is a ramp provided for wheelchair users. There are two small lifts, one in each building. To get to my room, which was in the third floor, non reception side, I had to get the lift to second floor, then pass along the corridors and up about three lots of 2-3 steps as well as the lift from second floor to three! There are a total of 75 rooms in the hotel so it is a reasonable size property. Obviously there would be some rooms which are more easily accessible.
I had phoned the hotel at around 130pm on my day of arrival as there was a gale blowing the length and breadth of Britain that particular weekend, and I didnt want to hang around Brighton for too long with my luggage and books. Although check in was not meant to be until 430pm, I was able to get my room much earlier - to my great relief.
My room was actually a Queen size bed and not a single, although this still appeared to be on the small side. I wouldn't have liked to be sharing it. The room also had a hairdryer and a hospitality tray, which had Bewleys coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and biscuits. The en suite was a shower room only, although many of my colleagues had Jacuzzi baths too. The shower room and shower were a little on the small side, they definitely wouldnt accommodate two people shall we say! The shower itself was an electric variety, and was adequate but not overly powerful, however one of my colleagues had to move room as her first shower didnt work at all and the second had no hardly any power.
Food and Drink
I was on a 24 hour full board delegate rate. All meals were taken Nicks Place restaurant. In general the food was of a high quality and certainly higher than many other locations I have stayed with on OU residential schools. Dinners were a la carte and consisted of four starters and four mains, and a selection of cold puddings. For lunch there was less choice, but Sunday did consist of a delightful roast lamb dinner with roasties and cauliflower cheese, as well as a small cold buffet. Breakfast consisted of a health range of cereals, pastries, yoghurts and a full English option. Service was a little on the slow side over dinner, however this was probably more noticeable for us, as we were only breaking off, for a meal break, and ordinarily the service time would have been ideal.
Of course the bar is the place where the real discussion and learning takes place on a weekend like this, and the hotel bar was very comfortable and had a great atmosphere, as well as being reasonably priced.
Our conference room, which we occupied 13 hours a day for two days, was very large, and quite unusual. It retained many original features of the building and was stuffed full of high quality furniture. The room was mainly window to front and had a tendency to be slightly chilly. We had an endless supply of tea, coffee and biscuits, and the room was large enough for us to break out into smaller working groups comfortably. One complaint here was that when we went back to work on Sunday morning, the room had not been cleared from our late Saturday evening finish, however on the plus side the staff were attentive throughout the weekend and were quick to rectify any lapses in service.
The hotel also has a pool, although I did not take the opportunity to use the facilities, (too much to do, so little time !)
They now have Wireless Internet available which will certainly appeal to Business guests in particular.
In summary, I think my expectations were exceeded overall, and I found the hotel to be comfortable, with good service in the main, and great food. While I would not be dashing back just for a weekend break, I would be comfortable using the hotel again, if I was ever back in the area.
15-27 The Drive
Tel +44 (0) 1273 731055