* Prices may differ from that shown
They say a girls wedding is the best day of her life, so for that very reason I decided to check out hotels for my wedding night, having booked my ceremony at the Royal Pavillion.
I started my shortlisting hotels nearby as I was planning on walking to my wedding.
Drakes was the first and only hotel I visited.
It's a regency style building located 5 minutes from the city centre, and overlooking the famous seafront from an elevated position.
Marketed as a 'boutique' hotel, it has just twenty rooms and a lot of them boast sea views.
Seeing as it was a very special occasion, myself and my hubby to be wanted the best room, and were led up a spiral staircase to the top of the building where we entered the feature room.
Wow what a room! It showcases large floor to ceiling windows, a freestanding tub and a kingsize bed. And the views across the pier and sea are stunning!
This room is the ultimate indulgence and dark wood floors complement simple, yet elegant furnishings. The large, modern on-suite includes a wet room and twin basins.
Needless to say we didnt hesitate in booking immediately!
I stayed there the night before the wedding, and myself and my new hubby stayed the night of the wedding.
To prepare for the big day, I had a long soak in the bath the night before, followed by the best nights sleep ever.
In the morning, I was greeted by a delicious breakfast of muesli, toast, juice and yogurt, which unfortunately was not included in the price.
A little later my photographer arrived, trailed by my mum and sister, and there was more than enough room for everyone.
The day itself flew by and myself and my now husband returned to Drakes for a drink at the funky, sophisticated bar. It was only when we returned to our room that we saw there was a note congratulating us and offering a complimentary drink, which came too late for us!
This was one of the downsides - a lack of communication meaning the staff downstairs were unaware that we were newlyweds, and we recieved very little fuss or attention as a result.
But then that was the kind of low key wedding we had, so in some ways it was fitting.
The only other issues I had were the lack of parking and subsequent charge if you do manage to park on site, and the fact that the brekkie was not included.
The hotel is perfectly situated for enjoying the beach, and we popped across the road together after our first night as a married couple, for a bracing walk in the April winds.
The room costs £250 a night midweek, or £325 a night at weekends. Expensive, but in my eyes totally worth it for a special occasion.
I cant fault Drakes and would return in a heartbeat if I could afford it.
Maybe for our anniversary sometime...
I had been wanting to visit Brighton for a long time and my other half gave in and said he would love to take me for my birthday back in May. Bless!
Because I had been trawling the internet and reading reviews on Brighton Hotels for some time by this point, I knew right away that I wanted to stay at Drakes.
Drakes is a luxury 4 star boutique hotel situated on the Brighton seafront, near to the pier. The hotel has, I understand, 20 bespoke designed rooms, most with sea-views. All rooms are en-suite, fully air conditioned with flat screen televisions, satellite T.V, DVD/CD players and wireless broadband connection.
Upon arrival at Drakes we were greeted by friendly staff and were informed that we were able to park at the front of the hotel which was a relief as parking in Brighton is very limited.
Our room was on the second floor at the front of the hotel, overlooking the sea and the pier. Lovely! There is a free standing bath tub in the room which is big enough for two.
My lovely boyfriend purchased two glasses of champagne at a cost of £18 for the two for us to drink whilst in the bath which was very sweet of him and made us feel rather decadent!
The room was of a fairly good size, modern and clean with a wet room. It cost £140 for the night which was a lot but worth it as a treat. There were the usual toiletries available in a nice pack, slippers which can be taken home by guests and fluffy white dressing gowns which can't.
We had booked into the Gingerman restaurant for dinner, a few minutes taxi drive away. There is also a Gingerman restaurant within Drakes hotel itself but we wanted to go off the premises for a night out.
I had researched the hotels in Brighton and the Gingerman is one of the best. It was really lovey food and I can only assume that the restaurant in the hotel is of the same quality, and indeed the reviews I have read seem to confirm this.
Not wanting to go on to clubs or hectic bars, we went back to the hotel bar after the Gingerman. It's a lovely setting, and has a buzzing yet intimate feel. I wasn't sure what I wanted to drink so the barman made me a cocktail which was lovely and cost £13.
Check in and out at the hotel was swift and the staff were very friendly.
We had a fantastic stay at Drakes and would highly recommend it!
I stayed at the Drakes Hotel in June for 3 nights on business and I must say I was extremely impressed - it was certainly the best hotel I have ever stayed in!
The hotel is conveniently located within two beautiful converted Regency buildings, right on Brighton seafront, approximately a ten minute walk from the bustle of the Lanes and the town centre. It is situated between the Palace Pier and Brighton Marina, although closer to the pier.
The hotel provides a range of accommodation; I stayed in the Yin Yang Sea View room, which was the cheapest at £100 per night. The room was supposed to be for only one person, but with its double bed, it could easily accommodate two people, especially if you were only staying for a night or two. The room was well laid out with a dressing table, small desk, flat screen tv, dvd player, en suit luxury bathroom with heated floor and most impressively, air conditioning. The design of the room was typical of a luxury, upmarket boutique hotel; all wood paneling, white Egyptian cotton sheets and splashes of colour in the large number of cushions provided. The bathroom was almost brand new and despite its small size, included a bath with a great power shower. The room also had a range of lighting options to allow you to choose the mood you want, including a green motion sensitive light in the bathroom to allow you to use the facilities at night without turning on the main lights. There were no curtains, but instead restored wooden shutters which really added to the character of the room.
The only downsides to the décor were the fact there were no wardrobes and the not very private bathroom doors. There was an electrically operated curtain with space for hanging a few clothes behind in place of a wardrobe, which only just accommodated my work suits. The bathroom had two double doors of obscure glass - they did not meet in the middle properly and there was no lock, so if you were staying with a partner, you would have to be very familiar with each other!
In terms of room facilities, a selection of toiletries by the White Company were provided to take away, as well as wall mounted soap, shower gel and moisturiser dispensers by the same brand. A white toweling dressing gown and slippers were provided to allow you to lounge around in comfort. In addition, a selection of new magazine, catering to a wide variety of tastes were provided. There was a hairdryer in the room and an ironing board and iron were available on request. There was also a laundry and dry cleaning service. One grumble was the fact the tea and coffee making facilities were tidied into a cupboard, so it was a pain to get them out to make a quick drink.
I should mention that the view from my room on the third floor was magnificent - facing south east across the beach and sea towards Brighton Marina. I was glad to be high up on the third floor, as there is a fairly busy road outside so the higher you are, the less the room noise is, as well as affording a better view. My colleagues and I all had sea views, although I would imagine that the view to the rear of the hotel would be a lot less pleasant.
Some of the other rooms in the hotel were much more expensive, but have features such as sunken bathrooms and roll top tubs in the middle of the bedroom. One of my colleagues had a more expensive room to me which was almost completely circular. I must say, that the entire layout and design of the hotel was very sophisticated and stylish, and the rooms themselves were scrupulously clean. The hotel operated a turndown service and adjusted the air conditioning in the rooms before we arrived back each evening which was much appreciated as it was a very hot week.
The hotel does provide room service, although I didn't try it. One of my colleagues did and although it was pricy, he said that the food was good. They are also able to offer a spa experience in your hotel room, although you would need to book in advance for this.
As my colleagues and I were staying for business, we had all driven as we had boxes of work with us. I was worried about parking, as I am a former Brighton resident and knew that parking is at a premium in this location. The hotel does offer a very limited amount of parking spaces at £12.50 per day. However, I was very lucky to get an on-street space in the adjacent square to the hotel at a cost of £9 per day. As I didn't need to move the car whilst I was there, this was quite a saving. The staff were also more than happy to provide change for the parking meter every night.
The staff were all excellent - friendly, helpful and accommodating. The hotel is more of a romantic getaway place, so not really set up for business - I think we were the only business customers there. However, despite practically taking over the bar every evening with our work papers, the hotel staff did not complain and were happy to oblige with sending and receiving faxes, photocopying and ordering taxis (although at a small charge for the faxing and copying). They couldn't provide printing facilities, however. The hotel also has free wireless internet for all guests which I found was easy to connect to and super fast.
The reception is located in the very stylish bar area; we didn't try any of the delicious looking cocktails on offer, but we did have complimentary teas, coffees and biscuits every day. I noticed that near the reception desk is also a bookcase full of books and dvds for guests to borrow - a great touch!
We did try the restaurant on our first night. This is located in the basement. We were the only customers there and were served by an attentive waitress. The food was gorgeous, although very expensive - glad my boss was paying! I had a poached duck egg that was actual 'egg' shaped. I've no idea how the chef managed to cook it! There was a good selection of meat, fish and vegetable dishes.
Breakfast is also served in the basement restaurant. The continental buffet had a good selection, but was at additional cost - I think it was £10 a day, which was very dear! You could also order a cooked breakfast at further additional cost.
Despite singing its praises, this hotel is not at all suitable for disabled people. Although this is not the fault of the hotel management as the buildings are Listed, the entrance is via steps and then there is no passenger lift. If you are a disabled person and had made it into the hotel up the steps, even the ground floor bedroom has additional steps. And don't even think about going for breakfast - the stairs to the basement were very steep. For able bodied customers, the walk up and down the stairs can be tiring. However, there is thankfully a luggage lift, as I had a suitcase, laptop and three large legal boxes of work materials to lug up and down to the third floor every day!
I wouldn't suggest this hotel for a family holiday or a bolt hole to lay your head - it is definitely for a special, romantic break. I would love to return for that purpose. It also coped admirably with the needs of business customers, despite not really being designed for that purpose. However, we were a small party of three; if you were a larger party I would suggest looking for a more business-orientated hotel.
It is undoubtedly pricey, but for a very special break I would assess it is worth the money. However, paying extra for breakfast is a bit cheeky - it would be much better to go and sample one of the many cafes in the surrounding area.
To summarise, this is a fantastic hotel that delivers everything that you would expect from an expensive boutique hotel located on Brighton seafront. However, you should be prepared to pay through the nose for it - OK for a short break, special treat, or if work are paying, but not if you are just looking for somewhere to sleep for the night.
The hotel website is http://www.drakesofbrighton.com/
This is a much modified and extended review of one I originally posted on TripAdvisor.
Luxury boutique 4 star townhouse hotel.