“ Address: 20-21 New Steine, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1PD / Tel: 01273 688 085 „
During my families recent visit to Brighton we stayed at the Ubran House and Retreat Spa. This review is of the hotel only and not the spa.
I booked our rooms online using their website. I had found the hotel through lastminute.com but after checking their website realised that it would actually be cheaper to book with them directly. Our rooms only cost £39 per room per night and that was really the main attraction to the hotel. Usually the rooms would have cost around £80 per room per night but for some reason there was a discount.
Booking was really quick and easy. All of the information that I needed was available on the website and the booking process was really self explanatory.
Our first impression of the hotel wasn't great. Parking is very difficult near the hotel. It doesn't have a carpark so you have to park on the street and pay to park. Brighton in general is not good for parking and the great location of this hotel means that it's difficult to find a parking space in this area. The doors to the hotel are locked so you have to ring a bell to get in. It took about ten minutes for them to open the door to us which doesn't seem like a long time unless you're standing in the cold with a child who has been travelling for a couple of hours. When the man working on reception did open the door he was polite and friendly but seemed completely disorganised, making the check in process a lot longer than necessary. This may in part be my fault because we arrived a couple of hours later than I said we would but having only ever stayed at big hotels I didn't realise that the check in time would be important. On arrival we requested that my card wasn't charged and that we pay by cash. We were told to pay the next day but before we had a chance to they had charged my card.
One of the good things about this hotel was that the rooms were each so unique. I usually stay in Marriott's where all the rooms look exactly the same and staying in a hotel where the rooms have so much character is a nice change. I really liked the furniture in both of the rooms. The bed wasn't the most comfortable bed that I've ever slept in but it was comfortable enough and I had a good nights sleep in it.
In addition to the bed the room came with a television and DVD player and tea and coffee making facilities. I did like that there was a DVD player because that's not something we usually get in other hotels. The tea and coffee making facilities were adequate but the kettle was located high up on a narrow shelf. I thought that this was really dangerous.
The radiator in the room didn't have a twisty thing to turn it off. Both my sister and I find it difficult to sleep if it's too hot so I had to phone the man on reception to ask him to turn it off. The heating is only on between certain times which didn't impress me at all. I don't think the hotel should be dictating when people do and don't have the heating on, I think it's reasonable to expect full control over the heat in your room. He did turn the heating off for us in our room which wasn't ideal because it wasn't on the next morning when we got up and it took him over half an hour to switch off with him going in and out of the room. I wasn't that comfortable having a strange man in our room for so long (not that he was odd but he was a stranger).
The bathroom was small but had everything we needed including towels and shampoo, soap etc. Unfortunately the bathroom was not clean and we found hair in the sink. The lock on the bathroom door didn't work.
The only real criteria that my parents had for the hotel was that it had a bar so that we wouldn't have to go out of the hotel if we wanted somewhere other than our rooms to hang out (hang out is my words, not theirs!). The bar was not exactly what we were expecting. It was a pleasant but small looking bar and it was reasonably comfortable (although many of the chairs didn't have backs and I like to have a lot of back support). When we were there we were the only people in the bar which was great because we could play charades but also meant that the bar had no atmosphere at all. The bar was run by the same person who was working on reception so there wasn't automatically a bar tender in the bar and he didn't stay there for the entire time we were there.
The drinks were okay but there wasn't a great range of coffee. I don't know if it's just me but I expect hotel bars to also have coffee machines, this one didn't and was only serving normal coffee. I don't drink alcohol but there appeared to be a good selection of alcoholic beverages and there was a good selection of soft drinks. Everything here appeared to be clean (I didn't even have to wipe my cup out before I poured the coffee). The bar doesn't serve food but the hotel is in a really good location with a lot of restaurants and bars close by.
Our room rate included a continental breakfast. I was hoping that we might be able to upgrade to a cooked breakfast but they only serve continental breakfasts. The breakfast was still nice and included pastries, fruit, toast, yogurt, cereal, juice, tea and coffee. It's a buffet style breakfast and I found that it wasn't refilled enough so every time I went up to get something that I had seen on my families plates there wasn't anymore left. They did refill eventually but I felt that this could have been more efficient. The dining room was clean and comfortable.
I'm going to rate Urban House and Retreat Spa as two stars. The bathroom was dirty, the service was slow and we didn't have control of the heating in the room to name a few of the problems I had with this hotel. However, the rooms looked nice and had character and the service was polite and friendly so I will rate two stars for that. I wouldn't stay in this hotel again.