Hotel Insider This accommodation is centrally located in the fashionable British city by the sea, with informed staff and a "positive vibe".
Affordable and funky MyHotel Brighton
The entrance to myhotel on Jubilee Street was so discreet I almost missed it. It's like entering a tardis: once through the blue and green glass doors, a spacious lobby opens out. It's white, curved and space-age, and the woman who checks me in from the bulbous, stainless-steel check-in desk is on the ball and full of suggestions for new things to see and do in the city.
The location of this hotel couldn't be better - it's in the heart of the North Laine shopping area, surrounded by cafes and restaurants and close to the Royal Pavilion. Jubilee Street has been almost entirely rebuilt over the past few years, so it's currently one of the smartest spots in town.
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I was staying mid-week during summer, and the hotel guests were a mixture of corporate and international leisure guests. The hotel was hosting Apple seminars while I was there, and each morning I saw large groups of twenty- and thirty-somethings getting their sales drill in meeting rooms over two floors. At the weekend, the hotel is filled with people from London and the areas around Brighton. The vibe is generally young - that is, under 40 - but the hotel's restaurant, Table, its bar, Merkaba, and coffee shop, Cup, are all open to the public and so attract a more eclectic crowd - everyone from writers with laptops to middle-aged couples out to lunch. The entire property has been built and designed according to the principles of feng shui by Andy Thrasyvoulou and Karim Rashid and - I don't know if it was the curved walls, quotes from Gandhi, Rumi and Freddie Mercury on the walls, the coloured "crystals" in the rooms or the ever-so-slightly psychedelic patterns on the hallway carpets - the design did seem to create a calm and positive vibe.
My check-in assistant was very lively, helpful and full of suggestions, but the man who did my check-out was less charming. Perhaps he was annoyed that I was half an hour late, because as I handed over my key he was on the phone to another couple asking if he could send someone to get their bags "because the normal check-out time is midday". Of the two restaurant staff on duty in Table at breakfast, one was cheerful, the other quite curt. By lunchtime, the surly one seemed to have cheered up.
In Merkaba, the futuristic bar on the ground floor, the barman helpfully created some non-alcoholic cocktails for us at half the price of those listed on the menu, but then took an eternity to produce a bill that could charge the drinks to our room. The front-house manager was very upbeat and the cleaning staff friendly and courteous. The massage (£30; Dh170 for half an hour) in the Jinja rooms - a lovely set of treatment rooms with a library attached offering free internet access and beverages - was excellent. Natalie, the masseuse and "well-being manager", was as soothing as I've experienced anywhere.
Mine was a "more superior double" which was fun, spacious and very quiet. All white, with one large non-opening window and a soft, built-in window-seat, it reminded me of a capsule hotel. The bathroom was compact, with a bright orange, textured floor and a shower but no bath (baths are available in some of the larger rooms and in the Jinja rooms). My room was on a corner and overlooked the pedestrianised square opposite the new public library, so the feeling was central without being noisy. The bedroom carpet was grey and orange, and I had a large low bed (white, of course). The flatscreen television was mounted on the wall. Wardrobes were orange and mirrored and there were generous tea- and coffee-making facilities. The best room in the hotel is the Carousel suite, which features part of a 300-year-old fairground carousel, a free-standing bath and a built-in hammam.
The buffet breakfast included in the room rate was a decent spread of Greek yogurt, fruit salad, cold cuts and cheeses and freshly baked croissants and breads. The orange juice tasted as though it had been watered down but the coffee (fair trade, of course) was excellent. At lunch we tried set menus at Table; at two courses plus a drink for £12 (Dh67), it was good value. My gazpacho was smooth, piquant and generously sized; of the fish and chips main course, the fish - local whitebait, lightly battered - came out over the chips, which didn't compare to those from a good local fish and chip shop. My friend's starter, of peas, new potatoes and goat's cheese, was tasty and imaginative; her main course, penne pasta, rocket, crème fraiche and Parmesan, was simple, fresh and tasty.
The feeling of calm throughout the hotel, and the even more serene library area, which came with a relaxing soundtrack and was open 24 hours.
The fact that I couldn't open my window made my room stuffy at night, even with the air conditioning on. When I queried this with reception, I was told: "We don't have insurance for that. If someone threw something out of the window, we wouldn't be covered." The windows were locked and opening them even slightly, I was told, was out of the question.
A funky and fun new hotel in a great area, and good value for money, too.
The bottom line
Standard doubles cost from £94 (Dh532), including taxes and breakfast, but special advance purchase rates are available through the website. Myhotel Brighton, Jubilee Street, Brighton (www.myhotels.com; 00 44 1273 900 300).