Craving a seaside break? Head to Brighton! At just over an hour from London, you can soak up the sun, get great seafood and revel in the friendly atmosphere (people who live by the ocean just seem happier, n’est-ce pas?). So with a craving for vitamin sea, I grabbed my best girlfriend and started hotel hunting. While browsing hotels we were instantly charmed by The Artist Residence. I’m not going to lie, it was largely down to the fact that we could get a balcony room with sea views where we could sit and drink wine!
The 23 bedroom hotel spans two townhouses at the top of grassy Regency Square. It’s in the ideal spot – set back from the main road so you aren’t bothered by traffic, but with undisturbed views of the i360 viewing tower, the ruin of West Pier and the sea. The vibe is laid back luxe with a bohemian twist: exposed brickwork, unusual and reclaimed furnishings, and (as you’d expect from the name) an amazing collection of contemporary art.
We checked in at the bar where there was an endless supply of fruit infused water, and friendly staff who took care of us and our bags.
Some of the rooms are decorated by artists and are totally unique, complete with bespoke furniture. We popped upstairs to our room called Fox – after the talented Fox Fisher. It was bright and airy with floor to ceiling sash windows, sea views from the king size bed, and a small balcony with a table and chairs for two.
The mini bar was stocked with a variety of local goodies.
We threw the sash windows up and whiled away the afternoon on the balcony with some ice cold rosé, watching the seagulls swooping overhead. In the unlikely event that you get tired of that view, there are two bars and a ping pong room in the hotel!
Bright and quirky artwork lines most walls, I particularly vibe with this one below. I definitely needed some of that in the morning! Especially when woken up by a colony of seagulls! Better than an alarm though and I quite like being reminded that I’m by the sea.
There are so many clever designs throughout the hotel. How cute is this sliding door to our bathroom?! Cute? Yes. Private? Not so much, but then we did kick each other out onto the balcony when we needed to use the loo 😂
The bathroom was stocked with delicious, organic Bramley goodies. Bramley develop their products with an apothecarist based in Somerset, who uses all natural ingredients.
In the morning we made our way (basically ran) downstairs, past the pop art to The Set Café for breakfast. I had heard great things about the award winning food here.
We settled in with sea views and tea while deciding what to choose from the menu – one of everything?
I went for the pancake stack with Greek yoghurt and warm spiced berry compote – a triumph of sweet, creamy goodness.
Before heading out to spend the day at the beach, we explored the hotel a bit more and stumbled across something very exciting in the basement. This may look like an ordinary bookshelf…
But if you push on it…
…you’re transported to a brand new secret cocktail bar, The Curious Mr Hanbury.
In this cosy, hidden spot, the innovative, ever-changing menu is conceived around the travels, mood or romantic conquests of the character Mr Hanbury. Storytelling with drinks – I could get used to this! At the moment, Mr Hanbury is “in Iberia, lazing in the evening sun with an old flame no doubt” leading to this delicious looking menu:
If nothing appeals, you can tell the bar wizards what flavours you like and they’ll mix up a delicious bespoke beverage.
It’s pretty amazing how far The Artist Residence has come. The owner Justin Salisbury’s mum acquired it as a run down guest house called The Malvern Hotel but before she could renovate it, she was injured in an accident. Justin, aged 20, stepped in and realising the property needed total renovation, decided to put an advert on Gumtree inviting artists to decorate in return for board and lodging. He had an overwhelming response and The Artist Residence was born! Justin also took part in Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector which further helped them to run the business successfully. Now, The Artist Residence Brighton has doubled in size with the acquisition of an adjoining house and there are two more hotels in Penzance and London.
Definitely worth a visit, even just for the cocktails and breakfast. Nom.