The Times Newspaper - Saturday 1st July 2006
OH, TO BE in Brighton in the summertime! Sunbathing on
the beach, walking along the front in shorts and shades, slurping on a
99 ice-cream cornet. If only it were so. The reality on my visit: grey
skies, lashing showers, gale-force winds and drinking plenty of coffee
to warm up. Thank goodness, then, that I had a nice hotel to which to
retreat. “We prefer to describe ourselves as a modern, contemporary
B&B,” says Shaun Trumble who, with his partner Martin Torrens, owns
Brightonwave, an eight-bedroom Regency terrace in Madeira Place, a
three-minute skip to the beach and close to lively bars, restaurants,
clubs and shopping.
Never having visited the city before, I was grateful
when Trumble sat me down after my arrival and proved to be a veritable
local encyclopaedia, pointing out local attractions and advice on where
to drink, dine and party.
at Brightonwave is a living room/breakfast area with sofa, newspapers,
DVD library and a laptop for guests. There is free wi-fi throughout if
you’ve brought your own computer. The art here and in the bedrooms, all
by local artists, changes every three months and is for sale.
My room, on
the first floor, was spacious, with a comfortable, modern four-poster
and thick duvet, flat-screen TV with DVD player, plenty of wardrobe
space, a small balcony and a compact shower room with Gilchrist & Soames
toiletries. Having a peek around later, I saw that some of the other
rooms’ bathrooms were extremely compact, but Torrens assured me: “We
make sure guests know what they’re getting.”
dinner at Brightonwave, instead Trumble recommended Terre à Terre, ten
minutes’ walk away on East Street. For a committed meat eater, this
veggie restaurant was a revelation: the food was packed with flavour,
beautifully presented, and served by friendly staff. I loved the ravioli
butter cookie crumble with asparagus milk shake, and didn’t take too
much persuading to follow up with rhubarb and custard with peppertree
Back at the
B&B, breakfast the next morning was very tasty. I went for the full
English, although I could have chosen from a wide selection, all cooked
by Trumble, including pancakes and fruit, bacon and brie croissant or
tarragon mushrooms on toast.
All in all,
very enjoyable. Fingers crossed that next time I visit Brighton, the sun
comes along, too.
Will Hide paid £130 for a four-poster balcony room with
breakfast. Doubles start at £90. Sampling the fare: £33 for two courses,
wine, water and service at Terre à Terre (71 East Street, 01273 729051).
Great location, nice vibe.
Some street noise — a minor quibble.
10 Madeira Place, Brighton, East Sussex.
8 out of 10.
9 out of
9 out 10.
The Globe and Mail Newspaper - Canada 14th June
BRIGHTON, ENGLAND -- John Cleese
has a lot to answer for. Legions of English seaside hotels have
struggled against the image of monstrous service and shabby rooms
created by his popular Fawlty Towers TV series, with visitors
half-expecting ranting managers and idiotic staff as part of the
package. In reality, most establishments have moved on from the days
of serving Siberian hamsters to health inspectors, with one city
leading the charge.
Arguably the country's most vibrant seaside resort, Brighton -- a
one-hour train ride from London -- has never relied solely on
holidaymakers. While other coastal towns slipped into paint-peeled
obsolescence when the Brits began switching en masse to overseas
vacations in the 1980s, the locals here focused on attractions to
please themselves. The result is a hip seaside city dripping with
galleries, nightlife and a labyrinth of back streets lined with
independent stores, quirky coffee shops and charming pubs.
When it comes to accommodation, Brighton is also ahead of the
curve. Traditional B&Bs, guest houses and hotels are being slowly
reclaimed and updated, with an attention-to-detail, boutique approach
permeating both high-end and mid-range properties.
In the mid-range stakes, Brighton Wave is a 19th-century townhouse
transformed into a stylish, very comfortable B&B. At the pricier end
of the market, Drakes Hotel has become a byword for luxury pampering.
And among the cheap-as-chips properties, St. Christopher's Inn
combines backpacker-friendly dorms with great-value private rooms.
Together, they offer the kind of innovations that would have forced
Basil Fawlty to roll his eyes and close his doors for good.
Original artworks, plush floor-to-ceiling headboards and a DVD
library for those in-room flat-screen TVs: Brighton Wave is a
three-year-old boutique B&B that firmly challenges that idea of
mediocre English guest houses.
On a street near the waterfront -- some rooms have sideways views
of the sea if you press your face against the windows -- that adjoins
a bustling area of funky cafés, guests are treated to the kind of
luxury flourishes usually reserved for more expensive properties.
Behind the door of this grey, unassuming Victorian property, the
walls are lined with eye-catching paintings and photographs by local
The creative visuals are complemented by a dining room of
matte-black tables and chairs mirroring the pricier end of the Ikea
In the eight rooms, the beds dominate, with their giant suede
headboards adding a designer élan and their huge snow-white duvets
thick enough to require heavy lifting equipment. Each room has a
compact, modern, ensuite bathroom with shower and heated floor, while
some also have 19th-century hearths, stuffed with tangles of Christmas
lights to simulate a cozy fire.
Free wireless Internet access is offered -- the house laptop is
available for those travelling sans computer -- and there's a
free can of candies and chocolate bars in every room.
Alongside these small but important details, it's the laid-back
welcome that makes Brighton Wave worth the money. Geared to leisure
rather than business travellers, guests don't have to be up at the
crack of dawn for breakfast, with most ambling downstairs after 9 a.m.
for a menu of brie-stuffed croissants, blueberry pancakes and the
highly recommended mushrooms on toast: a mountain of thick-cut,
lightly cooked 'shrooms that provides a perfect morning kick start
Essentials: 10 Madeira Rd.; 44 (1273) 676794;
Rates and rooms: Eight rooms, ranging from one with a
four-poster bed and a tiny balcony to large twins and doubles. Rates,
including breakfast, from $160 to $320.
Top draw: Stylish, artsy and convivial.
Needs work: Rooms should include ironing facilities.
"In a Regency parade of unremarkable guesthouses, the Victorian, funky
and distinctive ‘brightonwave’. Come for a fresh blast of sea air - and
Shaun, who does everything: designs, cleans, cooks, greets. The feel is
stylish but laid back, and friendly ... There are sober suede banquettes
to relax on, a laptop to surf, and minimalist black tables set with
white china for tarragon mushrooms on toast (or fresh blueberry
pancakes); simpler breakfast may be served in your room, until 10.45 at
weekends. Upstairs, fat duvets and lush linen, chocolate bars and
flat-screen TVs, a pale metal four-poster (king-size) and balcony in the
biggest room ... Everyone’s favourite city by the sea teems with
shops, restaurants and bars; make the most of Shaun’s knowledge of where
to go - and have a great time sampling the results. Plans are afoot for
pampering weekends and the sea is over the road."
"When we heard that brightonwave hotel wanted to be on REALBrighton.com,
a very selfish and smug part of us wanted to keep it to ourselves - it's
simply too good for you. The idea that strangers can delight in it's
slick, chic and immaculate splendour sparks a wish to protect it as a
fabulous Brighton secret. Another part of us wants to blatantly boast
about it. This is a glittering jewel in the Brighton hoteliers' crown -
the very real proof that we have some of the most fashionable and
innovative hotels in this city.
Rooms are designed with excellent taste and, although contemporary and
highly stylish, have a real sympathy to the original features of the
townhouse building. The subtle tones instantly relax and the beds are so
inviting, with pure-white immaculate duvets, Goldilocks would have had
an absolute field-day. In this case though, the fairytale would need to
be adjusted to allow her to watch the flat-screen telly and rummage
through the CD and DVD collection on offer before retiring.
For those who need to work while away (you really won't want to with
everything else on offer) there is wireless net access and a space in
each room to set up your laptop and make contact with the world. Our
REALBrighton office design is taking on a whole new slant.
Breakfast in bed or downstairs is served at a respectable hour and the
service is superb. Once you've checked in and paid up-front, everything
is included in the price - so no haggling over hotel bills on your way
out. It's no wonder that guests have described this hotel as "a real
discovery", "classy", "a gem" and "refreshing" - it truly is a special
place. The only danger is that you'll barricade your door and refuse to
"Wifi enabled contemporary hotel featuring regular exhibitions of
original pieces of art by local Sussex artists. 8 luxury ensuite rooms
all with flat screen TVs, DVDs, CD players and oversized suede
headboards. Centrally located for all shops, bars, restaurants,
nightlife and conferences. Across the road from the sea. 4 Diamond
Silver accolade hotel focussing on a personal attentive service."
"We stayed at the Brightonwave from 17th to 19th Feb.
We were on a tight budget so we opted for the luxury double (they're all
luxury rooms) and were warned in advance that this came with a "compact
bathroom". We arrived about an hour later than we had hoped (trains,
eh?) but Sean didn't seem to hold it against us that we'd made him miss
an art exhibition - he showed us around our room in great detail and
pointed out all the things we needed to know (where the guides were,
where the chocolate was kept, where the corkscrew was stored) before
leaving us alone to admire our room.
The room was beautifully decorated in muted modern colours with a sash
window overlooking a quiet courtyard. The bed was very comfy and the
room equipped with a small LCD tv with a DVD and CD player.
The bathroom is indeed very small on the double rooms - it's in a sort
of plastic pod, similar to a very posh caravan. Although it was a bit of
a squeeze (we're both over six feet tall) it was very well equipped and
also had nice toiletries.
If you can afford the extra it's worth going for a bigger room to get a
more spacious bathroom, although we did feel we were fully warned by
Tripadvisor and the hosts. Breakfast every morning was fantastic - the
selection of food offers something for everyone with a choice of about 6
different options all served with lots of juice, tea and coffee plus
fresh fruit salad and cereal if you need it. I'd especially recommend
the pancakes or the filled croissants. It's all cooked to order by Sean
and served by Martin along with advice on what to do and where to go
(with particular emphasis on good delis and lunch venues).
I'd definitely stay here again. On previous visits to Brighton we have
always stayed in the Hotel Du Vin but we booked Brightonwave as HdV was
full. In future we'll be coming here instead as it offers better value,
a fantastic breakfast and the nicest hosts you'd care to meet."
"With countless e-mails to respond to every day, I rarely take the
trouble to write anything I don't have to, but I think the Brightonwave
Hotel is worthy of a mention. My wife and I stayed just one night as a
last minute 'get away from work' break, but it felt longer as we were
relaxed from the moment we walked through the door. I have stayed in
many 'top' hotels around the world, but this was as good an experience
as I have ever had. Most of what I would say has been said already, and
I can only concur.
I suppose what generally tends to put me off smaller establishments is
the image of the tired old B&B, with a lop-sided bed and a ancient telly
with a dodgy picture. The upside of such places is that you usually get
a smile from someone who genuinely cares about their business, rather
than having to smile because it's in their job description - as found at
most chain hotels. This is where the Brightonwave comes into it's own -
it offers rooms of exceptional comfort and appointments (as described by
others on here), together with the welcome from an owner who does
genuinely want you to enjoy your stay.
I think the position of the hotel is pretty much ideal, very close to
the beach, shops and excellent restaurants.
Lastly, the breakfast is worthy of a mention. The menu was thoughtful,
our request for soya milk greeted with a 'not a problem' attitude and,
after fresh fruit and muesli, our English breakfasts were perfectly
"The owners go out of their way to make guests feel welcome. The 4 poster
bedroom is fantastic and yes you can see the sea from the window. Just
about to go for our second visit and expect to return many more times
"Having read all the reviews on this site I was interested to see if
Brightonwave was as good as it seemed...... it was!!! The room was
fabulous, location was very convenient for all the non-touristy
restaurants and bars (and some excellent ones were recommended by the
hoteliers) and the breakfasts were yummy - all fresh and absolutely no
trouble catering for little requests. Whilst it may seem expensive
(compared to usual "B&B's" it is) but you have to remember that this is
more than that - it's a boutique hotel! I recommend it."
"Brightonwave is a chic hotel centrally located within minutes walk of
the sea, Brighton Pier, conference centre and shopping areas. We are a 4
Diamond Silver Accolade NON SMOKING hotel with 6 fully ensuite luxury
bedrooms all with flat screen TVs, DVD and CD players.
Wi-fi (hotspot) capability and internet access availability adds to the
contemporary feel of the hotel. We focus on providing a personalised
attentive service to all our guests.
Rates include breakfast with a selection of; fresh fruit salad,
delicious home made blueberry pancakes, a healthy full english or
vegetarian and tarragon mushrooms on toast, all cooked to order or you
may choose a continental breakfast in bed.
At weekends breakfast is served at a civilised time (9.45am to 10.45am)
perfect for sleeping off those late nights enjoying all Brighton has to
offer. Late check outs (Noon) are an additional feature of our relaxed