We set off for a trip to Brighton on the South coast of England after school one Friday evening. My husband, our 13 year-old son and I are staying at the Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront as part of the Holiday Inn and BritMums You’re Welcome campaign for families. Holiday Inn is part of the Intercontinental group, the largest hotel group in the world, and kids are very welcome at their hotels: so much so that they can stay and eat for free.
Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront
It’s a rainy, January evening, and we’re grateful that the hotel car park is underneath the building. From there, a lift whizzes us up to the bright and welcoming hotel lobby. The interior of the hotel has just been refurbished, and the lobby looks fresh and stylish. At its centre there are different sized armchairs, low tables and a huge mirror leaning up against some open shelves displaying a quirky collection of objects.
To one side of the lobby is an attractive lounge area which serves snacks and meals, and where you’re welcome to hang out, play table football, watch TV or just relax. To the other side of the lobby is the funky Stock Burger Co. restaurant. It all looks very inviting, and I immediately feel relaxed.
There are no other guests around when we arrive and we’re efficiently checked in by the friendly receptionist. He gives each of us a room card. I pick up a free newspaper from the pile in the lobby and we take the lift straight up to our room. We’re staying in number 408, an Executive Room facing the sea, although it’s too dark to enjoy the views at the moment.
The room is newly renovated and it feels very spacious, modern and comfortable. It has a king size bed, as well as a double sofa bed which has already been made up for our son to sleep in. At Holiday Inn, kids who are aged 18 years old and under can stay for free if they share a room with their parents.
At the end of the bed there’s a footstool with a couple of folded tartan blankets and a set of binoculars on top. I really like this thoughtful touch, and I look forward to using the binoculars to look out to sea later on.
The bathroom is modern, spacious and well supplied: it even has a set of scales, to my son’s delight. There’s also a power shower above the bath and piles of soft, white towels.
While I take photos of the room, my husband checks out the TV channels (there’s a football match that he’s hoping to watch later) and our never-not-hungry child sets to scouring the place for sustenance. Within seconds he’s located some sticks of Brighton Rock next to a Nespresso machine, a KitKat and some bottles of water in the fridge, and a kettle and some biscuits in the cupboard. He finds the menu for the restaurants, and announces to his father and I that we’ll be eating at the Stock Burger Co. as ‘that has the best food’.
I’m wearing jeans, boots and a jumper and had planned to change for dinner. But my ravenous son, clad in his beloved tracksuit trousers, trainers and a T-Shirt, hasn’t eaten for at least an hour and is harrying us to get to the food. I know that there’s no way that he will change out of his favourite clothes, and that if I get changed he’ll be outraged by the delay. We follow him to the lift.
Stock Burger Co.
The Stock Burger Co. is a gourmet burger restaurant which also serves craft beers. It’s just been renovated and is a cool, modern space. It has a relaxed atmosphere and our outfits are fine – but it’s the kind of place where you could dress up too, if you felt like it. The restaurant isn’t officially open to the public for another few days, so there’s only a handful of hotel guests in there. Opposite us there’s a family with a young baby.
We order our burgers and my husband asks for some nachos to share while we’re waiting. When the dish of nachos arrives, I realise that it contains meat and so I can’t eat it as I’m vegetarian. This is no problem, as I’m sure that my burger will be more than enough for me – and we should have checked about the meat when ordering anyway. But a few minutes later the kind waiter brings me a portion of vegetarian nachos, even though I hadn’t said anything to him. I’m impressed.
My husband and I drink beer with our meal: my Brighton Bier is an award-winning pale ale which is brewed in the city. I haven’t drunk beer for ages, but this one’s very tasty. Our son opts for a peanut milkshake, of all things. This sounds revolting to me, but he wolfs it down and declares it to be delicious. He makes full use of the hotel’s free wifi during our meal, sharing pictures with his friends on his phone. (This is a novelty for him, as we have a strict ‘no phones at the table’ policy at home).
My Portobello mushroom and halloumi burger is very good, and the boys enjoy their Craft Beer Classic burgers and sweet potato fries. We’re all too full up to have dessert. After dinner we stroll across to the lounge on the other side of the lobby. I try to tempt my son to play table football with me there, but he and my husband are keen to go and watch the football on TV. The lounge has a cosy, modern feel with low tables, funky armchairs, a bar area and charging points all over the place.
Back at the room, I wrap one of the blankets around me and go out on to our balcony with the binoculars to see what I can see, but it’s just too dark and too rainy to see anything, and I quickly come back inside. The boys watch the match while I have a coffee and read the local guides which are in the magazine rack on the wall.
Next morning sees us back in the Stock Burger Co. restaurant for breakfast. The same smiley waiter who served us last night shows us to a table and serves my husband and I with coffee, and our son with a splendid hot chocolate topped with whipped cream. We help ourselves to breakfast from the buffet.
All of the usual hotel breakfast options are on offer, from bread and pastries, to fruit and smoothies, to eggs and sausages and more. I opt for fresh fruit salad followed by scrambled egg and mushrooms, and it’s all good.
The restaurant staff are constantly refreshing the breakfast dishes and helping guests. When an older lady appears in the restaurant and asks for a tray, one of the waiters not only holds a tray for her while she loads it up with food, but also, once she’s ready, he follows her out of the restaurant with the tray and, I assume, he carries it to her room for her.
I notice that there are workmen busy doing something in an enclosed area outside the front of the hotel. After breakfast, I ask the friendly woman behind the bar in the lounge what they’re doing. She tells me that the two open terraces are being restored in time for summer. As the hotel’s across the road from the seafront, I’m sure that these will be great spots in which to relax and watch the world go by. The whole of the outside of the hotel is being repainted this year too.
After breakfast we notice that it’s stopped raining, and my husband and I go for a stroll along the seafront. Our son isn’t keen to join us, so he stays in the room doing football things online on his tablet. We cross the road, go down some steps and find a row of quirky shops under the arches of the promenade. There’s also a playground, some cafes and, of course, the pebbly beach. We walk to the hoardings surrounding the i360 construction site.
The British Airways i360 observation tower is scheduled to open later this year. It will be the world’s first vertical cable car, and will take visitors 450 feet up in the air for amazing 360 degree views of the coast. The main part of the tower is already in place, and it looks very high.
Brighton is a bohemian, cosmopolitan city with a long history as a seaside escape for Londoners. It’s home to the UK’s only Green MP and the country’s biggest gay scene and is an all-round cool and splendid place. The Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront is in a great spot, just across the road from the beach, near the atmospheric ruins of West Pier, which was destroyed in 2003, and a few minutes’ walk from thriving Palace Pier, which has been entertaining visitors since it opened in 1899.
I enjoyed staying at the Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront. It’s a welcoming and relaxing place to stay, the staff are friendly and hospitable, and the accommodation is comfortable and well planned. With its kids-go-free deals, I think that the hotel offers excellent value for families. The hotel is in a great location to enjoy the city and the beach,
My husband says: ‘The room was good, it had everything we needed, the staff were very helpful and the hotel is in a great location.’
My son says: ‘I liked everything, especially the stick of rock and the milkshake and sleeping in a big bed.’
An Executive Room at Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront costs from £68.40 per night. Up to two children under the age of 18 can stay for free when they share a room with up to two adults. Children under the age of 13 can have breakfast free of charge, and free lunch and dinner can be taken from the children’s menu when accompanied by at least one adult taking at least one main course from a full-priced table d’hote or à la carte menu. The hotel car park costs £18.00 per 24 hours.
To find out more about Holiday Inn and their family-friendly vibe, check out these posts by some of the other bloggers who are working on the You’re Welcome campaign:
Cathy Winston and her toddler also went to Holiday Inn Brighton
Kirstie Pelling and her teenage kids went to Holiday Inn Liverpool
Jen Howze and her family went to Holiday Inn Camden Lock
Disclosure: I’m working with BritMums and Holiday Inn highlighting its warm family welcome. Holiday Inn is where you and your family can always be yourselves. Visit Holiday Inn for more information.