Mention les Deux Messieurs on booking and receive complimentary champagne on arrival and a room upgrade subject to availability!
Location: The seaside ‘city’ of Brighton, East Sussex
Perfect for: Sea, sand, good food, and plenty of fun
Sometimes called London by the sea, Brighton’s a favourite amongst media types and urban-bohemians. Wander the Lanes for some great independent shops, artisan eateries and boutiques; soak up the culture in its galleries and gasp in wonder at Brighton’s Pavilion – an amazing feat of architecture, and indulge, if you will, in the vibrant gay scene and beach life. If you’re wanting somewhere to stay with great cocktails and seafood, go for the Harbour Hotel which was voted the Sunday Times Seaside Hotel of the Year 2016.
Need a restaurant? View local recommendations
“Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…” hums Msr 2 as we stroll along the promenade in Brighton. We’re overdue a visit to our friends Les Deux Mesdemoiselles and have decided to make a mini-break of it with dinner, bed and breakfast at the newly-opened, seafront Harbour Hotel, which we’re reviewing during its soft opening.
“Hello gentlemen!” the receptionist says with a warmth to match the bright art adorning the small lobby. “You’re in a seaview corner suite!” We’re delighted.
“Look at that bath!” we cry, our eyes drawn to the huge free-standing tub between the bed and raised lounge area. “And those chairs!” says my aesthete other half, admiring a brace of elegant modern loungers, angled to look out to sea.
“Sherry, dear?” I ask, spying a complimentary decanter of it. “Rude not to!” Monsieur 2 replies. Tumblers in hand we take a look round, seeking out the little details we love; there’s a Nespresso machine and well-stocked mini-bar, but apart from the complimentary sherry and gin – there’s little that we’d call luxurious.
After a relaxing tipple overlooking the beach, we start getting ready to meet the Medemoiselles for drinks, and head out.
Back from drinks with the Medemoiselles, we decide we’ve got to try out that tub. “I’m afraid the water’s no more than tepid,” says Monsieur 2 while running the taps, “so we won’t be able to bathe!”
“I’ll phone maintenance!” I say, sensing his disappointment. But to my astonishment, there’s no phone, just a piece of paper giving the switchboard number to call on our own phone. “No answer!” my beloved huffs after two attempts. “Come on,” I console, “let’s drown our sorrows.”
Snugly settled in the hotel’s cosy Harbar, we sip on truly excellent cocktails. “This smoked salt negroni is a rare improvement on the original!” I say. “And my espresso Martini is a textbook example of a classic” retorts Monsieur 2 approvingly.
Cocktails quaffed, we head through to The Jetty restaurant where we are welcomed warmly and shown to a lovely corner banquette. The menu majors on fish and seafood but there are plentiful meat and vegetarian choices.
There’s a ‘Whilst You Wait’ selection of snacks, too; “The soft-shell crab sounds delicious, we’ll have that,” Monsieur 2 says to the waiter. Sadly we don’t get to find out if it tastes delicious too – our starters arrive without the crab making an appearance.
My Jetty sashimi is tasty and perfectly fresh but perhaps sliced rather too thinly. There’s nothing to fault about Monsieur 2’s fat crab croquettes though; they’re a crunchy outside, unctuous inside, treat!
A fish mixed grill main is a generous selection including mackerel, skate, prawns, mussels and clams; it’s impressive but the cooking is uneven, with some of the fish being overdone. Monsieur 2 wins again; his fat fillet steak with fries and roasted tomatoes is pretty much perfect.
Desserts win us over; what’s not to love about peanut butter parfait and espresso Martini sabayon?
Replete and a little tipsy we head up to bed. “Comfy!” I sigh contentedly as we slip under the covers. The unintelligible, happy noise my loved one makes suggests he agrees.
After taking turns in the wonderful rainfall shower – making full use of The White Company toiletries – it’s time for breakfast, and we’ve invited the Mesdemoiselles to join us!
“Morning darlings!” cry Mademoiselle 1 and glowingly-pregnant Mademoiselle 2. “Thanks for inviting us!”
For breakfast, there’s a cold buffet of cereals, pastries, meat and cheese to choose from, but we keep it simple and all order variations on a full English. Nothing too fussy; the Mesdemoiselles are vegetarian and being pregnant, Mlle 2 needs her fried eggs cooked right through.
After quite a wait, the breakfasts arrive, and with one exception none of them is quite right. Monsieur 2’s got Mlle 2’s eggs, while she’s been given Mlle 1’s. “I’ll swap them over,” our waiter says – but one plate’s had meat on it so that won’t do! Mlle 2’s brought a fresh breakfast…with runny eggs. She gives up and eats the whites.
“I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay?” the friendly duty manager enquires sincerely as we check out. I say that we have but it’s only fair to point out the faulty bath, the lack of a phone in the room (and no-one answering when we rang the number given), and the slightly chaotic service in the restaurant.
“But,” I add, as always wanting to focus on the positive, “we’d happily stay again. The room’s beautiful, the location’s great, it’s fantastic value and the bar and restaurant are fun. And we really do like to be beside the seaside!”
Les Deux Messieurs visited Harbour Hotel Brighton during its soft launch.
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