I do love a weekend away, even if it’s just for a night, and Mr J and I managed to sneak off for a couple of days and night in Brighton just before Christmas which was lovely.
We drove down on the Sunday morning as we were combining the trip with the Naked Wines Christmas Tour (more about that another time) and arrived in Brighton just before lunch.
We stayed in the Artist Residence in Regency Square which was really convenient for parking as there’s a secure underground car park in the square itself.
The Artist Residence is my kind of hotel, small and quirky and it’s got a great story. Owner Justin Salisbury started running the family guesthouse in 2008 at the age of 20 (with the help of his girlfriend Charlie, now wife) when his mother, who ran the guesthouse, was hit by a bus and seriously injured (thankfully, she made a good recovery).
The guesthouse didn’t stand out in Brighton and needed some low-cost renovation, so he invited local artists to decorate rooms in exchange for a stay. Guests loved the resulting bohemian atmosphere and Justin and Charlie extended into the house next door. They now have hotels in Cornwall, London, and Oxford.
When we stayed there were still twelve of the bedrooms designed by the original artists; others are by new talent brought in during a recent refresh and there’s now a mix of Arty and House rooms. We stayed in the Comfy Balcony sea view room which was Light and airy with a floor-to-ceiling window leading out onto a balcony with great sea-views. This room features original décor by local artist Fox Fisher, “The Pharmacy of Dreams”, and a nice comfy king bed.
And this is what Fox has to say about the inspiration for the room:
“The Pharmacy of Dreams room is all about having access to a range of tonics and tinctures which can cure all ails. It’s based a bit on the Victorian cure-all medicines, but taken to the next level. What if you could have love in a can? When you swig from a bottle of luck, what amazing things can happen for you?”
I have to say it is a lovely room.
After we’d checked into the hotel we were a bit peckish and as we were off to an afternoon of wine tasting thought we should get a bit of lunch and what better than fish and chips on the beach. I don’t think you can possibly go to the seaside and not eat fish and chips on the beach, so that’s what we did.
We spent an afternoon tasting wine and then popped back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner; and I might have had a quick nap!
The hotel has a cocktail bar in the basement called “The Curious Mr Hanbury” so we had a couple of pre-dinner cocktails before heading out to dinner at The Salt room. The cocktails are concocted around the travels of Mr Hanbury, and are constantly changing but very good. I’m not quite sure why there was a Donald Trump cocktail, but it tasted very nice, even if his picture was a little off putting!
Dinner was at The Salt Room which looks out over the Brighton shingle beach and has a buzzy lively atmosphere without being overly noisy; and as it was a Sunday evening it was probably quieter than usual. Mr J and I shared some oysters to start with which were fresh and ozonie, our starters were scallops and crab, followed by monkfish and hake. The menu is fresh and inventive with the scallops paired with tandoori carrots, chestnut dukka, pomegranate and my skate wing with white bean velouté, bacon, orange, chicory, oats. The starters we wonderful, full of flavour, the fish was cooked to perfection, but I was just a little disappointed with the sides, the Baby Gem was a bit watery for my liking.
We drank a bottle of Muscadet de Sèvre Et Maine Sur Lie, ‘La Griffe’ with our meal, the wine had a nice weight and was fresh and zingy with lime and grapefruit zest, a touch of sea salt and a hint of yeast.
Too full for dessert we finished the meal with a double expresso and wandered back to our hotel which was just a short stroll away.
Sunday morning, we woke bright and early as the winter sun streamed through the window, we were very lucky with the weather. We had leisurely breakfast in the dining room of the hotel, it’s always a treat to have breakfast cooked for you. We both went for the Mini full English with fried egg, crispy bacon, pork sausage, mushrooms, roasted vine tomatoes and toast and fresh brewed coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. I always judge a hotel on it’s breakfast and the Artist Residence didn’t disappoint.
After we checked out of the hotel we threw our bags in the car and decided to stroll around Brighton for a couple of hours to finish of some pre-Christmas shopping before heading home.
It was a bright and breezy morning with plenty of Winter sunshine, so we meandered our way down the seafront checking out the small craft shops on the beach and then headed for The Lanes. The Lanes are a collection of narrow streets and twittens (apparently, they’re narrow paths) which form part of the Old Town. Most of the buildings now appear to date from the 18th or 19th centuries. However, the combination of narrow streets, the height of the buildings and the materials used give it the atmosphere of a medieval town.
There’s a great collection of small independent shops and cafes which are perfect for wandering around. I bought a few small presents for G and the boys and of course we stopped for tea and cake.
Mr J had some work to finish off in the afternoon, so we grabbed a sandwich and jumped in the car for the journey home.
Our little break was less than 36 hours, but we managed to fit quite a bit in and had a very pleasant time; and it’s just nice to occasionally make time for ourselves.