Muddy stays: Drakes of Brighton
Your go-to hotel to get the romance on, for a girly weekend or just to hang out in Brighton, the most eclectic city in the UK with its array of gorgeous eats, quirky cultural offerings, seaside activities and nightlife.
Take two glorious Georgian townhouses, transform into one beautiful boutique, add unpretentious style plus a lovely team who make you feel like it’s their mission in life to spoil you, and top with a sea view that can’t fail to take your breath away. Annnd you’ve come home to Drakes.
A sea-facing boutique, named because of the warm, homely connotations the owner wanted guests to feel. It’s certainly homely, but with all the little luxuries on top that let’s you know you’re definitely on a break. The location couldn’t be better to enjoy all Brighton has to offer, but it’s still slightly set away from the central bustle. It’s renowned as the chosen Brighton pitstop for Kylie, Kate, Sadie, Patsy and co – who are we to contest?
First and foremost Drakes is built for romance baby, but it’s also perfect if you’re in town for work, fancy a girly retail weekend in the Lanes or just need solo stay. If you can drag yourself out of bed (by no means guaranteed) it’s ideally situated for an early jog on the promenade or sea swim to start the day.
It’s also a design-led haven, with a welcoming reception and bar area and stunning Georgian staircase, Art Deco vibes, lots of nods to Japanese artwork and giant mirrored coves as you go on up to your room.
Be aware there’s no lift in the hotel so be prepared for a glute workout during your stay. After rooms are cleaned (and fogging machines have done their ghost buster style thang) – no one except new guests can enter the room. Hand sanitiser stations are at each entry point throughout hotel.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
Amarillo restaurant opened its doors a fortnight ago, under the Michelin starred, AA rosetted Ian Swainson, previously of The Pass at South Lodge.
Think elegant cellar restaurant vibes – non ostentatious fine dining in a relaxed casual setting. The team were welcoming and attentive throughout. Ian is an incredibly calm and accommodating Head Chef, and kindly talked us through each plate. The menu is set and mimics tapas dining, so expect small plates to choose from – equal parts fish, meat and plant based. Top tip: ask for their signature gin cocktail as an aperitif.
If you love your food with a passion, there will be no room for disappointment. Each plate packed a serious flavour punch and Ian creates them with seasonal choices in mind or because they just work, in those ways you’d never imagine as a layman.
If forced to choose a top three, we’d go for the mushroom and truffle French toast, followed by the aged goosnargh duck breast, finished with the black sesame ice cream on pistachio sponge and salted chocolate crumb. The raw salmon belly with avocado and Sriracha mayonnaise pincho also gets an honourable mention. Drinks-wise, ask for the chefs recommendation from the wine list and relinquish that pressure from your shoulders.
Light pours in through the enormous floor to ceiling Georgian sash windows as you enter your room – on a clear sky, the view is simply stunning. (Did we mention to be sure you book your sea facing room?) A glorious roll top freestanding bath takes pride of place in the window.
Little touches make you feel instantly spoiled – who doesn’t approve of rose petals on their roll top bath and scattered all over the bed. With White Co toiletries, robes and slippers to boot. All that’s missing to settle in is a glass of cold pink. Oh wait, Manager Richard is more than happy to help.
Beds are inviting, with frankly sumptuous bedding that make you want to dive straight in. We also loved the rustic basket tucked under bed for overnight belongings, if you are like me and hate seeing your debris cluttering a beautifully curated room.
Everything was super spotless and clean with a stylish, modern walk in rain shower/wet room and LED lights to boot.
It would have been rude not to relax in the tub with a glass of Sussex fizz whilst watching the people drift by, on the promenade below. Alternatively, order from their cocktail list, stick the tunes on and up the ante for a night out. When in Brighton…
The breakfast menu featured the usual full English alongside brunch-style dishes like avocado and poached eggs, eggs Benedict and even Nutella pancakes.
OUT & ABOUT
You’re spoiled for choice with this amazing seaside location, close to all the razzmatazz Brighton has to offer from indie shopping heaven at The Lanes to the seafront and all its attractions.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Couples looking to ‘remember their vibe when they had no responsibilities’ or catching up with the girls over cocktails. An ideal base for exploring Brighton whether you’re local or coming from further afield.
Not for: Families, kids, your pooch or relatives who’d find the stairs too much. Although they can accommodate children if necessary, in Muddy’s opinion though, this one is for adult-only fun.
The damage: Amarillo’s – small tasting plates range from £4.50 – £9 or £13.50 – £18. (Bookings open for Tues – Sat evening: 18:00 – 21:30)
Rooms from £120-360. Limited parking for 12, first come first served.
Drakes Hotel & Amarillo Restaurant, 43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton, BN2 1PE
tel. 01273 696934
Words: Sally Ashby