Artist Residence Brighton
Trendy, $$ (from $180)
When Justin Salisbury left university to help his grandmother run the family B&B, a modest operation in a townhouse on Brighton’s elegant Regency Square, he invited artists to decorate the guest rooms in exchange for overnight stays, an economical approach to renovation. The result: Artist Residence Brighton, and with it, the start of England’s quirkiest hotel mini-chain, which currently has locations in London, Cornwall, and Oxfordshire, among others. The first-born is just as delightful as the others, with individually designed rooms brimming with original art and bohemian creature comforts like Roberts radios, oversized clawfoot tubs, and charming, vintage beds. The hotel also gets points for its notable-for-Brighton seasonal British restaurant and its prime location overlooking the water, just enough removed from the boardwalk crowds. For the free spirit on holiday break, it’s a seaside escape like no other.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Wonderfully bohemian. This is the kind of place you’d want to run away to with a lover (or, in the quieter months, a typewriter and an idea for a novel) and never leave.
Standout Detail: The whimsically designed rooms, hands down. Some come with balconies that afford views of the water, but those without lack nothing for eye candy.
This Place Is Perfect For: Hip couples in search of a romantic bolthole, small groups looking for good fun by the sea. Families take note: This place can get clubby during the summer high season.
Rooms: 24 unique rooms are split in two categories: Twelve were individually designed by local and international artists and feature a bevy of original works; the other dozen were the work of husband-and-wife team Justin and Charlotte Salisbury, who handpicked the art on the walls and repurposed furnishings sourced from local salvage yards in interesting ways. Every room carries its fair share of surprises, but expect retro touches like Smeg mini-fridges, velvet armchairs, exposed brick, and industrial floor lights.
On Site: Apart from free WiFi and ping pong in the basement, there’s not much in the way of amenities. Still, that doesn’t mean you won’t want to hole up here on a rainy day.
Food + Drink: The Set rocks a refined yet varied menu of seasonal (and well presented) dishes like parsnip with burnt apple, vadouvan chickpeas, and last summer’s rose hip; beef risotto with ox cheek and cured ox heart; local crown of pheasant with Jerusalem artichoke tart and hay mayonnaise. (That's one English-sounding menu.) The industrial-chic restaurant also serves breakfast and has a sea-facing bar. The Fix, the cocktail bar adjacent, pours seasonal creations from a corrugated iron bar fashioned with wood reclaimed from Brighton’s West Pier.
What to Do Nearby
The hotel is located at the top of Regency Square and overlooks the ocean, the city’s iconic (and dilapidated) West Pier, and the tourist attraction that is British Airways i360 observation tower. Needless to say, the hotel is close to the beach and all the boardwalk attractions, as well as great food and drink. Start the day with fresh bread and excellent coffee at The Flour Pot Bakery, stop into Silo, which claims to be the country’s first zero-waste restaurant, for a locally sourced and foraged lunch, grab a fresh fish meal at The Little Fish Market, and end the night with a cocktail at The Urchin.