My home for four years, I know how incredibly hard it is to find a great location in Brighton. House-hunting for a great home close to the centre of town, the beach, and the nightlife gave us headaches, and no one I knew ever lived closer than a half hour walk from the seafront.
Somehow, however, YHA Brighton have managed to snap up the best location in town, especially for a backpacker’s hostel. As you all know, my main topic of interest in hostels is the atmosphere, but as I’ve skipped straight past that and started with the location then that’s a pretty good sign of how incredible it really is.
Positioned directly opposite Brighton Pier, and probably 20 steps from the beach, YHA Brighton will be able to offer direct access to Brighton’s infamous seafront lifestyle, complete with deck-chairs, clubs under the arches, and The Lanes shopping district.
Once home to the four-star hotel, The Royal York Hotel, the elegant building was originally constructed in 1819, eight years after the creation of the stunning Royal Brighton Pavilion and one year before the Prince Regent became King George IV. Despite a brief period over the last 200 years, when the building was used as offices or merely abandoned, it has always functioned as a boutique hotel, an influence which the YHA tastefully retained in their renovation. The wallpaper in each room, for example, is wonderfully garish and bold, everything really that wallpaper should be when reflecting Brighton’s glorious Regency period.
For the YHA, school groups visiting their locations appear to account for the majority of their business, yet the hostel is set up with dormitories and private rooms to suit all sorts of travellers, solo or groups. What’s more, the dorm rooms at YHA Brighton never exceed six beds (no matter what the size of the room), all have en-suite bathrooms, and beds start as low as £14.50, which I think is great value for a city known as ‘London by the Sea’.
It was also great to see the thought that had gone into the bespoke bunk-beds, which are all equipped with personal lamps and plugs.
If you’re looking for even more luxury, perhaps for a weekend away rather than a budget trip, their private rooms start from as little as £25 and are HUGE. Seriously. With big double beds and even a wardrobe and desk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hostel room with a wardrobe…
So now I’ve lusted (& I’m sure you have too) over the well-equipped bunk beds, sexy wallpaper, and huge double beds, how about the common areas? Most importantly, these are the areas in which solo travellers mingle and find friends to hang out with in the city, so it’s always important that they are laid out in a way that encourages socialisation.
The difficulty I’ve had with YHA is trying to figure out if their work with so many school groups could hamper individual travellers getting to know each other, but with a self-catered kitchen only for individuals and small groups, a bar area (which I’m guessing the kids won’t be hanging out at), and more than enough seating areas I think the common areas at YHA Brighton have been really well designed.
I’ve mentioned the self-catered kitchen (fully equipped with utensils, cutlery, fridges, and ovens) but there is also a restaurant area open from 7 am to 9 pm (breakfast 7am-10am).
My favourite part of the design is the way in which local artists have been invited to display their artwork, something that is so terribly bohemian and so very Brighton.
Click to enlarge…
Edit: Since publishing this review, YHA has announced that they now offer free wifi to all guests in all of their hostels across the country! Woop woop!
— YHA England & Wales (@YHAOfficial) December 5, 2014
The conversion of this historic building in YHA Brighton has been done with so much style and luxury, but still offers a great price for budget travellers and is definitely a place I’d love to stay in!
Lots of love,
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