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Grand designs – why 2019 is the right time to revisit a Brighton icon

One of the most famous hotels in the country, The Grand Brighton is now looking a lot perkier thanks to a much-needed facelift.

The hotel has just unveiled its newly restored façade following a multi-million pound investment project on its 154-year old exterior, with new windows installed and its striking balconies restored.

And while you might think you know the Grand, chances are you need a reminder. From the moment you enter, the whole hotel is bustling and vibrant, with bright and attentive staff neatly turned out in bespoke uniforms by local designers Gresham Blake, while the sweeping grandeur of the main lobby never fails to impress.

The hotel’s progressive ethos and contemporary take on hospitality mean it continues to be a leading light in both the Brighton and national meetings markets. Its myriad event options include the stunning 900-capacity Empress Suite, while delegates will also love dining at GB1 and the signature cocktails and sea views of the Victoria Bar and Terrace.

GM Andrew Mosley says: “The Grand is one of Brighton’s most treasured icons with a well-known and storied history and it’s brilliant to celebrate our incredible hotel that is truly ‘like no other’ with a refreshed look and well-deserved accolade for the team.”

“Welcoming boutique feel”

A few doors down, the Mercure Brighton has just undergone a full £3.5 million renovation. Its chic new bedrooms and new carpets throughout accompany its six meeting rooms for up to 180, with the elegant Regency ballroom the pick of the spaces.

Also on the seafront, the 49-room Hotel du Vin’s welcoming boutique feel has made it a firm favourite in the city. Its five individual meeting rooms are full of charm, especially the Dome with its high ceilings and masses of natural light – making it an inspiring choice for a wide range of events.

The hotel bar has been host to countless legendary Brighton nights, while the restaurant dishes out delicious bistro food with verve and sophistication.

Brighton & Hove Albion’s Amex stadium, nestled opposite the University of Sussex in the South Downs National Park, has fast become a favourite for events since opening in 2011. The venue delivers everything from private meetings in executive boxes to large-scale conferences in the 800-capacity Mayo Wynne Baxter Lounge, with its vaulted ceiling and double-aspect view over the pitch. The close proximity to the A27 and A23, 600 free car parking spaces and onsite train station make for outstanding access.

Buyer’s eye

Emma Kennard, operations manager, venuepot

“A must see in Brighton is The Grand Brighton – a four-star renaissance-style hotel minutes from Brighton Pier, which is presented with high quality furnishings, a luxurious spa and meetings and event spaces for up to 900 guests.

“Also, the Brighton British Airways i360 is a 162 metre observation tower on the seafront. It’s perfect if you are looking to plan an out-of-the-ordinary summer event, Christmas party or client meeting, with event spaces catering for any event style.”

Case study

Association of Event Organisers conference, The Grand Brighton, September 2018

AEO Conference 2018

AEO Conference 2018

The AEO conference returned to Brighton in September 2018 covering the theme Technology – Artificial or Reality?

The Grand Brighton hosted 231 attendees, an overall increase in delegates of 13 per cent and 31 per cent more organisers than 2017, delivering sessions that focused on how technology can transform events for both event professionals and their customers.

AEO event manager Sarah Scott says: “We go to Brighton every other year, it’s become our home. It’s great to escape London and the fresh air can help you think a bit better. It’s like a mini-break.

“The Grand is gorgeous. It’s a premium historic venue, which is important for our attendees; they like good experiences. It’s the history and the prestige of it.

“On the first night we went for drinks and a dinner just across the road at The Salt Room, the restaurant in the Hilton. It’s a great location, lovely staff, really amenable.

“We also did an offsite treasure hunt around the city centre using iPads, people got exposure to Brighton which is great, it’s a really cool city. It was also very sunny, the weather in Brighton is quite reliable.

“Getting in and out of Brighton isn’t always the easiest, but it’s definitely worth it when you get there.

View from the bureau

Julia Gallagher, head of sales, partnership and marketing, VisitBrighton

“Brighton & Hove has launched a new Visitor Economy Strategy 2018 – 2023. The strategy recognises the benefit all visitors bring to the city, but places particular emphasis on business tourism, recognising the opportunity hosting business events gives us to both showcase local talent and cutting-edge research and to enhance Brighton & Hove’s position in the marketplace nationally and internationally.

“The association sector, in which we have a wealth of experience in delivering first-class events, remains a key focus for us a destination, and we will be looking to grow this area over the coming years, placing particular emphasis on our sector strengths.”