You’re Welcome at the seaside – Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront
I’ve had enough experience of the great British seaside to know sunshine is not guaranteed. Especially in January. But I had been hoping for bracing wintery walks along the beach rather than torrential bucketing rain on our trip to Brighton.
Instead of walking into our hotel, the Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront, we squelched and dripped our dishevelled way to the unfazed welcoming smiles at Reception. Even Minnie’s wellies, still muddy despite the downpour, didn’t raise an eyebrow.
If the chain’s ‘You’re Welcome’ ethos needed testing any further, Minnie then decided to rearrange all the furniture in the lobby. Despite most of the comfy chairs being several times her size, nothing stands between a three-year-old and her determination to build a mini soft play to clamber on.
Instead of frosty stares and disapproving looks, the staff were happily admiring her perseverance in the face of large armchairs and unexpected flair for interior design/furniture fortress building.
There’s nothing worse than a ‘family-friendly’ hotel where children are tolerated at best, feeling constantly on edge in case my enthusiastic three-year-old is too loud, too boisterous, too childlike for either staff or guests.
But here I really could relax (although I did have to prevent her from appropriating the wooden elephant sculpture from the shelves nearby). Muddy feet, sticky fingers, messy eaters, tired parents and stroppy teenagers are all welcome, which is fortunate as we ticked off four of those five in our one-night stay.
When we headed down to dinner – spaghetti bolognaise for her, a gigantic burger for me – a remote control appeared out of nowhere so she could watch CBeebies on the nearest restaurant TV screen while she ate. Even better, kids’ meals (and stay) are free for under 13s, which somehow meant she ended up with free chips as a bonus.
And while I loved the hotel’s location right on the seafront (right next to Brighton’s new i360 viewing tower opening this summer) within walking distance of the Pavilion and Sea Life Centre, it was the little touches which really made the difference.
In our room, the artwork over the bed matched our view from the window to the old West Pier. Thoughtfully, they had provided binoculars for a better look and blankets if we did fancy heading out onto the balcony – someone else with experience of the seaside in winter.
Staying in an Executive room, there was a Nespresso machine for my morning fix, a free KitKat in the minibar, plus hot chocolate to warm us up after our wind and rainswept experiences outdoors. And a room big enough that there was plenty of space even with Minnie’s double sofa bed folded out, even if she ended up making her way into my king size one before the morning.
Snuggled up together listening to the waves outside, and realising the rain had finally (if temporarily) stopped. And tempting though it was to stay there under the duvet, there was a bacon sandwich with my name on, a promenade to promenade along, and Brighton on our doorstep to explore.
Kirstie Pelling and her kids stayed at Holiday Inn Liverpool
Jen Howze and her family went to Holiday Inn Camden Lock
Disclosure: I’m working with BritMums and Holiday Inn highlighting its warm family welcome. Holiday Inn is where you and your family can always be yourselves. Visit Holiday Inn for more information.
Images copyright MummyTravels