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REVIEWS


Classic twin room


MERCURE BRIGHTON SEAFRONT HOTEL Brighton


Enjoy a drink on the terrace


THE GRADE II-LISTED, FOUR-STAR Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel has just been refurbished, and its quirky transformation helps it stand out from the crowd. By Matthew Parsons


WHAT’S IT LIKE From the outside, the hotel looks like your normal grand Victorian dame that’s typical of Brighton, with classic period features, including a stucco exterior. But looks can be deceiving as the hotel is more “boutique” on the inside. Past the bold blue pillars, the reception area is decorated in vivid colours and leads to a funky bar. Quirky framed paintings by local artists fill the green and orange walls, and there are comfy velvet chairs


CONRAD OSAKA Osaka, Japan


OCCUPYING THE TOP EIGHT FLOORS of the Nakanoshima Festival Tower West, the Conrad Osaka has an enviable riverside location in Kita Ward – essentially a huge business district – looking across to mountains in the distance. It’s in the Cultural Quarter, close to museums and galleries. By Anthea Gerrie


WHAT’S IT LIKE? “Dressed to impress” was the overwhelming feeling as I entered the 40th floor lobby with its vast panoramic windows showcasing the cityscape. It was flanked by a pair of towering anthropomorphic sculptures – the most visible of 389 artworks throughout the hotel. The Conrad Osaka has also woven


in a playful theme, from the teddy-bear keyrings issued to guests at check-in to the translucent plastic ducks sitting on every bed. The warm greeting begins at


street level, where a doorman deals with baggage, and after ascending an express lift to check-in, guests are escorted down a richly panelled corridor to a bank of private lifts serving rooms on seven floors below. An Executive Lounge on the 39th floor offers breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails with hors d’oeuvres, all with a thrilling, wraparound skyline view.


buyingbusinesstravel.com At lobby level


Atmos Restaurant offers a sumptuous east-meets-west breakfast and all-day dining. C: Grill specialises in seafood, and Kura serves teppanyaki grills and sushi around horseshoe-shaped counters. The 40 Sky Bar & Lounge, featuring live music, is screened from the reception area by a spectacular translucent curtain designed by light artist Takahiro Matsuo. There’s also a full-service spa with four treatment rooms, a Techno Gym and 20-metre indoor pool with spa baths and saunas. ROOMS The Conrad offers 164 rooms in total (standard rooms are 50 sqm); 36 rooms are a third larger in size, and a dozen of these feature corner views from wraparound windows, some with a bathtub with skyline view.


and sofas dotted around. However, the dining areas did not have the same eclectic atmosphere; I ate my excellent chargrilled tuna steak in a fairly beige room facing a car park, and seafront beyond that. Breakfast the following morning was served in what appeared to be a large conference room, but the quality of food was great. ROOMS There are 116 rooms in all. My large Privilege Room overlooked the sea, and really had the wow factor. The


bedroom featured an HD TV, Nespresso machine, robe and slippers. Wifi was also included. In the bathroom there was a large, walk-in shower with chequered black and white tiling. The modern, bright halo light built into the mirror was a nice touch. BUSINESS I was in Brighton for the ITM Conference, which was being held at the Hilton Metropole a few minutes’ walk along the seafront. The Hilton admittedly has larger spaces, but the Mercure offers a good range of events packages and a total of six meeting rooms, accommodating up to 180 in the largest, and overall a much more


intimate atmosphere. The Mercure’s Coast View Suite can also be used for private events. The hotel currently offers MICE deals, including a free booking for every tenth delegate. VERDICT Bright, bold and boutique, it isn’t what you’d expect from a typical Mercure. The quirky refurbishment – overseen by local interior designer Helen Hooper – marries well with the enviable seafront location. Because of the hotel’s Grade II-listed status, there may have been limitations on how far the transformation could have gone, but Accor is offering a great affordable proposition with this property.


Spacious five-star rooms


Every amenity is here from electric


curtain controls on the bedside console to a large desk with plug adaptors and USB sockets, a 49-inch plasma TV, Bluetooth speakers and top-tier tea and coffee-making paraphernalia. BUSINESS The hotel has two ballrooms which can cater to up to 180 guests, a meeting room to accommodate up to 80 and a boardroom for up to 12. VERDICT There’s a sense of spaciousness throughout the hotel. Staff provide excellent service and the views would provide a spectacular backdrop to any business meeting. Conrad Osaka will suit most business travellers.


2019 JULY/AUGUST 91


HOTEL


HOTEL


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