Fab Guest is, as the name would suggest, fabulous. This little boutique hotel burst onto Brighton’s hotel scene in 2013 and has surpassed many of the town’s staple accommodations as the place to rest your head on a weekender by the sea. The mother-daughter duo who own the coolest hotel in Kemptown have created something truly spectacular from what was little more than a rundown, almost derelict B&B. Brighton’s encouraging and arty community offered them the support to bring a London-style hotel to a Georgian-terrace lined street in Brighton.
The 14-bedroom town house is a riot of colourful print walls, bespoke art pieces and general wackiness – the best kind, of course. It’s an ideal spot for independent spirits in search of style, inspiration and the perfect blend between old-fashioned and contemporary. Old, wooden window shutters open onto wrought iron balconies, while the age-old staircase winds up through the five-story building from the garden. These original features sit among some of the most stylish décor we’ve ever encountered.
Bold colours are a hallmark at Fab Guest, while commissioned art pieces, such as a zany banana and bird print wall, adorn the rooms and living area. On an inaugural trip to Brighton, we stayed at Fab Guest and were offered the eclectic experience that everyone should be privy to when visiting Britain’s liveliest seaside town for the first time.
A warm day in May and we arrived on the sun-drenched street where Fab Guest is housed. Having received a text with our passcode, instead of a key and check-in service, we knew that this was going to be a totally different hotel experience. Letting ourselves in, we climbed the narrow, winding staircase to Fab Room, the hotel’s premium suite. On the other side of the black door marked with a large wooden ‘F’ lay a plethora of wonders, not typical of British hotel design. A standalone bath takes centre stage in the Fab Room, with a neon sign that reads ‘Caution Hot Water’ above. If you’re not one for spotlighted bathing, then there’s a green-tiled wet room in the en-suite.
The aforementioned banana and bird print mural by local artist, Danny Sangra gives the room a Hitchcockian feel and accents the other bold oddities that comprise the décor of Fab Guest’s most sought after dwelling.
Either side of the bed hangs wireframe lights that have been made to look like birdcages, reflecting in the large bedside antique mirror. The bird’s match the bold pink paint on the walls, of course. The bed stands against a headboard-artwork hybrid created by local woodworker and artist, Anthony Burrell, which reads, ‘We are here – it is now.’ A mirrored mosaic mannequin stands in the corner, as if about to plie over the banana print sofa. The room still has its original period windows, opening onto the street in front, with gorgeous views of the sea to the west.
The room is kitted with all the amenities one could want for a passionate in-room weekend or flying business visit, including a mini bar, snacks, LED mood lighting, TV, book and magazine collection, and sound system. It’s the ideal place for a romantic getaway as the outlandish interiors and little extras you may find (like venetian masks) are bound to inject a little fun and sparkle back into your relationship.
Perhaps the quirkiest feature in the hotel, or at least the one that we loved the most, was the ‘Honesty Bar’; a minibar set up in the living area where you record your tipples in a book and pay later… if you’re honest. This is also where you’ll have breakfast if you decided not to order breakfast in bed (who would do that?); a continental spread is laid out for guests who can enjoy it from the comfort of an old-style cinema seat. As the living area is relatively small, guests are asked to put their name down for a breakfast timeslot to avoid disappointment.
Next door is Metro Deco, a 1930’s style café famed for its high-tea and cocktails, serving up a sumptuous taste of a bygone era, as well as your complimentary breakfast in bed at Fab Guest if you’re staying in the Fab Room, or if you’ve requested it. Like the rest of the hotel, the in-room breakfast offering is relaxed. Choose from salmon bagels or bacon butties, or if you’re feeling fancy, just pop out to the corner to the source of the grub.
The hotel is also conveniently located around the corner from the famous Brighton Pier and Brighton Flea Market; two must-visit spots when staying in the town.
The remainder of the rooms vary in size and no two are the same, with many of the artworks featured having been commissioned by Laetitia and Monique Beatty, the hotel owners. Laetitia was once a property developer caught up in regimental London life, before escaping to Brighton to set up her own business. Like many Londoners, Brighton offers a liberating sanctuary, one which many decide not to leave. Having bought the rundown B&B once housed in Fab Guest’s shell in 2012, Laetitia called in her daughter Monique and the two blended their love of contemporary design and vintage panache to fashion a truly unmatched boutique hotel in the heart of Britain’s most colourful town. The project took a year to complete, in which time they worked with interior designer and curator, Niki Best to assuage the vision.
Although short, our stay at Fab Guest was superb. The stress-free atmosphere and no-fuss service meant that we could relax and enjoy the property. Sometimes over-attentive service can spoil a hotel stay, but the way in which Monique and Laetitia run Fab Guest allows guests to feel welcome and at home. Always in the background if you need them, but not trying to breathe down your neck. They are model hosts.
Fab Guest is the epitome of what Brighton has to offer; a liberating, inspirational and chilled environment where you’re welcomed to just be, with no expectations or false realities. It offers everything that a London-based boutique hotel offers, but with sea-views and slashed prices. We cannot recommend it enough!
For more information visit www.fabguest.co.uk
Fab Guest, 9 Charlotte Street Brighton
Room prices start at £59 per night. High season is March – September, meaning booking in advance is advised.