Grand Brighton Hotel
|The Grand Brighton|
The Grand Brighton, from the southwest
|Location||Brighton, United Kingdom|
|Address||97 Kings Road, Brighton and Hove|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||John Whichcord Jr.|
The Grand Hotel was designed by architect John Whichcord Jr., and built in 1864 on the site occupied previously by a battery house. It was built for members of the upper classes visiting Brighton and Hove and remains one of the most expensive hotels in the city. Among its advanced engineering features at the time was the "Vertical Omnibus", a hydraulically powered lift powered by cisterns in the roof. This was the first lift built in the United Kingdom outside London, at a time when only two others had been installed. The building itself is an example of Italian influence in Victorian architecture.
The hotel was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the early morning of 12 October 1984, in an attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party conference. The bomb exploded at 2:51am 12 October. It had been hidden three weeks earlier behind the bath panel of room 629 (currently 621).
Thatcher survived the bombing, but five other people died in the attack, including Roberta Wakeham, wife of the government's Chief Whip John Wakeham, and the Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry. Norman Tebbit, a member of the Cabinet, was injured, along with his wife Margaret, who was left paralysed. Thatcher insisted that the conference open on time the next day and made her speech as planned in defiance of the bombers, a gesture which won widespread approval across the political spectrum.
The hotel was re-opened on 28 August 1986. The re-inauguration was attended by Thatcher who spoke at a reception to celebrate the reopening. Tebbit accompanied her during the reopening. Concorde flew low from the south to salute the opening.
The hotel belonged to the De Vere Group beginning in the 1990s. De Vere Hotels undertook a multi-million pound refurbishment of The Grand which was completed in 2013. The new spa opened on 10 May 2013.
The refurbishment programme included GB1; a fish restaurant which opened on 6 February 2013, deluxe sea facing bedrooms and The Spa at The Grand. A range of ESPA, Carita, Lycon, Jessica and Geleration treatments are available to book with the Spa packages.
On 15 October 2011 the Grand Hotel was inducted into the Brighton Walk of Fame and is only the third structure in Brighton to be recognised by the Walk of Fame committee.
De Vere Hotels sold the Grand in 2014.
There are 201 rooms in the hotel, including 8 singles, 115 standard twin and standard double rooms, 31 sea-view twin and sea-view double rooms, 42 "sea-view deluxe" rooms and 4 sea-view suites, including the "Presidential Suite". It offers bespoke conferencing facilities for up to 800 guests. The largest room is the Empress Suite, which has a capacity of 800 guests. It is commonly used as a matrimonial venue for weddings. The hotel's 43 ft yacht, the AnnabelOlivia, can be used for corporate functions. It was awarded 5 star status in 1988, but in 2008 it dropped out of the ratings system when a major refit was put on hold.
Film & TV appearances
Amongst many appearances in television and film, the Grand Hotel was visited by the Trotter family in 1992, in an episode of the BBC Television comedy Only Fools and Horses entitled "Mother Nature's Son". The hotel has also been featured in ITV's Coronation Street.
- De Vere, , August 2013
- John Keenan, Brighton hotel The Grand to be sold, The Argus, 1 June 2012
- Emily Walker, Brighton's Grand Hotel 'won't be five-star', The Argus, 21 May 2010
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