YHA Brighton offers affordable accommodation with en-suite rooms, smart interiors, modern furnishings, helpful staff, sea views and a central location, near to Brighton pier.
Formerly the Royal York hotel, YHA Brighton is a newcomer to the city’s budget accommodation scene only opening last November. The former four-star Royal York Hotel was reborn as a 180-bed youth hostel and was completely refurbished in to a magnificent 51-room Regency pile, offering smartly decorated en-suite rooms and dorms, with great views across the promenade, the pier and sea.
A total of £4m has been invested in converting this Grade II-listed building, after it stopped operating as a hotel early last year. Set a couple of minutes’ walk from Brighton Pier, this is the latest in a line of historic buildings to be converted to YHA properties.
The 51 rooms and dorms at YHA Brighton all have en-suite bathrooms, and 17 are private doubles – ideal for couples or families. The hostel will also offers premium rooms with king-size beds, roll-top baths and sea views, perfect for a retreat away from the city lights of London.
Fronting the grassy expanses and cast iron Victoria Fountain of the Old Steine, and backing onto the pier and beach, YHA Brighton’s location is pretty much perfect. Many of Brighton’s attractions are easily walkable, and if you’re arriving by coach, the coach station is set behind the property. We arrived by car, but parked just round the corner and walked with our suitcases to the hostel. The location of this hostel is what really sold it to us before we booked. The Royal Pavilion and The Lanes are a five minute walk away; the pier, just two minutes.
YHA Brighton really does have the look of a flash hotel rather than a hostel. Even my friends, who admit they aren’t ‘hostel people’, accepted that this hostel really did impress them. The rooms were smart, clean and spacious with the added bonus of an en-suite in our room. The good looks balance old with new: a black and white tiled lobby area fronts an industrial-chic café-bar adorned with jazzy murals and stripped floorboards. We were really impressed with the interior and would recommend it for people from all walks of life.
Gone are the old YHA days of mucking out and taking turns with the washing up, now many head out for dinner or cook together with your friends. Nor do you need to be YHA members to stay here – just pay £3 above the members’ rate. A helpful team of young staff are happy to suggest ideas for days out and where to eat. If you want to self-cater, there’s a well-stocked kitchen at the back with microwaves and huge fridges or if you can’t be bothered to cook, just grab some chips by the sea front. There is a licensed bar and restaurant on site too, and free Wi-Fi for all guests.
You can’t reserve specific rooms, but if you’re lucky enough to get a sea view, your bed will become a marine diorama with fabulous views towards the sea, the pier, and Brighton Wheel. Our room was a four bed dorm room, with en-suite and with views across the promenade. The rooms are impeccably clean with floral-patterned wallpaper, antique bits and bobs, and large comfortable bunk beds. Dorms sleep up to eight, with Ikea-style bunk beds and cheery green duvets. Bathrooms feature chic faux-slate tiled bathrooms and towels are provided, except in dorms where you can hire for £2.
Food and drink
The café-bar serves up craft beers, lager and cider, alongside wines by the glass or bottle. Good, if basic, food choices include farm-assured burgers and chunky chips, flatbreads with salad, lasagne, fish and chips and pizzas. Mains are from £6.25, and the breakfast fry-up is £5.25. Or just cook yourself, then the choices are endless.
Value for money
Double rooms from £40 in low season; rising to £60 in high. Dorm beds from £14.50. Breakfast excluded. Free Wi-Fi.
Old Steine, Brighton BN1 1NH (0800 0191 700; yha.org.uk). Prices from £14.50 per bed, or £40 per person for a private room.