Hotel review: DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole, Brighton

Hilton DoubleTree Brighton Metropole Hotel
Tim Firmager
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Brighton being one of the biggest LGBT hotspots in the UK, we stayed overnight at the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole hotel for our latest visit. This is Vada’s review.

DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole hotel

Built in 1890, the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole hotel (previously known as Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel) harks back to the historic, grand, seafront hotels of British seaside destinations. In 2024, Brighton is very much a thriving community that has expanded beyond solely a seaside destination, and the seafront hotel is known as being the largest residential conference centre in the south of England.

Well-located, almost across the street from the Brighton i360 and within half a mile of Brighton Palace Pier, the Royal Pavilion, and the boutiques and bars of The Lanes, DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole hotel is perfectly located for those visitors wanting more than a day-trip.

Given the age of the hotel (compared to new build properties), one of the benefits is the sheer space and size – high ceilings and large public areas, even the lift lobby on each floor and grand stone staircase. We took the time to saunter up and down the staircase (which was a much calmer affair than waiting for the lifts at peak check-in / out time).

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Accommodation

We arrived at the hotel about 4pm, where there was already a queue of guests waiting to check-in, some due to self-inflicted complications such as changing the names across group bookings, and others just wanting to check-in as part of the conference centre. The staff for the most part seem used to the latter, processing check-in quickly. And of course they provided the all-important warm cookie on arrival, as part of the DoubleTree experience.

For our stay, kindly provided by Hilton, our top-tier Hilton status was recognised, which meant we received drinks vouchers, extra bottled water for the room and confirmation that breakfast was included in our stay – more on breakfast below. We were upgraded to a a King Superior room with sea view, balcony, and sofa bed (approx. 43 sqm) – room 409. The room featured a king-sized bed, a view of the Brighton seafront from the balcony – impressive watching sunset and plenty of natural light throughout the room from the balcony doors and two other floor-to-ceiling windows. There was loads of extra space, even if the sofa bed had been unfolded (so as to sleep up to 4 people). We were glad to find plenty of plug sockets and USB points by the bed and desk, absolutely essential in any hotel stay. And even more impressive, is that our preferred Yorkshire Tea had been provided as part of the in-room tea and coffee making facilities.

The bathroom was modern with a bath (and over-bath shower), but given the overall size of the room, it would be better if this room category could have a bigger bathroom – to provide double sinks or separate bath and shower.

Food and drink

We ate dinner on a Thursday evening and breakfast the next morning at the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole hotel. The hotel has a number of different restaurants. Diners have two options: The Saltroom and the Metropole Bar. We’ve previously visited The Saltroom a high-end seafood restaurant that offers a lot of creativity in their menu and a destination for any foodie.

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This time round we ate in the Metropole Bar, the all-day dining venue. We were provided a table by the window, which is a perfect spot to watch the world go by on the seafront. At the Metropole Bar, the food is more akin to gastro pub-grub – we have the Devon crab arancini (£9) with crispy sage and chilli mayo, Hot smoked salmon paté (£9) served on Melba toast to start, and then a steak from the grill (£29.50), and then Chicken, mushroom and tarragon pie (£18.50) served with mashed potato and braised red cabbage for main courses. There could be some refinements for portion sizes (e.g. there was way too much paté, conversely the generously sized-steak had only a single accompanying slice of mushroom.

Desserts – a sticky toffee pudding (£9) and chocolate fudge brownie (£9) – were very much giving generic-catering-company-made-and-reheated-on-site. There’s nothing wrong with this model, but the kitchen could tweak the finished execution e.g. by using vanilla ice-cream with vanilla beans, using smaller plates and serving sauces in accompanying small jugs.

We had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, though we noted that the menu includes a fun selection of cocktails including a ‘friendly express’ and ‘fruity mistake’ which seem inspired by potential drag queen names.

Breakfast is served in a separate restaurant, 1890 At The Met, and this white, light-filled room has expansive views across the Brighton seafront. On a clear morning, watching the sun reflect off the sea was a calming way to start the day. We were pleased to find fresh orange juice with pulp was available as part of the drinks selection, and there was a very good buffet selection from different British hot and cold stations. A strong offering meaning anyone wanting to put together their own full-English breakfast would not go disappointed.

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Service

Service at the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole was friendly at every touchpoint. Despite the initial queues at check-in, the ‘problem’ guests were moved to the side so that other staff could efficiently process everyone else, the front-office team appeared to be unflapped under pressure.

During dinner service, staff were again friendly and took orders promptly. There did seem to be a delay with drinks arriving – it appeared they’d be poured / mixed at the bar, but nobody had thought to then bring them to the table, so we had to chase up each time.

Overall thoughts

Being London-based, Brighton is usually a day-trip affair for me, but having the option for a very comfortable night and to wake up to views of the sea, Brighton beach and pier, I could easily be persuaded to stay another night at the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropole. Breakfast is a must, in the light-filled 1890 At The Met.

I’ve seen advance purchase rates as low as £76 during the week for an entry-level room, but expect to pay at least double this rate over the weekend, and about £270 for our room category over a weekend.

For those looking for a brunch-excuse to visit Brighton, the Metropole Bar will host a Mamma Mia inspired brunch to celebrate the 50th anniversary since legendary band, ABBA, won Eurovision in the city. This will take place on 6 April 2024, the exact day the Swedish band won the contest singing Waterloo. The bottomless brunch will run 1 — 3:30pm and will feature ABBA inspired entertainment, delicious cuisine in addition to unlimited prosecco, priced at £55.

Location: Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 2FU

For more information or to book a stay, visit hilton.com.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.