You can tell much about a city from its hotels. Take My Hotel. Looking at this compact boutique building on Jubilee Street, you would assume Brighton to be full of monied young eccentrics wearing flatcaps and skinny jeans. High earners probably, employed in the music, creative, or entertainment industries. A few thousand whacked-out eco-hippies and a smattering of lagered-up university students apart, you would be right.
My Hotel has done something interesting here. Its hotel appears to be sold as a place where you can live invisibly - the friendly faces to one side of the foyer as you walk in are helpful, but not cloyingly over-attentive. They help without burdening you with the need to glue on a fixed smile. Like the best hotels around, staff are there to help when you need them, but they don't cling to you like a fart in a spacesuit.
The hotel itself is a funky little number. It's a bit like Doctor Who's TARDIS inside: a smallish, curved, glass-fronted building that conceals a number of surprisingly large rooms and suites, each decked out with decor that veers between Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Meiji Restoration-era Japan. The huge round bed (no mirrored ceiling though, alas) captures the eye as you walk in the room, as does the huge bath-shower complex, which is almost as large as a 'normal' hotel room. The mini-bar bucks convention by actually offering you things you might actually want to eat and drink (crazy, huh?), and a series of simple blinds and curtains allow you to keep the light out, or let it ALL flood in.
There is also a cracking bijou restaurant and it's a great spot from which to explore the town. The Lanes, full of razzle-dazzle restaurants and a few top-notch pubs, are only a few minutes walk away, as is the Theatre Royal, for plays, and Brighton Pier, for fruit machines, the waltzers, and a few truly terrifying 'amusement' rides.
Brighton is often overlooked in our quest for something old, new, borrowed and blue. This is a pocket-sized town with as much character and appeal, certainly for a weekend, as the likes of Bilbao or Dublin. The nightlife crackles, the restaurants heave, and the town itself, with its bewildering cross section of tourists, eco-warriors, students and moneyed creatives, is as close as Britain will probably ever get to San Francisco. Bearing all of that in mind, My Hotel is a great place to base yourself. It's a cracking hotel with friendly staff, and a price list that won't break the bank.