I am reviewing Brighton’s sea front hotels, starting with the Mercure. The problem that virtually all of them have is that the buildings are old and prone to draughtiness. The Mercure, which is set on the front on the border with Hove, is no exception. I checked in early and gave them full marks for courtesy and efficiency. I did not expect the room to be ready, so was happy to wait for my dear friend Polly in the bar. Here I became involved with guests arriving for a 80th birthday party, who naturally assumed me to be one of them. As the host was blind I supposed I could have tagged along and attended the lunch. In my younger days I might have, but I had a fresh haddock and chips with a couple of glasses of Sancerre.
I was disappointed by the room. It was classified as superior with a sea view, but was small and cold. The furnishing was Times sixties and the bathroom had the minimum of toiletries. Even with 2 heaters full on the cold was coming through a gap in the window. It was too blustery to walk so Polly and I caught up with each other news over an early supper. I would praise the staff for being helpful. I had a tian of cold salmon and cucumber, which was tangy and tasty, but my either my steak was tough or the steak knife inadequate. Either way, it was hard going. Poor Polly’s arrangements for the evening came a cropper as the Brighton taxi service cannot cope with a busy wet Saturday night and, after an hour waiting for her booked one, her housemate had to drive in to fetch her.
In conclusion, the staff tried really hard but the building needs a makeover and the interior of the rooms in particular.