So, I booked Smart Sea View Brighton, Brighton & Hove on Booking.com. It had 4.5/5 on that website. I’ve since seen reviews on Tripadvisor giving 2.5/5. Facebook’s new reviews system is equally low. So, here’s what I posted to all three.
The name Smart Sea View Brighton sounds bold. Does it promise sea? How is it smart? Brighton? Well, it is in Hove. I guess since Hove and Brighton, or Brighton and Hove became gay lovers, they hooked up and had a civil partnership and the City of Brighton was born. Hove is not as dominant. It happens in any relationship, I guess.
I arrived 1.30pm, joined a sizeable queue and was seen inside 30 minutes. The eastern-European ady was busy but polite, but even a smile would have made it more welcoming. Paid £1.50 for a extra locker (by the counter area) and went to the room. The room was basic. It looked like I was the first there. I left my coat on the bed, noticed no bedsheet or pillow case. Went to reception, asked for this. Was given this, with apologies by a big tall man (grey haired). Went back and prepared the bed. Left my rain jacket to mark it as being a bed taken. I was allocated room 118, bed 12. I then went and locked my valuables away.
I returned long before midnight, having enjoyed food and two (just two beers) following City’s game at Brighton and Hove Albion. It was a hot day, I’d been up since 4am with only 4 hours sleep the night before. I was due to meet my cousin the next morning. I was being, how shall we put it, sensible. I grabbed my things from the locker, and went to my room and bed. It had many belongings including a phone tucked under the pillow. I did not want to move it. I checked every other bed. All appeared taken. All had bags on them.
People drifted in, about 4 blokes, sound lads from Manchester, polite as anything and I was told their party of 9 had been split between several rooms. I couldn’t find a bed and they didn’t know of a spare bed or who had taken bed 12. So, I went to reception, a tattooed lady, went to my room and said I could use another bed. It had no sheet or duvet. It had a bag underneath it but not on it. I was tired. I tried to bunk there. After a little nattering, more people came back. I counted 16 bunks across 8 double units. From then until 3.30am, at least 30 different blokes entered the room. Each claiming to be in that dorm. At that time, I was exhausted and was in and out of sleep, disturbed constantly before about 4 or 5am when a tall-slim man, who worked there came in with two sheets of paper, he shone a torch into my eyes waking me from a troubled light sleep. I was startled. I almost reacted to defend myself, before he spoke and told everyone else that they should not be there before reading just two names. He said only two people should be in that room. My name was not on it. I shown him my paper. After some arguing he went away. From then until maybe 6am, people left because of the confusuion, and some muttered over-bookings. I checked out after sleeping from 8am to close to 10am. Shattered. I was supposed to meet my cousin in Shoreham by 9am. We met at 11.30am.
The room had a sagging ceiling, no toilet rolls in the holders either in the room or the two cubicles close to the room – at 11pm. The shower unit stank of toilet matter. The windows need to be covered to allow light to be blocked out. The breakfast is served from 8am to 9.30am, but due to that night, that was the only time I slept. Towels costs extra, which I don’t mind. Complaints are waved away and laughed off on departure. The whole hostel idea needs rethinking. I stayed in civilised and organised places where earthquakes and conflict have hit – and felt more welcome and safe. Opting to use my bag as a pillow and lay down in clothes was a choice, because frankly it needed it. I have itchy red patches where my skin had touched the bedding and my feet are sore from resting on the bars at the end of the beds (1.85m long) – and I am 1.94m tall. There are no doubt homeless people in Brighton enjoying better rest – and that says something.