A Room with a Lift. And Art.

How could a lover of Jane Austen’s works not stay in Regency Square when visiting Brighton? Especially as it was the site of the army camp mentioned by Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice?

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I didn’t go looking for Austen connections, though. I was in England to revisit the year I spent studying abroad at the University of Sussex, and I wanted something near the sea and relatively close to the station and The Lanes. The Artist Residence fit the bill and got good reviews. AND it had a lift. Mind you, it could only fit two people and two to four small bags, but you didn’t have to climb all the stairs (some of them rather steep and short and dark) unless you really wanted exercise. (I asked not to have a room in the basement, so I got one on the top floor.)

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The website does a good job of “uniting [accurate descriptions of the rooms] and civility in a few short sentences.” Mine was a “small arty double,” which was true, especially of the bathroom, but I could hear seagulls calling through the window, hang up my clothes on the pegs, and sit in the orange chair to work. I admired the efficiency of the space and the mural by Peel. (I was less excited about the art in the hallways.) One morning when I was using my computer in my room, the fire alarm kept going off (that’s how I found out about the stairs), due to dust raised by construction work in the basement. Other than that and the somewhat thin walls, it was a comfortable room, all for about $600 for five nights.

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I loved the breakfasts, included in the price of the room. I had the scrambled eggs with roasted tomatoes one day and the granola another, plus hot chocolate and coffee. The breakfast room occupies most of the main floor and is a well-lit, cheerful place, looking out on Regency Square and the sea. I was surprised to see palm trees in Brighton. I don’t remember them being there thirty years ago, nor do I remember the West Pier (behind the lamp), which was destroyed by storms sometime after the 1980s. (I do remember the Palace Pier farther east, now renamed Brighton Pier.)

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From the front door, it was a few minutes to the (pebbly) beach, and about twenty minutes  east along the seafront to The Lanes, where I used to get lost on a regular basis. Walking to the train station would take about thirty minutes, much of it uphill, but you can walk up Preston Street (west of the square) to Western Road and catch a bus to the station there. Preston has a lot of restaurants, including a pub and an Indian restaurant, and Western Road features Sainsbury’s (grocer), Foodilic (fresh buffet), a bookstore where I bought a field guide to English birds, and much much more.