Bedford Hotel

The Bedford Hotel was a hotel on the seafront in Brighton, England which has subsequently been renamed the Holiday Inn Brighton after becoming a part of the Holiday Inn business.


Pre-dating Brighton's more famous Grand Hotel by over 30 years, the Bedford opened in October 1829, having been built for William Manfield. The late Georgian-style hotel was subsequently leased to its designer, Thomas Cooper, in 1835. This arrangement lasted only until the following year, after which Manfield ran it again until 1844 when he leased it to Joseph Ellis. In 1855 Ellis purchased the hotel outright.

In 1866 the West Pier was built, by Eugenius Birch; it meets the seafront opposite Regency Square, very close to the hotel.

By 1963 the hotel was owned by AVP Industries, and in that year there was controversy surrounding their desire to replace the building with a modern 14-storey tower block. Shortly after this, on 1 April 1964, the original building was destroyed by a fire — with the death of two people.

The hotel was rebuilt on the same site, re-opening on 16 September 1967. The 168-feet tall, 17-storey block was designed by R. Seifert and Partners as a 127-room hotel and also a section of private domestic flats, known as Bedford Towers.

As of 2007 the hotel has 131 guest rooms, a cocktail lounge and restaurant.


The original hotel had five storeys with two recessed Ionic porticoes facing south and west above the entrances. Its west wing (the first part to open) was recessed from the road and decorated with giant pilasters. The interior had a Grecian hall with Ionic columns and a glazed dome.

The modern replacement building bears no resemblance to its predecessor. There is a tower with balconies on most floors in a staggered arrangement, atop a broad ground floor section; the ground floor has large windows and a covered terrace which serves as a porte-cochère.

Notable guests

As a fashionable hotel in a fashionable resort town, the Bedford attracted many celebrity guests and even royalty. Amongst the guests was Charles Dickens, who wrote Dombey and Son while staying at the hotel.

Building Activity

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