Could Brighton Metropole lose its 133-year-old name in midmarket rebrand?

Posted On 21 Mar 2023 at 12:18 pm

An artist’s impression of the Doubletree branding

A midmarket rebrand of the Hilton Brighton Metropole could also see it lose its 133-year-old name.

A planning application has revealed the US chain’s plans for the seafront hotel, which first opened in 1890 as the Hotel Metropole.

It was bought by Hilton in 2000 and operated as one of its flagship UK hotels, retaining its original Metropole name.

But now Hilton is proposing rebranding it as Doubletree – one of its more midmarket brands. And if approved, the name Metropole will disappear from the outside of the hotel entirely.

The planning application, submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council by Hilton this month, is for a range of new signage around the exterior.

The accompanying documents show that even the entrance to the car park would be rebranded with the Doubletree name, losing the reference to the Metropole.

The hotel was first opened on the site of a former roller skating rink by Frederick Gordon Hotels Ltd, the early chain’s third Hotel Metropole.

It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, who also designed the Victorian Hove Town Hall, which burned down in 1966.

It was then the UK’s largest hotel outside London, and a luxury train service from Victoria was chartered to transport the 1,500 visitors who flocked to Brighton to see the opening.

A red carpet was laid along King’s Road to welcome its first guests.

It was mentioned in TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

In the 1960s, its then-owner Harold Poster built its conference hall, which was subsequently expanded twice in the 1970s and 1980s.

Its guests have included royals, prime ministers and celebrities including Shirley Bassey, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Barry Manilow.

The freehold of the hotel is owned by Topland Group, which is building a new hotel behind the Metropole, on its former conference centre.

This is set to be operated by the midmarket Irish chain Dalata Hotel Group.

There are 51 Hilton Doubletree hotels in the UK, only one of which, the Hilton Doubletree Harrogate Majestic, has anything other than Hilton Doubletree and its location in its name.

Hilton has been approached for comment.

  1. Big Gary Reply

    This would be a great site for council and affordable housing!

  2. Mark Reply

    Surely this would be turned down as this is a landmark on the seafront. Unless they offer to sponsor a cycle lane then they can call it what they like.

    • Big Gary Reply

      It could be affordable housing if enough people get behind it. Believe Mark!

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