Nick Mosley speaks to veteran Brighton hotelier Brian Snow about life in a seaside B&B
I’ve known Brian Snow and his wicked sense of humour for many years now but I’ve never got the back-story of how he ended up running a guesthouse here in the city.
“We bought Avalon back in 2004”, says Brian. “We wanted to do something where we could be our own bosses, and create a business that reflected our personalities. We like to think that Avalon is warm, welcoming and homely”.
Brian and his team pride themselves on repeat custom.
“We treat guests like friends, we share our likes and dislikes, and take an interest in what they are doing. Many have indeed become friends over the years, in fact we’ve been to the weddings and funerals of guests we’ve got to know and love over the years. When we finally hang up our aprons we’ll keep in touch with so many.”.
The joy of a short-break at the likes of Avalon is inevitably that home-cooked breakfast every morning. I ask Brian what his secret is?
“Its straight forward”, he says. “Use reliable, quality ingredients and always cook it fresh”.
Since 2004, he’s definitely seen significant change in the city.
“There have been great advances in the quality of our restaurants, bars and accommodation”, he says. “But uncoordinated seafront development is sad. In some places millions have been spent and they are looking great, yet other stretches are looking shameful and rusting away”.
With so many visitors coming and going over the years, Brian has some humorous stories which I can’t resist delving into.
“Two stable-hands stayed over for Brighton races and popped in for keys, leaving the horse box (plus racehorses) outside. A neighbour commented that he knew we were dog-friendly but taking in horses was overdoing it”.
“One morning a guy appeared in our dining room holding a lead”, continues Brian “I didn’t remember him bringing a dog, but moments later his partner appeared on the other end of it.”
“A couple of elderly sisters were down for breakfast and their forks paused momentarily, mid-air, before carrying on having remembered they were in Brighton”.
“And a lady guest who’d been chatting to a wonderful West Country farmer and his wife, marvelled at the scope of conversations at an Avalon breakfast. ‘I now know how cows are inseminated!’ she exclaimed”.
Avalon Guesthouse, 7 Upper Rock Gardens, Brighton BN2 1QE • 01273 692 344