We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style.
Complement that with all that is best in the French bistro ethos, bars that reach out to please, and you have a setting that provides an inspirational background for people to meet, do business, get married, provide a base for golf or fishing, somewhere you can call your own for a private celebration, a spa or - most engagingly - a wine school that breaks the mould.
In Brighton, just a stone's throw from the seafront and the famous promenade, du Vin has taken on a gothic revival and mock Tudor building, the indulgence of a wine merchant who had clearly prospered or married well, or both. It occupies the site of an old inn and either copied the original or was designed by somebody who knew what he was about. Proximity to The Lanes means that parking can be tricky, but resort to Black Lion Street will yield an NCP.
A double height baronial hall houses the wine bar, overlooked by a gallery. There are 37 bedrooms including three loft suites, all with handsprung mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, deep baths and power showers. All rooms have high speed wireless internet access available. At weekends a 2 night minimum stay operates.
In the classy bistro head chef Rob Carr presides over a kitchen that produces a choice of six starters that could include "Springs" locally smoked salmon, feuilleté of wild mushroom and wild garlic leaves or a plate of teruel Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and roquette.
A crab crusted halibut with tagliatelle and chive velouté affords a real treat, or there's rump of lamb with braised red cabbage and madeira jus. Amongst the simple classics look for slow roasted pork belly with black olive crushed new potatoes.
Whilst one might argue that the whole point of being in a du Vin is to snuggle up to the wine list, this list is designed to march with the food and can only be described as superb, leaving no room for anything but the best. Service is telepathic in the best possible sense.
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for full information and rates. Hotel du Vin, with fourteen options throughout Britain, awaits your call.