What a treat I’ve had this week, I couldn’t believe my luck.

It all started when the old man called me in and asked me to help promote the Argus’ pub competition, but more about that later.

Anyway, while in the editor’s office, I noticed some very nice holiday brochures promoting the best hotels in Europe. I asked if he needed company on his hols but it seems he doesn’t.

Though he did suggest I should consider moving a little more upmarket.

So that is why, with his words ringing in my ears, I found myself sitting at the most spectacular bar in one of the country’s top hotels.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Grand, but when I walked through the stunning entrance I was filled with high hopes.

And I wasn’t disappointed by the experience. In fact, I was blown away. It is incredible in every respect.

Not knowing earlier in the day that I would be visiting such a grand establishment I had dressed in my usual attire - jeans, a freshly laundered T-shirt and the best deck shoes available from Sports Direct for £11.50. I wondered what reaction I might get.

Well, here’s surprise number one, I received the most pleasant, upbeat and genuine welcome I’ve had in Brighton so far. The staff are impeccably turned out, as you would expect, and the surroundings are, as I say, spectacular but everyone is welcomed here in exactly the same way.

Looking around the bar, which was filling up fast, everyone was dressed as they pleased - ranging from the incredibly smart to, well, me. The dress sense is as varied as anything you’ll see anywhere in this fine city – apart from the bar staff who were resplendent in their waistcoats.

Now, I love watching people. Apart from drinking beer it’s my favourite pastime, and within 30 seconds I realised this was a prime spot – you get every accent and every language.

People are obviously collected together in their own little groups and I don’t suspect you get ‘locals’ in quite the same way you might in a pub, but the atmosphere was buzzing and the feel-good factor infectious.

My eye had fallen on the Heydaze Pale Ale from Brighton Bier but when I tried it the taste wasn’t quite my thing so I went instead, on the recommendation of barman Ruben, for a pint of Goose Island Pale Ale - perfectly served, this was a beautiful pint.

Now, we have to get to the price, which at £6.33 isn’t cheap. But, as my dear old mum says: “You get what you pay for”. Within a moment I had been served the most fantastic complimentary nibbles and both the nuts and green olives were tasty and fresh. If you bear this in mind, then the pint is incredibly good value.

So, surprise number two, the charges are reasonable and even better value (note to Ed re: expenses).

I then overheard someone ordering a top-of-the-range bottle of champers and there was some scurrying around to make completely sure the quality of the accompanying strawberries was perfect. Again, you get what you… The tall guy with a beard who was serving even crouched down to carefully check the levels in each of the two glasses matched perfectly – now that’s what I call attention to detail.

It’s a pleasure to watch the bar staff in action and I can report Ruben makes an excellent cocktail, though I suspect they all do.

I popped to check out the facilities and was again left in awe. These are nothing like toilets elsewhere. For one thing it’s like stepping back in time and the retro feel is perfectly done. In fact, they are probably maintained exactly as they were created. Oh, and they smell great too.

Back at the bar someone had thoughtfully placed a napkin over my temporarily unattended pint – again, a very classy touch.

Finishing my pale ale, I moved on to a pint of Belgian lager, Vedett. At 5.0 per cent it wasn’t as strong as the 5.9 per cent pale ale and personally I didn’t like it quite as much.

At this point I was joined at the bar by a gentleman waiting for his wife to join him. We exchanged small talk and I told him I was a spy. He countered with the fact he worked for the Met and showed me his police badge.

My new police buddy declared his margarita one of the best he’d ever tasted and agreed my Vedett was not quite as good.

He then told me he was getting a new car in Horsham and that it’s a lot faster than his old R8. I’d tell you more of our conversation, but if I did I’d obviously have to kill you. Anyway his wife joined him and ordered a bloody Mary.

I will report back to the editor that he doesn’t need to traipse off around Europe looking at hotels as he’s got one of the best in the world right here on his doorstep.

The grand old lady obviously can’t be viewed in all her splendour at the current time as she’s covered in scaffolding, but when that comes off I suspect she’ll be a sight to behold.

It’s not somewhere you’d go every week, but do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a visit – this is a very special place and you’ll love the atmosphere.

The Grand Hotel, 97-99 King’s Road, Brighton BN1 2FW

Decor: ★★★★

Incredible, I’ve gone for four so I can add the fifth when the scaffolding comes down

Drink: ★★★★

I’ll stick with the Goose Island, very smooth)

Price: ★★★★

Some may argue, but I think it’s great value for money

Atmosphere: ★★★★

One of the best, and the best in a hotel by miles

Staff: ★★★★★ 

Impossible to find fault - friendly, efficient, brilliant)

Read all my reviews at www.theargus.co.uk/leisure/pub_spy

And, while I remember, if you haven’t voted in our pub competition it’s not too late – entries close on June 6. You’ll find details in the paper.

You’ll find me on Facebook/Pubspy Argus and Twitter @PubSpyArgus