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The Royal Albion Hotel was built in 1826 on the site of Russell House, which was built in 1753. The house was the residence of Dr, Russell, whose book on the healthful effects of sea bathing helped to promote the development of Brighton as a resort. Following the demolition of the house in 1823, the council offered to purchase the land off the owner John Colbatch in an attempt to provide a clear view of the sea from the Old Steine. The offer was not accepted and the hotel was constructed in 1826. The architect was Amon Henry Wilds. The hotel was restored and extended in the mid nineteenth century and again in the early twentieth century. It was designated a Royal Hotel in 1847, after which the Royal Arms were added above the main entrance. In the early twentieth century, it became popular with artistic and literary guests.

The Royal Albion Hotel is three storeys high with an attic and basement. It is of Stucco with mansarded roofs of slate tunerised. The north-facing elevation, which is the entrance front of the hotel, has a 10-window range. It has a single storey rectangular entrance porch with a flat-arched entrance with a pair of Tuscan columns to either side. The ground floor windows are round arched and the upper floor windows are flat arched. The first and second floors have a giant pilastrade of the Composite Order. To the west is a mid nineteenth century addition, which is of three storeys with a two storey attic and a basement. Both sections have an area enclosed by a parapet wall topped a cast-iron railing, which is an early twentieth century addition. The early twentieth century features are in a Regency Revival style. It is Grade II* listed.

The Western wing of the hotel, formerly known as Lion Mansions Hotel, is Grade II listed and dates to 1856. It was incorporated into the Royal Albion in 1963. A plaque near the entrance reads 'William Ewart Gladstone, 1809-1898, often stayed at this hotel, then known as Lions Mansions Hotel'.

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