Brighton’s Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel
From silly to sexy, there's plenty of fun to be had at Brighton's unique Hotel Pelirocco as Muddy Sussex's ed Debbie discovered.
When you check into a hotel and it’s not a shortbread biscuit but a Curly Wurly left by your kettle you know it’s going to be a fun kinda place.
But then, if you’ve got as far as your room at Hotel Pelirocco on Brighton’s Regency Square you would have already got that vibe. Behind its smart Regency facade there’s eclectic artwork on the walls, subversive signs, cool wallpaper and a reception booth that looks like a nightclub cloakroom.
Oh and these loos…
Pelirocco (it’s a corruption of the Spanish for redhead) is all about shaking up convention. Every room is themed in some way from the sexy to the subversive to the stylish but all with a kitsch, tongue-in-cheek twist. Some rooms stay the same, a few are changed every year.
I spent a night in one of the larger and more popular rooms, Bettie’s Boudoir – which has heaps of space, a balcony (you have to duck through the sash windows for that) and a chaise lounge from where (if you win the fight with your other half for the spot) you can recline and watch the sea and the BAi360 and hop onto the free Wi-Fi to post one of the pics you’ll inevitably take.
The room is named after Bettie Page, a retro American pin up. There’s a folder of info on her, as there is to explain the theme in most rooms, plus a DVD should you wish to know more. Leopard print is very much in evidence, including a (fake) rug that I’m sure has appeared in many a silly photo. In the bathroom there’s a spa tub and a mirror shaped as Page’s sexy silhouette.
There’s also a peep hole in the door but if you’re more prudish (or on the loo) simply hang your bathrobe (leopard print, of course) on the hook above.
In a similar vein, the Pin Up Parlour room celebrates Diana Dors and is one of the most romantic in the hotel.
I was allowed a peek at some other rooms after check out time and they’re all a lot of fun. I was particularly taken with Modrophenia, celebrating a bit of Brighton’s cultural history, with its scooter bedside tables and parka robes.
The Gresham Blake room was styled by the Brighton suit maker and includes a record player with a selection of vinyl. This is among several rooms to have recently had a new bathroom.
The ‘father and son room’ Lord Vader’s Quarters is the smallest, with bunkbeds. I’m told Star Wars geeks often check in.
The Lovers’ Lair is the largest – a suite with a patio garden and a circular bed with a mirror over for saucy types.
The self-styled ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel’ does actually have some music credentials – once a year Pelirocco is turned into a recording studio, with composing and jamming going on in every room and tracks being laid down at the end. You can make your own rather more amateur efforts in the Songstar Karaoke room, available to hire for parties.
There’s a very fun bar/breakfast room with a riot of quirky decoration and art, some of which is for sale. Try a colour changing gin (a different shade when the tonic is added) or one of the humorously entitled cocktails. They’re not all gimmick over substance however, I recommend the Pelirocco (a sort of vodka-based margarita) and the Palace Pier which came with a whole stick of rock protruding!
Look out for monthly free comedy in the bar on Funny Fursdays, frequent DJ sets (some on vinyl only) and live music. Plenty of reasons to make a visit even if you’re not staying.
Nursing a hangover in the morning, I was glad of the full English breakfast. There’s a meat or veggie version, eggs benedict and the like besides and while you’re waiting you can help yourself to yoghurt, fruit and a range of chunky granola (I pigged out on the nut version before I even hit the hot food – rookie mistake).
Lunch and dinner aren’t available (unless you’ve booked catering for an event – Pelirocco handles everything from work meetings to wedding receptions) but there are several very good eateries in walking distance.
In Regency Square itself is sharing plates style The Set. Murmur from Great British Menu winner Michael Bremner is in the arches on the seafront at the foot of the road, while we headed for dinner at fish-focused The Salt Room, a few minutes down the seafront (a bit pricier but look out for deals like its BYO Mondays). Riddle and Finns, for champagne, oysters and more fishy fare is at sea level a little further on.
Hens and romance
There are all sorts of great additions for hens at Pelirocco beyond the bar and karaoke hire. The hotel has plenty of fun people on speed dial so you can have retro makeovers and photo shoots, learn how to stitch vintage frilly knickers, take a cocktail making class and round it off with an afternoon tea.
If you’ve pampering in mind, you and your partner or bestie could have a massage, order up a champagne breakfast or get a boudoir photoshoot.
Pelirocco has a cracking location on Historic Regency Square, which opens onto the seafront and the BAi360, it’s about 15 minutes walk from the railway station.
If you’re doing the touristy bit, head west for a quieter stretch of beach, east for the buzz, and also for the onion domed Brighton Pavilion.
You’re just diagonally off Churchill Square shopping centre; it’s just a little further to the independent shops and cafes of The Lanes and North Laine.
For entertainment The Theatre Royal and comedy club/cinema Komedia and major gig venue Brighton Dome are also with 15 minutes walk. See the full Muddy guide to Brighton & Hove for more ideas.
The Muddy Verdict
Good for: A central, reasonably-priced hotel for a weekender; the original Brighton ‘dirty weekend’; holing up in one of the larger rooms; a kitsch base if you book early enough for Pride; fan worship related to one of the themes; silly selfies and instagramming; parties; hen breaks; wedding receptions; cocktails.
Not so good for: If you’re the staid type; if you expect a pristine finish on all fixtures and fittings; if you want to arrive by car (local parking is available but expensive); If you’re after full facilities like a spa, pool, restaurant etc; with kids (expect perhaps the Star Wars room) though teens would love it and the Pretty Vacant room sleeps three.
££ Rooms from £89 per night midweek in winter to £199 on a weekend in summer. The most typical price for a standard double is £125 midweek / £159 at the weekend.
Hotel Pelirocco, 10 Regency Square, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2FG, 01273 327 055, hotelpelirocco.co.uk