Location: The seaside ‘city’ of Brighton, East Sussex
Perfect for: Sea, sand, good food, and plenty of fun
Sometimes called London by the sea, Brighton’s a favourite amongst media types and urban-bohemians. Wander the Lanes for some great independent shops, artisan eateries and boutiques; soak up the culture in its galleries and gasp in wonder at Brighton’s Pavilion – an amazing feat of architecture, and indulge, if you will, in the vibrant gay scene and beach life. If you want to go somewhere different, and we mean mega-quirky, you’ve got to try Pelirocco.
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Monsieur 2 and I were rocketing towards Brighton on the Thameslink, and since we managed to cadge one of the table seats, thought we’d make the most of it with a game of poker. Sadly, the ability to spot a seventeenth-century pewter bedpan at 100 paces doesn’t translate into the agile brain of a cardsharp. And every time I chewed on my cardboard cup of coffee, he snarled “Okay! Okay!” He seemed to think that going on to win the game was clever; I thought it was downright cheeky.
Pulling into Brighton was a joy. I love the smell of the sea, the way that the sunlight makes the stucco buildings shine, the tacky little pleasure shops and ice cream stalls along the pier. It’s so English, so nostalgic. Monsieur 2 loves it too – even if he didn’t, he wouldn’t dare argue. Not when I’m in a mood as good as this.
We ambled for 15 minutes down to Regency Square; it took us a couple of circuits to locate the Pelirocco, so low-key is the signage. But low-key is not a description that fits the interior: it’s less a riot of colour and more a downright revolution. I signed us in on a pink-topped counter while Monsieur 2 copped a snook at the semi- (and in some cases, wholly) pornographic pop art around the walls. When the Independent on Sunday declared, “your granny wouldn’t like it”, they certainly had a point. Monsieur 2 pursed his lips puritanically.
I don’t think a hotel room has ever made us laugh out loud before – but the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll world of the Pelirocco made us squeal. Each of the hotel’s 19 rooms are themed around either music or sex, so you can choose from The Pin Up Parlour, a hip-hop room and the ultimate dirty weekend suite, the Play Room, which combines kitsch, burlesque and raunchy in its décor.
We’re in the Soul Supreme, a shrine to Motown, with dark walls and satin bedcovers, LP-shaped cushions and a kitschy pink record player to blare out the Motown. We set Songs In The Key Of Life a-spinning and let Stevie Wonder do the talking as we Monsieur does a very curious groove. He claims it is pure 70s; I’d say it’s pure oddness.
We dozed off to Sexual Healing on the sumptuously soft king size bed – and it was only after half an hour of listening to the needle going round and round that we agreed to do a bit of hunter-gathering. Searching for a room service menu, we found that food wasn’t served in the room, and that the room service menu featured a bawdy range of straight and gay soft-core DVDs, Durex-branded condoms and various adult toys. With two hours advance notice they can even lay on in-room massages and beauty treatments – for one or two!
Instead, we popped down to the hotel’s Playstation bar for a tipple, and to check out the other guests – and to sample the Pelirocco cocktail of Absolut vodka, chambord and fresh lime. Got chatting to a couple from Leeds – an accountant and a car valet – and ended up hitting some seedy pubs in Kemp Town before clubbing at Revenge.
We make our way downstairs to breakfast and find ourselves in the company of several other rather dishevelled but contented-looking couples (all straight, it must be said, but no-one bats an eyelid). No sign of our friends from last night, although we only made it back to the hotel at 4.30pm.
Monsieur 2 plumps for a fruit platter followed by boiled egg and soldiers; I’m absolutely ravenous so I go for the full English (not the knitted version below, which is in the hotel’s incredible knitted room) – cooked to order and perfectly so.
By the time I was tucking into a couple of rounds of toast and my eighth coffee, our fellow revellers appeared. Well, I thought I looked bad in the morning. Monsieur 2 pointed out that the light of day can do wicked things.
We stayed in our room until the very last minute, dozing, lounging, giggling… well, you get the picture. Only the draw of the Pier, the Lanes, buying some rock and – for Monsieur 2 – a visit to the mock-Chinese world of the Pavilion galvanised us into any form of action.
When we returned the keys, I swear there was a cheeky knowing glint in the manager’s eye as he asks if we enjoyed our stay. We might not have seen anything quite like the Pelirocco before, but you can bet your bottom dollar there’s little the folks here haven’t seen in their time!
Our rating: Pelirocco is all about the good times, and an experience we will never forget. Probably more straight than gay, the Pelirocco is still a good gay friendly boutique hotel in Brighton, which we given a 3.5 star rating.
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