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LUXURY ON LOCATION: Brighton Rock

The jury is still out on the new-release Brighton Rock movie. Opinion is divided between those believing that nothing could ever match the original 1947 Richard Attenborough classic (which is true to the Graham Greene  novel) and those who love the fact that the new film is update to the 1960s 'Mods and Rockers' era. Debate rages on but in both versions and the original bestselling novel the real breakthrough star is the location.

As with the book and the 1947 movie version the new film - starring Dame Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Sam Riley - follows disadvantaged teenager Pinkie and his rise and fall as a would-be gangster with a religious death wish.
 
That sort of activity is not exactly what most dream of on a holiday but don't let it put you off this seaside location. According to a recent study, Brighton was named the happiest place to live in England after 94% of residents said they had a happy home life. It isn't just locals who value Brighton - Visit Britain has revealed that it is the most popular English Seaside destination for foreign visitors.

Much of the original 1947 movie was actually filmed in Brighton however most of the 2011 version was shot in nearby Eastbourne, due to Eastbourne seafront looking more like the 1960s. However, The Luxury Travel Bible has found that in Brighton itself (The place locals call London by the sea) there are still plenty of hotels that recreate the glamour of the sixties.

The Grand Hotel
No round up of Brighton hotels can ignore the grande dame; The Grand Hotel. She has had setbacks, most famously the 1984 bomb attack on the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, but it remains one of the city's most popular hotels. Throughout its history, the hotel has welcomed British Prime Ministers and foreign dignities including President Kennedy.

Graeme Greene is said to have based the fictional The Cosmopolitan Hotel in the original novel on The Grand Hotel's iconic Victorian building.

Now operated by De Vere Hotels, Resorts & Venues the hotel sits, imposing its grandeur, on Brighton seafront, just a stone's throw from Brighton Pier. There are two Victorian piers on the seafront. Today the Palace Pier seems more like the bright lights of Vegas compared to 60s glamour. The other pier, the West Pier, once the setting for grand balls, has fallen victim to the raging sea but don't let any locals hear any negative chatter about the state of her. There is still a large soft spot for the old girl in the heart of most Brightonians. www.devere.co.uk/our-locations/the-grand

Snooze Guest House
Located in the Kemptown area the name of this award winning funky boutique guesthouse is a little misleading as this place is hardly a snooze-fest.

Each of the six individually and imaginatively styled is a mix of vintage and retro design that doesn't skimp on contemporary amenities and service. All bookings include a full English breakfast served in the breakfast room that will equipe any dedicated shopper with the energy to hit the bohemian and vintage shops in the North Laines or antique and designer shops in the The Lanes.

Those wanting the full 60s experience with a Brighton twist should request Room 5. This swinging 60's room features vintage furniture, far-out wallpaper and bold prints. It is fabulously retro. www.snoozebrighton.com

royal pavilion
royal pavilion
myhotel brighon carousel
room 5 snooze
the grand
hotel pelirocco bar
brighton pier

myhotel Brighton
TLTB will always be intrigued by a hotel that describes itself as being "a hotel where Freddie Mercury might have met the Maharishi'. myhotel Brighton's central location in the regenerated Jubilee Street in the North Laine area is next to the Pavilion and the Dome, and is a short walk to the seafront.
 
Once through the doors and out of the city commotion this fun hotel's vibrant design promises to provide a ' fun retreat to refresh your soul '. The design, the vision of owner Andy Thrasyvoulou and New York designer Karim Rashid, mixes smooth lines, bright colours, the principles of feng shui and features crystals in the walls to harness energy.

In a homage to the Brighton Rock's ending on the pier choose the Carousel suite which features a 300 year old vintage carousel horse in the centre of the room (as you do). www.myhotels.com/my-hotel-brighton

Hotel Pelirocco
This hotel does nothing to squash Brighton's reputation as a location for a dirty weekend. In fact it takes that reputation and runs with it (do we have a new contender for our Top Ten Sexiest Hotels?) This hotel has attitude with a capital A.

Each of the 19 individually designed rooms is themed around 'pop culture, visionary artists, maverick musicians and inspired individuals'. Ranging from the very sexy Nookii Room with its Kinkybed¬ô, strip show sign, lots of black satin and sea view (although you probably won't be looking at that) to DollyWould which is based on Dolly's Country Cabin with lots of Gingham and Plaid and even a Picket fence.

Brighton Rock devotees should head to the 'Modrophenia' room. The room catches the essence of the Mods with a Pop-art style. More of a rocker? The Pretty Vacant is dedicated to Punk Rock, a movement which many credit with starting in Brighton in the 1970s, and is decked out in Union Jacks.

Get a taste of Brighton's notorious nightlife without even stepping out of the front door by asking for one of the hotel bar's cult cocktails. Fuelled by cocktail-courage the brave can then pay homage to their favourite music preference by giving voice in the 'Secret Singstar Room'.

This hotel, located close to Brighton Beach, is on overload; bright, kitsch, retro - it should be tacky but it isn't and TLTB loves that. www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk

Sea Spray
As soon as you walk into boutique hotel, Sea Spray you feel welcome. There is a room for every taste - from Moroccan to Boudoir to Little Venice.

Rockers should book the room that is a homage to the King of Rock and Roll. The Elvis themed room is kitted out with Andy Warhol's iconic image of the King and even a guitar this room. Question is, has he left the building?

If you can't bear to drag yourself away from your room yet still wish to experience the local area we suggest either the Hove, the Brighton or the Sussex suite . All of these rooms feature iconic local images such as the Royal Pavilion, Peace Statue, Beach Huts and Brighton Pier (The site of some of the original clashes between the Mods & Rockers).

The hotel has in-room spa services and the hotel can organize a Sea Spray picnic - and recommend the best location along the seafront to enjoy it.

The hotel showcases local artists' original art and photography in the lounge area and gallery reception room. Some of the artwork is available for purchase. www.seaspraybrighton.co.uk
 
The Royal Pavilion
The most luxurious Brighton accommodation is sadly no longer open for a stay. Not since the then Prince Regent had it built back in 1787. However it is definitely worth a look. Its famously over the top Indian exterior is part Taj Mahal, part maharajah's palace, while the interiors feature an elaborate Asian-style, stunning chandeliers and a guest book which reads as a who's who of royalty and high society. For a true dose of luxe-by-the-sea this once private residence is decorated with the finest attention to detail and no expense was spared in flamboyantly decorating it with Chinese wallpaper, extravagant golden dragons that are suspended from the ceilings and French, English and Chinese export furniture.

Although you won't actually be able to stay at The Royal Pavilion, it is worth a visit because it was the building that put Brighton on the map after architect John Nash's creation caused such a worldwide sensation.

The Royal Pavilion is open daily October to March10am-5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm), April to September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets at 5pm). Closed 24 December (from 2.30pm) and all day on 25 and 26 December
 
And finally... Before you ask, yes, it has to be done. Anyone wanting the full Brighton Rock experience should venture along the seafront and pick up a flavoured sugar overload stick of rock. You know you'll enjoy it and you might even find one with your name printed through it
 

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Sarah Bryans 15/3/11
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