24 Hours in Brighton with Ibis Hotels #InBedWithIbis

18 July, 2016

A few weekends back I was invited to spend 24 hours in my happy place, which just so happens to be Brighton. I often day dream of moving to that charming seaside city some day, so I absolutely grab any opportunity to visit when I can. This was all thanks to Ibis Hotels who offered to put me and my gal pal, Becky, up for the night in their hotel, which is conveniently located only a stone's throw from the train station. I had booked the Friday afternoon off of work meaning I could kickstart my weekend a little earlier than usual, so around 1pm I jumped aboard the train leaving Southampton along the south coast to Brighton. I was rather annoyed by this point as I had brought my laptop to do some work during the two hour journey, but the train didn't have wi-fi on board. What kind of train nowadays doesn't have wi-fi?!

As Becky was arriving from London, I met her inside the bustling Brighton station just after 3pm and after a quick reunion, we headed outside to seek out the hotel. Standing with my suitcase at my heels and phone in my hand, I began to open Google maps to lead us to our bed for the night, but just as I did Becky spotted the Ibis sign shining like a welcoming beacon a little further along the road. As someone who always overpacks for any trip (five outfits and 3 pairs of shoes for a 24 hour stay, of course), I sighed with relief as the walk to the hotel was under a minute, so I could rid of my ridiculously heavy bags.

As we walked into the hotel reception, we were enthusiastically greeted by the staff and given two key cards to our room, which was located on the ninth floor - pretty sweet! I've stayed with Ibis a few times before, usually for late airport stays rather than city breaks, so the room layout (including the strange pod bathroom that is reminiscent of a spaceship) was familiar and welcoming. 

However, we had Brighton at our doorstep, so we dumped our bags, unpacked rather hastily and ventured outside again to explore. What's so wonderful about Brighton is that you can have no plan in mind as to where your day may take you, and have the most incredible adventure. Brighton is full of creative little cafes, boutiques, flea markets and events that you can just stumble upon without intention. For the rest of the afternoon we wandered around the North Laines, stopping for coffee at The Coffee Counter (15 Vine Street, BN1 4AG) followed by some mooching in their hugeeee Beyond Retro store (42 Vine Street, BN1 4AG) and finishing up our afternoon of wandering with a burger at one of my fave Brighton burger joints, Burger Brothers (97 North Rd, BN1 1YE) The guys at BB really know their burgers and exclusively serve burgers - no fries! 

After an afternoon of vintage shopping, burgers and coffee (a few of my favourite things in life - can you see why I love Brighton so much now?), we headed to Tesco to pick up a few potentially alcoholic beverages to enjoy from the comfort of our holiday room. I mean, we were technically on holiday, so it's allowed, right?

At 6:45pm we headed downstairs to reception to meet Erica, Lisa and Emma and their guests for welcome drinks at the Ibis bar. What great company we were lucky enough to be in that evening! We briefly met a rather flustered Gabor, the assistant hotel manager, who had literally been running around to make sure everything was in place for our evening ahead at Brighton's Big Screen on the beach.

Upon finishing our drinks, we all jumped into our taxi and headed to the beautiful beach front. At the entrance, we met Leanne and Rachel, before being greeted by Brighton Big Screen's director, Bill Murray (not the Bill Murray, although this one is infinitely cooler and that's a broad statement to make). Brighton's Big Screen started a few years back in 2012 as a self-funded project by with the intention of bringing people together to watch the 2012 Olympics. Bill admitted he didn't expect much when he first started the Big Screen, but on the opening night tens of thousands of keen Brighton locals flocked to the Big Screen and the rest is history. Every year, Brighton's Big Screen grows bigger and better, yet you can still purchase tickets for as little as £3. You couldn't even get a Burger King meal for that! 

Bill Murray is one of those people that has created something wonderful for all of the right reasons. We spend so much time cooped up in our living rooms in front of the TV watching films, sporting events and television programmes, but Brighton's Big Screen brings a social aspect and setting whilst watching your favourite cult classic. There was something in the way Bill spoke about the Big Screen's growth that made you feel this glowing sense of pride - go Bill!

After a drink in the Big Screen's bar and sampling the Big Screen's Blonde beer (which was delicious, fyi), we were shown to our VIP Ibis Sweet Bed area set up underneath a canopy opposite the screen. With enough time to each nail the perfect Instagram shot before the film began (see below), we all leapt into our beds for the evening and snuggled down to watch one of my all-time favourites, Pulp Fiction.

It had been a few years since I had last seen Pulp Fiction, so it was the perfect film for that warm summer's evening. Throughout the night we were brought popcorn, a continuous stream of beer and food to our beds by none other than Bill Murray himself (what a guy!). As the film finished, it was met with a huge round applause from everyone on the beach. By this point, we were all snuggled down beneath our duvets not wanting to leave the comfort of our Ibis Sweet Beds. If sleeping on the beach was an option, we probably would have happily stayed there all night!

After heading back to hotel, Becky and me ventured out for one last drink at my favourite bar in Brighton, The Blue Man. As it was nearing 1am, we decided to head back to our hotel room, dive beneath the duvets and watch reruns of Most Haunted. What a perfect end to our Friday in Brighton!

The next morning, our alarms woke us from our slumber at 8am. Unfortunately I hadn't slept too well that night. The Ibis Sweet Bed's were incredibly comfortable, but Brighton's pesky, shrieking seagulls kept me awake until the early hours. However, the lack of sleep wasn't going to spoil my enthusiasm for Ibis' all you can eat breakfast buffet! 
Despite being the last ones to go to sleep, we were the first ones at the breakfast buffet keenly clutching our trays and gawping at the selection laid before us. When it comes to food, we don't mess around. The hotel offers everything you could want from a breakfast buffet including the essentials to a full English breakfast, a variety of fruit, cereal, hams and much more. I mean, they even had a line of Actimel drinks for you to take!

After inhaling two plates full of food, we met with Gabor once again to show us around the hotel. We were taken to the below ground hotel rooms, which I must admit I was expecting to be quite dark and dingy considering the lack of light. Upon entering the room though, I was pleasantly surprised as it was set up on a hill so there was still some natural light flooding into the room through the window. The most charming bit about these rooms though was the wall opposite outside was plastered with a collective print of photos from around the country, which gave the hotel room itself so much personality!
We then said our goodbyes before all going off on our own independent Brighton adventures before we headed home. For Becky and me, that began with a trip to the Dr. Martens store as I had a meeting with them to view their new in store collection. We checked out before 11am and left our suitcases in the luggage storage at Ibis for the day, so there was no need to worry about dragging them through the city. 

We mooched around the Dr. Martens store swooning over the range of styles they had in their Brighton store. I was particularly taken with their new marble print collection (pictured above), but wasn't too sure I could pull them off as patent leather just isn't my thaanggg. If they were a matte leather, I'm pretty sure they'd be gracing my feet right this second. I ended up leaving the store with a gifted pair of classic cherry red pair of boots, which I've wanted for years and years. Needless to say, I'm a happy bunny - thanks Dr. Martens! That's the 8th pair of DM's to add to my ever growing collection.

Our feet ended up naturally taking us towards the beach where we strolled down the waterfront coo-ing and aww-ing at all of the dogs we passed. We then decided to walk along the famous Brighton Pier, stopping only to have our fortunes read by the famous Zoltar Speaks fortune teller machine that sits outside the arcade.

Mine reads:

A new turn of events will soon come about. A happy reunion with a loved one will make life all you ever wanted it or dreamed it to be. You have a very trusting nature and are easily taken in by so-called friends. Do not be so anxious to do favours unto others, as there is one who is just waiting to take advantage of your good nature.

Oh so mysterious.

North Laines Record Shop Brighton Travel Blogger

We then wandered back towards the North Laines to window shop, people watch and feed my desire to purchase a new cactus to serve as a souvenir for the trip. Luckily we found a little vintage boutique called Flock and tucked right at the back of the shop was a little greenhouse full to the brim with foliage. It was my idea of heaven! The little green shop is called Spiderplant and I thoroughly recommend it for indoor plant enthusiasts like me. I came away with a medium-sized happy new cactus friend to introduce to my plant family; it's already become my favourite plant pal!

Spiderplant Shop Brighton Travel Blogger

With a new cactus and pair of boots in tow, we headed back up the hill to collect our suitcases from Ibis before heading to the station to catch our trains home. At this point, my delayed hangover started to kick in - oops!

Brighton, you were an absolute pleasure, but then again you always are.


1 comment

  1. I've always wanted to visit Brighton, it seems like such an amazing city! x



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