Where mod meets pop culture: Brighton’s Hotel Pelirocco

Hotel Pelirocco

Editor’s Note: I was a guest of Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton, England. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy.

Tucked into the posh Regent Square in the famous seashore of Brighton, England, is Hotel Pelirocco.

This pink-halled 19-room hotel, dubbed “England’s most rock ‘n’ roll hotel” isn’t just a place to sleep. The edgy property, in its 15 years of life, has morphed into a cultural hotspot for Brightonians and travelers, treating them to a hedonistic (if they want) place to unwind and tuck into the town.

Brighton, an easy escape for Londoners looking to hit the shore, is also known as London-by-the-Sea. In its recent history, the seaside town has become the place to have “dirty weekends,” something Pelirocco caters to.

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History and charm: Riomaggiore’s Alla Marina

We stand outside the cafe, a gorgeous stone terrace with little tables, overlooking the tranquil blue water of the Ligurian Sea (a far cry from the tumultuous experience the day before when attempting to take Cinque Terre’s water ferry). Mom and I stand waiting, our suitcases at our sides, when the owner of Alla Marina comes up to us. We’re renting an apartment in Riomaggiore for our last night in the gorgeous region of Italy, and moved from our Flipkey rental in Vernazza to the most southern of the five towns to enjoy a the remaining moments of our mother-daughter Italian vacation.

“Hello, hello,” Sandro Pasini greets us. He’s one of the two brothers who run the Alla Marina, a small cluster of rooms and apartments in the village. Sandro is tall, his English perfect, and his willingness to help us is apparent immediately.

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Group tours: are they worth it?

Are group tours worth it?

I’ve been on a few group tours in my day. During this most recent little jaunt from Thailand to Europe I went on three of these outings.

The first was with Abraham Tours in Israel where we experienced Hebron and learned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second and third were with Roundabout Tours in Slovenia where, on two separate tours, we explored the Karst region (including the magnificent Škocjan Cave) and Piran on the Adriatic, and then the other a tiny slice of the Alpine region which included the beautiful Vintgar Gorge and stops at Lakes Bled and Bohinj.

Here’s my thing about group tours: I love them. And I don’t. At the same time.

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Confessions of a Croc Addict

My name is Diana and I have a dirty little secret: I wear Crocs. Nay, I am obsessed with Crocs. They are my favorite shoes. On the planet.

Maya Shopping Mall

Maya Shopping Mall: home to one of the many Croc stores in town.

Sometimes, when I have nothing to do, I will take a songthaew up to one of the shopping malls and find the Crocs store and just stare, drooling, at the plethora of the rubbery cushions of bliss hanging from the wall.

There was a time, not long ago, when I swore up and down and sideways and backwards and any other direction possible I would never, ever, ever wear those hole-y, vile-looking clog things. Not at home. And most certainly not in public.

Then, Thailand happened.


Beach Republic: a lesson in boozin’ it up

There are two things Beach Republic, located in the northern part of Lamai on Koh Samui, makes very clear:

You’re on holiday (!) — drink, drink and drink some more.

And, you, too, can own your own little slice of paradise on the island.

The exterior of Samui's Beach Republic

There is no escaping either of these two messages. Even in the hotel room, a daily “Manifesto” arrives each night, detailing what’s up for tomorrow. A brilliant little piece of marketing to reinforce the brand, the newsletter includes reminders of the Happy Hour special, a featured drink of the day, and a reminder that visitors can own their own spot (or share) in the property.

When I arrive to Beach Republic, it’s late in the afternoon on Sunday, and the daytime revelers seeking out one of the island’s best brunches (or so it is noted) have already departed as the clouds begin to roll through and the wind picks up.

Suite Style

I head to my suite, a spacious room on the second floor, ready to unwind.

A room at Beach Republic on Samui

The room is nice, it is sleek and modern with few accessories. But, it is also lacking a certain warmth I expect from a luxury resort on a tropical island — namely a view. My large patio overlooks, well, nothing really. There are palm trees to remind me I’m in a tropical place, but there are also power lines. When I sit outside on the patio, I can hear them buzzing.

Then, there’s the bed. It’s nice, although the pillows are far too squishy for my taste. (Note: the afternoon I leave, I notice on a table at reception that there is a pillow menu (!), something I would have loved to indulge in had I known about it.)

Instead of hanging around my room, I decide to explore the property.

I leave the main building, which houses the hotel rooms, and head down the paved path to the beach, passing large, white walls with wooden doors masking the posh villas with private pools from the view of the public and guests.

Passing the villas at Beach Republic

I can only imagine the luxury oozing in those rooms.

Signs at Beach Republic

The signage en route to the beach and pool is kitschy. The property has created the “Ministry of Information” and encourages readers to go, chill, drink and dine in the self-contained party environment.

Pool parties

The pool at Samui's Beach Republic

The pool area is gorgeous. Outfitted with plenty of plush lounge chairs, couches and large, canopied beds, it’s easy to see why people would flock here for a Sunday brunch party.

When I arrive, there are a few stragglers, but it is close to sunset, and most of them have likely partied enough for the day and headed to their rooms.

The pool at Beach Republic on Samui

In between the two pools, a DJ continues to spin chill tunes.

At first glance, it reminds me a lot of the Vegas pool scene, just void of the scantily clad, gorgeous bodies and drunken antics which seem to be out of control in the City of Sin. Here, it is far more relaxed. At least on this evening.

And then, of course, there is the beach.

Beach at Beach Republic

I settle into a seat at the restaurant and order a veggie burger and a Singha. It’s two-for-one beers, so the 120 baht price tag for one doesn’t hurt me as much as it would if it wasn’t a special.

Staff is friendly enough, they come up to me, chat, smile and make sure I get my beer and food.

Al fresco dining

Dining and chilling at Beach Republic

The food is another story. Dinner is OK. It’s a veggie burger, and you can’t really mess up veggie burgers (unless you go to one place by my house in Chiang Mai which contends a veggie burger is merely a fried hunk of mashed potatoes), and I love that there are pickles on the sandwich. Is it anything to write home about? Not really.

Breakfast the next day is similar. The morning buffet, which runs from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. has heaps of a la carte offerings and a selection of fruit, cereal and cheese, plus fresh-squeezed juices. I order poached eggs and sauteed potatoes. The eggs are fine, but the potatoes are served in a little pot and smothered in … cheese? I can’t tell. But, being someone who isn’t a huge fan of cheese, I try a little and decide to just sip my coffee and take in the killer view of the pool and sun-soaked white sand below.

The next day, I try out the french toast which boasts a sweet scattering of cinnamon, honey and other tasty ingredients. Again, it is just OK. I can’t really taste any of the sweet.

Spaghetti at Beach Republic

Lunch my last day was the best — a simple spaghetti aglio y olio with heaps of garlic and soaked in olive oil.

Location, location, location

Because of its location at the north end of town, there isn’t much to do in the area other than hang out at the pool and beach. So, that is exactly what I do. My last night, I head out of the property and into town. In the late afternoon, songthaews are scarce and the price taxis want to drive me 10 minutes down the road makes me roll my eyes. I opt to hop on a motorbike taxi for more than I would pay for a tuk tuk in Chiang Mai, and meet my friend for dinner and drinks at Black Pearl Restaurant.

The following day, the person at the front desk gives me a gorgeous little treat — a late check out to the tune of 4 p.m. But, not before telling me I can book a taxi back to the airport for a whopping 700 baht. I decide to skip the taxi and try my luck on the main street (which grants me a savings of 300 baht).

The bottom line

Would I stay here again? Yes —  if I had friends at the property and a wallet stuffed with baht to indulge in the boozing beachside. But, as a solo traveler who isn’t going to rage it up alone? Not likely. It just isn’t close enough to the city for me. Then again, I don’t think Beach Republic is made for those traveling solo looking to simply chill. It fosters an environment of true holiday spirit — fun and sun. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Hell, I almost want to go and scoop up my friends in Chiang Mai and whisk them down south with me for a sweet weekend of debauchery.

It is nice? Absolutely. The staff, the rooms, the property itself are gorgeous and presented well. I always felt comfortable and welcome. I would have liked to check out the spa, but I didn’t even find it until the last day of my stay, tucked behind the restaurant with a lone sign pointing somewhere.

Editor’s Note: My time stay was courtesy of Beach Republic, however all opinions are my own. If you have questions regarding this, please read my disclosure policy

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