Brighton Big Screen – the Ibis Sweetbed experience

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I would say that last week we ‘nipped’ down to Brighton for a night last weekend, however, the truth is that Southern Rail had other ideas and all of the direct trains to Brighton were cancelled so we ended up on a delayed train to East Croydon and then a packed train to Brighton where we stood the whole way. So glamorous. But, it was all worth it as we were off to spend the evening watching Pulp Fiction on the beach at Brighton Big Screen.

After squeezing off our packed train, our first stop was our host for the evening, and sponsor of Brighton Big Screen – the Brighton Ibis Hotel. Located only steps from Brighton Station, it’s ideally located and means there’s no need to drag a suitcase around Brighton, plus it’s on the main street down to the sea and is well situated for the Lanes.

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Our room was well appointed with everything you need from a hotel room for the night – a clean bathroom and spacious shower, a TV with plenty of channels (not that we were due to be spending time watching TV when we could be out exploring) and an Ibis Sweetbed, a bed designed to ensure a good night’s sleep. My only complaint? No plug sockets right by the bed, although luckily my charger did stretch from the nearest plug socket.

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After spending the day in Brighton (more on that soon, including a post on one of the best meals we’ve had), we headed downstairs to meet Erica, Emma and Leigh and their guests for drinks in the hotel bar before hopping into a cab down to the seafront, where Brighton Big Screen is located, to meet up with Leanne.

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There were bars (including this super cute candyfloss pink van), street food stalls and little snack stands  bordering the site, something which other outdoor screens offer, but I’ve never seen such a good selection.

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We were given a little tour around the site and I was amused to note that the fire exit was pretty much just a route straight to the sea. Ideal.

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We started with drinks in the bar with Bill Murray (yes, THE Bill Murray, nah, only kidding) who explained that the Brighton Big Screen had started off as a free big screen showing the 2012 Olympics but after a huge showing of support from the local community, made the organisers realise that they were onto something special! It’s been running for several years now and is getting bigger, better and more varied every year. The Ibis Sweetbed experience is this year’s newest addition and has proved to be super popular. Fenced off in its own VIP area, it is super impressive.

We stepped beyond the picket fence and into a curtain-lined tent (complete with chandeliers) where we found our beds for the night! Seriously, how amazing does this look?

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Brighton Big Screen offers several different ticket options for their films (sports have free admission):

General Admission – £3 – Ticket guarantees entry.
Grandstand Tickets – £7 (for adults) – Includes guaranteed entry, a shaded covered seat in the grandstand and bar access.
VIP Experience – £30 – Includes guaranteed entry, a shaded covered seat, bar access & extras.
Ibis Sweetbed experience – £40 – Includes guaranteed entry, the reservation of a comfy ibis double bed and access to the VIP bar area.

The Ibis Sweetbed experience is definitely the fanciest and as we bounced onto our beds we drew some envious glances from those passing by. I totally felt like a VIP, although perhaps everyone was just disappointed that we weren’t Zoella (who had been there only the week before us to enjoy the Sweetbed experience and who vlogged the experience).

Although in past years the screen had been placed so the seats were facing East, this year it was positioned so that everyone faced West, which meant that the sun was setting behind the screen and we were able to watch the sky gradually go from grey-blue to golden orange before darkening to black as the evening went on.

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Popcorn and more drinks were delivered bedside and we sat back as the film started without ceremony. My favourite bit of Somerset House is when the introductory music starts up, the searchlights start to whirl and you know it’s time to settle down. Brighton Big Screen needs to introduce something similar as the film just started up with no fanfare – I love some pomp and ceremony!

I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction (yes, I know), although I have seen other Tarantino films, so I was excited to watch it and to spot all the pop culture references that I’ve never really understood before.

Although we started off just perched on the bed, as the night wore on and the light and temperature dropped, we slipped underneath the duvet. We don’t have a TV in our bedroom, partly because there’s no TV point in there and partly because it doesn’t make for a particularly restful bedroom, so we never get to watch TV in bed. We sometimes (mainly if I’m hungover) put the sofabed up in the lounge and spoil ourselves by vegging out, but mostly we never watch TV all snuggled up under a duvet, so this was a wonderful treat.

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Unlike other outdoor film screenings, Brighton Big Screen have an interval in the middle of the film – which offers the perfect opportunity to nip to the (Porta)loo, grab some food from one of the many food stalls or refuel at the bar. Being VIPs, we had food delivered to our bed – so luxe, in fact, how do I make this happen in my real life?

We’d chosen pizza from Pizzaface – an Albore for me (pork and wild boar salami, pancetta and fresh rosemary) and a Johnno for my boyfriend (red onions, olives, peppers, sautéed mushrooms, parmesan and fresh chillies). Perfect film watching food.

When the film resumed we settled back in and under the covers as the night got colder. Now it may have been the wine, it might have been the fact that I’d just come back from four long days of work in Brussels, it might have been the sea air but I think it was probably the comfort of the Sweetbed that caused me to drop off to sleep ever so briefly towards the end of the film. Poor Erica stopped by our bed to check we were ok for drinks and caught me dozing (I just hope I wasn’t drooling or anything).

As the film finished and people applauded we were so warm and cosy and all needed coaxing out from under the duvets. As other people started leaving and they were all bundled up with coats, we knew that the glares were envy as we were all super tucked up and comfy. Luckily we knew that we were trading our Sweetbed on the beach for a Sweetbed back at the Ibis hotel and as soon we got back to the hotel and my head hit the pillow I was out like a light.

The next morning we all convened for breakfast and a little tour of the hotel. We were shown around by Gabor who explained to all of the little touches which make the Brighton Ibis special, including their breakfast which they recently improved following feedback. Now it’s all presented in a slightly rustic farmhouse style and a greater selection is offered. We were surprised to learn how about the flexibility that each Ibis branch has to change certain things, like breakfast.

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After checking out we left our bags at the hotel and went off into Brighton to explore a little more, but that is a tale for another post.

We had a wonderful time at Brighton Big Screen and although it’s now finished for this year, I’ll be keeping an eye out for next year’s programme. When I told my mum about what we’d been up to she loved the idea, so maybe it’ll be me and her on a bed next year! Ibis Hotels, you have to be a sponsor next year – sitting on the floor just wouldn’t be the same experience!

Our night at the Ibis Brighton and the Ibis Sweetbed Experience were provided on a complimentary basis by Ibis. Thanks Ibis and Talented Talkers for the invite! 

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  • This sounds like so much fun! Can’t wait to read your next posts about Brighton – especially the best meal ever!

  • Carolin

    What a great experience to be part of! I would love to have a bed whilst watching a film, so if it is rubbish, you can just fall asleep right? Glad to see you’ve enjoyed Brighton!

    Caz | Style Lingua