It’s the time Strictly Come Dancing fans have all been waiting for – Blackpool week!
With the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to stars travelling up north for a weekend of glitz and glamour at Blackpool Tower, the stars are ready and raring to go this year.
They’ll be dancing in the Tower Ballroom, after Blackpool week officially became a regular occurrence back in 2009.
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The reason behind the move is that Children in Need originally needed space for filming at the old Television Centre in London for one week in November, meaning Strictly had to be temporarily decamped to Blackpool.
But where do the stars stay while they’re away from home? Usually they’re put up at Blackpool’s Big Blue Hotel.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
The Big Blue Hotel has shared various snaps of Strictly stars on the premises over the years, and back in 2019 celebs like Anton Du Beke, Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse could be seen moving in with their suitcases.
It has a 4.5 star average on TripAdvisor, with more than 2,700 visitors rating it ‘excellent’.
In addition, local amusement park Blackpool Pleasure Beach ensures that at least one of its iconic rides is open so VTs and behind-the-scenes clips can be filmed there.
Georgia May Foote got to ride the Big One, while Judge Rinder braved drop tower the Ice Blast.
£80 a night
Rooms at the four-star Big Blue can cost anywhere from £65 all the way up to £185 – and the weekend the stars are heading to the seaside, the average price is around £80.
In addition to the standard room cost, guests can enjoy “homemade cooking” at the Blues Bar & Brasserie – which could be anything from “fresh pizzas” to a “piping hot cappuccino.”
The hotel’s restaurant only uses local produce and requires patrons to “dress appropriately” in order to dine there.
For big spenders or those looking to save money, various packages are available, including swanky suites and theatre breaks.
According to LancsLive, the hotel is “pleasant” but features “so much 70s brown decor”.
The publication sent a reporter out to stay at the hotel and share their findings, which confirmed that the hotel definitely isn’t blue inside.
LancsLive reported: “The overriding colour scheme was various chocolate shades of 70s brown and cream you’re more likely to see in Del Boy’s flat.”
But location is key, and the hotel is placed just over the road from the seafront and metres from the famous Pleasure Beach theme park – not that the Strictly stars will have much time to enjoy the rollercoasters.
The review added that “staff were a delight”, and went to “great lengths” to keep guests happy.
The hotel has also been refreshed and refurbished over the years, with luxe rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and oak and pine furnishings.
Guests will even find DVD players in their bedrooms, with sleek glass showers and clean en-suites awaiting all who stay there.
Even the Strictly stars will have to feed themselves while they’re staying in Blackpool, and luckily the hotel offers a buffet breakfast with all the usual trimmings.
LancsLive reported that on offer are “hot and grilled meats, fried and scrambled eggs, pastries, fruits, cereals, three flavoured juices, coffee, teas and toast”.
Toast reportedly comes back evenly toasted, the eggs are “subtly seasoned” and the bacon is “hot, lean and still sizzling”.
Arlene’s ‘grim’ stay
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Former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips spilled the tea on the “grim” hotel the BBC show put her up in during one of the show’s earlier seasons – though she confirmed it was a different hotel to the Big Blue.
Speaking to Daily Star, she said: “All I can remember is the first time we went to Blackpool the hotel we went in was sort of promenade hotel and it was neither very clean nor very nice.
“We could not believe it, we came to Blackpool and we were staying in a less than three stars hotel.
“We laughed about it forever after but it was cold and horrible. That was with Strictly – the very first time.
"They changed our hotel after that but we were like 'what is this going to be like?' It was nothing like the way it is now.”
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