By Dave Massey @brumhour
(This blog post has previously been published here on 24th November 2014)
The lovely people at Staying Cool Serviced Apartments now occupy 29 apartments across the top four floors of the Rotunda, plus one on the 2nd floor with its own private roof garden. These include studio apartments, one bed apartments, two bed apartments and top floor penthouses for short and long term rental. They invited me to stay for the night, and experience the iconic Rotunda for myself.
Being visible on the Birmingham skyline for 49 years, there isn’t a building in Birmingham that identifies us more than Rotunda. In its previous life it was offices, with a Lloyd’s Bank at the base of it. I used to call it the Coca Cola Tower, as the lights from the Coca-Cola logo above the top floor glowed red across the night sky.
Rotunda has been apartments since 2008, which was when I arrived back in Birmingham myself after three years in.. (Don’t tell anyone!)… Manchester.
For me, Birmingham’s transformation has been on-going my entire life, including being stopped in the street as a kid with my mother and asked, by the Birmingham Postand Mail, her thoughts on the 1992 Birmingham Olympic Bid. (Mrs M was “indifferent”!)
I remember Brindleyplace being built across the 90’s, and the Bull Ring being knocked down and totally rebuilt as a 21st Century shopping destination as Bullring. I watched the Birmingham sorting office for the Royal Mail become Mailbox, and the Library of Birmingham rise to international acclaim.
Sadly I was only a guest for the night!
These thoughts, and many more about the huge history of “my” Birmingham, were flashing through my mind, even as I walked down New Street with my overnight bag filled with all my tech stuff and a change of clothes! I’d been having coffee with Vicky O from +Yelp Birmingham before my arrival, and our conversations always turn towards the city and its venues.
My check-in, just after 3pm, was swift and very pleasant, You really feel that you’ve arrived at exclusive apartments, rather than the reception of a hotel.
Looking out of my apartment’s floor to ceiling windows on the 19th Floor, I found myself with a mild feeling of vertigo. Looking at the stunning panoramic view, I made a wish to the Tech Fairies for a better camera. Having already hooked myself up to the inclusive WiFi, my thoughts turned to food.
My “mini” apartment was pristine with modern furnishings. There exists a minimalist feeling, with splashes of bright colour in the artwork and on the cushions! My space for the night was an open plan, mid-sized studio apartment with a kitchen, lounge/diner, and bedroom all in one space. Great for getting a taste of city centre living.
A full wall splits the kitchen from the rest of the space. I didn’t really notice it was all one space though, as the galley feel to the kitchen makes each area seem individual. I didn’t cook for myself while I was there, however the kitchen is fully equipped with a coffee maker, juicer, cooker and microwave. On the worktop sat tea, coffee from Birmingham’s Urban Cofffee Company, and peppermint tea (my favourite!), plus my breakfast cereal provided ready for the next morning!
The fridge contained a pint of locally sourced milk, as well as large oranges from the Birmingham markets, ready to be juiced.
Settling in for the evening, I watched the lights of the city ahead of me glow as the evening went on. Looking forward to some peace and quiet I’d not invited anyone for dinner, or to have a look around. However, the potential for a 19th floor dinner party was right there!
The Sky box and Blu Ray player provided more than enough company for the evening, after an hour or so of work.
A half-dividing wall splits the lounge from the bedroom. The comfy King-size bed had a huge winter duvet, and after a very relaxing shower I was ready to settle down for the night. The sounds of being in the city centre did not keep me awake, and I heard very little even the next morning when I should have been up checking twitter!
Staying Cool is great for your friends visiting Birmingham who want an apartment that’s not just a hotel. It’s great for you if you want a special night or two in the city, and its great if you have an employee who is moving to Birmingham requiring a short or longer term place to live.
BrumHour has not been paid for this review, but did get a mini apartment for a night in exchange for writing this blog. Thank you Staying Cool!