by Dave Massey @brumhour
I currently live less than 3 miles from Birmingham city centre, and it has it’s perks. I’m lucky enough to have three different railway stations within 15 minutes walk from home, or 3 different bus routes to get back to my own bed before midnight. If I get really stuck there’s still that free Uber ride, which I’ll download in an emergency!
It’s not often that I need a lovely place to rest my head in Birmingham city centre. When I’m suggesting places to sleep in Birmingham, I’ve got my favourites. Here, no particular order, are five great places to stay:
If you like your buildings square with modern lines then you are in for a treat! Since 2011 this hotel has provided large pod-style rooms that you can use as a base or hide away from the world in. It feels like a futuristic cruise liner in the heart of the building. I stayed here for two nights, the beds were very comfy and the monsoon shower/wet room is great!
They have lots of deals with local businesses in the Jewellery Quarter to make up for a lack of restaurant, giving you a strong sense of community involvement. Bloc’s Brand Communication Manager Julian Kahn is very proud how this hotel is developing. In the Summer of 2015 they will have apart-rooms to add to their experience!
Best for: Hiding away! I’d use it for exploring the city for two or three days.
Fifteen years ago the Birmingham Eye Hospital was transformed into this classic-styled traditional hotel. Even as I entered this Victorian building I felt the history and couldn’t quite believe this was a 21st century transformation. The pride that General Manager Tony Elvin has in this hotel shone as we went from the courtyard, with its retractable roof, and into the popular bistro and over to the see the not one but TWO bars!
Pub Du Vin is a lovely traditional pub with its own street entrance, and the other is the the Bubble Lounge!
Upstairs I was shown a “Standard” double which has a sleigh bed and a monsoon shower! (You will notice I write monsoon showers rather a lot in this blog post!) We then had a look at a corner suite with its huge bed, sofa-sitting area and roll top bath. This hotel wouldn’t look out of place in Paris, London or Rome.
Best for: Treating someone else! I need to look for an excuse to bring someone here!
If you know someone who is coming to Birmingham for conferencing then this is the place to stay. The huge atrium plays host to Aria Bistro with real trees growing in its semi-glasshouse conditions. I met with Leticia who helped me look around this large hotel.
This is much more of a business hotel in the week, with its bridge link right into the International Convention Centre, but plenty of people stay for gigs and concerts at Symphony Hall or the Barclaycard Arena.
We looked at a standard room, which looks over Broad Street and Alpha Tower, with its own proper desk, king sized bed and marble bathroom.
I found myself being shown the 140 square foot PRESIDENTIAL SUITE, which is on the 25th floor with its own private kitchen, dining room and living room with piano! It also has an office, a walk in wardrobe and a huge sunken bath, plus walk in shower/steam room. Oh and a king sized bed! I was too afraid to go near the windows as we were so high. I’m glad there were these photos of the room below on their website!
There’s a pub here, The Gentleman and Scholar, which looks more like a country pub than one right in the heart of Birmingham. The basement hosts a spa, gym and a large pool which is great for treating yourself or someone else.
In my case my cousin wants to go for afternoon tea here! I love that it’s called British Afternoon Tea on the website just to make it extra British!
Best for: Staying for Conferences or Gigs!
I didn’t organise a visit to “The Mal” for this blog as one of my friends has stayed here about 20 times. I think I must have been in most of the rooms! Set in the higher floors of the Mailbox the focus here is on experience, shopping and relaxing.
High up in the hotel is the Penny Black suite. At first I thought I’d entered a posh office, but this room has a living room, bedroom, cinema room, steam room and at that time had a massage table for those people far too famous to relax in public. The view looks into the Mailbox for even more privacy!
There are four suites with Birmingham related names including the Sorting Office and the Post Box to remind you what the building used to be.
All of the decor feels very boutique right down to the look of the desks, and chests for you to store your clothes in. Americans visiting will be used to two large beds in their twin rooms, and the Superior double offers exactly that!
Best for: Indulging after a shop around town or downstairs when the Mailbox is fully refurbished this summer.
I first came here for a meeting last October and then blogged about my experience here: Waking up at Staying Cool. These are apartments with floor to ceiling windows in every apartment, with a concierge down in reception.
This is all about having a home away from home. I looked around the penthouse with its living room, diner, kitchen and two bedrooms, plus a walk out balcony that covers almost 180-degree views from each apartment – should you be brave enough to step out.
There’s a fully furnished kitchen in every apartment with breakfast cereal, milk and locally provided coffee, and even oranges to juice for yourself. Should you wish to have dinner you can even COOK YOUR OWN DINNER. Sorry did I shout that? Cooking Cool gives you the exact ingredients to make your own dinner thanks to Nomad founder Alex Claridge.
Best for: feeling like you are still at home… on the 19th Floor!
Many thanks to Julian at Bloc , Tony at Hotel Du Vin Birmingham, Leticia and Jo at Hyatt Regency Birmingham and Cory at Staying Cool.
I’ve not been paid to write this article, however, I’ve been several times to Staying Cool and was previously given a complimentary night in exchange for an honest review, plus I was given Tea at Hyatt Regency. The suggestions for venues to explore came through twitter feedback.
I’ll be writing more “5 things”, so if you have any suggestions please email me at email@example.com