If you haven’t been to Birmingham for a while, I can highly recommend it. Possibly you’ve not put Birmingham on your shortlist for a city break but accessible from most of the UK, with excellent train links, Birmingham is an easier option than going through the whole airport rigmarole just for a couple of indulgent days away.
Birmingham is compact enough to navigate on foot which means you have Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis all within walking distance. With a range of individual boutiques and high street stores the shopping in Birmingham is up there with the like of Manchester, London and Edinburgh.
Venues such as the O2 Academy and the NEC host all the big acts and the city has a wide range of notable restaurants, many Michelin starred so it’s an ‘easy’ city for entertainment, brunch, shopping and good quality hotels.
Speaking of which, I recently had the pleasure of checking-in to check out Hotel du Vin. Located less than 10 minutes away from Birmingham New Street Station, Hotel du Vin is nestled in the heart of the renowned Jewellery Quarter. The inviting and opulent surroundings made me feel instantly at home, if my home was the size of a hotel! The warm and friendly service was just the icing on the cake and is a reflection of Hotel Manager, the charismatic Tony Elvin.
This historic Victorian building, built in 1884 and which was once an eye hospital, houses 66 uniquely styled bedrooms, a restaurant, a bar and a pub. Along with these plush rooms, it also houses a spa, a gym, good-sized function rooms and an open-air courtyard complete with a retractable roof.
Hotel du Vin is noted in Birmingham for its food and I was not disappointed.
Pub du Vin serves good hearty English food such as fish and chips, pies, steak and hand cut chips. This place is perfect for a drink after work with its relaxed atmosphere and delicious drinks.
Bistro du Vin is elegant but comfortable and perfect for dinner, particularly if you are in company, serving an array of delectable French dishes, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
For those of us who like a cocktail, the fabulous Bubble Bar is the place to be. Decorated in the Venetian Café style, it has a wine cellar with over 400 bins and not one sommelier but an entire sommelier team. There are over 30 different types of champagnes, delightful cocktails and a vast range of spirits. This Bubble Bar is perfect for informal meetings and is where I prefer to base myself whenever I’m in the city. It serves light snacks and great coffee. If you’re in the mood to indulge there’s also afternoon tea.
The hotel is also a fantastic venue for entertaining business clients with its impressive and classy surroundings and free wifi. As anyone with an iPhone will know, their battery life is atrocious so the USB chargers built into the plug sockets are a welcome feature.
This hotel is perfect for an indulgent weekend, with huge baths and Miller Harris toiletries, enormous beds, and sumptuous linen sheets and there’s a stack of luxury magazines, a rarity in many city hotels these days.
The basement spa is a must, It has a brilliant range of treatments including massages, facials and all the usual maintenance treatments such as waxing, nails, tans and lashes using ESPA, St Tropez and Jessica products.
Serious about female traveller safety, the hotel also has had secondary locks installed in order to meet the maiden-voyage.com standard.
Maiden-voyage.com members also get a complimentary glass of house wine during their stay, now which of the 400 will you choose?
Want to know more about what Birmingham has to offer, read our city guide and meet Birmingham ambassador Lisa Smith