The city walls creep around the back of the circular glass building and the racecourse sprawls on the other side of the walls. There’s a busy traffic island out front, but the views across the city and the soundproofing enable me to overlook these things.
There are four different kinds of rooms: comfortable, desirable, enviable and fabulous. Despite the daft names, each room comes complete with the kind of carefully-considered extras that make a hotel for me: proper hairdryers and proper coat hangers, a decent iron, full length mirrors, heated bathroom mirrors (no steaming up!), a DVD player, cooling systems that actually work and a Vi-Spring mattress (almost a guarantee of a good night’s sleep). Some rooms feature views of the internal piazza, some of the racecourse or city – express your preference when checking in. Every level of room offers something a bit different and the more expensive accommodation has extras like iPod docking stations, free-standing baths in the bedroom and complimentary “tuck box” trays, featuring crisps, nuts, chocolate and juices. I stayed in an enviable room the last time I was at ABode, and loved the orange lights around the bedhead and under the step to the next level, which gave off a lovely glow at night. I also appreciated the latest editions of GQ and Vogue on the coffee table. I like that your keycard allows access only to the floor of your room, plus the reception and restaurant, it’s extra peace of mind for security.
No lounge to speak of, though the bars and café are open to guests.
Eating and drinking
Celebrated chef Michael Caines has left an imprint on all four eating and drinking options. There’s the funky lounge bar on street level, where a resident DJ plays relaxed beats every Friday and Saturday. The MC café bar and grill opens on to the central piazza of the circular building. It’s a taste of the fine dining available upstairs and offers real value for money. An al fresco bite to eat is possible year-round under the outdoor heaters. The walls feature celebrity portraits, as do most of the public areas throughout the hotel, and you can take your coffee under the watchful eye of Hugh Grant or the open mouth of Ozzy Osbourne. The Champagne Bar on the fifth floor features knockout views and an impressive array of drinking options. A giant pouting Debbie Harry watches over the bar and a balcony adds to the glamour. The Michael Caines restaurant is causing a stir on the dining scene in Chester. Rightly so, the menu is classic, carried out with aplomb using locally-sourced produce and presented immaculately.
A small but functional gym.
Staff in all areas of the hotel are quick with eye contact, and follow that with attentive and polite service.
Who stays there
A real mix of guests. Race-goers and locals love the glamour on offer here, business visitors like the central location and leisure visitors are enjoying something new.
Limited spaces are available in the basement car park costing £10 per night. There are other options nearby; the hotel will advise.
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- The majority of rooms have incredible views
- City/racecourse location
- Value for money
- Some rooms, including the more expensive suites, have piazza views
- Limited parking