Set back off the busy Whitchurch Road, just minutes from the main motorway serving Chester. There is a canal walk to the city centre, which would take more than 20 minutes, but by road it’s not really walkable. A cab will set you back about £5, or the city’s park and road (£1.70 return) is right next door. Shopping outlet Cheshire Oaks is less than 10 minutes away by car.
I would avoid the compact standard double rooms, too small for my liking and in need of modernisation. Opt instead for an executive, they’re much bigger and feature dark woods and cherry-red furniture. All rooms have open hanging areas for clothes and at least one full-length mirror – an essential for any female!
Some of the 126 rooms overlook the car park, some the internal courtyard, known as the Chinese Garden – though the manager himself admits he doesn’t know why, it’s just a gravel patch surrounded by trees with some rocks.
The private lawns and patio area are under-used by guests; it’s a relaxing place to while away some free time. The bar next to reception is decked out in the same dark wood and reds of the rooms, though last time I visited the dance music on Radio 1 wasn’t quite conducive to a peaceful atmosphere.
Eating and drinking
The Arts Brasserie serves traditional dishes such as roast chicken and salmon fillet (around £15 each), and for the sweet-toothed, treats like sticky toffee pudding (£5). The hotel thoughtfully allocates couples and smaller groups to the nicer, brighter side of the restaurant if large groups are booked in.
Large rooms for weights and cardio exercise overlook the swimming pool, Jacuzzi and children’s pool at the Seb Coe club. Beauty treatments are on offer, though the rooms are set up near the conference facilities, not the club.
Informal but helpful; more smiles would be nice.
Who stays there
Around 65 per cent leisure, 35 per cent corporate. Some former guests on TripAdvisor bemoan the hotel’s four stars; I suspect the inspector was in a good mood as it only just nudges into that category for me.
Parking is free. The hotel will hold out for rack rate (around £150) on race weekends.
- Business travellers
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- A neat package
- Decent leisure offering
- Free parking
- Not in the city centre
- The standard rooms are small
- Characterless, tired in places, decor