Birmingham is a city that I often thought about visiting, but never got round to booking. I admit, I didn't know much about Birmingham and what the second largest city in the UK had to offer until I finally took the plunge and booked my train tickets last weekend. Birmingham is a very industrialised city with many red brick buildings, cobbled streets and abandoned factories, but in the past it was also an old market town and today is still very true to its roots with outdoor stalls and street vendors. A large part of the city is taken up by the Birmingham Bullring which attracts almost 36 million visitors a year and houses the fourth largest Debenhams and Forever 21 as well as one of only four Selfridges in the UK.
During my visit to Birmingham I stayed at the Hotel La Tour, a four star hotel that is situated within a five minute walk of most of Birmingham's attractions and the city centre. Admittedly, if you're not from the city, the hotel can be quite difficult to find at first, but once you have found your bearings you will quickly realise the convenience of the location.
The Hotel La Tour* on Albert Street is modern, classic hotel with 174 bedrooms, brasserie-style restaurant, sophisticated bar, gym and conference centre. 'La Tour' opened in 2012 and still looks shiny and new from the moment you enter the building. My husband and I had the pleasure of staying in one of the 'city rooms' which we expected to be rather small like most inner city hotels, but when we checked in we were shocked to see how spacious it was. The room featured a large, comfortable king size bed - one of those that you can roll over in twice and still have space between you, a snazzy 38 inch television, a dual control monsoon shower and White Company toiletries. Being on the 6th floor also meant that we had a spectacular view of Birmingham, albeit looking directly over a car park.
Another impressive thing about this hotel is the affordable luxury price tag. The city rooms start at only £99 per night (approximately £85 if you advance purchase) or £128 including breakfast, in some cities this is cheaper than a budget hotel and you're getting four star services.
After checking in and getting ourselves ready for a night on the town, my husband and I headed down to the bar area. During the day the bar area is used for afternoon tea and drinks and has a beautiful grey and red colour scheme. On a night, the bar area lights up to give it a romantic setting and serves a variety of beverages including mocktails and cocktails. The bar and restaurant is part of Marco Pierre White's Chophouse.
I opted for a Pear Mojito cocktail which was fresh mint, lime and pear juice over crushed ice and it was incredibly refreshing and lovely to drink while listening to the relaxing music in the background. The mocktail was £4.75 which I think is reasonable for a city bar and cocktails were only £9, which may seem steep to some people, but they are still a bit cheaper than London prices.
After sipping our cocktails we headed out around Birmingham and came back to the hotel room around 11pm as I was feeling a little bit unwell. We spent the rest of the night enjoying our really comfy bed, watching television and ordering one or two drinks from the room service. Room service was a minimum of £5 which can be expected at a hotel, but ordering it was quite difficult as my husband and I had to master the highly sensitive touch screen phone. I'd like to think both of us are incredibly tech-savvy, but the phone system just didn't quite work for us and my husband instead decided to run down to the bar.
In the morning we had a long lie in and wandered down to breakfast around 9.30am. The breakfast bar was situated in the lavish Marco Pierre White restaurant which was decorated with roses and looked an absolute delight first thing in the day. My husband and I both loved the vinyl placements and the breakfast had plentiful choices, even for a vegetarian. While dining we were both offered ample amounts of tea and coffee and was asked if we would like the morning papers, the service was top notch and a great way to end our stay.
Overall I would rate the Hotel La Tour highly. The service was impeccable, the room was lovely and as a shopaholic, I loved La Tour's close proximity to the Bullring. Would I visit again? My husband and I are already talking about it!
Have you stayed at the Hotel La Tour before?
*My stay was complimentary but I would happily pay and stay again