One of the things I enjoy most in life is the opportunity to explore places I’ve never visited before, so when I was offered the chance to spend a weekend at a Mercure hotel, I practically bit off the hand of the lovely PR chap that contacted me. Weekend hotel breaks are my most favourite thing ever, and I chose the Queen’s Hotel in Cheltenham because a) I’ve never been there before, and b) I’m a sucker for culture and Regency architecture (hence why I love Bath so much). And to say that I absolutely loved both my weekend and the hotel would be the understatement of the year – so I’ve shared a few photos and a must-see video at the end of the post.
Firstly, the wallpaper: I’m sure you’ve already noticed it in the image above? It’s the same one they have in the Houses of Parliament apparently. It adorns the entire staircase of this Georgian hotel and without doubt trumps every staircase of every other hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I can’t talk about the rest of the hotel until I’ve waxed lyrical about the staircase… it’s stunning. The photos below really don’t do it justice, so make sure you play the video to get an idea of the scale of it (all my reactions are genuine, first-time reactions).
Not wanting to sound like a blogger that only says nice things about a product or service – in this case a hotel – just for the sake of being nice, I honestly cannot fault this hotel in any way. There are so many personal “bests” I can attribute to the Queen’s: the best staircase I’ve ever seen, the best (only?) four poster bed I’ve ever slept in, one of the best meals and the best service I’ve ever experienced in a UK restaurant.
A little bit about the hotel: it’s very central, has parking for guests (normally chargeable but the barrier wasn’t working when we went), and it’s easy to get from the car park to reception, which is great when you have large bags to carry. The exterior is as grand as they come, like a miniature Buckingham palace (see my Instagram pictures below).
The staff were wonderful – exceptionally friendly and helpful, not a single unsmiling face amongst them. We stayed in the Queen Elizabeth suite which was huge (in fact bigger than the last flat I had in London, I’m not kidding), and it had massive, double aspect sash windows due to it being a corner room. Oh and a view over one of the local parks, the Imperial Gardens. All the usual facilities were provided – with extras like an espresso machine and an iron and ironing board (my saviour!) – and of a very high standard. The four poster bed you see below was so high we had to practically climb up into it; it was maybe just a little too comfortable… here was my only tiny, tiny issue. We realised in the morning the reason we’d been so hot in the night was because there was a duvet (of sorts) under the bedsheets as well – lovely and snuggly in the winter but not necessary when it’s so mild. It should be removed long before the beginning of June…!
Top row, left to right: The stunning lobby of the Queen’s, The Queen’s Hotel exterior, Our hotel room’s four poster bed. Middle row, left to right: The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, The Wilson Café, Stained glass window in the museum. Bottom row, left to right: Mini picnic in Sandford Park, Vintage Routemaster buses, Neptune’s Fountain.
So after checking in we spent the rest of the day exploring Cheltenham. It’s just the right size for getting around on foot, and if you like grand Georgian buildings everywhere you look then this is the place for you. We went to the Wilson Café at the Art Gallery and had delicious burgers, but it was the meal in the evening at the restaurant that blew me away. As well as rillettes of ham and breads for starters, I had a perfect crème brûlée but! the masterpiece was the duck confit… it was so heavenly I had to stop myself going “ughhhh” Homer Simpson-style with every mouthful.
And here’s something: the service from our waiter was the best I have ever, ever experienced in a UK restaurant. No exaggeration. It was the sort of semi-formal service where my chair was pulled out for me and my napkin was laid in my lap, we were addressed as Mr and Mrs Summers… you get the idea. However, he wasn’t in the slightest bit condescending or out to make us feel uncomfortable – he was chatty and friendly and timed those “is everything okay with your meal” questions perfectly. Great service may be a given in countries like the US, but it can be a bit of a surprise in the UK. So thank you Queen’s, he was an absolute star and made our meal especially memorable.
An Instagram summary of the outfits I wore, from left to right: Pink brogues with olive skinnies, blue 1950s style embroidered eyelets dress, Hotel bathrobe and slippers (no outfit post for that one!), Dandelion blouse and yellow boyfriend jeans (this post’s outfit).
We also enjoyed cocktails in the bar afterwards (now they could have gone on for much longer had we not forced ourselves to leave), and after a great breakfast in the morning – a choice of continental breakfast, meats and cheeses, muffins, pastries and fruit or of course a full cooked English – we checked out of the hotel as two very relaxed and happy campers. For an idea of what we got up to on the Sunday, do watch the video! This gives a great guide to a weekend in Cheltenham – both the Queen’s hotel and things to do and see in the city. You mustn’t miss it for the footage inside the hotel… it’s the best way to get an idea of just how grand it is inside.
(At 01:35 you’ll see a photo of and details about Edward Wilson, the Cheltenham-born doctor who died on the Scott of the Antarctic trip to the South Pole in 1912. You’ll see me standing by his statue a bit later in the video, and the Cheltenham Art Gallery (in the photos above) was renamed The Wilson after him. Amazing fact: I found out he’s exactly 100 years older than me… I love random facts like that)
So did I enjoy our stay at the hotel? Absolutely. Will we recommend it to others? Definitely. Many, many thanks to Mercure for offering us a fabulous stay at the Queen’s. It was great to visit somewhere unknown-to-us and experience a beautiful hotel and impeccable service – top marks, and thank you.
Blouse: c/o Lulus, Jeans: Asos, Panama hat: Tumi at Amazon, Belt: La Redoute, Shoes: c/o Daniel Footwear, Bag: Karen Millen
Linking up to: Visible Monday, Monday Mingle, Funday Monday, Style Sessions, Trend Spin Link-Up, What I Wore Wednesday, Three-Fer Thursday, Passion for Fashion Friday, Friday’s Fab Favourites, Share in Style, Sunday Style Link-Up
I have written this post in collaboration with Mercure Hotels who offered me one night’s accommodation for two with breakfast and dinner included. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.