After a few weeks of too much work and not enough play, it was time for a little break. I was in the mood for something slick, stylish and super sexy, so I logged onto Mr & Mrs Smith to look for inspiration. All it took was the promise of a complimentary half bottle of champagne in my room, and I was booking up without checking the rates available elsewhere – very unlike me.
I hadn’t visited Stratford-upon-Avon since I was a nipper and my tastes have changed somewhat since then. There may not have been an ice-cream parlour within walking distance, or a stash of Disney DVDs, but The Church Street Town House really was modern me’s idea of the perfect crash pad.
I knew I’d booked a self-titled ’boutique hotel’, and bearing in mind that I’d recently read Andy Jarosz’s hilarious post on the topic, I stepped in the door with a certain amount of caution. Some might find the silvered Rococo furniture and dim lighting a bit brash, a little bit porn-palace-for-the-naughties. But me? I bloody loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I think I’m going to have to make a list so that this post doesn’t drag on forever. I loved:
- The complimentary decanter of ruby red port (complete with etched glass logo of the hotel – swish)
- The complimentary bag of shortbreads and flapjacks (the way to ANYONE’S heart…)
- The roll top bath beside the bed complete with tea light holders (ooh la la)
- The iPod dock (a boutique feature that I did actually use!)
- The giant silver key tag (I am Alice in Wonderland, I am)Shortbread and giant room key
- The hair straighteners (better than my ones at home)
- The crown-shaped bathroom accoutrements (something to look at whilst, you know)
- The low, timbered ceiling (I’m short so they make me feel taller)
- The location right in the centre of town (right opposite the cutest of all traditional alms houses ever)
- The cosy bars and restaurant downstairs (open to all for scones, beer and breakfast)
- The full breakfast menu from which I could choose anything I liked (food is becoming a theme here)
- The grammar school boys playing the piano after school in the bar (adorable adolescence personified)
- And I definitely would have liked the champagne happy hour if I’d been there on a Friday
It’s clear this property has had a hell of a lot of money invested in it. That’s evident in a sort of naive, nouveau riche way. The Church Street Town House is like a debuntante all dressed up for her first ball, and for me that vibe is all part of its trendy splendour. I wish I had an eye for design like this. Features such as the red drapes are glamorous but a little tongue-in-cheek, and altogether it works.
Breakfast served until 11am is my kind of breakfast. I did make it out of bed earlier than that in the end, despite nearly drowning the previous night thanks to a combination of a boozy dinner followed by a scaldingly hot bath with a glass or two of port. An enjoyable kind of dizziness, though. I had muesli with yoghurt, milk and a delicious berry compote, followed by eggs royale (like eggs benedict but with smoked salmon).
Any quibbles? I’d have liked to have see more veggie options for breakfast, but it was delicious nonetheless. Also, being situated in the middle of Stratford, the hotel isn’t great when it comes to parking. We had to stop a street away to check in and then park at a multi-storey around the block. But who cares? I should have been eco-friendly and got the train, anyway.