As the first purpose-built hotel in Europe, it seems fitting that the Mercure Cheltenham Queens Hotel still dominates the loveliest neighbourhood of what must be the most beautiful Regency town in England, Cheltenham Spa.
The area known as Montepellier, to be precise, where after a lengthy build, the hotel designed by Robert Wlliam Jerrard opened in 1838 as the Victorian era dawned, named for the new young queen.
The hotel sits on a splendid walk known as the Promenade, overlooking the beautiful
Imperial Gardens designed at the turn of the 19th century. Just around the corner is the
spectacular Montpellier shopping district, a hive of elegant boutiques, decorating shops and cafes.
The original 100 rooms have been reduced to 79 to accommodate en-suite requirements
and the stables which once sheltered 70 horses have been converted to meet 21st century requirements. But what remains is still a gracious four-star hotel with a magnificent
frontage, and some spectacular internal architecture, including a Victorian greenhouse roof.
The Queens is now a Mercure, but French ownership has not interfered with British traditions like a slap-up full English breakfast. In fact Mercure makes more of breakfast
than your typical hotel of this standard, adding fine displays of really ripe fresh fruit,
sophisticated yogurt and berry compote assemblages and properly made eggs
benedict, kippers and undyed smoked haddock in addition to the usual steam-table cooked offerings and generous cold board.
Rooms have all the usual comforts, including a good bed and a large, flat-screen TV and our “Privilege” room was one of the upgraded doubles which also come equipped with fluffy bathrobes and slippers, premium toiletries in the bathrooms and a Nespresso machine.
The only quibbles were a lack of conditioner in the bathroom, and the absence of any shelves in the walk-in shower to hold soap or toiletries. But super-friendly
and efficient staff exceeded expectations. Parking and internet are available – at a price –
and there is a handsome bar and lounge which is a favourite haunt during Gold Cup week.
From £95 per night
Tel: 0044 1242 307800