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“Not as good as I was expecting”

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Staying Cool at the Rotunda
Ranked #1 of 118 Hotels in Birmingham
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 24 October 2011

I recently stayed at staying cool for my girlfriends birthday , we have stayed in Birmingham several times using the Radisson and the Hyatt Regency , but we thought we'd give this a try based on trip advisor reviews.

We were given a free upgrade to a penthouse which was a great start to our stay.
We parked easily in the bull ring and did find the entrance with no problem although I can see how people may find it a little tricky to find.
We arrived early and our room wasn't ready so we went off shopping (the bullring is literally next door) and came back at 3 when it was. They had just fitted new black out curtains for us and also gave us our carparking for free as the room wasn't ready when we arrived , very nice touch.
The room was great , good size , spectacular view and very clean. We didnt have a hair dryer which was quickly sorted and at the same time we were shown how to use the new espresso coffee machine. We were also given advice on restaurants and bars.
The furniture is all very trendy and hip but my word the sofa's are really uncomfortable !
Another point is the bathroom with just the shower needs a much better screen ... hard to have a shower without flooding the bathroom !
As a couple we really didnt need the penthouse , dont get me wrong its nice , but its just a big room with 2 bedrooms , it would be good for couples though. (although the sliding doors do fit very well so soundproofing may be an issue !).
The apple computer is a nice touch and it has an Ipod dock althought I couldnt get ours to work.

Our big issue was the wind noise. It was a very windy night and being so high up the wind whistled around the doors / windows all night and didnt make for a very good nights sleep at all. Im not sure what it would be like on a less windy night but if its forecast to be blowing a gale then id think twice about the penthouse.

When we woke in the morning we used the breakfast cereal and had a very good espresso. When we went to use the "fresh oranges" we found them to be mouldy , a new bag was sent up to us but it did make me laugh a bit as in the leaflets that you find in the apartment it states "dont worry if the oranges arent all perfectly round , they have been hand picked for their juicyness" ....... ours arrived in a net from sainsburys ..... not so sure they were handpicked more plucked from the Sainsburys express around the corner !

Check out was a bit of a let down , we gave our key to the guy on the front desk and he just said thanks and took the key. Was maybe expecting a "did you have a nice stay?" or "hope to see you again soon" ..... was literally a case of bye then ! Had he asked us we would have pointed out some of the issues that we had but we just thought if he can't be bothered to ask us then we won't bother to tell him.

Another thing that I noticed was that other reviewers had mentioned about the rest of the building being used as student accomodation. Staying cool denied this but while we were there the only other people that we saw using the building were lots of people that looked suspiciously like students , mainly Chinese.When we checked in we were passed by several youngsters that went behind the front desk to check their mail boxes. I was accompanied in the lift by two young lads wearing 5 a side football kit and talking very loudly. After our meal we were in the lift with a drunk student who couldn't remember what floor he lived on. Now this didnt affect our stay one bit but for other people I could see how it might and I really think "staying cool" should be honest about who else is using the building.

So , to sum it up , the location is great , the rooms are very clean , cool and well kitted out but not that comfy. Most of the staff are very friendly and helpful but some do let it down.

Right now i'm not so sure that we would stay here again.

Room Tip: If you're a couple go for the clubman , you dont need the penthouse , although the penthouse bal...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank chrisking1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Manager at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 29 October 2011

Hi chrisking1234

Many thanks for your detailed feedback. It is great to hear you liked some elements of your stay – the views really are spectacular, aren't they. I enjoyed doing the coffee demonstration with you. Do let me know via email if you enjoyed the restaurant so we can update our apartment guide.

Now to the bits you didn’t like. The bathrooms were designed as wet rooms, therefore some water will spill onto the bathroom floor. Although we make this clear on our website about the Mini apartments, we had forgotten to do the same on the Roadster Penthouse page as it has the two different bathroom types. We have now updated that.

Thanks for letting us know about the iPod dock. We have checked it and it seems to be working fine (using an iPhone) but we will keep an eye on it.

Sincere apologies about the oranges - this should have been spotted before you arrived. You certainly shouldn’t have been given a bag directly from Sainsbury’s. We generally buy our oranges from the Birmingham produce market. I asked the servicing team why you were given supermarket oranges and the response back was that it was done for speed while we were waiting for the big box to arrive so you were not kept waiting.

Sorry to hear you were kept awake a little by the noise. As we are so high up, if it is very windy - as it was when you stayed - then you can hear the wind.

Being in such a central location and the very fact that (provincial) city centre apartment blocks generally attract younger people rather than families or older people, it is not surprising that the majority of the building’s demographic is young people. Also, as we are in a city with fantastic universities we inevitably do have some students living in the building. Most, as you point out, are from overseas and China especially. (The guest relations team get given some very tasty snacks as a result!) The remainder of the other residents are predominantly young professionals as mentioned before.

I can’t apologise enough for your check-out experience. This is not the norm as we are normally very chatty on check out and like to know where you went the night before. I need to speak to the team member on duty that morning who is away on holiday at the moment, so I will come back to you personally via email when I have caught up with him next week.

Best wishes

Gavin Burns
Head of Guest Relations/Marketing

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896 - 902 of 983 reviews

Reviewed 24 October 2011

Much better than staying in a hotel and great price. Unbelievable views you have to stay here!!! Brilliant use of space in studio apartments.
Only marked down because the bin hadn't been emptied from the previous occupant and the sides weren't wiped down properly but only slight negatives.

Room Tip: Any room on the 18th/19th floor
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Miss-KH1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 29 October 2011

Hello Miss-KH1

Thanks for writing the review - I have to agree that the Mini apartments are indeed very cleverly designed. They are my favourite apartments. I'm sorry about the bin not being emptied - we can't work out from your initials which apartment you stayed in so we can investigate. Would you mind emailing us separately? Many thanks.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Reviewed 19 October 2011

The staff were very helpful for me to set up the surprise for my wife, I said she was going up to see the view. The position is wonderful, the room is excellent and were were able to have food heated up and have a small party in the apartment.
it is pricey for one couple but as it has two bedrooms and bathrooms it would be good value for two couples sharing.

Room Tip: Ask over the phone what view is available , they are very helpful.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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Thank dodge011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 29 October 2011

Hello dodge011

Congratulations on your wife's recent 60th - it was a pleasure to be able to assist with the celebrations. Yes our team in Birmingham is very helpful and knowledgeable - thank your for your kind words.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Reviewed 18 October 2011

What can one say about this place that hasn't been said already! Luxury, comfort, style, perfect location, staff helpfulness and friendliness are but a few of the strongpoints here. The first time I set foot in one of the apartments, my initial reaction was simply 'WOW', followed quickly by 'YIPPEEEEE' as I moved around discovering all the little, and not so little luxuries of the place. First and foremost is the feeling of quiet peace you get from a stay here. you have an unparalleled view of the city from above, without this being tainted by any cacophony. The living room consists of a gorgeous and very comfortable sofa (I've had a couple of great naps on this), opposite which is a huge flat screen with sky, and apple internet connection (if you have trouble connecting, just ask the staff about it, they're wonderfully helpful). the kitchen is fully equipped with any appliance you might need for short or long stays, namely; fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine, all boasting brand names such as Miele and Bosch. The crowning glory in this collection is a beautiful Baby Gaggia coffee maker. The bathroom boasts a comfortable tub, a power shower and toiletries that smell and feel so gorgeous you'll be looking for excuses to pop in there a fair few times a day. I've left the bedroom for last because it is my favorite part of the apartment and a little slice of heaven. The sheets and pillows are softness itself and the mattress is something truly special. Its memory foam ensures you a completely blissful night's sleep. To be honest, I slept so well in this bed, I bought a memory foam mattress as soon as I got back home. In conclusion, i love staying here, and its position (a 2 minute walk from the Bullring) ensure my continuing visits. I have yet to try the penthouse and the Clubman Cabriolet, but I don't think it'll be too long ;-)

Room Tip: No problems here, all rooms are excellent, just make sure to get a Maxi (which has two bedrooms) if...
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  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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Thank Rootless1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2011

Hello Rootless1

Thanks for the rave review. i totally agree with your point about memory foam mattresses. Once smitten, it's hard to go back to a regular bed!

We have just opened some new apartments at Rotunda so be sure to give these a try next time. Thanks again.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Reviewed 18 October 2011

Had great expectations of two nights here. What a disaster. Despite the booking confirmation letting us know they would be in touch to get our breakfast order and to give us details about arrival, we had no contact. Consequently, we had no breakfast ingredients in our room and were told there would be no staff available at our time of arrival. We arrived late after a flight on Sunday evening and our driver couldn't find the address (it's in a pedestrianised area of the city centre). Eventually we managed to skirt around late night drinking crowds to find an intercom to the security guard for the building. He eventually came out and brought us in through the back entrance. We walked through the rubbish storage area with old mattresses, skips and detritus (for a 21 storey building - you can imagine what that's like), down metal steps into a dark reception area where we had to sign a piece of paper committing not to make noise, have parties etc... unbelievable! When we got to the room it was absolutely tiny - yes, we booked a 'mini' and yes it was relatively cheap, and had a great view but it was too small for two people to stay in any degree of comfort. Suitable maybe for a single person working in Birmingham for a week who doesn't need much in the way of comfort but for us it was totally unsuitable. We love hip hotels and boutiquey quirky places but this just didn't deliver. We left next day, dropping the keys back to the unattended security desk in the morning. We will not return.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled on business
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5  Thank clontarf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2011

Hello clontarf

We were all very disheartened to read your review.

Firstly, I’m sorry to hear that your chauffeur had difficulty finding the building. We sent directions, with the booking confirmation, to your PA on 14th October, via email, as requested. This contained the best sat nav postcode to use when driving. The same confirmation also contained the breakfast menu but we didn’t receive any additional food requests from you.

Our concierge team is on duty from 8.30am to 10pm when there are either one, two or three Staying Cool team members available. Thereafter, the desk is staffed by a night guard, like it is in many small hotels. The guard has building patrols to make and therefore cannot always be at the desk, although the entry phone diverts straight to his phone so any delays should be minimal.

We always phone any guests who haven’t checked in by 9.30pm to be sure they are ok and know where to come etc and I know that you spoke to Keisha - one of our concierge team - that evening.

The night guard should not under any circumstances have allowed you to walk through the loading bay to gain access to the building. This is a shared loading bay with several Bullring shops and I agree it is not a pleasant sight. All guests should use the front door, while we bring any heavy luggage through the back door. It seems the guard was just trying to get you checked in as quickly as possible after your journey and therefore took you the shortest route to try and be helpful – but we all wish he hadn’t and I can only apologise.

The size and choice of apartment is obviously down to personal preference. We have many returning couples who stay in a Mini for a week or more at a time and love it. With hindsight, you probably would have been happier in the larger Clubman apartment, or a penthouse. We only wish you had spoken to us in the morning before leaving as we might have been able to have upgraded you.

We thought it was strange that you had checked out so early, and we were concerned, so we asked your PA if everything was ok but she didn’t know why you had checked out early and we didn't hear anything further. I’m really sorry we didn’t live up to your expectations and I wish you had got in touch before you left so that we could have tried to rectify the situation.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Reviewed 12 October 2011

Last weekend, myself and three friends stayed in one of the Penthouse suites. It was like being in Sex in the City! We loved all the mod cons such as the Apple Mac computer in one of the bedrooms, the iPod docking station, Sky TV, an orange juice squeezer and coffee maker,

The views were amazing and if you squinted, we could have been in New York!

The beds were comfortable, the showers were lovely and hot and the soft dressing gowns were ideal for relaxing in.

We were welcomed with a smile and given all the information we needed. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff.

The walls are a bit thin and there was a bit of noise from the suite next door until the early hours.

Will definitely be going back there one day. The location is amazing and just a short walk from the train station and a hop, skip and jump from all the wonderful shops at the Bullring!

Our homes are boring compared to this apartment!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 2005 with a view direcly across the city.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Hannah C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 16 October 2011

Hello Hannah

I can tell you thoroughly enjoyed your stay last weekend. I'm just disappointed that you could hear the guests next door as we have a zero tolerance approach to noise (and the walls aren't that thin!). I'm very sorry they disturbed you. We do rounds at night to check for noise but if you call down to reception at the time, then we can do something about the situation immediately. A tip for next time perhaps, when you must try a different penthouse for an alternative view.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Reviewed 4 October 2011

Dropped our bags off before the check in time, went for something to eat came back checked in no problems all very friendly. Bags had been taken up to our room. Was advised that the carpet had a couple of stains but time had not allowed it to be cleaned. Honestly couldn't spot anything when I got into the room, nice to be told though! 2nd time here would come back time and time again, local for shops ICC and NIA. Fantastic views. All in all a fantastic place to stay.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Dave G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TraceyStayingCool, Owner at Staying Cool at the Rotunda, responded to this reviewResponded 16 October 2011

Hello Dave G

Thanks for choosing to stay a second time - and for writing the review. It's always great to read reviews from regular guests. Until the next time.

Best wishes
Tracey

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Additional Information about Staying Cool at the Rotunda

Address: 150 New Street, Birmingham B2 4PA, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > West Midlands > Birmingham
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Birmingham
#1 Luxury Hotel in Birmingham
#2 Romantic Hotel in Birmingham
#2 Green Hotel in Birmingham
#3 Family Hotel in Birmingham
Price Range: £89 - £330 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Staying Cool at the Rotunda 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay at the top of the city's iconic Rotunda and enjoy amazing views of the city from your very own beautifully designed apartment right in the heart of the city centre (Selfridges will be your corner shop). Each apartment has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open fully and the Penthouses have their own outdoor balconies. These stylish apartments have been designed with your maximum comfort in mind. Each comes with bespoke designer furniture, a very well-equipped Poggenpohl kitchen, espresso maker with complimentary locally sourced milk and Illy or Fairtrade coffee, oranges for the juicer, iPod dock, plus a king size bed with pocket sprung/memory foam mattress for the very best night's sleep. There's a 24 hour reception plus daytime/evening concierge offering Staying Cool's renowned service. Choose from Minis (studios), Clubmans (one beds), Maxis (two beds) and Roadsters (two bed Penthouses). And if you don't like heights, we have two apartments on level two (the Olympian and Cabriolet). In short, stay in the best location, in an award winning Grade II listed building and experience life like a local. If you book via Staying Cool's website then you will get a complimentary bottle of wine or free parking and the guaranteed cheapest rate. ... more   less 
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