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“Enjoyable weekend break but............”

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Hotel du Vin & Bistro
Ranked #31 of 118 Hotels in Birmingham
Reviewed 19 October 2009

We stay in Birmingham a lot - my partner's daughter is at the university and we try and time our visits to coincide with Chelsea playing at Aston Villa, B'ham City, or Wolverhampton - we like the busy feel of the city (and the fact that it isn't London). This was our second visit to this hotel - last time around we had a much larger room which was very comfortable (and cost a bit more) - on this particular visit we opted for a standard double room which seemed pokey by comparison.

We were there for a chilling out weekend and the big comfortable bed and duvet certainly helped with that - unfortunately the noise of an extractor fan from somewhere within the inner courtyard that our room faced onto didn't - as we like to sleep with a window ajar it was a bit like having an industrial vacuum cleaner humming away throughout the night. As we were very tired though from a very busy week it didn't disturb our sleep too much although it was something we were conscious of and could have done without.

Without exception the staff are excellent - the front desk staff, those in the restaurant and in the two bars were all very friendly and seemed keen to give a good impression. We liked that a lot. We also liked the lively civilsed atmosphere in the bar (particularly the dowstairs "pub" and in the mornings the relaxing breakfasts (lingering over a second pot of tea, sharing the newspaper and finishing off the toast and jam).

Also we did our duty for "feed an impoverished student week" by inviting my partner's offspring to have dinner with us (and to test to the full the restaurant's "relaxed and informal" dress code) - dinner was also a long and lingering affair due mainly to the very slow service (for which they apologised) although the food was generally above average (with a wide and varied menu choice) with the portions just about large enough to represent reasonable value.

We enjoyed staying here - the location is good and were comfortable enough - we'd probably opt for a larger sized room though and will insist on a room not facing onto the noisy courtyard.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sub_three
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,452 - 1,458 of 1,594 reviews

Reviewed 11 October 2009

The hotel is well located (New Street is easy as are shops and cathedral). The rooms are good and some are quirky. Good bar downstairs, good value restaurant, but the main attraction is the "can do" attitude of all the staff who are helpful and nothing seems too much trouble.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank BobStamford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2009

This the 4th Hotel du Vin that I have stayed at (Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Cambridge) and I found it the least welcoming of all of them. This may have been because people were arriving for a corporate function at the same time that I checked in. However, service let this hotel down consistently over the course of the overnight stay. Examples of frustrating service were the non answering of the reception telephone (even though when I went down two minutes later there were 3 staff members milling around the reception and office area and no guests), no room service apart from cold sandwiches after 10pm, a bar person that didn't really know what she was doing, no turn down service and no free water in the room. When I raised the last point upon checking out (because alot of other hotels now do it) and wanted to raise it as a suggestion the only response I got was 'We've never done that!'.

In fact it was this attitude that for me highlights Hotel du Vin's potential problem in the future. They seem to be so comfortable with their formula that they don't realise that their concept, design and raison d'etre doesn't differentiate them any more. Others may have copied them but they've also overtaken them.

Personally, I found this particular hotel a bit dark and gloomy and whilst the theme of the rooms may have been to convey industrial basic (in line with the area of the city it is in) it wasn't too my taste. The decor of the bedroom certainly didn't reflect the fact that they were named after grape varieties or wine producers.

Having also stayed at the Malmaison in Birmingham (part of the same group) I would be recommending friends to stay there rather than the more pricey (but better located) Hotel du Vin.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled on business
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Thank Kegglesworth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2009

I have stayed here a few times now - I only keep coming back because it's paid for by work and is literally across the road from the office! The hotel is just so depressing - every room and corner is dark and dimly lit. You can barely see the buttons on the lift it is so dark. The hotel used to be a Victorian eye hospital but it feels more like a Victorian workhouse!!

The rooms are tiny - even the 'large' doubles are small. Last time I was here I went home with about 6 bruises on my legs where I kept bashing into the end of the bed every time I tried to walk round the room! It certainly isn't luxury - the room decor is just horrible! I never realised the colour of a wall and the lack of natural light could make you so miserable! The room is dark and dingy and the whole feel is like being in a claustrophobic box! The bathroom is very cold and clinical and feels like it has been there since the days when it was a hospital - however, I have to compliment the shower which produces an absolute torrent of water!

Service is slow - it took them half an hour to make a very mediocre omelette at breakfast and there were only 3 other people in there at the time. It took them half an hour just to bring a room service menu that I requested. It is all really a long way from luxury!

If you are staying here at the weekend I think the bistro food and wine would be good and the location is great, but there are better hotels in Birmingham. Even the Malmaison which is owned by the same company is better than this, although they are both equally pretentious!!

Personally it has put me off the whole chain and I would definitely not recommend anyone stay here - especially if you are on your own !!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled on business
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Thank Scarlet-Poppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 September 2009

I would only recommend staying in this hotel IF you get a deal and pay under £100 per night. Whilst it’s undeniably a nice hotel, with clean rooms, amazing bathrooms, very good service and a great location, the hotel is also gloomy, dimly lit and highly pretentious.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled on business
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Thank Pensky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2009

I stayed at the hotel on business, and arrived at 14.30 in a hurry to drop off my stuff and get to a meeting only to be told that my room wasn't ready! I thought this was poor, but after I said so it somehow became available. My first impression was that the hotel looked nice from the outside but the reception area was really dark.

My room (Perrier Jouet) was not particularly large, and looked out through an unopenable window onto the courtyard. Like the reception it was quite dark. The bed was comfortable although the pillows were so soft that they seemed to melt away as you lay on them. The wardrobe was large and dark and contained a nice selection of Fairtrade teas plus a safe (more about this later), an iron & ironing board, towelling robes and a trouser press. Because it also contained the minibar it was very hot when I opened the door. There was a nice selection of magazines and a flat screen TV on the desk, along with a hotel folder that contained virtually nothing useful. There seemed to be a shortage of plugs and the bedside light wasn't working. The bathroom had a huge bath and shower and shampoo etc but no body lotion. It was quite quiet at night but I suspect that rooms on lower floors nearer the Pub du Vin or the Bistro might be noisy.

The safe was shut and appeared to require a credit card to open it. The hotel guide had no information on it, nor on the phone number to ring reception, and so I had to go down to reception to ask. I was then given a key.

Breakfast was OK - lots of fruit, cereal & yoghurt plus toast and some cake, but I thought £10 for continental or £13.50 for cooked was quite pricey. I didn't eat at the Bistro.

The best thing about the hotel was the spa - friendly staff, a nice relaxation room, unisex sauna and steamroom and a modest gym.

Overall not a bad place to stay but definitely not worth the £160 my company had paid.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank JenLUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2009

I booked several weeks ahead of time using their Friday night offer of a room for £25 as long as you spend over £70 in the brasserie. When I booked I was told that they only had deluxe rooms left and this would be £45. As we were celebrating my wife's birthday I was quite happy to pay the extra - particularly given the impressive room photo and descriptions on their website "the epitome of hotel luxury".

On arrival we used the valet parking service which costs £20. We were able to park right outside and simply hand over the car key - very useful in a busy city centre location.

Things started to go downhill at reception when we were informed that we had not been booked into a luxury room but would be in a "large double". This would be £35. It was not possible to move us to a luxury room as they were all booked. The guy on reception didn't seem too bothered but he phoned the person who took our booking but she couldn't recall why we hadn't been given a luxury room..

Having reluctantly agreed to the "large double" room we were handed an impressively large keyfob for a room on the first floor called "Henriot"

The room was far from being a large double - it was actually very small. Goodness only knows how small the regular doubles must be. The decor was rather austere being dominated by a large black painted wardrobe. All the furniture was rather spartan and seemed quite old going by the number of scratches in the wood. There was one window looking out into a couryard area. The room had several current magazines (travel, fashion, home) which was a nice touch...

There was one small armchair (not enough room for a second). The ensuite bathroom was reasonable size, done out in a rather spartan period style. There was nowhere at all to put our washbags or toileteries which was a pain.

At this point we were quite disappointed that our stay would not match up to our expectations. Not wanting to spend any more time in our room we left to explore Birmingham's excellent shopping areas - Mailbox, Bullring, Pavilions etc.

Things improved when we came down for dinner. Initially we were shown to a table just beyond the main dining room next to a large and noisy table of office types. When my wife asked to be moved somewhere quieter we were moved to a table in the main dining room without any fuss.

The room was quite busy with most tables occupied, decorated with empty wine bottles from famous vinyards and the overall ambience was very French.

No problems at all with the service throughout the meal - the sommelier deserves a special mention - he seemed to be making a real effort with all the diners.

Starters came out prompty - an excellent charcuterie platter for me and Pumpkin soup for her which was also very good. We also ordered some bread which was ok but I would not normally expect to pay extra for this..

Main courses were the "French Burger" - again served on a wooden platter and my wife had a smoked haddock dish. We ordered an extra portion of green beans and these were cooked well. Both main courses were excellent and good sized portions.

The winelist is huge with a vast range of prices to match. We settled on a 2005 Rioja - Marques de Caceres £25 which was very drinkable. (albeit available for £6.99 at Majestic wine)

Puddings - ice cream and a carpaccio of pineapple were both very good but my espresso was served beforehand which wasn't ideal.

As we were staying in the hotel we were told we didn't have to wait to sign the bill which was nice. In the morning I saw that it came to £77 plus a 10% for service charge.

Once back in our room we discovered that it seemed impossible to have the desklamp and standard lamp on without first turning on the bright halogen spots in the ceiling - so it was either very light or quite dark - no happy medium.

The large rainfall shower above the bath delivered huge amounts of water - maybe the best thing about the room.

The bed was large and comfortable. As the room faced inward there was no issue from street noise but we were woken a couple of time by loud noises in the corridor as other guests headed towards their rooms.

In the morning we opted for the cooked breakfast - £13.50. Good choice and high quality - no complaints at all.

Checkout very straightforward and our car was delivered back to us in less than 10 minutes.

Overall a good meal and reasonable value. Shame about the room mix up, shame about the room itself - to be able to claim the "epitome of luxury" major changes would be needed to the standard of the decor and furniture - possibly with added extras like an ipod dock or espresso machine, larger TV etc which many "luxury" hotels provide in even standard rooms. I realise that we were there using a discounted offer but we didn't feel the room met the expectations give to us by the HdV website...

Would we go back ? probably not...

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank DavidBStaffordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel du Vin & Bistro

Address: 25 Church Street, Birmingham B3 2NR, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > West Midlands > Birmingham > Ladywood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Birmingham
#13 Luxury Hotel in Birmingham
#23 Family Hotel in Birmingham
#30 Romantic Hotel in Birmingham
Price Range: £96 - £201 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel du Vin & Bistro 4*
Number of rooms: 66
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Also Known As:
Hotel Du Vin And Bistro

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