Hotel Review: The Bradley Hotel, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire
Cheltenham – the ideal place to indulge in some top quality dining, shopping and highly rated hotels, and certainly a town centred around its most famous attraction – the races.
A trip in Autumn saw me visiting some of these lovely eateries, bars and shops in and around the high-end district of Montpellier with its regency buildings and tree lined streets as well as taking a last minute trip to the November Meeting at Cheltenham race course, all brought together with a stay at The Bradley.
A 19th century town house with regency splendour, The Bradley is a ten-bedroomed boutique B&B in the heart of Montpellier. With elegant interiors reflecting the building’s history, but individually decorated rooms to reflect the boutique style, it was a welcoming and comfortable place to rest my head for a few days. Before becoming a bed and breakfast in 2010, the house was occupied by vicar and father of 21, Charles Bradley in 1870, some 25 years after it was first built. It was also used to house poor widows in 1912 after they returned from India with little money.
High ceilings, chandeliers and spacious rooms embody that elegance while period features such as cast iron fireplaces, butler bell pulls and Paris skirting boards remain. A cosy lounge on the ground floor, with an honesty bar, offered the ideal place to chill out before heading out for dinner or if I wished to carry on the party afterwards. The staff were friendly and very helpful, booking taxis and printing out race tickets, there was a really nice atmosphere and a friendly feeling between guests as well, which I really liked.
My room was on the top floor (there is no lift but a great leg work-out was had!)– and I loved the original furniture, deep blue walls and gin and tonic on arrival. The Art Deco-style room held beautiful birds-eye maple furniture and an original 1930s bed along with a fireplace, portraits of Queen Victoria, King Edward the 7th and Union Jack cushions to complement red blinds. The spacious room had a sofa at the foot of the bed with a large footstool, a chest of drawers, dressing table, cabinet, wardrobe and bedside tables. The lovely, modern bathroom had a heated floor and towel rail, shower over the bath, mirror with LED lights and sumptuous Penhaligon’s Quercus toiletries, with fluffy robes hanging at the back of the door.
Back in the room and the mod cons continued with an iPod docking station, WiFi, TV and mini fridge (with fresh milk) and I was pleased to find some sloe gin and complimentary snacks to indulge in as well as a bottle of Prosecco and box of truffles.
Breakfast is served on the lower ground floor across two rooms, one of which is a conservatory offering a nice little spot for the first meal of the day. There was a selection of pastries, tasty sweet cookies, juices, fruit, cereals and there was a menu for freshly cooked items after I was offered a hot drink and toast. I had the Bradley Stack which consisted of a muffin topped with a poached egg and lots of crisp bacon and the next day I opted for the Full Bradley, which included the full works – black pudding, beans, tomato, eggs, sausage, mushrooms. There was plenty of good quality food to choose from and it was freshly cooked and delicious.
Located in the Montpellier area and just around the corner from some fantastic restaurants, The Bradley sits in the perfect position for a great night out. I visited a few local bars and pubs and quickly realised that there is something to suit all tastes, from craft beers and organic drinks at Circus Bar to traditional beers at a decent price at Rotunda Tavern with a range of other great options including The beehive, Montpellier Wine Bar and SoHo Bar in between. Less than two minutes from The Bradley is the Ivy Brasserie, where I enjoyed a delightful dinner of duck salad to start and smoked salmon and haddock fish cake followed by crème brûlée – simple but delicious food in a fantastic setting, the large, main dining room is round and has a beautifully ornate ceiling.
During my stay I also dined at The Giggling Squid – a relaxed, prettily decorated Thai restaurant with delicious foods. I was not disappointed with the duck spring rolls, salt and chilli squid and sticky chicken stir fry with jasmine rice. Other highly recommended restaurants include Prithvi and Le Champignon Sauvage – I have dined at both on a previous visit and I was blown away by both.
While I was there I made the most of the range of shops – high end and high street, market stalls, in time for Christmas, with some lovely, good quality hand made pieces, a walk around the nearby park/gardens and took a last minute trip to the races. Cheltenham racecourse is set in a really pretty location and offered a well organised and great day out – my first trip to the races and I came away with more than I arrived with – beginner’s luck was in action!
Cheltenham is easy to get to from the South West, London and the North, with CrossCountry Trains offering a reliable service if you want to sit back, relax and leave the car behind.
IN A NUTSHELL
A lovely, relaxed and great quality B&B in a fantastic location, The Bradley is a place I would certainly return to along with many other repeat guests that I met while there. I think that says it all!
Address: 19 Royal Parade, Bayshill Road, Cheltenham GL50 3AY
Phone: 01242 519077