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Hotel Review: The Roseate, Reading in Berkshire

The first thing you notice on entering this former Town Hall isn’t the architecture, or the décor – it’s the aroma.

I couldn’t work out whether it was down to powerful flowers, spicy candles, or some kind of gently scented spritz, but the fragrance had a big tang of “welcome”. Whatever it was, I felt a distinct loosening of the shoulders from the moment I stepped through the door.

The Roseate houses 55 bedrooms, each with a perfect mix of art, lighting, sound and comfort. The décor sits somewhere between brazen and striking. Patterns are bold, tiling is bright and the contemporary artworks are challenging.

Bold patterns and striking decor are a feature of the hotel

Oh, and I mustn’t forget the longest chandelier in the world, hanging like the sword of Damocles, through the centre of the stairwell.

This glorious piece of ‘art’ comprises of a mind-boggling 86,000 Italian glass beads. Hopefully they didn’t lose count half way through.

Talking of beads, you might want to get a sweat on in one of the larger hotel suites, which come with an en-suite steam room.

The intricate glass bead chandelier dominates the stairwell

Two’s Company

Fabrics throughout the hotel are sumptuous, from the Egyptian cotton bed-sheets to seriously plush velvet sofas in the hallway. Our Junior Suite, for instance, was a real home from home. That is if you live in a listed, art-filled, 4-storey townhouse built in 1911, of course.

Bathrooms could be described as showroom-esque, with stone floors and walls, huge monsoon showerheads and baths generous enough for two. The 4-poster King beds are the ultimate grand statement and a real treat to wake up in.

Switch on the TV, call up room service and do absolutely sod all. Seriously, if you’re going to ramp up the glamour you may as well go full tilt. Larger suites have an extra feature, such as standalone baths of glass, or copper. Slip into one of these, lie back and revel in the decadence.

Suites are decorated with luxury and comfort in mind

Stylish Bang & Olufsen audio-visual systems come as standard in all rooms. I’m told an entertainment system revamp is looming, possibly incorporating Bluetooth and phone apps.

Whatever comes next, I hope they do it sympathetically, with restraint. I’d hate them to revamp the character out of this place.

There are also a variety of meeting and event rooms on the ground floor, and a small courtyard-cum-garden at the back of the hotel. This can be used for drinks, meals, or even one-to-one meetings, if the weather behaves.

A new extension (of accommodation, with Spa and treatment suite) is scheduled to open in late 2018.

The pewter topped bar is the perfect spot for a cocktail before dinner

Raising The Bar

Once you’ve rummaged around the hotel, you might want to take a seat at the long pewter bar and sample the impressive selection of whiskies, wines and cocktails.

The basement bar and restaurant, Cerise, offers a relaxed ambience in which to enjoy a mix of English and Mediterranean cuisine.

The kitchen team uses fresh, (local, where possible) ingredients for a seasonal a la carte menu. Dishes such as Celeriac Soup with Truffled croutons, pan-seared salmon and butternut squash risotto will leave you salivating.

Cerise offers a seasonal menu of English and Mediterranean cuisine

The Roseate also has a Film and Fizz Club, combining popcorn classic with a glass of Champagne and a 3-course meal. The 30-seat screening room makes you feel rather special, as though you’ve been personally invited – which you have, in a way. Add a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne to the deal for £54.00. You’re going full tilt, remember.

As if all the above wasn’t enough, there’s also a regular calendar of events such as wine and cheese evenings, live Jazz, Whiskey Masterclasses, Gin dinners and Mother’s and Father’s day lunches.

The Roseate offers a calendar of events from Gin Dinners to Christmas party nights

Dress Code

Apart from a self-imposed desire to look the part, there isn’t any dress code in The Roseate. Smart-casual seems to cover it.

Before we finally left the hotel, we explored what Reading had to offer. This meant a stroll along the Kennet & Avon Canal, stopping for coffee, and a peaceful walk around the ruins of Reading Abbey, which we noted was founded by Henry 1st in 1121.

We then spent an hour people watching in Forbury Gardens, opposite the hotel. Our leisurely morning walk was a slow and painless transition back to reality.

The courtyard garden offers a relaxing space – British weather permitting!


Luxe boutique, or Townhouse Hotel: call it what you will, but this place rocks. The Evening Standard once described the Roseate as ‘sexy’, something I wouldn’t disagree with. In this case, sexy has soul.

Lose points, though, for the poor selection of newspapers at breakfast. After all, not everyone has the same worldview. Two sides to every story an’ all that.

Address: 26 The Forbury, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3EJ
Phone: 01189 527 770

Travel Notes

Great Western Railway run trains to Reading from Paddington Station, London. A 1st Class ticket allows access to the 1st Class lounge, located on platform 1. (Journey time 30 minutes.)

And they promise: “With a choice of drinks and tasty snacks, served in the comfort of your wide, reclining seats, we’ll whisk you away in style.”

For more info on train times and prices please visit