Hotel du Vin, Birmingham, England
Will Ross, May 6, 2023
The industrial bones of Birmingham have been wrought in different directions since World War Two. Car-first urbanism cut the town into distinct quarters, timed with the gradual decline of industry shared with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester. Recent Commonwealth Games in 2022, HS2 high speed rail and relocations from large employers have given the city a new vitality, explored in the 2022 book “Second City” by Richard Vinen.
Hotel du Vin’s location in Colmore Row precinct is a centring point near to Snow Hill Station and the canal serves as a good location to witness Birmingham’s transition. Saint Paul House and the recently refurbished Grand are nearby, but Hotel du Vin finds a good balance between price and variability (Saint Paul House has now twinnable rooms).
Bedrooms at Hotel du Vin range from cosy twins for friends and colleagues, to more spacious double rooms also fairly priced. There is no gym and the on site restaurant is good but not exceptional given independent options nearby for breakfast, other meals and drinks.
Start your mornings at Wayland’s Yard (four minutes on foot), or Yorks Cafe (seven minutes when walking). Wayland’s Yard are also renowned for coffee, also Faculty Coffee and Quarter Horse. Hang around for coffee at Yorks and you won’t be unimpressed either.
Colmore Row may be buried within the centre of Birmingham, but thanks to canalways and some efficient roads to the South-West, you can get out of town without too much fuss.
Runners can get on canals within 200m of the Hotel du Vin, either heading East in the direction of Duddeston, or West and thorough the centre of town. From the town centre you can either continue to Worcester and the location of the University of Birmingham’s running track (two miles), or to Wolverhampton – canal known as Revolutionary Walk. The running track is accessible from North entrance.
Cyclists are lucky to have a porous city perimeter for reaching roads behind Birmingham – more like Manchester and less like London. The South-East corner presents one gateway and the home of Gorilla Cafe – a cycle-themed setup that host regular club rides.
Swimmers may notice the University of Birmingham’s 50m pool, but will be saddened to find out that drop-ins aren’t permitted. Only community members can access, requiring a membership of at least three months. Instead, seek out the pool used by the Commonwealth Games on 2022 – Shadwell – or else a pool within a short walk of Hotel du Vin, The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre.
For more information, visit hotelduvin.com saintpaulhouse.com
Review based on a stay in room Esk Valley in April 2023.