On a list of the UK’s nicest cities for a mini break Chester has to be near the top.
The historic city is packed with beautiful restaurants, excellent shopping, independent cafes and bars, with a lovely atmosphere throughout. Whether you want to visit the Roman ruins, wander down by the waterside for drinks, or go Christmas shopping, it’s the ideal destination.
Having already visited Hotel Indigo in Stratford upon Avon we knew that the brand offered an unquestionable quality throughout its rooms and facilities. Their Chester hotel describes itself as a “contemporary boutique hotel” and is located in the centre of the town, just a short walk from the river and main shopping area, with bars and restaurants on its doorstep.
The hotel is compact and welcoming. The reception area connects directly with the hotel bar and moves seamlessly through to The Forge restaurant (more on that later). Rooms are modern and bright, with spotless new bathroom facilities, large TV, quirky retro accessories and unique decorations that really suit the Hotel Indigo vibe. The fridge also comes stocked with complimentary soft drinks plus popcorn and crisps. A nice change from hotel room biscuits!
The location of the hotel makes it easy to explore and the Roman Gardens are just a few steps from the hotel entrance. Follow these down to the river and you can enjoy a boat trip, waterside coffee or dine in one of the many riverside restaurants. If you like BBQ smoked food then book a table at Hickory’s, which occupies a lovely spot down by the river.
Venturing further through the city you can see the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre and visit the city’s museums, or wander down Bridge Street for a spot of retail therapy, and for coffee lovers don’t miss The Jaunty Goat, serving up beautiful food and drinks in a super cool daytime spot.
As evening comes and you’re looking for dinner spots you won’t need to venture far, as one of Chester’s best restaurants in the hotel itself. The Forge is the latest opening from Mike Robinson, who is behind the fantastic Woodsman restaurant in Stratford upon Avon. The restaurant specialises in wood fired cooking techniques and offers a fantastic menu. For anyone who enjoys a steak or sampling different cuts, this is a must visit.
The home baked bread with basil oil dip in the butter set the tone for the evening, along with a French 75 to start things off. The menu oozes quality throughout but with some homely touches too, such as the wild boar scotch egg starter with homemade brown sauce (also available as a bar snack if you’re not dining fully).
The meat selection is where The Forge really shines and on choosing a sharing main course you’re guided to the central refrigerator to choose your steak, before it’s taken over to the kitchen. Steaks are all cooked on the bone offering a real depth of flavour and come served with creamed spinach, roasted beetroot and triple cooked chips. All 3 sides absolutely faultless.
If you have room for dessert the creativity still flows through the menu from Cherry Bakewell Soufflé to Baked Basque Cheesecake. We opted for the Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding, with its layer of baked apples at the bottom covered with a flavoursome sticky toffee sponge. Beautiful.
The Forge only opened in May but found itself in the Michelin Guide in just a few short weeks. Word seems to be spreading about their menus and the restaurant was busy on a Wednesday night, which was lovely to see.
If you’re staying at Hotel Indigo, breakfast is also served in The Forge with the same lovely quality evident throughout their hot breakfast options and continental buffet.
For a more relaxed meal option or pre-dinner drinks, the Brewhouse & Kitchen is just round the corner from the hotel, offering a superb range of craft beers, brewery experiences and pub meals.
With a journey time of just over 2 hours from Leicester, Chester is a lovely option for a short break. You’re close to North Wales to visit the seaside, Liverpool for bigger city adventures or stay local and enjoy all the charm of Chester itself.
Rooms at Hotel Indigo Chester start from £89 with breakfast and dinner at The Forge available to book separately. For more information and too book your stay visit the hotel website. For restaurant menus and information visit The Forge website.
We were invited to review Hotel Indigo and received our stay free of charge. We were under no obligation to write a positive review.