|The Three Master Bedrooms each have private terraces and bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and rainfall showers.|
Visitors to England who are looking for an escape from the buzz of London—or to indulge in a bit of the Bard—will want to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. While there, the brand-new Arden Hotel, a relaunch of the former Thistle Hotel and now a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a great place to stay and enjoy the countryside—and to take advantage of what the countryside has to offer. Best of all, especially for theater fans, the hotel sits opposite the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which will open this month.
In July, the boutique hotel opened after a multimillion dollar renovation that pared down the previous structure’s 63 guest rooms to 45. Renovations included a new restaurant kitchen, club bar, lounge, Waterside Brasserie and The Brook Suite meeting room. Nice Touch: The grounds new landscaping includes a knot garden.
The hotel’s most-requested room is the Monkey Puzzle, which overlooks the river Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. For families and groups, the Apple, Acer and Maple all have fold-out sofa beds in a separate area of the room. Note: Along with the Monkey Puzzle, Redwood, Oak Pear and Pine rooms also look out over the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
If your clients are theater fans, contact Head Concierge Andrew Kimber ([email protected]), who can arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby theaters. Naturally, Kimber can get tickets to RSC plays, and for those less interested in the Bard, ask him to arrange a boat trip along the river Avon on a sunny day.
The hotel is ideal for destination weddings (is there a better destination for Shakespeare-philes tying the knot?). Small weddings can take place in the event room, while larger ones are well suited for the landscaped gardens. Note: The entire hotel can be taken over for exclusive use; contact Sales Executive Sian Smith ([email protected]) for details.
|The Arden Hotel is directly opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company theatres.|
Dining at the Arden also is an experience: Head Chef Adam Brown, who has trained in Michelin-starred kitchens, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Le Champignon Sauvage and the Arden’s sister hotel Mallory Court, is heading the new Waterside Brasserie. We hear the local beef with twice-baked chips and vine tomatoes is a popular choice, while gourmands must try the foie gras and duck bon bon or the chump of Lighthorne lamb with broad beans, tomato and basil. For dessert, warm Tunisian orange cake with toffee ice cream is the pick.
The hotel also has a comfy lounge, which is perfect for relaxing with after-dinner cocktails; the Champagne Bar offers not only Champagne, but other inventive cocktails as well. The exclusive Club Bar, with a private terrace, has vintage photographs from the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Waterside Terrace is great for alfresco imbibing.
Contact Deputy General Manager Josefine Blomqvist ([email protected]; 011-44-1789-206-986) at least a week in advance for reservations.
Golfers in Stratford have two great options for hitting the links: The Welcombe Hotel and Golf Course and Stratford Oaks Golf Course are both nearby. Rooms Division Manager Charlotte Rides ([email protected]) can arrange for buggies and access to the clubhouses.
|The Waterside Brasserie, helmed by a former chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, also has its own Champagne Bar.|
Good to know: The hotel does not have its own spa, but it has a partnership set up with nearby Wildmoor Spa. Note: Book treatments as early as possible.
Getting There: Birmingham International Airport is 45 minutes away, and the hotel can arrange pickups. Private helicopters can land at Coventry Airport, which is 40 minutes away by car.