14 May 2012
Babymoon in style – The Montpellier Chapter, Cheltenham
There’s always something of the last chance saloon about a babymoon – fitting in the things you’ll miss as a couple. And one thing that’s surely going to get cut back on is weekends away in chic hotels, with drinks, dinner and a bit of pampering in the spa. So a night at The Montpellier Chapter in Cheltenham was perfect.
Set in a restored white Regency villa, it’s got the city’s stylish elegance but with a few updates. The staff uniform includes Converse and there’s two charging points for electric cars, while all the hotel information is preloaded onto an iPod, with everything from menus to local area info and a few playlists.
Definite brownie points for having a complimentary minibar, including Dairy Milk, water and beer, plus a Nespresso machine with decaf capsules. There’s also REN toiletries in the bathroom, although no body lotion, and huge comfy beds with plenty of pillows to support me – resulting in nearly nine much-needed hours sleep.
Artwork is dotted around everywhere, starting with the carved wooden sculpture doubling as talking point and desk at reception, to the fabulously funky chandelier in the conservatory, apparently made entirely from glassware swiped from a chemistry lab.
And if the reception is minimalist, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff isn’t – although I didn’t summon up any outrageous requests, anything I asked for was done instantly and with a smile.
Set down a quiet street, it’s only five minutes from the shops when I felt like a quick waddle. But with a spa, great bar and restaurant on site (during the weekend, I spotted one wedding, a civilised hen party and a 40th birthday), I wasn’t forced to go far.
Flicking past the bar’s pages of cocktails (which got the thumbs up from my husband, who chose a ginger and whisky concoction), there’s some lovely mocktails – Bramble Orchard, with blackberry, pear, lemon and ginger was so good I had two, and the bar staff are working on more.
The wine list, brought on an iPad, also had some great choices, although the closest I got was wistfully sniffing my husband’s wine (don’t judge me…). And while there were quite a few pregnancy-unfriendly things ruled out from the menu, my pork and prune terrine with crackling was fantastic, as was the shared beef rib – even if I had to order it cooked slightly more than I’d normally like.
And if I needed any other reason to love this place, not only was I spoiled for choice when it came to desserts, as I ummed and aahed about whether I was too full, the waiter pointed out I was eating for two…
Disclaimer: My stay was courtesy of the hotel
Images courtesy of The Montpellier Chapter