Birmingham is a city that never stands still. Ever changing and constantly reinventing itself, the City of a Thousand Trades always has somewhere fresh and exciting to explore. Whether it’s Michelin-starred restaurants and convivial pubs, shops and markets, or eclectic music venues and art galleries – a stroll along Birmingham’s busy streets and miles of canals frequently offers a surprise or two.
The many cranes dotting Birmingham’s distinctive skyline are testament to the city’s ongoing regeneration as it prepares for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. New tramlines are being laid from the recently revamped New Street station, past the modernist Library of Birmingham, Symphony Hall and beyond, and HS2 is also on the horizon.
The hotel scene is just about keeping pace. There are plenty of options, from budget to boutique to business. So whether you’re looking for a city centre shopping break, a party weekend in hip Digbeth, or a mooch round the historic Jewellery Quarter, Brum has got you covered.
Neighbourhood: New Street
Reflected in the shiny steel façade of New Street Station, this Victorian hotel retains much of its old charm. Its rooms have period features from its Midland Hotel days, but the decor, beds and bathrooms are all thoroughly modern. The basement houses the wonderfully eccentric Bacchus Bar, and the hotel bottles its own Birmingham spring water from an ancient well beneath. Famous guests have included Laurel & Hardy and George Harrison, but this was also where Enoch Powell delivered his infamous “Rivers of Blood” speech.
Doubles from £103
Best for a personal touch: The Edgbaston
What this grand six-room Victorian townhouse lacks in size it more than makes up for in opulence. It’s a treasure trove of lavish gold, leather flourishes and art deco styling; but it’s the three cocktail lounges that really catch the eye (Peachy Blinder anyone?). Meanwhile, the Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant is practically next door, while the Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a pleasant stroll away through this leafy part of the city.
Doubles from £125
Neighbourhood: Bull Ring
If any Birmingham building can be called iconic, it’s the 1960s Grade II-listed cylindrical tower known as The Rotunda, and this quirky apartment hotel sits right at the top of it. In keeping with the swinging 60s vibe, the funky serviced apartments are named “Mini”, “Maxi” and “Clubman” after those other locally made icons of Birmingham. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer unrivalled views of the city’s vast sprawl, while the shops and restaurants of the Bull Ring and Selfridges are right on your doorstep.
Doubles from £99, room only
Best for sophistication: Hotel Du Vin
Neighbourhood: Colmore Business District
Formerly a Victorian eye hospital, this beautiful redbrick building is now home to one of Birmingham’s swankiest hotels. Standard rooms offer sprawling mattresses with fine Egyptian cotton sheets, while luxury suites boast freestanding roll-top baths and even a private mini-gym. The Slingsby Ginspiration suite has a fully stocked bar for in-room cocktail making. Alternatively, there’s a vaulted underground pub, a champagne lounge and a bistro.
Doubles from £99
Neighbourhood: St Paul’s Square
This gem in the Jewellery Quarter overlooks Birmingham’s last remaining Georgian square, containing the 18th century church frequented by industrial titans James Watt and Mathew Boulton. Rooms at St Pauls House are contemporary and casual with a free mini-bar, but there’s a public bar and a modern European restaurant on site should you wish to emerge at some point. And you will, because it’s located in a beautifully serene spot between the hectic city centre and the unique buzz of the Jewellery Quarter.
Doubles from £109
Neighbourhood: Broad Street and Convention Quarter
Ideally situated for Birmingham Symphony Hall, Convention Centre, Repertory Theatre, Library of Birmingham and National Indoor Arena, this glimmering glass tower is a key feature of the Birmingham skyline. As well as dramatic views of a resurgent Birmingham and its canals, its 300-plus rooms offer all the comforts you’d expect; but there’s also a spa and pool, not to mention a fine contemporary British restaurant (Aria) and traditional English pub.
Doubles from £116
Neighbourhood: Jewellery Quarter
Inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, this Birmingham-born concept offers innovative design and sleek, compact rooms without the frills and fuss associated with traditional hotels. So, you’ll get a comfy pocket sprung bed and a nice bathroom, but the wardrobe and trouser press go out the window – provided your room has one. Apartment rooms have a kitchenette – handy since there’s no restaurant on site – but guests get up to 25 per cent off at nearby eateries.
Doubles from £45, room only
Neighbourhood: The Mailbox and canals
A sub-brand of InterContinental Hotels, Indigo is a slick boutique concept at the heart of Birmingham’s rejuvenated canal network. Perched atop the atomised biscuit box known as The Cube, rooms are super-stylish, reflecting the cube motif wherever you look. A terrace breakfast offers fine city views, which become more alluring after dark at Marco Pierre White’s place on the 25th floor.
Doubles from £109
Serviced apartments replete with kitchens, dishwashers, LCD TVs, big bouncy beds and lots of arty prints of narrowboats are the order of the day at the Adagio Aparthotel. Its location at the top of Digbeth High Street is a perfect base for all the bars and venues in the area, not to mention the Institute, Digbeth Dining Club and Custard Factory arts complex. This is the old stomping ground of the original Peaky Blinders gang, so Adagio makes for a bright and cosy refuge after a gritty Peaky Tour.
Doubles from £65, room only
Neighbourhood: John Bright Street
Cheap, cheerful, but oh so convenient, this is the perfect budget choice if you’re popping into Birmingham for a show, a gig or a night on the town. Rooms are basic, clean and snug, while John Bright Street offers an array of refreshments at Cherry Reds Café Bar and The Victoria pub – and New Street station is only a stumble away.
Doubles from £25.99, room only