No 131 - Reviewed.
Having previously enjoyed a weekend getaway at sister property, Number 38 The Park, we were keen to explore No 131, situated perfectly along the promenade in Cheltenham town centre.
This beautifully appointed town house delivers 11 bespoke bedrooms, a contemporary bar and restaurant experience and the iconic Crazy 8's bar which remains one of Cheltenham's must visit late night cocktail bars with a hugely impressive social/music scene. Part of the Lucky Onion group of properties which are reimagining luxury travel in the Cotswolds, No 131 has long been the pinnacle of a quirky, hipster lifestyle which is increasing leading affluent audiences outside of London.
We checked in to room 10, tucked away in the attic, and found ourselves in a truly impressive suite with quirky touches, a stand alone bath and separate lounge area. The design was contemporary with a laid back approach and whilst the bath was a true signature piece in the main room, there was also a generous rainfall shower and the best products currently on the hotel market - Bramley toiletries, which quite literally leave you feeling as if you have had a detailed spa treatment every time you use them. The bed was tucked intimately into a cosy corner with a widescreen TV appearing on command from the footboard, as with all their properties, this included Sky, Netflix and a host of Apple movies and boxsets all freely ready to enjoy - an entertainment masterclass when considering the unimaginative choice offered in most hotels these days.
Situated with wonderful proximity to a host of great hotels, bars, restaurants and boutique shops, it is easy to see why this property continues to thrive in a saturated market. The main bar offers a lively but fun atmosphere all week long and a great selection of eats and cocktails sure to satisfy all, set out within a cosy yet spacious lounge area which truly makes you feel as if you have become a welcome gatecrasher at a house party.
Dining in the restaurant is also a grand affair on the whole with a brilliant market menu offering locally sourced produce and a great selection of eats. The braised blade of beef might just be one of the best meals I have ever experienced, cooked so superbly it was almost criminal to eat it. The only negative comes here though in the attentiveness of waiting staff. Whilst the property as a whole has a great relaxed vibe, it does seem the carefree attitude translates to dining and this simply isn't feasible when trying to serve upwards of 100 covers a night. Waiting over 35 minutes between mains and ordering deserts indicates a lack of service which one really would not expect when paying in excess of £170.00 for a meal (including a 12.5% service charge!).
This is the only downside to an otherwise superb property, clearly thriving in its surroundings and totally at home alongside more established, boutique countryside retreats such as Soho Farmhouse and Dormy House. No 131 is currently being greatly expanded with another 30+ Bedrooms being added through the acquisition of the two properties either side, something which I suspect will only further enhance their reputation....as long as they find a consistent balance between their relaxed vibe and service befitting of the 5 star pricing.
Needless to say, we will return once the refurbishments are complete, excited to see how this magnificent boutique continues to grow.