I just spent my weekend in a haven of relaxation on a glorious hotel stay. And no, I wasn’t whiling away the hours sipping cocktails reclined on a lounger overlooking the Maldivian waves as the former sentence may suggest, I was holed up in a hotel room just off the M5, in West Bromwich. The land of Peaky Blinders and strangers calling you ‘bab’; good old Birmingham (I so very hope you read the city in a Brummie accent, because I can’t help but do so myself). But I’m not kidding when I say this – I really, really enjoyed my time there, thanks to Mercure Hotels. I was kindly gifted this stay by Mercure at their newly-refurbed Birmingham West Hotel, and today, imma chat you through everything about the stay: the positives and the not-so-good-itives, to see if you may fancy a wee trip to Brum sometime soon…
So, we began our weekend hopping on a train to the hotel, which is located just outside of Birmingham city centre. The nearest train station is Smethwick Galton Bridge – but I was led to believe it was an easy ten-minute walkies to the hotel’s front doors from nearby station, Sandwell & Dudley. However, Tripadvisor proved very, very wrong – and we ended up being a forty-five minute walk from our comfy, cosy hotel room. Which feels like a transatlantic flight away when you’re carrying heavy luggage. Be aware that the hotel is noooot the easiest to get to if you’re unlucky enough to not have a car at your current disposal. But, we hopped in an Uber and reached the hotel in five minutes.
Struggling out the Uber with my near-sixty five bags (failed to travel light on this one – don’t pack in a hurry after work, it never works) we were faced with a not 100% attractive exterior to the building. Built from what seemed 99.9% concrete, the building has a multi-storey car park feel to it. I’m aware I’m not painting the most beautiful picture right now, but just keep in mind my first few sentences; it’s about to get so much better. Birmingham isn’t exactly famed for its picturesque beauty (and I can say that because I’ve practically been a Brummie for over half my life until my move to Bristol in September). But step inside Mercure Birmingham West’s hotel, and you’re instantly transported.
Industrial grey is replaced with pops of warm, burnt orange, that Farrow & Ball scotch blue every single interiors-obsessive has lining their walls right now and quirky prints and light fixtures are at every turn. It seems Mercure Birmingham West is an oxymoron. Simplistic in its elegance. Deluxe in its nearly-suitable-for-those-on-a-budget friendly prices. A shining gem in somewhat rusty surroundings. The rusty surroundings being Brum (sorry – you do love the city for what it is though, it doesn’t claim to be anything more).
The instant we dropped off our bags as we had arrived before check-in time, I felt like I’d been given a new lease of Birmingham life. A wee haven within the city I’d spent so many years studying in, constantly wishing for broader, brighter horizons. However, when we headed back into the city centre later, I honestly felt like I’d been giving good ol’ Brum a bit of a negative rap after the last few years. We dined at @pizza, a unique restaurant that lets you choose from over 50 toppings and bakes your feast in just 90 seconds, we shopped in the Bullring (there’s even an H&M Home now, hellooo) and we strolled the area surrounding the beautiful town hall and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Brum has culture. Brum has incredible food. Brum has, basically, it all. It’s just three years in the same city neutralised my opinion of it all. And now I was back, staying in a lil haven of a hotel and seeing the city through new eyes, I was discovering a wee forgotten love.
We decided to take it easy in the evening, and soak up the beautiful decor and comfy ass bed within the hotel. Our room was delightful. To my excitement, the burnt orange armchairs from Reception also featured in the room – and the colours went SO well with my new black dress (which now means I’m hunting out a pair of burnt orange boots now, naturally). Everything about the room is ultra-modern, yet simplistic. It’s great, because in a not overly massive space, the distinct selected modern features don’t overcrowd the bedroom. It’s just enough.
It’s basically everything I want my first home to be, whenever a Gen Z will ever be able to afford their own home, that is. Quirky light fittings that are suspended from the wall on rope, a kitsch circular mirror belonging on an Instagrammer’s bedroom wall, and a spacious, clad-in-pearly-white bathroom that just invites you to take an hour’s long shower. And most importantly, and clearly the marker of an A* hotel, is the light-up mirror in the bathroom which covers all your getting-ready-for-the-evening, take-that-five-selfies-or-maybe-twenty-five needs.
Dinner was spent in the hotel restaurant, which I’ve got to say is worth the money, but is, before eating and realising the food’s quality, shockingly expensive. Another oxymoron, as Mercure Birmingham West presents itself as a near-budget hotel, but with a restaurant ready to rival your Marco Pierre White’s in Birmingham’s faaaaancy Mailbox. But the food was incredible. I had a (oh so adventurous) cajun-spiced chicken burger, and Sam opted for their upmarket take on chicken tikka masala. The food quality is unrivalled, and it did just feel worth the spenny pricetag. We finished the evening off with a (dangerously lethal-tasting) cocktail in the quirky lounge bar, ft. feature walls, midnight blue sofas and statement book cases and lights. It felt like our own little bit of designer in budget Birmingham.
My verdict? If you want a lazy weekend where you can escape to a little staycation haven, where lounging in bed all day, taking a dip in the hotel pool and then treating yourself to a dress-up dinner in the evening are on the cards, Mercure’s Birmingham West hotel has you very much covered. A little slice of luxury in Birmingham’s concrete jungle. 9/10 would recommend, my friends.