Cheltenham, United Kingdom

No 131

Rates per night from$110.25

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP83.33), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Modern Georgian pad

Setting

Boutique boulevard

Cheltenham hotel No 131 sits confidently on the edge of the city-centre Imperial Gardens, a grand Georgian lodge restored to former glory with a liberal application of contemporary art, culinary prowess and squashy lounging sofas. Upstairs, 11 romantic rooms are kitted out with vast beds and roll-top baths; downstairs, two floors of airy drawing rooms, pantries and conservatories have been turned over to modern British fare and deftly mixed cocktails. At the weekend, the hotel is turned over to the pursuit of earthly pleasures, with the cocktails flowing freely and DJ's spinning in the bar until 3am. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of Bramley bath product

Facilities

Photos No 131 facilities

Need to know

Rooms

11.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $110.25 (£83), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include a Continental buffet breakfast of bread, pastries, home-made jams, cold meats, cheeses and fresh juices. A full English breakfast costs an additional £12; à la carte hot dishes start at £4.

Also

The Lucky Onion is the creative force behind chic country bolthole the Wheatsheaf Inn, and knows a thing or two about stylish details and cosseting guests. Rooms have their very own teapot and hot water bottle, each with a cosy hand-knitted by a lovely lady in Scotland.

At the hotel

Lounge, library, bookable private dining room, free WiFi. In rooms: flatscreen TV with downloadable films, Bose iPod dock, minibar, hot-water bottle, art books, Nespresso machine, tea-making facilities, free bottled water and Bramley toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Very Good Room 4 has large Georgian windows on two sides and a downstairs bathroom with a deep Victorian tub. Very Good Room 10 is a firm favourite: its double bed is smaller, but couples can cosy up on the blue velvet seating beneath the eaves, or soak in the nearby tub. Excellent Room 6 is ravishing, with an enormous bed, wood-trimmed in-room bath and a bathroom prettily tiled in orange and green. All the rooms are elegant and individually decorated, with chocolate-brown parquet or sisal floors, plate-sized rainfall showers and warm woollen blankets to wrap up in.

Packing tips

Swarovski binoculars to track your gee-gees.

Also

A day at Cheltenham’s racecourse can be nerve-racking – unwind with a muscle-soothing treatment at nearby Cowley Manor's spa

Children

Welcome. Extra beds (£25 a night for under-16s) and free cots can be added to most rooms. Babysitting is available for £10 an hour with 24 hours’ notice.

Food and Drink

Photos No 131 food and drink

Top Table

Commandeer the Library’s round table and four mustard velvet armchairs for intense literary discussions over an intimate meal.

Dress Code

Jeans and luxe knits by day, a bit of sparkle by night.

Hotel restaurant

Food is served throughout the hotel, where guests linger over seasonal British fare in handsomely proportioned Georgian rooms brought up to date with flashes of neon and a splash of art deco. Leather banquettes and tall teal stools slink around the imposing central bar. From the garden, peek through the kitchen’s glass walls to watch the team hard at work at the stoves. It’s worth letting staff know that you’ll be dining at the hotel: tables here are popular, with a menu featuring Cornish seafood and steaks seared on a charcoal Josper oven, alongside pick ‘n’ mix sides such as piping hot fries cooked in duck fat and pine-nut-flecked curly kale. 

Hotel bar

The downstairs Crazy Eights bar is a buzzy and attractive affair sprawling across several rooms, each with a different feel. Feeling peckish? Perch at the high wooden table in the pantry, which houses a gorgeous selection of Neal’s Yard cheeses. The long zinc bar is at the heart of the action; resident mixologists have already established it as the best cocktail bar in town with their carefully crafted menu of sours, swizzles and highballs. Order the house cocktail, a delightfully blue coupe of gin and blue raspberry syrup topped with a lemony froth, then retreat to the games room or the scattering of deep leather sofas in the conservatory – it’s heated in the winter, and in good weather the roof opens up for a garden-party feel. Thursday–Saturday things shift into weekend mode with late opening (the music plays on until 3am), a post-10pm bar-snack menu and some top-drawer DJs (Norman Jay, DJ Yoda and Gilles Peterson have all graced the decks).

Last orders

Breakfast is served 7.30am–noon (11am for the buffet), lunch noon to 3pm, light bites from 3pm to 6pm, dinner 6pm–10pm (10.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 9.30pm on Sundays). The bar quells thirsts until 3am (Thursday–Saturdays).

Room service

Let staff know when you plan on getting up: they’ll leave a tray of pastries, fresh juice and a newspaper by your door. A full menu is available in room during restaurant hours.

Location

Photos No 131 location
Address
No 131
131 Promenade Cheltenham
Gloucester
GL50 1NW
United Kingdom

Planes

Bristol Airport, an hour’s drive away, serves domestic and European flights, with onwards connections from Brussels, Amsterdam or Paris. London Heathrow is just over 90 minutes away.

Trains

Cheltenham Spa station, a five-minute drive from hotel, serves Cross Country and First Great Western trains to Swindon, Bristol and London Paddington, as well as Cardiff, Birmingham and Aberdeen.

Automobiles

You won’t need a car for a saunter through Cheltenham’s Georgian quarters, but if you plan on exploring further afield there’s metred on-street parking (£10 a day) in the surrounding area. The hotel’s staff will happily swap your ticket for you in the morning if you leave your car keys with them. From London, the drive to Cheltenham's under two and a half hours, and No 131 is just 10 minutes from junction 11 of the M5. Be sure to park in the street behind the hotel before you pick up a parking permit.

Other

For very special occasions, the owners can arrange for a six-seater private jet to land at nearby Staverton Airport, but they’ll need plenty of notice. Cheltenham Racecourse also has a helipad.

Worth getting out of bed for

No 131’s city-centre location is hard to beat. The Promenade is lined with the high street’s pick (Whistles, Hobbs, the White Company); for a leisurely browse of Cheltenham’s best boutiques, jewellers and gift shops, walk up the gentle hill to the Montpellier quarter. Across the road, the Imperial Gardens hosts events throughout the town’s festivals – time your visit to coincide with October’s Literature Festival or June’s food-and-drink-fuelled revelry. No 131 is a renowned party pad when the weekend rolls round, so keep an eye on their events program and you might just catch a superstar DJ spinning down in Crazy Eights. If you want to explore further afield, the hotel can arrange riding trips, fishing on the River Coln or clay-pigeon shooting lessons with Olympic trainer Ian Coley (+44(0)1242 870 391), as well as bike hire and picnic hampers for a gentler amble through the Cotswolds.

Local restaurants

A five-minute walk away, No 131’s lively sister restaurant The Tavern (+44 (0)1242 221 212) dishes up tempting diner fare (think sturdy sliders, creamy mac and cheese, and crispy shoft-shell crab). If you can find 15 other gluttons to keep you company, call ahead to order the family-style slow-roasted suckling pig. Housed in a former art-deco picture palace, The Daffodil (+44 (0)1242 700 055) is a prime spot for a romantic tête à tête. Beneath a high chandelier-studded arched ceiling, live jazz nights and one-off martinis keep things slinky and sultry. Chef Tom Rains earned his toque in the Berkeley and Claridge’s kitchens; his daily-changing menu makes the most of local produce: try the Severn smoked salmon, Brixham crab benedict and braised lamb sweetbreads with confit potatoes. Don’t be tempted to take a taxi to Le Champignon Sauvage (+44 (0)1242 573 449): you’ll be thankful for the appetite-whetting 20-minute walk there. This small restaurant’s earned two-Michelin stars with its scintillating menu: expect the very best of the Cotswolds’ farmed and foraged produce – wood pigeon, Hereford snails, ground elder – transformed by gifted hands.

Local cafés

Start your day with breakfast at local cafe The Find, where you’ll find meaty and veggie takes on the Full English, spicy harissa eggs on toast, and fruit-topped porridge. It’s also open throughout the day for leisurely lunches, tea, coffee and cake breaks, and dinners on Friday and Saturday nights.

Local bars

Stop for a glass of wine at vintners John Gordons (+44 (0)1242 245 985); the deli has smoked mackerel pâté, charcuterie platters and handsome pies to snack on, too.

Reviews

Photos No 131 reviews
Guy Woodward

Anonymous review

Right from when I was little, I’ve been a fan of the communal hotel lounge. As a bright-eyed seven-year-old keen to make friends on holidays at garishly decorated Cornwall hotels, I liked that it was both useful and a glimpse into an adult world. Especially if there were board games. I loved board games.
 
These days, the appeal is of a different nature. Being an adult, I am less sociable, and don’t hang out there to meet people. Indeed I prefer not to, save for the occasional reassuring bit of small talk. I am not hoping for a game of Cluedo, either, or even Connect Four. No, this haven now speaks to me simply of indulgence, of afternoon tea, of a sanctuary from chores (and, ideally, from precocious seven-year-olds). And of magazines. I love magazines.
 
So does Mrs Smith. And fortunately, the lounge at No 131 in Cheltenham comes stocked with plenty of them – notably those ‘aspirational’ food, travel and lifestyle titles, laid out extensively on shabby-chic wooden tables that are the perfect height at which to lay your feet (don’t worry – the ‘pre-loved’ nature eradicates any guilt you may feel at such overly familiar behaviour).
 
It takes more than a bunch of glossy magazines to keep me and Mrs Smith happy, I should add. We do not spend our spare time lingering in dentists’ waiting rooms. And it’s true, we do have a sitting room at home where, all being well, only Mrs Smith will ever disturb me. Yet somehow, the lounge at No 131 offers more by way of relaxation. It helps, of course, that in contrast to our own home (and certainly those Cornish guesthouses of my youth) an interior designer has been consulted. The result is a modern interpretation of its Georgian heritage, all high ceilings, vast sash windows, wall-dominating artwork and lavishly upholstered, eccentrically coloured armchairs. The result? Plonked here, we immediately switch off, free of distraction, to be interrupted only by obscenely young members of staff offering pots of tea.
 
Despite its stately reputation, Cheltenham has a fairly young feel. We are advised by said staff to take a stroll to the neighbouring Montpellier district, home to an eclectic mix of faintly Bohemian, arty boutiques, purveyors of everything from retro typewriters to bespoke stationery – both of which Mrs Smith developed a sudden hankering for. The hotel had emailed prior to our arrival to give us the lowdown on events happening. Art featured heavily, from the newly extended Wilson Gallery, to a pop-up outdoor exhibition on the green opposite.
 
This ancient yet modern feel exists throughout the hotel. The colonnaded Georgian architecture backdrops the convivial bar terrace looking onto Imperial Square. Its interior is contemporary, but lived in, materials are often natural and placement is stylised – it’s classic but cool. The creaky, wooden stairs to our room take us past exposed light bulbs in birdcage shades to carpeted corridors and more quirky artwork.
 
We’d booked a Very Good room – a halfway house between the mere Cosy and the extravagant Excellent, combining qualities of both. There are lovely all-natural toiletries; there’s a Nespresso machine; an iPod dock; a big TV with Sky; movies galore via a clever Apple entertainment package; oh, and more magazines.
 
Throughout it all are little touches that make Mrs Smith and I feel warm inside (perhaps too warm on occasion, of which more later). There’s the cute presentation of the hotel particulars in a faux hardback novel on the desk; the wooden stool in the bathroom, where I perch to groom as Mrs Smith defoliates; and the tray of juices and pastries delivered to our door each morning. We learn that some rooms – the Excellent ones, presumably – have reconditioned, freestanding Rogeat Lyon baths dating back to 1875. But frankly, they would have to be made from diamond-emblazoned platinum to outdo the two showers that grace our rather splendid bathroom. Not just any two showers, either. Two walk-in showers with that overhead waterfall thing. All rendered in a classic, understated way to complement the vintage tiling and old-school toilet replete with satisfying pull chain.
 
It’s the same downstairs. The bar is a proper one, with proper barstools, but decorated in oh-so-cool-right-now teal (right down to the luminous cross on the wall, emblazoned with the disconcerting message ‘Sin will find you out’). The extensive cocktail list borrows from – and credits – various incarnations around the world over the last century or so. The dinner menu in the relaxed restaurant – all wooden boards and not a tablecloth in sight – makes a big play of steak, and delivers on the promise, again with homey touches: oversized tea-towel napkins, sauces delivered in mini saucepans, fries in cute little buckets. Service is a bit hit and miss – the downside of such youthful staff – but we stagger upstairs with a fuzzy glow.
 
There is a further bar further downstairs – the more locally-populated Crazy Eights. Thankfully, it’s not too crazy, though it does get pretty lively later on – as evidenced by the hum and chatter seeping up through our open window (and the jar of painkillers provided atop the bar at breakfast). Why the open window? Ah yes, that warmth. A decent air-conditioning system is the only element missing, since the building’s Grade-II-listed status precludes any such installation. It’s a minor quibble though, and fans (and earplugs) are provided – at least it provided grist to the small-talk mill when I bumped into another guest having tea in the lounge…

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in No 131’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Great food (try the aged meats), downstairs bar, pampered rooms and location. Perfect place to stay and enjoy downtown or just the peace and quiet of the gardens across the way.

Don’t expect

An elevator, so you have to carry your bags up/down stairs.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Apr 2018

We loved

The decor, modern vibe and great breakfast.

Don’t expect

A quiet night or warm bathroom – we stayed Saturday night, and our room was so loud because of the bar downstairs (until about midnight). We were jet lagged so were hoping to have an early night :(. Also, our room was plenty warm, but the bathroom which was downstairs was freezing all night – and the cold air kept coming up to us. We had called to ask about it a couple of times, but the hotel staff didn't seem that bothered. In addition, there were a couple of things that were not up to par given the rating and price of the hotel – we had a few broken lights, and there was an old box of cough drops on the floor in the bedroom. Bit strange.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Feb 2018

We loved

It all...the hotel was gorgeous! We had the delight of staying in room 6. We had a huge bed with a double side TV, a beautiful bath tub in the room and a large bathroom. All the small touches were lovely too, including a hot water bottle and some bath products. We also had lunch at the hotel in front of the fire which was delicious. Would strongly recommend. The staff were also really helpful and luckily we were able to check into our room slightly earlier as it was ready for us.

Don’t expect

It was slightly noisy at night, however we were just above the entrance to the hotel at the front and the windows are original so we were expecting a little noise.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Dec 2017

We loved

The style of the hotel – beautifully decorated. The Tavern, a nearby restaurant owned by the same people as the hotel, was excellent.

Rating

Stayed on 26 Aug 2017

We loved

The interior design – the hotel strikes the perfect balance between homely and luxe. We also had a beautiful dinner at the restaurant; the banofee cheesecake deserves a special mention. Will definitely stay again if we travel to the Cotswolds as it is in a great location for doing day trips. The Tavern just down the road from the restaurant is a tastefully decorated bar and casual restaurant. We both had very generous salads but the burgers looked excellent too.

Don’t expect

Quiet on a Saturday night. There is a great bar downstairs at the restaurant, which we loved (and which seemed to be the trendiest bar in town), but if you're there on the weekend you'll hear it slightly from your room.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Jul 2017

We loved

The shabby chic, thoughtful additions in the rooms, relaxed atmosphere with perfect service and lovely food.

Don’t expect

Bling.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2017

We loved

How calm it was. Close to quality shops and restaurants.

Don’t expect

Modern furniture, but do expect quality all round.

Rating

Stayed on 29 Mar 2017

We loved

The food. Dinner was excellent. Loved the pre-breakfast idea also cookies at bed time.

Don’t expect

Much space in the room.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Mar 2017

We loved

The location is great and the hotel is vibey and cool.

Don’t expect

A quiet room as there is a lounge downstairs that plays loud music and noisy people outside can be off-putting. I wouldn't expect any special treatment from the restaurant either, both stays they have tried to seat us at what could easily be considered the worst table in the house (even after pre arranging a nice table). The food is great though.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Mar 2017

We loved

The hot chocolate and warm cookies the hotel put in your room every evening, the delightfully comfortable bed, the lobster mac 'n' cheese in the restaurant and the amazing décor.

Don’t expect

To not know other guests are there – this is a townhouse after all.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Feb 2017

We loved

The staff were amazing. Very polite and helpful. Beautiful room. Exceptional food.

Rating

Stayed on 10 Feb 2017

We loved

The size and decor of the room, the size and comfort of the bed, and it was nice and quiet for central London.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Jan 2017

We loved

Comfortable rooms and service. Go for walks around Montpellier.

Don’t expect

Lively evenings.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2016

We loved

The little touches such as finding cookies and hot chocolate in our rooms after dinner, and having a 'pre-breakfast' delivered to the room with a newspaper! We didn't leave the hotel!

Don’t expect

...to stay up really late in the bar, last orders were 12pm. We could have sat in the lounge longer though.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Dec 2016

We loved

The staff, the room and the flask of cocoa. A great location in Cheltenham.

Don’t expect

A lift!

Rating

Stayed on 22 Sep 2016