Flanked by the Cheltenham Ladies’ College and the Imperial Gardens, No 131 is on a broad boutique-lined avenue leading down to the town’s high street.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.