Chester, United Kingdom

Oddfellows

Rates from (ex tax)$121.15

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP109.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Upscale Wonderland

Setting

Heart of historic Chester

Behind the elegant 17th-century façade of the Oddfellows hotel hides a pocket of Wonderland – with the creature comforts of its strikingly unusual rooms, whimsical secret garden and buzzy watering holes, it’s no surprise it’s popular with the Chester locals.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

One cocktail each, of the guest's choice, on arrival

Facilities

Photos Oddfellows facilities

Need to know

Rooms

18, including two suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability (charges vary depending on time). Earliest check-in is at 4pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $121.15 (£91), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP109.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (£9 for Continental, £13.95 for full English, à la carte from £7).

Also

The Oddfellows Hall now housing the hotel was once a member’s organisation for the misfits of society – hence the quirky interiors by Ken Roscoe, a local Cheshire interior designer and the driving force behind the hotel.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, Nespresso coffee maker, Roberts radio, iPod dock, minibar, Plantation toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

In restored Victorian Caldecott cottage, room 19 boasts a roll-top bath and lampshades decorated with the delicate work of Cestrian illustrator Randolph Caldecott. Overlooking the garden, the Douglas Duplex suite has a shuttered skylight above the freestanding bath on the mezzanine level – perfect for a long soak gazing at the stars.

Packing tips

Flat leather sandals for roaming the designer outlets; pick up a wispy blue silk dress to play Alice in the secret garden come cocktail hour.

Also

The hotel has two vintage bicycles to hire free for countryside jaunts (a security deposit is required). The two-bedroom Caldecott Cottage is fully accessible to wheelchair users, as are the garden, bar and restaurant.

Children

Welcome. Extra beds for children only (£35 a night) and cots (£17.50) can be added to the rooms; there’s a children’s menu with a breakfast option for £4.50 and mains for £5.

Food and Drink

Photos Oddfellows food and drink

Top Table

Ask for a table by the glass doors: they slide back in warm weather to create a space that’s half indoors, half out. You’ll get a great view of both the garden’s white picket fences and the trees inside the Restaurant (told you it was quirky).

Dress Code

Ladies needn’t worry about ruining heels on the garden’s astro-turf; shades are a must for cool drinks in the sun.

Hotel restaurant

A bright and airy extension to the original building, the Restaurant serves modern Mediterranean fare, as well as hearty Sunday lunches and scrumptious afternoon teas. You'll need to book in advance to dine at this popular spot, but once you've secured a table, expect a relaxed, casual approach from the kitchen: you’ll find sharing platters as well as more traditional classics such as pork belly and lamb rump.

Hotel bar

Take a seat at the potting-shed bar in the secret garden, or ask for one of its secluded heated booths. With its maple-wood bar, orange chesterfield sofa and painted bestiary on the walls, the Lounge Bar is a popular destination for well-heeled locals, and deservedly so: try the Aviation, a fresh blend of crème de violette and gin, or the Oddfellows V&Tea served in a dainty tea cup.

Last orders

Lunch is served from 12 noon to 2.30pm, dinner from 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Sundays lunch is served from 12 noon to 5pm and dinner until 9pm. The Lounge Bar and the Secret Garden close at 11pm.

Location

Photos Oddfellows location
Address
Oddfellows
20 Lower Bridge Street
Chester
CH1 1RS
Chester
United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is Liverpool (a 40-minute drive away), but Manchester (45 minutes away by car) offers better links to the rest of the country and beyond.

Trains

It’s a 10-minute drive to Chester station, with links on Virgin, Arriva and Mersey Rail to London, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiff.

Automobiles

Chester is easily accessible from the M53 and M56. There’s NCP parking on Pepper Street nearby, from £8.50 for hotel guests, paid on check-out.

Other

It’s also possible to land a private jet or helicopter at Hawarden Airport, six miles away from Chester.

Worth getting out of bed for

Chester’s city centre is an idle stroll from Oddfellows hotel: take in the ancient city walls or discover the Chester Rows, picturesque mediaeval covered walkways now housing independent boutiques and cafés. Take a bet on the gee-gees (named after Chester mayor Henry Gee who first allowed the races in 1539) at bijou Chester racecourse, the oldest still in use in England and a mere canter away from the hotel. Further afield, bargain hunters can run amok at sprawling Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet or find inner peace in the stunning views of the Dee estuary at Ness Botanic Gardens.

Local restaurants

For a memorable Michelin-star fine-dining experience, head to Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor (+44 (0)1244 324024) – the majestic bread trolley alone is worth the splurge. Recently awarded a Michelin ‘Bib gourmand’, Joseph Benjamin (+44 (0)1244 344 295) is all about local and seasonal produce, with the likes of home-cured gravadlax or seared Cheshire calves’ livers on the menu. Next door, down a narrow cobbled lane, its little sister Porta (+44 (0)1244 344 295) serves Barcelona-worthy tapas. 

Local cafés

Marmalade is a warm and inviting café serving classic sandwiches, home-made cakes, and the best scrambled eggs in town (+44 (0)1244 314565). End a walk along Chester’s Canal Quarter at Artichoke's bustling café, bar and bistro (+44 (0)1244 329229). The open kitchen serves tempting sandwiches and more substantial mains, as well as local real ales and sinful cakes.

Local bars

Not to be confused with the Oddfellows’ Lounge Bar, Barlounge (+44 (0)1244 327394) is a popular place to chill out over inventive cocktails and comfort staples. If you’re in the mood for a late night, make a beeline for Red Door’s deep chesterfield sofas, bookable booths and seemingly endless cocktail menu (+44 (0)1244 329871).

Reviews

Photos Oddfellows reviews
Chris Cox

Anonymous review

I’m relaxing on the sofa, messing around with my iPhone when I hear a shout from Mrs Smith on the top floor of our split-level suite.
‘I cannot believe you’ve done that.’ Uh-oh.
‘What have I done?’ I holler back. Feigning ignorance, I cast my eye towards the massive flatscreen.
‘You damn well know.’ I don’t… I don’t know at all. This romantic break to Chester is going to be ruined before it’s started; we’ve only been in Oddfellows for 30 minutes. There’s silence, then she descends the stairs and looks at me.
‘How the hell have you already managed to upload 37 Instagrams of this place?’ Phew.
‘What can I say? It’s just very Instagrammable.’ I smile sweetly. ‘I mean, just look at the place.’

Arriving at Oddfellows was somewhat dreamlike. After a short cab journey from the train station through the beautiful historic city of Chester, the elegant 17th-centry façade hadn’t been a huge surprise; but from the moment we’d ascended the steep staircase into Oddfellows it felt like we were falling down the rabbit hole.

The buzz from the sumptuous maple-wood Lounge Bar had instantly piqued our attention, but to reception we needed to go. Not to stand at a boring hotel desk, but to sit in fancy designer chairs (yes, I took photos of us in them); we admired the start of a parade of unique design touches. It’s flourishes like typewriters on the wall that make Oddfellows sparkle.

Formalities dealt with, we’re whisked through the secret garden bar to our room. Well, I imagine they’d hoped it had been whisking us; it slowed to a snail’s pace as I opened Instragram and started snapping some more. A life-size police line-up of animals comprises the wallpaper, unusual lights, antlers on the walls, a potting shed for a bar – this is the sort of place that redefines the word ‘quirky’ and has you instantly wanting to redecorate your own home.

I’m pretty positive that by the time we reached the room I’d said, ‘Oh! That’s cool’ at least 20 times. From the painting of an old-fashioned front door on top of the normal hotel-room door to mini-bar drawers labelled ‘eat me’, ‘drink me’ and ‘use me’. Think of Oddfellows as the theatrical and flamboyant lovechild of Tim Burton and Soho House.

There are no identikit rooms; some even have round beds if you’re feeling a little Austin Powers. With suites inspired by the likes of architect John Douglas (he who designed Chester’s landmark Eastgate Clock), Lawrence of Arabia cinematographer Peter Newbrook, and illustrator-humourist Randolph Caldecott, the rooms ooze eccentricity, in our case this is manifested in graffiti and doodle-cool wall covering, a travelling-trunk table and a bedside roll-top bath. Substance triumphs along with style though, and soon the soft bedding devours us whole and we lie back and admire how well thought-out this double-height room is in order to exploit all available space. Isn’t that the kind of thing you admire while in bed?

By morning, a hanging breakfast bag of fruit and pastries has found its way onto our doorknob. The in-room Nespresso machine hardly finishes pumping out coffee before Mrs Smith drags me out to help her do what she does best…. Con me into thinking we’re off out to explore a city when we’re actually going shopping…

The higgledy-piggledy split-level streets of Chester are charming and beautiful with their magnificent Gothic cathedral in the middle. And, as a Londoner, the friendliness of the locals is a constant delight; all so chatty and lovely, they make us southerners feel right at home. A short taxi journey later and we’re at the Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet mall, home to the sort of bargains that mean Mrs Smith feels compelled to buy twice as much. On the way back our cab driver tells us how buzzing Chester is on a Saturday night as folks from Liverpool and nearby Wales descend, creating a glamorous party of convivial visitors. He points out the famous three-sided clocktower. ‘Why’s one face missing?’ I ask. ‘Oh it’s because they wouldn’t give Wales the time of day!’ he chuckles.

Come evening, our cabbie is proven right; Chester adopts a slick of glamour care of young socialites and glitzy couples. Meanwhile, instead of going glam ourselves with a whirl in Oddfellow’s casual-cool restaurant helmed by Michelin-star chef Simon Radley, we indulge our love of American-style barbecue food at the riverside Hickory’s Smokehouse. We fill our bellies with pulled pork and burnt ends served out of retro mess tins and platter boards until we can eat no more. However, Chester has other plans. We find ourselves in the fashionable Bar Lounge (not to be confused with Oddfellows own Lounge Bar), where we enjoy first-class cocktails on its bustling outdoor terrace until eventually it’s time to tackle the cobbled streets back to Oddfellows.

Resisting a nightcap, and a little under the influence, we stumble into the restored Victoria Caldecott Cottage which houses our room. From the window, I survey the party that is truly alive in the astroturfed Secret Garden below. Just like the hotel, it is a beautiful mess of design and style that reeks of well, awesomeness. Oh – if you speak to that Mad Hatter and he happens to be in need of a hotel recommendation for after his tea party, be sure to steer him straight to this wonderland.

 

 

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 Oddfellows’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The apartments were stunning and the staff lovely. Great welcome and lovely food. The level of comfort in the apartments was great: a real home from home.

Don’t expect

Air-con in bedroom would be a welcome addition, or even a fan. It was a little too warm to sleep well.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Sep 2017

We loved

The decor in the rooms was superb. We had the Newbrook and loved the mezzanine bathroom and double shower. And the gardens were amazing. Really lovely hotel would definitely return. Wine tasting at Veeno was a really good start to our evening. Also, the Tapas at Portas was incredible!

Rating

Stayed on 10 Mar 2017

We loved

The quirky style, super comfortable bed and amazing double shower! The brilliant breakfast to go. We really like 'Bar Lounge' for a fee drinks under a canopy outside with heaters etc.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Feb 2017

We loved

Everything about our stay… great ambiance. Go to the Spitting Feathers Tap House, the Architect pub, Corks Out Wine Bar and Carluccio's Italian restaurant (for hot chocolate).

Don’t expect

This is not a budget hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Nov 2016

We loved

Easy access to centre of Chester. The room was lovely. Walking round city walls and river walk was interesting. Loads of history. Shopping very good and of course Chester Oaks outlet shopping not far.

Don’t expect

Parking at hotel but special rates at multistorey car park not too far away.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Aug 2016

We loved

The room was lovely - we had a Douglas Duplex, with the biggest bath in the world. Lovely style, nice touches.

Don’t expect

Breakfast in a bag was as disappointing as it sounds.

Rating

Stayed on 6 Aug 2016

We loved

The whole experience - quirky rooms and hidden coves - great cocktails and grand food! Brilliant. Not far from the Sticky Walnut restaurant which is simply stunning, but you'll need to book in advance.

Don’t expect

A dull experience

Rating

Stayed on 22 Jul 2016

We loved

The free cocktail! We had two cocktails free with our Smith Collection booking. Luke, the bartender, was very professional and mixed an excellent drink. The food in the restaurant was very good as well. There was a wedding on, which we were worried about, but we didn't hear anything. Weddings are in the main building and most of the guest rooms are in the building in back. The room was quiet and had air conditioning which was great because it was very hot out. Take a walk on the city walls.

Don’t expect

A hotel parking space. The hotel is on one of the main streets. However, we were there on a Sunday and found a place at the kerb a few meters from the hotel and it was free. The only catch is that you have to move by 8am on Monday, but we were leaving early anyway. Otherwise, park at the NCP car park nearby for a discounted rate.

Rating

Stayed on 5 Jun 2016

We loved

Excellent hotel very close to the centre of Chester, the food and service was fantastic and the duplex suit very quirky. A great place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Chester Zoo is a must, recently extended and well worth a day out. The local sites of Chester. The designer outlet nearby is also good for a few bargins if you like that kind of thing

Don’t expect

A car park although they did offer a discount card for the local NCP so not a main issue

Rating

Stayed on 15 May 2016

We loved

The quirky decor, the friendly staff, the complimentary breakfast bag, even though a full breakfast is not included.

Don’t expect

To get a seat in the bar at the weekend-it gets incredibly busy.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Mar 2016

We loved

The quirky hotel and gardens, first class service, lovely food, friendly staff, prime location for exploring Chester on foot. 10/10

Don’t expect

To find a sauna or swimming pool. 

Rating

Stayed on 10 Mar 2016

We loved

The quirkiness of the public areas.

Don’t expect

Bathroom privacy in the standard rooms. Glass doors with modest coverage!

Rating

Stayed on 19 Feb 2016

We loved

The quirkiness of the hotel, its décor, the attentive staff, the ambiance, being able to sit outside even in the cold in the booths with heaters.

Don’t expect

A completely quiet evening if you stay on a weekend. The bar is open to the public, so it gets rather busy but last orders are at 11pm so it does go quiet really quickly.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Jan 2016

We loved

The decor, the bar and the cocktails, and the bedroom was awesome. So many staff who are attentive, but not intrusive, and a  great atmosphere. Dinner was lovely, with a great seasonal twist to menu. Great to people watch!

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet on a weekend: it is very populour drinking place, it seemed to attract 30 plus, but we loved the buzz!

Rating

Stayed on 12 Dec 2015

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