Short stay: Aloft Birmingham Eastside, Birmingham, UK

Opened just 12 months ago in the Eastside area of the diverse city of Birmingham, the 195-bedroom Aloft Birmingham Eastside is one of just four Aloft hotels in the UK (the others being in London, Liverpool and Aberdeen) – a music-inspired, stylish hotel brand from Marriott.

The welcome

We were warmly welcomed by cheerful, smiling staff in a vibrant, modern open plan reception area. Check-in was swift – within minutes, we were in the lift and no our way to our room on the top floor of the building.

The room

We stayed in room 610 which I believe is an Urban King room. In addition to having an ultra-comfortable King-sized platform bed, our room was equipped with a Samsung TV, desk area and lamp, Nespresso machine, kettle, tea and coffee, fridge and safe. There were also ample sockets, a hair dryer and a reliable free WiFi connection.

The room had a floor-to-ceiling window that looked north-west towards Aston University and Birmingham City Council buildings.

The bathroom

As one door closes, another opens. A sliding door that closes to reveal some shelved storage, at the same time also opens to reveal an en suite bathroom with ample space for a powerful rain shower, as well as a single basin and WC.

The hotel uses One Life branded toiletries, including soap and protein body lotion. Shower wall dispensers contain Bliss Tried+Blue bubbling body wash and Bliss Tried+Blue all-in-one shampoo and conditioner.

Bathrobes and slippers were also supplied.

The facilities

Close to the hotel’s entrance is the stylish W XYZ Bar where you can relax and enjoy signature cocktails or play a game of pool.

Snacks are also available 24 hours a day at the hotel’s Re:Fuel station next to reception.

A buffet-style English breakfast is served each morning at the hotel’s Tempo Restauarnt.

In the evenings, the restaurant is transformed into an informal dining area with a laid-back atmosphere. Dress code is casual.

A three-course menu is available. For our starters, I chose the crayfish cocktail (they must have been out of crayfish as it actually turned out to be prawns, not crayfish) and my wife the charred bruchetta. For our mains, we had the aloft burger and the buttermilk chicken. The neon lights made photography of the food very challenging so I present you with one of the restaurant’s stock images instead.

Satisfied with just a starter and main, we decided to forego dessert but choices included sticky toffee pudding, lemon tart and a selection of ice creams.

We didn’t use it on this occasion but the hotel also has a well-equipped gym and fitness centre.

There’s a small conference room as well but the primary conference space can be found next door where Birmingham’s newest conference centre, the Eastside Rooms, houses 23 event spaces and the largest pillar-free ballroom in the city centre.

Location

The Aloft Birmingham Eastside is conveniently located in a newly-developed part of Birmingham that has been made possible by the demolition of a large elevated road junction (Masshouse Circus) and the city’s inner ring road. In years gone by – predominantly the 17th to 19th centuries – this area would have been in the vicinity of the city’s Gun Quarter and the centre of the world’s gun-manufacturing industry. Today it is perfectly situated for parents visiting students attending Aston University which is just a few minutes walk away.

For those seeking a little retail therapy, Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping Centre (home to leading brands, designer boutiques and restaurants) and the city’s Jewellery Quarter are a 15- and 25-minute walk away respectively. Leisure travellers will also find themselves well positioned for the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum which is less than 5 minutes away on foot.

Venues such as the Symphony Hall and the Utlita Arena which host some of the biggest live shows in the city – as well as natural beauty in the form of Birmingham Botanical Garden – can all be found around 2 miles away.

Other nice touches

Our visit was close to Valentine’s Day and our bed was covered in rose petals on arrival, as well as two carefully-crafted swan towels.

Some sweet treats and a complimentary bottle of Prosecco were also very kindly provided.

Cost

Rates start from just £94 per night for King rooms, and from £119 per night for Urban King rooms. Savvy 1-bedroom suites start from £192 per night.

Members of the Marriott Bonvoy™ Rewards Program will be pleased to know that Aloft branded hotels are among the 7,000+ participating hotels that can be found worldwide.

The best bit

The best bit is the hotel’s location – in this part of the city, there are not really other luxury hotel options (which tend to clustered more around the city centre and Birmingham New Street station).

The final verdict

This was my first stay in an Aloft-branded hotel so I had little idea of what to expect. I found it to be a modern city centre property offering comfortable and stylish accommodation, with all the amenities we needed within walking distance. The planned Birmingham Eastside extension to the HS2 line, which will serve the new HS2 Curzon Street station, will surely help the regeneration and development potential of this part of city, helping to further cement the hotel’s future. With the Eastside Rooms brand new state-of-the-art conference venue next door, this is the perfect option for business travellers.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Aloft Birmingham Eastside.

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