Best Hotel in Nottingham
Great location and what a classy Hotel. Didn’t eat in the Restaurant this time but on previous occassions it was pricey but first class. Have stayed in most of the Hotels in Nottingham, there is no contest this is the best and not that much more expensive. Very relaxed and friendly breakfast in great surroundings, also good bar for a late night drink. The rooms are not the biggest but very clean. The car park at the back is really convenient as well. Once you have been here once and sussed out where everything is, you will be back.
Vegan Dinner at Hart’s Restaurant
After becoming a Vegan 3 years ago, going out for dinner to a non-Vegan place was always really disappointing until now.
My visit to Hart’s Restaurant, Nottingham, was the most exciting dinner in a very long time. I was happily surprised! Harts got short notice of the visit of three Vegans and they assembled an amazing three-course dinner menu, (three options per each course) and all Vegan! I thought that I was in heaven!
All options sounded sublime, but I am a soup person so I went for that to start. It was the best soup I’ve had in memory. It had a perfect velvety carrot-and-coriander combination, texture, temperature, and color. It was an absolutely knock out! Our main course options were very different and I chose the mushroom risotto. The best part of it was the deep fried wild garlic leaves on top. I’ve never had them before and I won’t ever forget them. The desert was bananas and rum presented in a very different way so that they looked like wrapped gifts!
We had the pleasure to meet the talented young head chef, Dan Burridge, who told us that all the ingredients (except the bananas and rum of course) were local, and seasonal which is the right way to go.
I really enjoyed my Vegan dinner at Harts, one of the best I’ve ever had for sure. I hope to be able to come back to Nottingham to repeat the experience.
The Travel section of the Telegraph newspaper recently published an interview with Peter Bowles, star of stage and TV including the much loved series ‘To the Manor Born’. One of the questions asked was which is the best hotel you’ve stayed in? Peter said ‘I stayed at Hart’s Hotel inNottingham recently, a four star – but it is not the stars but the staff who count and their welcome was wonderful. It is in a tremendous position, up near the castle and all the windows overlook miles of woodland park and valley. We had a wonderful suite, but what I liked particularly was that we had his and hers bathrooms.’ We are delighted that Peter had a good stay with us and look forward to welcoming him back to Hart’s.
AA Gill from the Sunday Times has given Hart’s Restaurant 4 stars for food and 4 stars for atmosphere following his recent visit to us for Sunday lunch. He says that ‘The first thing you notice about the menu is that, from top to bottom, it’s really edible. Not just edible, but moreish. And second, it’s absurdly cheap.’ He says that his main course of ‘sea bass with mushroom gnocchi, leeks and a port reduction was brave and well made…. Best of all was the roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish hollandaise. Smart, authentic, but special for a Sunday lunch off a set menu of 3 courses for £23.’ Finishing by saying that ‘Hart’s is a commendably accomplished dining room: it is, as the Michelin guide used to say, worth the detour.’
The Good Hotel Guide 2009
‘Every city should have one,’ say visitors to this modern hotel a short walk from the centre. Built on the site of Nottingham’s medieval castle by Tim Hart, owner of Hambleton Hall, Hambleton (qv), it is managed by Paul Fearon. His staff are ‘young, bright, enthusiastic’. One couple wrote of a ‘very pleasant’ welcome. The ‘well-thought-out’ building has curved buttresses, lots of glass, limestone floors; wide views over ramparts to the university and the hills beyond. Many of the bedrooms have the view; they are ‘well equipped, and naturally ventilated through louvred shutters, giving pleasant air quality without dryness or noise’. Each of the six garden rooms has a private terrace. Light meals are served all day in Park’s Bar. Breakfast, criticised in the past, has a better report this year (it costs extra). ‘Perfectly prepared coffee by the cup, freshly squeezed orange juice, the freshest fruit salad, fine local pork sausages and free-range eggs. It may not be huge, but what does one need?’ Booking is required for Hart’s, the adjacent restaurant in the former radiology department of Nottingham’s general hospital. Gareth Ward is the chef; we would welcome reports on his modern cooking. (Prof Richard Noss, and others)
Saturday February 10, 2007
Are you ready to order?
This week, Mark Palmer visits Hart’s in Nottingham and finds it so buzzy, even Christopher Biggins’s booming voice blends into the background
Christopher Biggins and Claire Sweeney are eating à deux at the next-but-one table to ours. They seem to know each other rather well. A little scoop is percolating. Only later do we see a poster advertising Aladdin at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham, starring Miss Sweeney in the title role and Mr Biggins as Widow Twankey. Mr Biggins looks as if he’s the discerning type when it comes to choosing a restaurant. Certainly, it would appear that he’s had one or two slap-up suppers in his time and he’s in the throes of another grand one here.
Hart’s is the best restaurant in Nottingham – and that’s official. In fact, for two years on the trot it has swept all before it in the Nottingham Restaurant Awards. It’s also where the England cricket team dined before demolishing the Australians long, long ago in the summer of 2005.
Granted, Nottingham is not quite Britain’s answer to Lyon in the eating-out department – or in any other department for that matter, although it does boast the largest market square in Europe – but Tom Earle, the head chef at Hart’s, trained at Claridges.
Hart’s is housed in what was the radiology department of Nottingham General Hospital. It’s a listed Victorian building that tries terribly hard to be cutting-edge contemporary but ends up looking like a cross between the business class lounge at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 4 and a smart Audi dealership in the Thames Valley corridor.
The lighting doesn’t help – far too bright in the bar, while spots in the ceiling above the tables create dark shadows underneath even the most youthful of eyes.
I’m here with a 20-year-old student who says he hasn’t had a proper meal for 10 days.
“Can I get you any drinks at all?” asks a friendly waiter with an addiction to adding “at all” at the end of each sentence.
He hands over a wine list that reminds me of Michael Aspel’s big red book in This is Your Life. There’s a preface pointing out that “we are looking for wines that are delicious to drink in a variety of styles”.
Then it goes on to say: “Forgive us if we have less well-known names than some lists. They seldom offer value.” Oh, dear. Lynne Truss and her Eats, Shoots and Leaves army would pounce on that one.
“Are we ready to order at all?” inquires our jolly waiter. Yes, but it’s not easy. There’s a three-course set menu (£22.50) but The Student has his eye on a bird halfway down the à la carte menu: pheasant terrine with Cumberland sauce.
I’m taken by double-baked smoked haddock soufflé. As a main course, he goes for “loin of fallow venison, potato gratin, carrot & rosemary purée, bitter chocolate sauce”, while I opt for pork belly with spring onion mash and soy-roasted bok choi.
“Would you like any water with your dinner at all?” No, but a bottle of 2005 Malbec (£14.50) would be most welcome. Described as having an “expressive nose with leather, chocolate and violet notes”, this Chilean concoction is almost undrinkable.
“It’s all up front. There’s nothing underneath,” I remark, to which The Student replies: “A bit like Nottingham women.”
His terrine presents itself as a slab of variegated plastic but we both agree that this is due largely to the dreaded lighting, which is so fierce that it highlights every smear around the edge of the wiped plate.
It tastes better than it looks. My soufflé is superb: light but with plenty of chunky fish and some finely-cut green beans working their way into the mix.
The staff – both male and female – are wearing blue shirts and ties and I tell The Student that they are bound to carry the label of local boy done very good, Paul Smith.
“I’m not so sure,” he says. And I’m not so sure whom to ask. Eventually, I raise it with a smiley Polish waitress who shows us the M&S logo on the back of her tie and then excuses herself before returning with a piece of paper on which she has written Rael Brook. “That’s the name on the shirt,” she says.
We’re impressed. I tell The Student that I like the juxtaposition of the formality of the food at Hart’s and the informality of its service.
But then my pork belly arrives and it’s a terrible let-down. The pork has been cut into bacon-size strips and plonked on top of a heap of mashed potato. It’s so heavy going that I pull up long before the finish line.
His venison is an altogether different matter, comprising two succulent pieces of meat sitting on cabbage beside a square of pressed potato wrapped in onion.
“I think this could be the best meat I’ve ever had,” he says. Which is high praise from a boy as likely to turn vegetarian as Jade Goody is to become the next United Nations goodwill ambassador.
I don’t want pudding and nor does he. But then I see vanilla crème brulée lurking with intent and can’t resist.
Likewise, The Student succumbs to hot chocolate pudding with ice cream. This is becoming a big blow-out. He won’t need another meal for days.
It’s midweek but the restaurant is almost full and it’s so buzzy that I can no longer hear Mr Biggins’s booming voice.
A couple gets up to leave. He is short and elderly, she is tall, thin and half his age. On closer inspection, they are both men. The Student is amazed; I’m quite surprised myself.
After all, this is Nottingham, home of Boots the chemist, Raleigh Bicycles and recently described as the most violent urban centre in Britain.
The city is clearly awash with surprises – of which Hart’s can count itself as one.
And a happy one at that.
Saturday March 3, 2007
An Inspector Calls
By The Inspector, Daily Mail
This is a second visit to Nottingham in as many years. Somehow, it’s an easy place to fetch up in on the way north or south – although all the talk about it being the most violent city in Britain can’t have done a lot for passing trade.
Last time, we stayed at the excellent Lace Market Hotel in the centre of the district, where in 1890 nearly 20,000 workers used to toil in the city’s 500 lace factories. Hart’s is an altogether different kind of experience, but far from disagreeable. The hotel is spanking new, built from scratch next to what used to be Nottingham General Hospital.
It’s owned by Tim and Stefa Hart, whose main outlet is the imposing Hambleton Hall in Rutland, and whose sons, Sam and Eddie, are making names for themselves in London with Fino and, more recently, Barrafina, a lively tapas joint in Soho.
Trouble is, we can’t find the hotel and it’s raining – hard. With a new resolution to be less grumpy, I tell Joanna a joke about the saint who goes to Heaven and is informed by St Peter at the gates that he must give a talk about his most dramatic experience on earth.
‘I shall tell everyone about the day my family survived terrible floods in the 1960s,’ says the man. ‘That should be fine,’ says St.Peter. ‘But one word of warning: Noah will be in the audience.’
I ring to ask for directions and the receptionist talks me through the city’s fiendish one-way system – and there it is in a cul-de-sac just inside what used to be the hospital gates. What’s more, a man with a brolly is standing ready to greet us, saying we should leave the keys in the car and that he will park it later.
If you told me we were in Los Angeles, I would believe you. Hart’s is all glass, steel, limestone floors and curved buttresses.
Our room is the equivalent of business class on a BA flight – shiny, a little cramped but with enough style and bravado to get away with it. Unlike the BA cabin crew, there’s no threat of anyone or anything not working – certainly not in the bathroom, which has its own window and floor-to-ceiling slinky, black tiles.
The hotel bar – Park Bar – is empty, which suits us fine because we’re about to have a row about the merits of allglass, stainless steel buildings.
Then I notice near the door there’s a rogues’ gallery of well-known people who have stayed here, including Rory Bremner and the entire England cricket team. Dinner is served in what used to be the radiology department of the hospital – and it’s full.
Apparently, it’s been named Nottingham’s top restaurant for the past two years. It would be churlish to suggest the competition can’t be great but it would also be true. Actually, we eat well. Our fellow diners are all dressed as if for a big occasion and the scent of money hangs in the air.
One thing I like about Hart’s is that you can make yourself understood – some of the staff are actually English (a rarity these days). Breakfast takes place in the Park Bar. It’s light and cheerful but I’m not convinced by breakfast buffets unless they are huge and include a section where a chef will conjure up an omelette while you wait. Because it’s past 9.30am, it means that the Hart’s scrambled egg has been sitting in a stainless steel container for two-and-a-half hours. But it’s a minor quibble in the grand – but modernist – scheme of things.
Hart’s is a top-notch place to stay in a city that’s got far more going for it than the public perception would have you believe.
The Sunday Times
Sunday December 17, 2006
Raphael’s choice: 10 city hotels
Are you stylish and sophisticated? Of course you are. So you’ll need Adam Raphael’s hit list of hot urban pads
The best antidote to winter is a city break. Shopping, sightseeing, museum and theatre visits cheer up the gloomiest of days. As Dorothy Parker noted: “If you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.” Many city hotels offer good-value weekend breaks, but don’t forget that the rate you are offered is often open to negotiation.
If you bargain, you may be surprised at how much you can get off. Here is a selection of my favourite city hotels, some chic, some traditional.
High on the site of a medieval castle, Tim Hart’s purpose-built designer hotel has curved buttresses, lots of glass and limestone floors.
It is liked for first-class service, comfortable bedrooms (most have sweeping views) and efficient bathrooms. Interesting snacks and wine and champagne by the glass are on offer in the “crisp, bright” bar. The excellent Hart’s Restaurant is next door.
Sunday October 22, 2006
20 Great British hotels
Now in its 30th year, the The Good Hotel Guide continues to be the leading independent guide to the best hotels in Britain and Ireland, with 600 impartial reviews. Editor Desmond Balmer selects some personal favourites from the new edition
Hart’s Hotel, Nottingham
It is more than 25 years since Tim Hart founded Hambleton Hall, a traditional country house hotel on Rutland Water; in contrast his purpose-built city hotel on the ramparts of Nottingham’s former medieval castle is strictly contemporary in style with lots of glass and limestone floors. Everything is well thought-out. Bedrooms have all the latest technology; many have wonderful views across the city. Paul Fearon, the personable young Irish manager, leads an attentive staff; we nominated Hart’s as our city hotel of the year.
The Gourmet Society
The Park Bar at Hart’s Hotel is a different kind of bar. Open to non-residents from 10am ‘til late, you won’t see gloomy business men drinking alone clutching the Economist here. The
epitome of contemporary style and comfort, Park Bar sports some fabulous original artwork and linear furniture, with the most fantastic banquette seating that you just sink into. High
backed sofas and beautiful red leather armchairs help to make it a visually exciting place perfect for enjoying the delicious menu and quality service provided by their incredibly
welcoming and friendly staff. Hart’s Restaurant has long been regarded as one of Nottingham’s finest and the quality and level of service that has become synonymous with the name Hart’s is most definitely in evidence here.
A must visit for any discerning Gourmet Society member.
The Nottingham Evening Post
Monday October 9, 2006
Where the HART is…………………………
Just what does it takes to turn a boutique hotel into one of the best in Britain?
Never mind all the usual stuff – at Hart’s, they’ll even go as far as ironing your clothes while you’re in hospital.
Erik Petersen finds out how it became national City Hotel of the Year
The man always stayed at Hart’s hotel when in Nottingham on business, which was often.
As with all the regular guests, the hotel staff knew his personal preferences, the little things like preferred newspapers or what he might like to do with a bit of free time in the city. On this trip, though, things were not going well.
He was feeling ill, so someone working the desk called him a priority taxi. At first he was going to go to a doctor, but then he decided just to head to hospital.
When he did not come back, the people at Hart’s got on the phone. As it turned out, going to the hospital had been the right call. His stomach pain had been something a bit more – appendicitis – and he’d undergone emergency surgery.
So the Hart’s people went to work. His suits were ironed, his car moved into covered parking, his baggage was packed up and taken to the hospital together with a get-well card.
When the man’s parents came up to fetch him several days later, he wanted to show his appreciation and turned up with chocolates.
Granted, his case was a bit extreme. Crack open most travel books or tourism guides and they will not rank hotels by how well they are likely to deal with the potential occasion of your burst appendix. But they rank hotels on hundreds of other criteria. And one of the biggest and most well-respected has now rated Hart’s as one of the best in the country. Released last week, the 2007 Good Hotel Guide lists Hart’s as the ‘City Hotel of the Year’.
Not a bad bit of silverware for the trophy case.
How exactly does a hostelry go about getting its hands on one of those?
Before coming to Hart’s, sales manager Lisette Maas worked in the corporate hotel industry. She finds a 32-room high-end independent hotel an entirely different experience.
“It’s not like being in a big chain with all the backup,” she said.
“Here you have to do it yourself. “ At Hart’s, it’s all the personal touch.”
So how does the personal translate into the everyday?
Oh you know, the little things-remembering that one regular prefers her morning Independent to the Guardian, bearing in mind that another prefers
sliced lemon with his tea.
Paul Fearon, general manager, puts it simply.
“People are individuals,” he said,” not room numbers.”
Which is all very well. But is has to translate into actual service.
Paul walks through a guest’s usual arrival at the hotel. The first person the guest sees our the porter, who is here to open the door to the car which, if the guest has driven, will be parked. Paul or another member of management will also be there to greet the guest, who will be welcomed by name. Then it’s on the check-in. Ooh, sorry, were the words “check” and “in” just used?
“We prefer not to say ‘check-in’,” Paul explained.” It’s a special guest arriving.”
A meeting of friends, you see. Professional and swift, to be sure, but nothing that
should seem to the guest like work. After that it’s up to the room where a handwritten note from Paul or one of his associates will have been left, along with any special requests for returning guests and the usual posh chocolate, little gifts and baubles on the heart theme, and tea with a bottle (an actual, old-fashioned bottle) of milk.
Necessary and essential? Certainly not. Worth paying for if you are getting up ate 6am to go to the airport? Perhaps not. but if you are looking to build up a base of intensely loyal regulars-and perhaps a cabinet well-stocked with industry awards-it does not look like a bad plan.
Speaking of loyal regulars, the man who went to hospital and came back with chocolate, was back at the hotel last week.
Fortunately, there were no complications.
“We are thrilled to get this fantastic Award”
Hart’s Hotel won the prestigious César award-one of the Oscars of the hotel industry-from Good Hotel Guide, the leading independent guide to hotels of character and quality in Great Britain and Ireland.
Tim Hart’s hotel on the site of Nottingham’s medieval castle has been named city hotel of the year in the 2007 edition of the guide, which is published this month.
Desmond Balmer, joint editor of the guide, said:” All is well thought-out at this
purpose-built designer hotel. “Our inspectors, on an anonymous paid-for visit, loved the building with it’s curved buttresses, lots of glass and limestone floors.
“ Reception is impeccable and the staff are attentive in the all day Park Bar.
The excellent Hart’s restaurant has a happy atmosphere.”
Tim Hart said:” We are thrilled to get this fantastic award and to be the only city hotel in Britain to be singled out in this way. “Nottingham is a fantastic place to visit and this award emphasises the existence of the perfect base for a visit.”
Paul Fearon, general manager for Hart’s Nottingham, added:
“It’s great for Hart’s and it’s great for Nottingham.
“The Good Hotel Guide features around 800 hotels throughout the British Isles and our mix of personal service and modern style seems to appeal to them.”
The Good Hotel Guide nominates ten hotels every year for the award, named after César Ritz, the most celebrated of hoteliers.
They are given to mixed selection of places each of which is considered to be outstanding in its own class.
The Sunday Times
Sunday October 01, 2006
The best hotels in Britain, 2006
These 10 hotels are named as Britain’s best bolt holes. But are they? Walter F Stowy went undercover
Tomorrow sees the announcement of what, for our money, are the most important awards of the year: the Césars. They’re given out by the Good Hotel Guide, and they go to small, independent hotels — the kind of place run by a husband-and-wife team, on the kind of budget that wouldn’t pay for the lobby furniture in some of our more highfalutin’ designer hostelries. Where other hotel inspectors count trouser presses, the GHG rates a place on the things that really matter, such as character, hospitality and good food.
That’s why we take the Césars seriously — so seriously, in fact, that, for the seventh year running, we’ve gone undercover for a sneak preview of this year’s winners. In the past couple of weeks, I checked in at all 10 to see if they really are the best independents in the land.
How did they do? Well, not all are quite as good as the book suggests, but the best are little short of miraculous. If you fancy a weekend away somewhere stunning, without breaking the bank, read on.
CITY HOTEL OF THE YEAR
It’s a trend I’ve spotted across provincial Britain — hotels opened by enthusiastic mavericks who’ve seen the world and want to bring some of its sophistication to their home patch. In this case, it’s Tim Hart, a former banker, and his interior-designer spouse, Stefa. This, their four-year-old baby, is all slickness and clean lines, clad in soft charcoals and greys like a well-turned-out female exec.
So far, so turn-of-the-century. But the lifeblood of Hart’s is its restaurant. It even buzzes on a Sunday, and Tom Earle’s food is sharp with citrussy colour. My bouillabaisse was so bobby-dazzling, I wanted to photograph it for you. But Mrs S — who was with me for this one — said it would look fishy.
The location: five minutes from the fleshpots, yet quiet and leafy. 9/10
The room: well appointed but wee, my “superior” was saved from claustrophobia by its views across the city. 7
The decor: I know I spend far too much time in hotels, but to me it felt a little dated. 7
The food: much livelier all round than the bedrooms. 9
The service: unfailingly friendly, though I had to prompt them to give me the “Sunday Snooze” rate at checkout time. 8
The tab: superior doubles £135, room-only; dinner from £21.50pp; Sunday Snooze rate saves £54 for half-board for two.
Value for money: 7
Does it deserve its César? Yes
Bar, hotel and restaurant reviews by Matt O’Leary
A city which is fast establishing itself as home of some of the premier restaurants in the UK needs a couple of long-standing eateries with good reputations, and Hart’s has been up and running for the last nine years (with the adjoining hotel open for the last three or so). And owner Tim Hart knows a thing or two about this kind of venture – as well as this thriving venture, Mr Hart owns the luxury Hambleton Hall hotel in Rutland. And with the recent appointment of general manager Paul Fearon to the Nottingham hotel and restaurant, Hart’s looks sure to cement its reputation as one of Nottingham’s most desirable destinations.
An elaborate restaurant menu – all dishes priced very competitively – contains a variety of strong English classics all cooked with flair and imagination. Starters such as homemade black pudding with poached egg and mushrooms, langoustine cannelloni with spring onions and hollandaise, and scallops served with a delicious cauliflower puree, raisins and bacon are substantial and prepared using very high-quality ingredients – the plump, soft, perfectly-seared scallops, in particular, stood out thanks to the imaginative combination of ingredients and the strongly-flavoured cauliflower.
Mains are again going to be plenty for even the most robust appetite – alongside favourites like roast chump of lamb with a white bean purée and slightly more off-the-wall presentations like red mullet with vanilla and saffron mash and roast turbot with salsify and red wine sauce you can find delights like a meltingly soft slab of belly pork with crackling, tiny cinnamon-spiced black pudding fritters and Savoy cabbage in a rich, smoky sauce. Twin this with a side order of smooth, moreish baked mash or a selection of vegetables and any of the wines from their competitive list. The wine list deserves real separate praise for being laid out in such a way that makes it really easy to navigate and choose from, depending on what you’ve ordered – a fine selection is available by the glass for those of you who don’t want to polish off a full bottle.
There’s nothing more pleasant than stumbling out of a restaurant after a great meal and being able to head straight next door to a hotel, and for those of you who want to visit from a little further out of town the large and well-equipped hotel next door is a dream come true. The thoughtfulness of the design and nice little luxury flourishes on all of the rooms really elevate it above the competitors, and even though rooms start at a steep-ish £120 a night you really do get what you pay for.
Perhaps the best thing about the hotel is its location – situated as it is on a hill which looks over some of the city’s most photogenic neighbourhoods, you can gaze out of the full-length windows that most contain or head to the garden at the back of the hotel to relax, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the calm. Suites with separate living quarters and bedrooms are available, and rooms that back onto the garden, but all have similarly high-quality fittings and furnishings.
Hart’s manages to combine a restaurant which long ago achieved a reputation as one of the finest in the area with a similarly high-class hotel which can cater for those who stay in the city on business or for pleasure. The food is excellent and the levels of comfort and service in the hotel far exceed what you’d expect for the price that you pay. Thoroughly recommended – and if you live outside of Nottingham, you could use it as an opportunity to visit.
Independent on Sunday
Sunday March 28, 2004
10 Great Hotel Rooms with Views
Marking the start of British Summer Time Ian McCurrach finds the best places in Britain to pull back the shutters and feast your eyes.
Guests standing in the private garden of Tim Hart’s purpose built boutique hotel in Nottingham scarcely believe they are only 5 minutes walk away from the city’s Market Square. Most of the rooms face away from town, overlooking the gardens and the Park, Nottingham’s smart residential area, with open views over Nottinghamshire. The restaurant is winning awards and has a good-value, set price lunch and a la carte dinner menu. It is well placed for enjoying both the city and the countryside.
ROOM WITH BEST VIEW
The hotel manager says “while the finest view is from Suite 33 on the top floor, I think the Garden Rooms are hard to beat, especially in summer. Guests can step straight into the private garden and enjoy room service breakfast or early evening cocktails. They have fabulous views over the Park with the rolling hills in the distance. Sunsets can be spectacular and, after dark, the lights of the city twinkle in the distance”
Striking, modern hotel with a Scandinavian air makes Nottingham postively Continental, says Cath Urquhart
A striking, modern hotel, open for only five months, whose clean lines and large round windows give it a Scandinavian air. Occupies a prime, quiet, position on the site of the ramparts of the medieval castle; 24 of the 32 rooms have superb views across the city.
Why it’s special
Owned by Tim Hart, who has run Hambleton Hall, the country house hotel in Rutland, since 1980: his involvement bodes well for standards.
Hitting the sack
Sober styling: wood panelling, fresh white linen. Proper hangers, simple room lighting system, a large safe with plug inside to enable you to charge your laptop, fresh milk in the minibar for (free) tea or coffee, reasonable prices for other minibar drinks (eg, Coke, £1).
Sampling the fare
Next door is Hart’s Restaurant, with terrific food. I had pan fried squid, basil mash and baby chorizo (£7.50) and an excellent sea bass (£14). Divine desserts at £7.
A delightful garden. Children actively welcomed.