Hotel Du Vin, Birmingham

First impressions:  the main hallway with the sweeping staircase and the courtyard beyond

First impressions: the main hallway with the sweeping staircase and the courtyard beyond

When Simon Cowell stayed here, he was surrounded by autograph hunters. I had a Big Issue seller. But, each to his own.

A chauffeur dropped Cowell off, but at least I had a concierge take my car away. That helped make me feel just a bit special in what is a hot spot for the well-known and well-heeled: an ornately crafted Victorian boutique hotel in the heart of the city’s jewellery quarter.

Inside, it’s discreet enough; even the reception desk is hidden behind granite pillars and under the sweeping staircase, and its 66 rooms and suites are lost among anonymous corridors behind big black doors.

All suites have roll-top baths and very powerful walk-in showers big enough to audition an X-factor troupe. A nice touch was the Vi-spring mattress, like the one I saw in Harrods recently and couldn’t afford. There are no numbers either. Rooms are named after wine houses, such as Bollinger and Laroche.

Service in the bistro is intuitive and the dining arguably the best in the city. If I lived there, I’d eat there, lots.

There’s a French feel to the bar at the front; zinc top, lots of leather and the walls are rag-rolled with old wine bottles cramming every crevice. That’s fitting as their selection is extensive.

Hotel du Vin make good use of disused buildings and they’ve crammed this former eye hospital with a wine cellar, bars (the smoking ban closed the cigar one) and a leafy, sheltered courtyard. It’s the biggest in the group and the only one with a spa. The best suite here even has a gym, two baths and an 8ft bed. I didn’t have that one. Bet Cowell did.

Rates: £160-£425
Tel: 0121 200 0600

    Last updated: 2:20pm, October 6 2009