A city of more than a million people, four train stations and an international convention center is certain to have its share of posh hotels. Birminghham, two hours northwest of London, doesn't disappoint. From a converted postal mail sorting office and Victorian hospital to a soaring glass marvel, "Brum's" luxury accommodations compare favorably with any in England.
Canalside Malmaison is in the upscale Mailbox, a former mail sorting office turned trendy shopping and dining arcade. Malmaison has 189 rooms done in shades of cream and brown. All have wine, snacks, CD players, satellite television and Wi-Fi (fees apply after 30 minutes). Baths have power showers and designer toiletries. A red and gold color scheme, private cinema and steam room set the Penny Black Suite apart. The gym has cardio and strength training equipment; hotel reception supplies Pilates mats and stretching bands. The Spa offers massage and beauty treatments. A spiral staircase leads to the Brassiere, where local-sourced dishes like grilled lamb T-bone with samphire (an aquatic herb) and mint Hollandaise sauce shine. Paid overnight parking is available at the Mailbox parking facility.
Hotel du Vin
Hotel du Vin, in Birmingham's former Eye Hospital, retains a grand Victorian staircase and granite columns. Its 66 guest accommodations have handsprung mattresses with Egyptian cotton bed linens and deep, freestanding bathtubs. Wi-Fi is available (fee applies after 30 minutes). The Health Club has a gym with sauna and steam room, and spa offering massage, aromatherapy and beauty treatments. The Bistro menu emphasizes fresh local produce in classic Continental dishes with contemporary flair. A typical seafood entree is sea bass fillet with Dorset crab and herbed fish cream
Radisson Blu Birmingham
And 18th-floor fitness center with sauna and steam room with sweeping city views is just one of the reasons the Radisson Blu stands above ordinary hotels. A glass edifice soaring 39 stories above Birmingham's streets, the Radisson has 211 rooms and suites, each benefiting form the Italian designer Matteo Thun. All have floor-to-ceiling windows, mini-bars, flat-screen television and free high-speed Internet access. Designer cushions and pillows brighten Fashion rooms; Fresh rooms have gold and crystal accents. The hotel's You Spa provides massage and beauty treatments. Filini restaurant entices with an extensive wine list to accompany contemporary Italian cuisine. The Lobby bar provides morning coffee and take-out breakfast. Valet parking is available.
In the heart of Birmingham, the Macdonald Burlington is a five-minute stroll from the Bullring, one of the UK's premier shopping centers. One of this Victorian landmark's trademark charms is the underground spring-- the city's only one --supplying water to its 115 family- and pet-friendly guest accommodations. Each room or suite also has satellite television and broadband. Feature rooms have original Victorian elements including cornices and four-poster beds. Contemporary, executive rooms have modern art, robes, slippers, and daily newspapers. Whitefish smoked in 19th-century brick kilns by Aberdeen's John Ross, Jr. is a featured menu item at the Berlioz Restaurant. The restaurant bar, serving drinks and traditional cream tea, has elegant ceilings dating to the Burlington's days as a railway hotel. The hotel offers discounted parking at a nearby public facility.
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