Short Break - Oddfellows Hotel, Chester

LVE MAY13 Summer travel

LVE MAY13 Summer travel - Credit: Archant

Janet Reeder finds a boutique hotel in Chester the perfect location for exploring the city

LVE MAY13 Summer travel

LVE MAY13 Summer travel - Credit: Archant

You know, Chester is such a historic town that it is sometimes easy to forget that it is also a modern 21st century city with all the excitement of trendy bars and restaurants. And the Oddfellows Hotel and Lower Bridge Street has both, as well as some of the quirkiest rooms you’re likely to find in Cheshire.

LVE MAY13 Summer travel

LVE MAY13 Summer travel - Credit: Archant

After staggering with bags up the steep stairs of the former Masonic Hall with an exterior painted in a fashionable heritage grey you come across reception – or is it? Hang on a min. No reception is in a room behind the entrance area and it is there we sit and get checked in. Then we’re off again, this time through the bar, across the fantastic outdoor restaurant/bar area and through to a new annexe built to accommodate paying guests.

The first thing we notice is the round bed and then the fact the glass shower is in the middle of the room – a frosted glass area preserves modesty, there’s a retro Roberts Radio and a massive telly and we eventually find a DVD player hidden away beneath a shelf. The bags are dumped and we hang up a few bits of clothing, although the hooks on the walls for our assorted jackets and dresses are the least satisfactory bit of the room. It is a little bit style over content for my personal taste but I have to keep a check on the fact that I am turning into the Queen Mum and that fashionable bedrooms are in fact fun. As this one turns out to be, not least because it is within staggering distance of the bar and The Garden by Simon Radley, a modern and elegant restaurant from the Chester Grosvenor’s Michelin starred chef.

The tables are light wood and there’s a lot of glass giving it a really lovely airy feel and it overlooks the garden which is where on summer nights you can dress up to perch at tables and sip cocktails. It’s a real suntrap during the day and feels like a bar in a trendy part of London or in a European capital and we love too the quirky decor in the bar.

In contrast to the experience at the Grosvenor, The Garden is all about informal Mediterranean dining, sharing plates, opening that lethal second bottle and generally getting into that holiday vibe.

Pork belly, a galette of beetroot and arancinis, which are Sicilian fried stuffed rice balls were all delicious and the chocolate tart historic.

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There are loads of things so right about Oddfellows. The decor the bar and restaurant and the fantastic location right in the heart of all the shops and bars, so it really is the perfect place to enjoy all the delights that Chester has to offer. And even if you don’t plan to stay over pop in for lunch or a drink and get away from it all for a few hours at least.

Rooms start at around £135 per night. For further details and offers visit www.oddfellowschester.com