Review: Edgar House, Chester

Edgar House, overlooking the river Dee

Edgar House benefits from one of the best locations in Chester - Credit: Edgar House

When you want a big birthday to be an occasion you will never forget, a stay at Edgar House, in Chester, is a must-do 

Edgar House, perched atop the ancient city walls of Chester, alongside the river Dee, is one of the most iconic properties in a city filled with breath-taking buildings. Rendered and painted pure, brilliant white, it’s impossible not to take a look as you walk the city walls along the river. Overlooking the weir, the house stands proud, a Regency building once a gentleman’s residence (and a very important gentleman he must have been) and then in various guises till 2010, when it became the Edgar House Hotel and swiftly started to win awards, including Trip Advisor’s Most Romantic Hotel in Europe, The Sunday Times' No1 UK City Hotel and Trip Advisor's No.1 Small Hotel in the World. The owners decided to retire in 2018 and put the hotel up for sale. In 2021 entrepreneur Mark Ellis spotted the hotel was still on the market, and decided (not quite, but almost) on a whim, that he needed to buy it. 

Cinema room at Edgar House

The cinema room seats 16 in comfort - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

‘I just thought it was an iconic building; in my view the best piece of property in Chester. I had stayed at the hotel a couple of times and had fallen in love with the building. Not long before I had been seeking somewhere for three generations of my family to gather to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday, but I really struggled to find something suitable. When I saw Edgar House was for sale, the idea struck that I could buy it and redesign it into the kind of place I would love to stay myself.’ 

This is precisely what Mark did, launching a new business, Daisy Joy Escapes, and creating a simply beautiful, utterly luxurious, high-end getaway in one of England’s smallest and most glorious cities. 

Sitting room at Edgar House

It's hard to remove yourself from the sofas in this gorgeous house - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

The house is set across three floors, with the very grand front door opening to the top floor, where five bedrooms are situated. Head down one flight of stairs and you will find a library room, leading to two more bedrooms, and the jaw-droppingly elegant dining space, sitting room and kitchen. 

Travel down to the basement, and Mark has created a games room, complete with a dart board, table football, air hockey and a Bluetooth jukebox. Next door is a glorious cinema room, with vast screen and surround sound ensuring an immersive experience. 

games room at Edgar House Chester

Take on all-comers at air hockey or table football - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

I was lucky enough to be invited to stay at Edgar House, with five girlfriends, to celebrate a 50th birthday – and oh my, it was a weekend we shall never forget. 

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On arrival guests are greeted by house manager Caroline, who takes everybody on a tour of the house and must by now be very familiar with the gasps and sighs that burst forth upon entry to every single room. While Mark has aimed for, and achieved, luxury in every way, it’s a comfortable, relaxed luxury that wraps itself around you and encourages you to let all your week’s stresses just melt away. A quick tour of the kitchen revealed two fridges, a capacious oven, two dishwashers and a very roomy hob, plus oodles of plates, glasses and cutlery and all the pans you could possibly need, should you be planning on self-catering. 

Dining room at Edgar House Chester

Dine fine in the elegant dining area - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

We did, our first night there, and there was a pure joy in taking seats at the huge dining table and sharing food and wine with your besties in surroundings so special. Clearing up was easy (two dishwashers, remember) and an evening of cinema awaited. I signed into my Amazon Prime account and downloaded Top Gun. If you haven’t seen the 1986 original since you got all grown up, gather the girls and watch – it will amuse you in ways it definitely didn’t the first time. Oh, the 80s... Special times.

We had big plans for our Saturday in Chester – walk the walls, hit the shops, seek out a bit of ancient history. None came to fruition – Edgar House is simply so comfortable and we felt so relaxed we couldn’t find the will to lift ourselves off the outdoor sofas, unless it was to fetch another bottle of fizz and a nibble or two. 

Outdoor sofas at Edgar House, Chester

Just too comfy. If you want to get out into Chester, I recommend you don't sit outside first. - Credit: Helen Baly

We did manage to energise ourselves to dine out that evening, having chosen the busy, buzzy Artezzan for our celebratory meal. Talk of finding somewhere for after dinner cocktails lasted only moments, however, as Edgar House drew us back like a magnet, to its sink-into sofas and surround sound music system – and instant hot water tap for end-of-the-the day cups of tea. Ah yes, 50 is the new 40...not. Who needs late nights and hangovers when you can find total contentment on a sofa that seats 16? 

The following day we all eventually drifted off home, unwilling to leave our luxurious haven to return to real life (and the ironing). It’s a sign of how so very easy Mark and his Daisy Joy team makes it for guests to enjoy a weekend of luxury that we have all decided to make a return next year – we just need to decide who needs to hit 50 early. And in 2024, and 2025...