Summer is for al fresco dining, long evening strolls, subtly popping another ice cream tub in your basket when getting the groceries and weekend staycations a plenty.
Ideal for something both picturesque and full of character, editor Sophie Ritchie shares why Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon makes the ideal quaint location when it comes to a classically charming getaway
Located on Chapel Street, positioned ever so slightly away from the bustling main high street in Stratford-upon-Avon, the boutique Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon is split into a divide of old and new – offering its guests a mix of contemporary rooms as well as older, more historic rooms found within the original grade II building, which was once a 16th century residence.
This quieter location is prime for getting a better night’s sleep – and offers an excellent vantage point for sightseeing opportunities. Shakespeare’s New Place museum sits directly opposite – whilst other various eateries and other equally adorable hotels fill the buildings adjacent.
Although Hotel Indigo Stratford Upon Avon only opened to guests in 2019, the actual original building dates back for century upon century – with an original build date of around 1500 – boasting a gloriously curious past in this historic neighbourhood.
Formerly known as the Falcon Hotel before its revitalised Hotel Indigo chapter, guests staying within the older realm of rooms can still enjoy the original Tudor decorative black and white half-timbering and slanted windows, whilst inside, modern and stylish interiors conjure comfort galore.
The hotel’s mix of 93 guest rooms come in a trio of strikingly beautiful themes, each inspired by the Swan of Avon. The Tudor Rooms display the tradition of the 16th century building and offer a path to the past, whilst The Georgian Townhouse is inspired by Shakespeare’s Theatre, merging luxury with a sense of homely charm. The newest (and shiniest) Contemporary Rooms meanwhile, exude sophisticated and elegant design in the new wing of the property.
Fear not if you’ve booked one of the more modern guest rooms – each abode offers the same level of Shakespearean-inspired style, paying homage to the town’s heritage by using classic English materials such as wool and raw wood.
I stay in one of the more archaic Tudor rooms, located on the top floor at the end of a winding, incredibly creaky staircase (well, it has been welcoming footsteps for a while I suppose). The room itself is large – elongated thanks to a small entrance hallway between the bathroom and bedroom which makes the space feel even bigger.
I drop my bags and can’t help but absentmindedly ponder if I’ve already been joined by some kind of ancient spirit – after all, Stratford-upon-Avon is famous for its ghost tours. Disappointedly, no poltergeists can be found in the large wardrobe nor the green-hued brick bathroom overlooking the below courtyard. I do spot several full-sized bottles of natural Bramley Toiletries though, which is my idea of supernatural magic.
Back in the bedroom, the space is filled with richly luxurious tones – such as a velvety red and blue bedspread juxtaposed with crisp white linen, as well as pops of olive green in the form of pillows, lampshades and striking wall art. An assortment of clocks hang above the double bed, telling the time in eight different ways. There’s definitely no need to worry about charging the Fitbit – in fact it feels like the place where you don’t need to worry about very much at all.
Despite the building’s very elderly age, the interiors feel plush and modern, much like a facelift upon a Hollywood actress determined to beat time. You can relax here with ease. Put your feet up. Take a break from learning about the local Shakespearean history and opt for a cat nap or a little snack from the complimentary minibar, stocked with fizzy drinks and nibbles instead.
As well as the snacks, all rooms are equipped with decadent details – Hypnos beds with luxury Egyptian cotton linen, Nespresso coffee machines, high speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels to flick through on a 40” flat screen TV.
It’s worth noting that if you’re visiting in the height of summer, consider the pros and cons of modern amenities. The newer rooms come with with handy air conditioning units, whilst the older rooms only offer small fans, which means things heat up fast with so many heavy fabrics – and not in a Bridgerton kind of way.
The Food & Drink
Good news for the foodie crowd. Main meals are served at The Woodsman courtesy of Executive Chef Mike Robinson, co-owner of London’s only Michelin starred pub, The Harwood Arms in Fulham.
With its own private entrance off Church Street (this venue is a hotspot for locals and residents alike) The Woodsman celebrates British cuisine with a huge focus on sustainability, seasonality and locally-sourced produce at its core. The Woodsman Restaurant is independent of the hotel, created by Mike Robinson and his reputation within the game industry along with Head Chef, Greg Newman.
Sit bask and bask in the ambience of a large wood-fired oven and charcoal grill that forms the focal point of the restaurant, before devouring a menu featuring the likes of Pave & Bolognese of Bathurst estate fallow deer, Chalk stream trout tartare plus vegetarian dishes in the form of Smoked Butternut squash and Salad of Jerusalem artichokes.
Breakfast is served in a separate room to the main restaurant, a shaded space aptly named the ‘Feasting Room” filled with small tabes and a long buffet table covered in fruits, cakes, cereals and small mason jars offering different smoothie variations. It transforms into a private dining room by night, but come morrow, devour the carbs here to your heart’s content.
For an extra charge of £20.00, guests can also try a hot breakfast – dishes include the likes of poached eggs with avocado toast, a full English and Eggs Hollandaise. Sure, it’s not breaking any boundaries – but it does the job and you can tell the ingredients are of high quality with every fork dive.
Things to Try
An incredibly charming, picturesque and quaint area, it’s hard not to take to Stratford-upon-Avon’s atmosphere immediately. Try these outings and experiences on for size:
1 A visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace: No visit to the Bard’s hometown could be complete without a nose around Shakespeare’s Birthplace, William Shakespeare’s childhood home in the heart of town. Hear tales of his family life, peer around bedrooms and immerse yourself in a slice of history. shakespeare.org.uk/visit/shakespeares-birthplace/
2 A coffee pitstop at MOR: Stratford-Upon-Avon has a thriving social scene, with chic cafes and eateries a plenty. Partake in fresh pastries, locally roasted coffee and brunch dishes at MOR, sitting pretty in Bell Court. morbakery.co.uk
3 A run along the Stratford Greenway trail: Pack your trainers (we promise it’s worth it) for this picturesque trail, which follows a beautiful route along the River Avon complete with sightseeing opportunities and even an independent café housed in a converted Train Carriage. Should indoor workouts be more your jam, Hotel Indigo Stratford also offers its own fitness centre too.
The Wordrobe Verdict
‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ Get ready to order a slice of British charm and gobble it up faster than you say ‘the Bard’. Ideal for something both picturesque and full of character, Hotel Indigo Stratford makes the ideal quaint location when it comes to a classically charming getaway. Explore, indulge and enjoy – this culture-steeped property makes the ideal base for a Shakespearean staycation.
Make it happen
Where: 4 Chapel St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6HA
How: The hotel is located 5 miles from M40 J15, A46/A429 exit and only 28 miles from Birmingham International and 92 miles from London Heathrow. Stratford upon Avon railway station is 0.6miles from the property. Parking is available on-site.
Wallet: Prices from £129.00 per night, based on two people sharing with breakfast included. Find out more and make a booking via stratford.hotelindigo.com.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor