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Hotel Highlights

  • Contemporary interiors, with art curated by Central St Martins and Matthew Hilton furniture
  • Delicious Modern British food, tempting wine list and a well-crafted cocktails in the bar
  • Fantastic location in Cheltenham’s stylish Montpellier quarter

Overview

A modernist surprise awaits you when you enter the Montpellier Chapter hotel, a well-groomed Georgian villa in Cheltenham. Contrasting with its classic white exterior, the stunningly renovated interior is all tasteful contemporary: clean-lined furnishings and light fixtures throughout shout 'Mid-century Modern.' Some of the slick slate bathrooms even have egg-shaped bath tubs and rooms are fully stocked with enough tech devices and hook-ups to please the most discerning of geeks. A moody, mod bar mixes some seriously good cocktails, while seasonal British fare is served under awe-inspiring vaulted ceilings.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Montpellier Chapter with us:

A £10 voucher to spend in the hotel restaurant

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Montpellier Chapter

Room only Spa break 'Ultimate indulgence' Leisure break Spa, shop and stay

Facilities

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The Montpellier Chapter Hotel – Cotswolds – UK

Need To Know

Rooms

61, including a Penthouse Suite.

Check–out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $156.43 (£92), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include full English breakfast. Rates are higher during the Cheltenham Festival, when pre-payment is required for all rooms.

Also

The spa has four treatment rooms, two with curvilinear, oak-lined walls. Treatments feature Aromatherapy Associates’ divine essential-oil blends and are performed by an experienced team of therapists.

At the hotel

A four-room spa with steam room, courtyard, fitness room, library, free WiFi throughout, meeting rooms, laundry service. In rooms: media hub with pre-loaded iPod, flatscreen LCD TV, complimentary minibar, Nespresso machine and kettle, ironing board and iron, hairdryer, fluffy bathrobes, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

Rooms all have the same mod cons and hi-tech accoutrements, but Feature rooms boast extra, ahem, features, such as egg-shaped freestanding baths. Rooms in the modern extension are more contemporary, with stone-clad walls and oak floors; rooms in the renovated original Georgian building feature thick carpets and dove-grey paintwork. Superior Rooms at the back of the original Villa have private balconies, but the Penthouse Suite gives you bags of space and a private roof terrace looking out across Cheltenham to Cleeve Hill.

Poolside

There's no pool on site, but guests have access to the ozone pool at the nearby Cheltenham Ladies College.

Packing tips

Leave plenty of room in your bags for shopping. Bring swimwear if you fancy a splash in the Cheltenham Ladies College pool.

Also

Pets welcome by prior arrangement. The Montpellier Chapter has three wheelchair-accessible rooms. Smoking is only permitted outside on the terrace. Both the spa and the restaurant can be busy, so book treatments/dinner before arrival if you can.

Children

Extra beds and cribs can be added to rooms (free for under 12s); children are welcome all day in the restaurant, and there’s a children’s menu as well as high chairs. Changing mats, potties and other essential kit is available to book in advance of your stay.

Eco‐friendly

The Montpellier Chapter's carpark has charging points for electric cars.

Food & Drink

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The Montpellier Chapter Hotel – Cotswolds – UK

Hotel Restaurant

Inspired by the best-selling author and star of The Good Cook, Simon Hopkinson, the restaurant delivers seasonal Modern British fare under a soaring barrel-vaulted ceiling; we loved the pork wrapped in bacon, served with belly pork, crackling to die for, potato puree and apple sauce. The interactive iPad wine list is fun way to pick your plonk – but the sommelier can help you choose more challenging matches.

Hotel Bar

Cocktails are taken seriously in the mirror-backed, sofa-lined bar: staff had serious mixology training to tackle the spirited selection of independent-label liquors. Look out for Chase vodka, distilled nearby in Hereford. There's also an all-day menu of grown-up comfort food, including quirky chilli, fine pies and excellent pizzas.

Last orders

The cocktails are shaken until 1am; last orders in the restaurant are at 10.30pm.

Room service

Anything from a hearty breakfast to a cleansing broth can be ordered round the clock; most offerings are taken from the more-please bar menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Come as you are (although Cheltenham does like to dress up).

Top table

For dinner, a see-and-be-seen table in the buzzy main dining room will give you a glimpse of the kitchen; the Garden Room with its view of the courtyard's uplit boxwood tree is more romantic. When the sun shines, you can't beat the terrace.

Local Guide

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The Montpellier Chapter Hotel – Cotswolds – UK
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

If shopping’s your bag, you’re spoilt for choice here, with the pick of the high street (Hobbs, Diesel, the White Company, Cath Kidston, etc) along the Promenade, and boutiques galore in the Suffolks and Montpellier. Make a beeline to Foundation boutique on Montpellier Walk (01242 232777; shopfoundation.com) for cool daywear and accessories, including Rützou, Alex Monroe and Farhi. The Pied Piper (01242 251532; www.steiffbears.net) and Pretty Special (01242 262679; www.prettyspecial.co.uk) are the places to spoil new parents and their offspring with Steiff bears or diddy clothes respectively (the washed-muslin sleeping bags are indeed pretty special). The Suffolks is best for antiques-browsing and interiors accoutrements: we love the chic vintage finds, Franchi seeds and gardener’s kit on offer at Capability on Suffolk Parade (+44 (0)1242 262999; www.capability-online.co.uk). Blighty on Great Norwood Street (01242 691542; www.blightyengland.com) has a well-edited selection of interiors pieces.

Fancy sprawling supine on the lawns? Cobble together a decent deli picnic (or pre-order a hamper) at Gusto; make it a proper occasion with a bottle of something special from John Gordons (borrow the bottle opener from your minibar).
 

Local restaurants

Le Champignon Sauvage (+44 (0)1242 573449; www.lechampignonsauvage.co.uk) on Suffolk Road cooks up a two-Michelin-star storm; reservations essential. Follow local fans a few hundred yards to The Daffodil (+44 (0)1242 700055; www.thedaffodil.com), also in the Suffolks, where a former art deco cinema has been transformed into a Modern British bistro and bar. On the promenade, Brasserie Blanc in the former ballroom of the Queens Hotel is one of eponymous chef Raymond’s buzzy French bistros (+44 (0)1242 266800). Fynn’s Bar & Brasserie (+44 (0)1242 252752) is another local favourite in the heart of the Montpellier district.

Local bars

Pick up a bottle (or a glass) of something special at John Gordons, a speciality wine merchant, café and bar (01242 245985; www.johngordons.co.uk).

Other cosy local drinking (and lunching) spots include Jay Rayner-approved Royal Well Tavern (+44 (0)1242 221212; www.theroyalwelltavern.com); in the nearby Suffolks, The Beehive pub ((+44 (0)1242 702270; www.thebeehivemontpellier.com) and The Retreat wine bar (+44 (0)1242 235436; www.theretreatwinebar.com) are recommended. You could also try the Conservatory café-bar on Winchcombe Street (+44 (0)1242 579090; www.conservatorycafebar.co.uk) for laid-back drinks.
 

Local cafés

Montpellier's much-loved deli-caffé Gusto (+44 (0)1242 239111; www.gusto-deli.com), on Montpellier Walk, is local legend: great coffee and treaty lunchtime deli boards stacked with home-made pickles, terrines and breads from Hobbs House bakery; there's a tempting array of cakes, ciabatta sandwiches and the like to go, too.

+ Enlarge
Listed Georgian villa

The Montpellier Chapter

Bayshill Road, Montpellier, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 3AS, United Kingdom

Planes

Bristol International airport's your best bet, with dozens of daily flights landing from across Europe and the UK; it's about an hour from Cheltenham by car. There are direct shuttle-bus services, too.

Trains

There are excellent cross-country connections via Bath or Bristol, plus regular services from both Waterloo and Paddington stations in London. Cheltenham Spa railway station is just minutes from the hotel ¬– grab a taxi from the rank (about £5).

Automobiles

The hotel's underground car park has free space for 18 vehicles (given on a first-come, first-served basis), as well as charging points for electric cars. You won’t need a car for pottering around town, but if you’re exploring further afield, wheels are invaluable. From London, the drive to Cheltenham's under two and a half hours; and the Montpellier Chapter is just 10 minutes from junction 11 of the M5.

Reviews

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The Montpellier Chapter Hotel – Cotswolds – UK

Anonymous review

by Luke Johnson , Chairman extraordinaire

My chauffeuse eases the Land Rover into the underground car park. The car radio is playing a rather evocative number from those New Romantic oldies, Duran Duran ‘And the droning engine throbs in time with your beating heart.’ I think the song is called ‘The Chauffeur’, and I vaguely recall a video with naughty goings-on in a basement. How appropriate – I think it is g…
Read more

The Montpellier Chapter

Anonymous review by Luke Johnson, Chairman extraordinaire

My chauffeuse eases the Land Rover into the underground car park. The car radio is playing a rather evocative number from those New Romantic oldies, Duran Duran ‘And the droning engine throbs in time with your beating heart.’ I think the song is called ‘The Chauffeur’, and I vaguely recall a video with naughty goings-on in a basement. How appropriate – I think it is going to be a good weekend.

Of course the chauffeuse is Mrs Smith. We have come to Cheltenham to sample the cultural, aesthetic and refreshment delights of the old spa town. And we are staying in the groovy new Montpellier Chapter hotel. We push open the magnificently restored bronze front door and enter the lobby. It is so fashionable that there is no check-in desk, merely a giant lump of wood with a laptop, and a very friendly greeter. You don’t even show your credit card – just mention your name and they give you a key. Hospitality research shows that guests judge a stay largely by first impressions: obviously Swire, owners of the nascent Chapter hotel chain, have taken this lesson to heart. Who has not despaired when arriving at big-branded hotels to see queues to register and queues at the lifts? Give me the small, personal offering every time.

The interior is full of high ceilings, original parquet floors, luxurious thick carpets and heavy wooden doors. The bedrooms are very hi-tech: an iPhone in each with an app providing all the necessary information. We dump our luggage and head down to the bar for an aperitif. The chauffeuse remarks on the furniture: it is all genuine designer kit, like De La Espada and B&B Italia. She is impressed. I am more taken with the wonderfully reviving Bellini I’ve ordered. The fact that the waiter offered me a choice of three flavours is a symbol of how sophisticated the provinces have become in recent years. And very good news it is too.

The lounge next door has a really excellent library, full of handpicked books carefully chosen under six intellectual categories: adventure; purpose; sense of place; style; perspective; and escape. Any hotel with a thoughtful selection like that gets full marks from me. I browse while my partner organises the evening’s entertainments.

After cocktails, we wander out into the marvellous spring evening. The town must be one of the most elegant in Britain. It is full of sweeping Regency terraces, largely well preserved. Montpellier itself is a convivial district full of wine bars, delicatessens and gracious parks. Opposite our hotel is a blue plaque noting the house as the birthplace of Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, who flattened Dresden. ‘Thank goodness, the chap was on our side,’ muses Mrs Smith, ‘Otherwise the Georgian beauty of places like Cheltenham might not exist.’

We dine in a splendid restaurant called Daffodil, located in a converted art deco cinema in a happening section of the town called the Suffolks. The meal and service are first rate. Afterwards we sample some of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, which takes place over the May bank holiday. It uses venues all over town, but its heart is a series of marquees in the Imperial Gardens, off the Promenade, Cheltenham’s main drag. We miss Jamie Cullum and Hugh Laurie, but we catch some cool sax music and I buy a Nina Simone CD.

It seems Cheltenham is festival mad. In June, they have the highly regarded Science Festival, in July, a classical music festival, and in October, a notable literature festival. All strike me as civilised ways to spend a day or two, listening to great talent perform in various ways. And for gamblers and turf aficionados, there is the Gold Cup in March, the grandest event in jump racing’s calendar. So a lot to do, apart from simply enjoying the smart shops, pubs and Cotswold countryside.

A solid breakfast in the hotel’s conservatory starts our next day, and then we stroll up the road to Cheltenham Ladies College. Guests at the Chapter enjoy temporary membership of the sports club there, so we indulge in a bracing swim in the 25 metre pool, but decide against a game of badminton. Bizarrely the hotel spa is shut over the bank holiday, so I’m afraid to report we cannot sample its delights.

For lunch, we zip off to Cowley Manor, a fabulous stately home (and another Mr & Mrs Smith hotel), about 15 minutes from Cheltenham. There we enjoy a terrific brunch and walk the magnificent gardens in the hazy afternoon sun. Rather a better place for families than the Montpellier Chapter, but with fewer of the immediate amusements on offer in central Cheltenham.

That evening, we have an early supper in the hotel’s restaurant – outstanding value at £15 for three courses of Modern British. I am discombobulated when a junior minister in the Coalition comes over to say hello: belatedly I remember meeting him when I chaired Channel 4 TV. The food – risotto for her, steak for me – is tasty, the service attentive. Afterwards, Mrs Smith has rhubarb crumble and I plump for sticky toffee pudding. We’re sold.

Later, we undertake a bar crawl, and are impressed by the friendliness of the locals and the quality of the Pimm’s. The weekend has been an undoubted success – Cheltenham and our hotel are both charming, and to be recommended to anyone who wants a romantic break. I can see why King George III had fun here (before he went mad) back when he made the place famous as a resort town in the late 18th century. In my favourite cartoon by James Gillray, ‘A voluptuary under the horrors of digestion’, his son, George IV-to-be is surrounded by the finer things, his tummy bulging from overindulgence. Indeed, the notorious bon vivant Prince Regent, could have been depicted in this very hotel.

The Guestbook

Reviews of The Montpellier Chapter from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the great decor and location; the spa was small but treatments were very good and so was the food.

Don’t expect

Staff attentiveness was incosistent.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the fantastic personal service, which was warm and welcoming.

Don’t expect

The car parking was tight.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

What a great place for a romantic break! We had a wonderful time. The service was excellent and clearly its a much-loved local spot.

Don’t expect

The restaurant was good but perhaps not quite up to expectations.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I enjoyed the very warm welcome and excellent service throughout. This is a very modern hotel with many high-tech features.

Don’t expect

Car parking is a bit of a nightmare on busy weekends.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We were welcomed by the very friendly staff. We loved our room, which was spacious and had a wonderful bathroom as well. We enjoyed super cocktails and our meal on the first night was delicious.

Don’t expect

We experienced some noise in our room during the evening from the room above. The restaurant food was not that good the second evening; the quality was not consistent. There's quite a selection of wines but very expensive.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We were given Mr & Mrs Smith vouchers for my husband's 50th and chose this hotel as it was only a couple of hours drive from home. From arriving at the Montpellier Chapter we couldnt fault it. It is a gorgeous Georgian house with a very modern twist which we really enjoyed. After a fabulous afternoon mooching in Cheltenham we enjoyed a fabulous dinner in the restaurant with the help of our voucher. Thank you so much for a great stay at your hotel! We're looking forward to our next visit.

Don’t expect

Nothing.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Beautiful room; great food; super staff.

Don’t expect

One small moan: the Ren toileteries were fixed to the wall and if you were in the bath you had to keep standing up to access them;B not good with dodgy knees!

Rating: 9/10 stars