Rachel Bailey spent a night in the Arden Hotel in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon, and reports on why this hotel is an ideal base for groups visiting the historic town.
The Arden Hotel is one of nine hotels which make up the UK-based group-friendly Eden Hotel Collection. It’s situated opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre on the lip of the River Avon, and is an indulgent accommodation option for groups who take in interest in theatre, and in Shakespeare.
Comprising 45 elegant bedrooms, The Arden Hotel offers boutique-style accommodation in a picturesque setting, with plenty of attractions on its doorstep.
The hotel’s location is one of its greatest attributes; the river flashes in the sunlight on one side, while quaint cobbled streets weave into the heart of the town behind it.
Everything you might like to visit in the town centre is only a walking distance away, so you don’t have to worry about moving yours cars/coach to explore Stratford, as it’s an easy place to walk around.
With regards to the Arden’s interior, expect a little bit of luxury. Heavily draped windows, soft towels, luxurious toiletries and ample tea and coffee-making supplies in each bedroom create a relaxing environment to stay in. The hotel’s interior whispers sophistication and elegance, from the pretty floral wallpaper to the demure duck-egg blue and coffee-and-cream furnishings.
Pictured: One of the 45 bedrooms inside the Arden Hotel.
Additionally, each bedroom is named after a different tree (pine, spruce, cherry, etc), which I thought quite a quirky trait. I stayed in the pine room, which was located at the top of a spiral staircase, very fairy-tale-esque and much to my liking.
The Arden is also quiet and provides a relaxing atmosphere despite its close proximity to the town – you won’t hear any traffic during your stay.
When it comes to dining options, there are several to choose from. Snowy white tablecloths and gleaming silverware welcome those who choose to eat in the Waterside Brasserie. This dining area has its own Champagne bar, so you won’t have to scrimp on the bubbly.
Popular dishes on the menu include aged fillet of Charlois beef, salmon cooked at 40 degrees and ginger bread dessert with caramelised honey custard and golden plum cream.
The Waterside Brasserie is available to hire out privately, as is the Brooke Suite, which seats up to 40 guests.
GTOs can also arrange to use the exclusive Club Bar for drinks, which is described as a modern take on the old fashioned gentleman’s club. This sumptuous space is ideal for group meet ups, and there is a private terrace with views over the river to use during warmer weather.
Pictured: The Waterside Brasserie and Bar.
Afternoon tea is also an option at the Arden, and parties can expect an array of dainty sandwiches, cakes, scones, fancies and fine teas, all of which can be taken on the all-weather terrace or in the vintage styled lounge.
Opposite the Arden Hotel looms the RSC Theatre, a stone’s throw from the hotel. A number of Shakespeare plays including The Tempest, Hamlet and King Lear are being produced there this year, and discounts are available for groups of eight or more.
There is a multitude of things to do in Stratford, from boating on the river to perusing high street brands living inside tiny old timber-framed buildings. The 16th century market town is particularly celebrated as the birthplace of William Shakespeare – so if your group take an interest in the playwright, Stratford is an ideal place to visit for a few days.
Note that this year is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (23rd April), so groups taking a trip will be able to join in with a series of celebrations at some of the key attractions in town. Make time for a visit to The Other Place; this is the RSC’s research and development hub, and is now home to a new studio theatre, rehearsal rooms, costume store and cafe bar.
Also new this year will be the re-opening of New Place, the site where Shakespeare’s ‘adult’ house once sat. The site will reopen as a transformed space in July, and will showcase artworks, contemporary landscaped and traditional gardens. Parties of 15 or more will benefit from group discounts here.