You all know I love my local getaways, and my latest one certainly didn’t disappoint. Myself and Martin headed off to Chester’s Hotel Indigo at the end of October for a weekend, which I was eager to visit after already having a brilliant experience previously at Hotel Indigo Manchester.
Chester is by far one of our favourite UK cities to visit. It has a touch of olde-world vibes representing a historic place, yet also has striking modern areas around the city – predominately across the dining and drink venues. It’s the mix of old and new which made me fall in love with the place years ago.
However, upon my recent visits, it’s always getting revamped and made more attractive. That being said, it’s preserved town appearance with castle walls and cobbled streets lives on.
Chester is bordered by the scenic River Dee, where the centre of Chester is steeped in history. You’ll find famous Roman ruins and a stunning Cathedral playing central points, where the city walls and beautiful medieval architecture wraps around the city. It’s very picturesque city, and is also home to some fabulous attractions including the iconic Chester races and the infamous Chester Zoo.
We decided to venture to Hotel Indigo Chester and dine at the hotels adjoining restaurant – WOOD by Simon Wood. So there is actually a WOOD restaurant in Manchester and lord only knows why I still haven’t been there. It’s been on my ‘must visit’ list for donkeys years, and yet here I am trying it out for the first time in Chester.
Before I explore the dining options, lets take a little visual tour of the hotel room. I’ll touch on the location first, as lets face it, location is key. Hotel Indigo Chester is situated just off one of the main roundabouts in Chester city center, and is super close to the train station.
It’s towards the more High Street end of the shopping area, close to the Wetherspoons and huge Primark store – two places we always visit in Chester before we go onto the more premium shopping choices and independent cafes and bars.
The hotel calls itself a Boutique Hotel, and I couldn’t agree more. Like it’s sister in Manchester, this place boasts everything quaint and unique like a real Boutique Hotel should do.
As soon as we stepped in, the hotel has this friendly, warming atmosphere that greeted us and made us feel at home. The reception area was busy, but not off-putting busy. More like a buzzing vibe with people sat down reading newspapers and sipping coffee at the bar.
We checked in with no problem, and took in the quirky design and interior of the hotel. The entire place has been designed to reflect the city’s famous architecture and the oldest racecourse in the UK, so you’ll spy plenty of Chester references all around.
Across from the check in desks is the restaurant concept from Masterchef Champion, Simon Wood, as mentioned above. It’s nice that it doesn’t boast a pretentious hotel restaurant space, nor does is look like a cheap and cheerful hotel eatery. Instead, WOOD Chester brings that look and feel of styling, casual fine dining with it’s modern and welcoming interior, and an extensive menu to suit lots of different tastes.
As you can see from the photos above and below, the hotel suite was very impressive. I’ve already used the words quirky and quaint above, but I feel the need to use them again to help describe the feel of this lovely room.
The bed is HUGE! It’s quite high up with the comfiest, softest mattress and fluffy, bouncy pillows. Surrounding the bed is so many unique and cute details, including a gallery wall, contemporary teacups, and retro inspired accessories such as a fancy phone.
As soon as we checked into our room, we settled down and watched some TV, soon realising the speakers are also in the bathroom, so you can listen to the radio and music channels while having a shower – which is obviously exactly what I did!
The rooms come in three different tiers, Standard, Deluxe and The Grosvenor, which go up a notch in premier standards for each tier. Whichever tier you book for, the bedrooms are contemporary with a traditional twist, taking on a nod to Chester and the cities heritage in each individual room.
The hotel isn’t too large, as it keeps its numbers down to 75 so that each room can have it’s own personal touch and offer luxury. They all feature the luxury Hypnos beds, spa-inspired bathrooms with rainfall showers (and speakers, which is my highlight!) premium toiletries by Molton Brown, air conditioning, high-speed Wi-Fi and a variety of channels on 46” flat screen TV with built-in Chromecast.
We were also treated to various teas, coffees and hot chocolates, as well as a stocked up fridge, and popcorn! Winner!
We booked in at WOOD for 8pm that evening, excited to try the high-end dining experience without the pretentious settings. Before going down to the restaurant, I had a look at the menus and saw that Wood Chester offers an early evening set menu, a la carte all day long or selection of tasting menus with or without an expertly put together wine flight. And that is exactly what we were going for – the 7 course taster menu, although we chose to have a JD and diet coke to accompany us, instead of the wine.
I love it when a restaurant can offer multiple courses which have been created by the chef, to create a dining experience full of surprise and variety. We didn’t know what was coming to us, each dish was a surprise. We just told the team beforehand any dietary requirements we may have, and waited for the selection of courses to be delivered one after another.
Now I know some people love to have a menu and to choose their dishes, but oin my opinion, you can do that anywhere. A carefully curated selection of dishes brought out to you to give you a wide variety of food choices is something special for me, and I would recommend this dining option for any dining at WOOD Chester.
All the courses we received were extremely creative, yet weren’t over complicated. Each one held powerful flavours and beautiful presentations, yet used ingredients we know and love, like beef, potatoes, fish and vegetables.
I don’t want to ruin the surprise element of this dining option at WOOD, so I’m not going to list every dish and give a run down of what each course featured. That way, the surprise is totally ruined for anyone else dining here this Winter 2019/2020 period, but I will share images of the food.
I mean, if you watched my instagram stories on the evening I was there, you’ll find I did indeed share every dish back then. But I won’t ruin it now. I’ll just put it out there that every dish was delicious and of a very high standard, reflecting exactly what you would want to see from a quality restaurant.
Now I can’t complete a hotel review without touching on the breakfast, which Hotel Indigo and WOOD did a very impressive job of. When a hotel offers a very extensive buffet, serve-yourself-breakfast offering along with an exceptional menu to order from, you know you’re in the right place.
We could help ourselves to fruits, yogurts, breads, croissants, pastries, meats, cheeses, cereal and all kinds before picking our main breakfast dish. I went for a soya milk porridge with fruit and honey, where as Martin went for his usual favourite – Eggs Benedict.
We spent the following day wandering around Chester, checking out the shops and having a stroll along the River Dee – stopping off at the Snugburys cafe, which is just delightful!
If you choose to stay at Hotel Indigo, definitley don’t bother heading out to book in at a restaurant when you have the incredible WOOD as part of the hotel. Also, it’s handy to get the train in if you can, as you’re literally a short walk away from the hotel, without having to worry about parking (the hotel doesn’t have any parking of it’s own so you would have to hunt down a close by NCP, which there are plenty, but still!)
A huge thank you to the team at Hotel Indigo and WOOD for looking after us. Couldn’t fault the place, and would recommend this hotel to anyone on their next visit to the pretty city of Chester.