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Muddy checks into The Gresham

Fancy a stylish overnighter slap bang in the city? This brand new Aparthotel has opened in one of Leicester’s oldest buildings. Muddy checked in for the night.

THE LOWDOWN

Set in the city’s landmark former Fenwick department store, The Gresham is Leicester’s newest opening, costing a whopping £17 million.

The Grade II listed building was originally designed by architect Isaac Barradale in the 1800s and is one of the city’s most iconic and elegant buildings.

The good news is that, post revamp, the grand old dame of a building is still as impressive and many of the original features still remain – albeit with a few contemporary twists.

The Gresham is located on the corner or Market and Belvoir Street – an area that’s buzzing with activity both day and night.

THE VIBE

If you were regular shoppers at Fenwick’s, you’ll notice a lot has changed inside. To start, there’s a rooftop terrace, a gym, bar, fitness suite not to mention the 121 new apartments, but a lot of the original features remain; the windows, the exterior, iconic gables and the original staircase are all in tip-top condition and have been given a fresh lick of paint.

The entrance is on Market Street and once inside, the ground floor is unrecognisable. What was once the ladies department is now a stylish bar/restaurant called Black Iron Social (run by the same guys over at Winstanley House’s Black Iron Restaurant). The aparthotel reception is neatly tucked away to the left.

PILLOW TALK

There’s one and two bedroom serviced apartments as well as deluxe and superior studio apartments to choose from. Rooms vary in size starting from 161 feet for the studio apartment to 560 feet for the terrace apartment (sounds like a proper party pad!).

I was visiting with the Muddy fam, so we’d booked a two bedroom apartment. I’d had a sneak peak at some rooms during the launch, but the layout of this one was totally different but just as spacious. In fact I couldn’t get over just how spacious; put it this way, the kids had plenty of places to play hide and seek! We had a large double bed and the kids also had a double bed to themselves plus we had a kitchen, living space and a bathroom – ample of room for four of us! I can easily see why people would prefer to stay here rather than a small, poky hotel room.

Beds were comfy and there were plenty of fluffy pillows to rest our weary head after a day of festive fun and feasting! Rooms were a decent size and the decor throughout was light and bright.

My only niggle? There was no hand wash or sanitiser which, in the middle of a pandemic is not a good look (reception advised that it had been ordered). What we did have were complimentary toiletries from The White Company (nice touch!), so we made do with that.

Bathrooms were in an on trend monochrome style which I loved. Hmm perhaps I can convince Mr Muddy to get the look in our bathroom back home!?

SCOFF AND QUAFF

Black Iron Social is located in The Gresham’s lobby so you can’t miss it! It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the bar looks pretty slick too if you’ve got time for a cocktail or two.

We had breakfast together here and as far as restaurants go, it’s one of the most modern places in town – lots of large potted plants, velvet armchairs, fringe chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and statement artwork all gave the place a very upmarket look indeed.

Mr M ordered the Full English and I picked the veggie version obvs. I ordered the pancakes for the kids hoping they’d scoff them down quick! The breakfast was what you’d expect – two meaty Onley oak sausages, streaky bacon, mushrooms, tomato, two hash browns, fried crispy black pudding, a poached egg and wholemeal toast.

The Garden Breakfast did the trick for me; Glamorgan sausages, sauteed sweet potato (which didn’t actually appear on my plate) spinach, tomato, mushrooms, hash browns, poached egg and wholemeal toast.

Unfortunately, the pancakes didn’t impress the kids (they were quite hard and dry), but all was not lost; they ended up scoffing some of our toast, sausages and hash browns.

It’s worth mentioning that I’d had lunch here a few weeks ago too (I know, I can’t get enough of the place!). I’d ordered the beetroot tartare and cheddar fritters for starters and then picked the herb crusted hake for mains (delicious) and it was a much better shout than breakfast – just saying!

KID-FRIENDLY?

Most certainly in the two bedroom apartments. Downstairs, the bar snack menu may satisfy their appetite but if not, there’s plenty of eating spots within walking distance.

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: Those who want a stylish sleepover in the city; shoppers; those in town for work; groups of friends and families, late-night drinkers and even wedding guests (wedding venue, The City Rooms is just down the road).

Not for: Those who want a peaceful night away. It’s located on a busy street dotted with bars so you may not get a restful night sleep especially over the weekend.

The damage: A studio apartment starts at around £85; one bedroom apartments starts at around £128.

The Grehsam Aparthotel, 36 Market St, Leicester LE1 6DP. Tel: 0116 243 7666. reservations@thegreshamaparthotel.com 

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