AS FRANK SINATRA once sang ‘you’ve either got or you haven’t got style’. Now Ol’ Blue Eyes knew a thing or two about style. And Italian heritage. You’ll find both in abundance at Strozzi Palace.
Built in 1894, the Grade II listed ‘Palazzo’ façade in the centre of Cheltenham is based on the Palazzo Strozzi – one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Florence.
The grand exterior is matched inside, with high ceilings and sleekly-appointed decor in the entrance hall. But this is no ordinary hotel. There is no receptionist on duty here. You receive a personalised code upon booking to type into keypads, granting access to the venue, car park and your accommodation.
If you do run into trouble in the staffless surroundings there’s a telephone number to call, but you should find everything you need once you settle into one of the establishment’s six suites.
It’s important to point out that these are suites rather than rooms. The owners could have comfortably packed in another 8-10 beds during a £750,000 refurb of the old building, but the emphasis here is very much on quality not quantity.
As a result, the half dozen options range from the smart studio apartment living of the Palermo Suite, to the 45-square metre luxury of the Napoli Suite, complete with lounge, kitchen area, separate bedroom and private sun terrace.
The decorators have embraced the Italian theme and the rooms are stunning, in monochrome tones punctuated with splashes of flamboyant yellow. The venue also gets the finer details right, packing fridges with all the ingredients you need for a slap-up continental breakfast, with a bounty of fresh produce brought in daily from M&S and Waitrose.
“Cheltenham’s renowned regency architecture provides a perfect platform for a little continental flair.”
Then throw in free access to the swimming and gym facilities at the nearby Fitness First, Egyptian cotton bed linen on super king beds, air con, WiFi and TVs with record functionality, built in DVD players and Netflix. You could actually live here – literally, with year-long stays available.
It’s a great central base to explore a gem of a town. If you’re a Cheltenham virgin, think a slightly smaller, more intimate Bath and you won’t be far wide of the mark.
Plonking an opulent Tuscan villa into the middle of most towns in the south west of England would be a juxtaposition too far, but elegant Cheltenham’s renowned regency architecture provides a perfect platform for a little continental flair.
The beautiful old spa town has a great range of restaurants, bars and shops, entwining seamlessly with an aura of history and culture. In fact, the Strozzi is located just yards from The Wilson art gallery and museum, just to add to the Renaissance vibe.
A luxurious stay in these sort of surroundings would usually cost a pretty penny, but the Strozzi’s rates start at just £99 a night.
Chic boutique at a very reasonable price. Bellissimo.
55 St George’s Place