Reviewed by Dorothy White
The Radisson Blu Hotel in Birmingham is part of a The Radisson Hotel Group, a worldwide chain consisting of approximately 300 hotels, around 84 of them in Europe alone. It is situated in Birmingham’s City Centre on a corner only a short walk from Birmingham’s New Street Station and John Lewis.
On arrival, the reception staff are very friendly and welcoming and the hotel itself looked extremely clean and is decorated attractively. After booking in, we went up to our room on the fifth floor of eighteen floors. Thankfully there are three lifts which serve the eighteen floors. There is also a gym on the 18th floor which we didn’t visit.
Our room was spacious with the whole ‘wall’ on one side of the room consisting of a floor to ceiling window which ran the entire width of the room. There was a Nespresso machine and a fridge, not sure if this is common to all rooms. Our room had two narrow wardrobes with hangers which could be removed so made hanging up clothes easy, one wardrobe had drawers so there was plenty of storage space for short and longer stays. There was also an ironing board with iron, trouser press, bath robes, slippers, hairdryer and a safe, nothing had been forgotten. Everything a guest might need was there, even several magazines relating to the area. There was also of course the usual kettle with cups and glasses to make a drink. Bottles of water appeared beside the bed in the evening. They also offer room service.
The bed linen was immaculate, plain white, which with a red headboard looked very attractive. There were numerous plug sockets around the room with USB points beside the bed for charging phones etc. The bathroom had many complimentary toiletries for use in the shower which was combined with the bath, as well as two large thick fluffy bath towels, hand towels and flannels and of course a bath mat.
It was only a short walk to the nearby canal where we went for trip on a narrow boat trip, dinner cruises are also available. These canals which crisscross each other first brought trade to Birmingham and according to the information we were given was the start of the first Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago. I had no idea Birmingham had so many canals!
We had a lovely dinner in the hotel bar followed by coffee as the Collage Restaurant doesn’t open on a Sunday evening. After our meal we decided to walk back to the canal through the nearby ‘Mailbox’ and stroll down to the side of the canal and along which proved to be very popular as there are numerous bars and restaurants in the area. The tow paths were very popular with cyclists.
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. The Radisson Hotel Group has taken this on board and partnered with nutritionist Sophie Bertrand, founder of Sophie’s Healthy Kitchen, to inspire guests at breakfast. The Radisson Blu in Birmingham, together with other Radisson Hotels serve more than 90 breakfast items so guests are able to have the perfect breakfast to set them up for the day ahead, whether for business or pleasure.
The Radisson Hotel Group hope that by working with Sophie Bertrand they can educate guests on the nutritional value of the breakfast food items. This range will be available from mid-September onwards across the Radisson Hotel Group properties in the UK.
Sophie is a Registered Associate Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition and has a BSc degree in Psychology and an MSc in Nutrition & Eating Disorders. This background has created her interest in the balance between the enjoyment of food and health.
The wide variety of food available for breakfast was amazing. A variety of breads, croissants, pain au chocolate with various preserves. A cooked breakfast station which included bacon, mushrooms, sausages, scrambled eggs, baked beans and hash browns. There were also a variety of cold meats and cheese, breakfast cereals and fresh fruits and fruit juices.
There was also a small section containing a variety of wrapped gluten free bread rolls, plain rice cakes, cereal and crackers.
Sophie has devised a variety of breakfasts aimed to give everyone, regardless of personal preferences, a great start to the day.
We sampled part of the ‘Nourishing’ breakfast which had smashed avocado and poached egg on a toasted muffin, this can also be served with smoked salmon, paired with a fresh fruit salad and yogurt topped with crunchy granola and a freshly blended red berry smoothie.
Sophie has also created the ‘On the Go’ breakfast for those in a hurry with freshly baked golden pastries, which can be eaten with the filling of choice whether fresh berries, fruit, chocolate spread, ham, cheese or tomatoes with freshly squeezed orange juice for the greatest benefit.
For those expecting to have a long day travelling or working there is the ‘Long Haul’ breakfast with rich scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toasted wholemeal bread topped with chives and Greek yogurt served with a fruit and refreshing oat smoothie.
The ‘Endurance’ breakfast consisting of porridge topped with berry compote, mixed berries and a sprinkling of seeds. Toast made from various types of bread which can be topped with crispy bacon, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. All of which provide long lasting energy.
Those with a sweet tooth have not been forgotten, the ‘Sweet Tooth’ breakfast with fluffy light pancakes which are a good source of carbohydrates served with a variety of toppings such as fresh orange slices, chocolate drizzle, fresh red berry compote, strawberries, chocolate or golden honey for fast release energy, or you may prefer to eat them with crispy bacon.
If you need to recover from the night before or are just preparing to take on the day in front of you Sophie suggests the ‘Recovery’ breakfast’ consisting of sausages, crispy bacon, roasted tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, beans, hash browns, black puddings and eggs in any way you wish to have them, together with warm buttered toast and orange juice. This breakfast will provide protein, carbohydrates and vitamins.
Radisson Blu even cater for those who don’t really do breakfast with calming, refreshing or looseleaf teas together with traditional Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea. Of course, there is always freshly brewed coffee available. There will even be a Bloody Mary station and smoothie of the day.
My favourite is the ‘Especially for You’ breakfast, the A La Carte Breakfast with dishes made fresh to order ranging from fluffy pancakes to omelettes made to individual requirements. This means Radisson Blu can cater for those with specific dietary needs. We were told Radisson Blu is now very aware of ‘cross contamination’ for those requiring a gluten free breakfast and the kitchens are set up accordingly. I am quite excited to hear this having a 16-year-old granddaughter who has coeliac disease. She will love the fluffy pancakes which we were assured would be available in a gluten free option, or the sausages and hash browns she loves which we noticed were already gluten free. She usually has to settle for just scrambled eggs and baked beans.
Vegans and Vegetarians will also be catered for with their sausage, bacon and black pudding options together with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes.
I can thoroughly recommend a stay at Radisson Blu Birmingham, all the staff we met made us feel really welcome. Once the new breakfasts are on offer this hotel will be even better than it is at the moment. It is so close to theatres, The Bullring shopping centre, the canals and the station. We even spotted a LEGOLAND and SEALIFE whilst on our canal trip.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.radissonhotels.com.
Raddison Blue Hote, 12 Holloway Circus, Queensway, Birmingham, B1 1BT | 0121 654 6000