Staying Cool at The Rotunda, Birmingham December 2016

by Emma Bumpus on December 14, 2016

Careertraveller and family take Christmas to new heights with an urban city stay in Birmingham’s Staying Cool sleek serviced apartments, the type that bring an added glamour and luxury to travel.

Perfectly situated in the heart of the city stands the iconic Rotunda, an 81 metre high Grade II Listed cylindrical tower that smacks of history, culture and entertainment. Situated just minutes away from central New and Moor Street railway stations is the green light for 24 hours in one of the UK’s most diverse and multicultural cities.

Reception is a trendy LED chandelier of overhead neon LED tubes with smart concierge service that transport us flawlessly to 20th floor heaven aka Roadster Penthouse. Luxury family travel takes on new meaning as we walk into a fashionable boutique pad that oozes high-rise Manhattan radiance.

A swanky Poggenpohl designed and installed kitchen with solid and Corian countertop and stainless steel accessories bounce high quality light off floor to ceiling glass doors that display Birmingham’s stunning city skyline.

Out on the wraparound balcony awaits a panoramic metropolis of shimmering architecture and regenerative open space bursting with attractions and festive Christmas spirit. Inside is a haven of modish mod cons from ipod docking station and Francis Francis illy espresso machine to classic monopoly and giant jenga, which brilliantly offsets the contemporary naughtone portion sofa and 60s inspired wall art.

Calming grey hand made upholstery accessorised by candy coloured buttons and select vintage wool cushions created by Heather Linnet at Eclectic Chair radiate psychedelic shades of orange, pink and red, reflective of this wonderfully rejuvenated building built in 1965.

Encapsulated in a rotund harbour of exemplary design, detail and love we uncover traces of Staying Cool’s eco tourism philosophy and are educated by their recent silver award in green excellence by Green Tourism. Dazzled by this subtle and visionary exclusive penthouse we marvel in a heady mix of sustainability and natural cutting-edge recyclable materials that transcends into citrus orange and bergamot hand-blended aromatherapy products. Marvellous!

Ready for action we hit land with the city’s famous annual Frankfurt Christmas Market, which just outside reception is a plethora of wooden chalet style huts brimming with würstel, gluewien and strudel. Aromatic hints of cinnamon and gingerbread are an edible trail of festive gifts and shops that take us through the famous Bullring Shopping Centre. Positioned beneath the landmark Rotunda, whose presence never leaves our sight, reside over 160 shops, cafes and restaurants that twinkle with 21st century department stores and retailers.

Amidst the tinsel and snowy alfresco Winter Social showcase of Black Country award winning street food and local favourite ‘Peaky Blinder’ ale, we enjoy getting lost amongst the city’s mixture of old and new buildings that convey Birmingham’s rich cultural heritage across the centuries. From the Selfridges space age exterior covered in 15,000 space age spun aluminium disks to St Martins Church, an 19th century gothic Victorian masterpiece, we continue our historical journey to the city’s creative quarter Digbeth and discover Alfred Bird’s legendary Custard Factory.

Once home to Bird and Sons Ltd we enter the land of egg free instant custard powder, which invented by the chemist Mr Bird himself, stands the former factory premises reinvented with innovative independent shops, artist space and intimate Mockingbird Cinema.

Inspiration carries us west canal side towards Brindley Place, a fabulous fusion of cafes, restaurants and attractions fit for all. Award winning Ikon Gallery to ICC Symphony Hall are a footpath of cultural eye candy to Centenary Square where festive Ferris wheel and ice skating rink illuminate the majestic careertraveller favourite Library of Birmingham. Imposingly palatial stands this modern centre of excellence with 10 floors of art gallery space, 7th floor garden, outdoor amphitheatre and legendary Shakespeare Memorial Room. Spectacular!

As day becomes night we grab a cab to Birmingham Botanical Gardens to capture the Magical Lantern Festival, which celebrates the city’s art and culture with original handcrafted Chinese lanterns from China. Set in 15 acres of stunning gardens stand giant illuminations that enchant and enthuse in a playground of carnival wonder full of East meets West animals, symbols and traditional Christmas cheer. Beautifully entertaining and playful pandas, interspersed with colossal birdcages and the likes of Santa, epitomise the city’s Brummie Bull, known lovingly as the ‘people’s mascot’.

Birmingham rocks and as we retire to our desirable Rotunda Roadster Penthouse we take an alfresco 360° inner-city vista nightcap before retiring upon deluxe pocket sprung mattresses in our king size beds fit for quality sleep.

Morning brings an enlightening tonic at the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum, which just a 15-minute walk from the Rotunda introduces us to some of Birmingham’s pretty green space at Eastside City Park. Set in a public square detailed with canal feature and jet fountains awaits a fun morning of interactive discovery from health and technology to wildlife and astronomy.

Inside a Forensic Van we solve a crime scene, discover the stars in the Planetarium and find history in The Spitfire Gallery from 4 floors of jam-packed inventions, experiments and research. Blown away by this outstanding award-winning museum, which warrants a full day out, we place Birmingham firmly on the careertraveller return roadmap and thank Staying Cool for providing a unique insight to the most happening city.

Educated and replenished we adopt Staying Cool’s green philosophy and travel home from Birmingham Coach Station with National Express, whose spacious leather chairs and smooth journeying make Birmingham an accessible and wonderful tourist destination.

Further information:

Staying Cool
Visit Birmingham
Magical Lantern Festival
Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
National Express

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