Saturday, November 19, 2011

No. 115 The Westminster Hotel

Visited on 17/11/11. Just across City road from ‘the Queen’ (No. 114) lies this 19th century commercial hotel that ‘oozes olde worlde charm’ apparently. That means ‘it’s a bit shabby’ then in plain English. Yes I know it’s probably a great  value hotel with friendly staff and is ideally situated for tourists seeking to explore the wondrous roman city of Chesterville blah-di-blah-di-blah etc. And I know we shouldn’t be reviewing it as a pub because it isn’t one. However, it does have a public bar, so it sort of qualifies. Sort of. On to the ale then. Real ale isn’t served here, so we had to drink keg - Tetley bitter to be precise. And what an interesting experience it was. It tasted of loose change, earwax and hamsters – as bizarre as it was repulsive. We drank it though – all sat round a table in the middle of an empty dance floor while some reality TV crap played on a wide-screen telly. Nobody else was there. We then decided to explore the place a bit and found a fantastic old(e) gentleman’s smoking room at the rear of the groundfloor which still had it’s original fittings, including an ornate gold radiator. This room was empty too. It felt like we were burglars in a stately home. I reckon this place has been decorated three times – once when it was built, once in the 1980s and once since then - the final effort simply consisting of a 'toning down' of some of the ‘80s ‘new romantic’ extravagances by lashing fuchsia* paint over all the main walls. It’s truly odd. Would I ever stay here ? Absolutely. It’s got far more character than the dreary Travel Lodges and Premier Inns that are taking over Chester. Would I ever drink here (again) ? No chance whatsoever.

* If I had the job of showing prospective guests around this hotel I would make a point of highlighting the décor by using the phrase “This is the fuchsia !”

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