I’m just a little bit in love with our Stratford hotel. So much so that sometimes, on a sunny day wandering through Stratford, I find myself wishing I didn’t work for Eden Hotel Collection so I could have the pleasure of coming across The Arden’s sunny terrace for the first time and sit down for a cheeky glass of Prosecco in a peaceful spot. I’m pretty sure that The Arden is the only place in town that gets the sun all day, which is a real bonus.
For anyone who hasn’t visited the hotel yet, it’s hard to miss if you’re seeing a show at The Royal Shakespeare Theatres – it’s literally a hop, skip and a jump from their front door, right opposite the River Avon. In fact, it’s perfect if you fancy a change of scene in the interval and want to pop over for a glass of wine in the Club Bar. The pre-theatre menu is also incredibly good value, beautifully cooked and you can even come back for your pudding after the play.
Not only does The Arden Hotel offer luxurious bedrooms (named after trees in deference to the Forest of Arden) but it also has the fabulous 2 AA Rosette Waterside Brasserie, a stylish Champagne Bar where you can sip a glass of the finest fizz, not to mention the vintage lounge that offers the perfect excuse to settle down with a full afternoon tea served on V&A crockery that would love to have in my house! I took my mum and sister there in June for a birthday treat and I can honestly say, without my ‘Arden hat’ on, that the afternoon tea was glorious! I’ve even got the pics to prove it – see above!
The Club Bar, adorned with famous faces from the theatre’s archives, is the perfect place for an evening of star spotting. I’ve seen a famous face or two in there, which is always very exciting. I love the restored oak bar and the bar team make a mean cocktail which you can sip on the private top terrace, or tucked away in the window seats or bucket chairs. The lighting in there is lovely and soft too, so a good option for a cosy post-play conversation.
Here’s a little bit of history…
Like the rest of the mighty town that surrounds her, The Arden Hotel has a wealth of history within her walls. The buildings and land which constitute The Arden Hotel form part of the Royal Shakespeare Company estate and according to the RSC, The Arden has a historical association with William Shakespeare himself.
The main house dates back to the late 17th Century and the mock-Tudor Udimore House slightly later. The land used to contain an Elizabethan dwelling called Brook House, and it is reputed that William Shakespeare wrote some of his works in the garden, which I find captivating. I hope our guests feel inspired to pen a note or two whilst sitting on the sunny terrace!
Since then its history is hazy but at one stage it was The Flowers Brewery Family Estate before passing to the RSC. It has been a hotel in various incarnations since 1965 right up until The Eden Hotel Collection took over in September 2009 in a joint venture with the RSC and work soon began on a multi-million pound refurbishment. The Arden Hotel celebrated its fifth birthday this July.