We were en route to Manchester so decided to stop in Birmingham to meet our nephew, who has just finished studying here. The hotel is a former eye hospital in the jewellery district of Birmingham. It’s a beautiful building with high ceilings and plenty of character. We had a superior room with a big bed and I loved the feature wall with its wallpaper of books! The bathroom was huge, with a bath and fabulous shower, big enough for Barnaby to sleep in.
The restaurant – Dogs welcome
We were surprised to find that not only was Barnaby allowed in the beautiful bar area, but he was also allowed in the restaurant. The staff went out of their way at dinner to offer him water and make a fuss of him! I had sea bass which was lovely and my husband had a cobb salad. Presentation was beautiful, especially the asparagus and duck egg starter which I rather wished I’d ordered.
If you head out of the hotel and turn left you’ll come across St Philip’s Cathedral. There is a small park here where you can exercise your dog on the lead. For a longer walk, on the recommendation of our nephew, we drove for 10 minutes to Edgbaston reservoir. It’s a 20-30 minute walk around the outside and if your dog loves swimming then this is the place to go!
The hotel is a converted Georgian sugar house in the centre of Bristol with masses of charm. We had a standard room but it was large with a huge bathroom where Barnaby could have slept happily. I say ‘could’ because at the end of the evening he actually went home with his Grandpups so that we could have a lie in!
Dogs are not allowed in the main restaurant but they can eat in the lovely large bar area (where they were also serving afternoon tea when we arrived). The main restaurant itself is full of historic character and we thought our dinner there was great! My sister and I had miso cod which was amazing. Puddings were very generously portioned although my dad had no problem finishing the pear and apricot tart. Great breakfast as well….the diet can always start tomorrow!
For a quick morning or night-time wee for your pup there is a tiny triangular ‘park’ across the road from the hotel. It isn’t secure so you’ll need to keep them on a lead. For a fabulous long walk, drive for approximately 10 mins to Ashton Court where you can walk happily for an hour or two following trails through the woods and spotting deer. You can finish off with a coffee and cake at the converted stables cafe near the car park.
We’ve stayed at Chateau de Courban three times now as its a fairly straightforward drive in a day from Calais (4-5 hours). The first time we stayed in their basic room on the third floor of the main Chateau which was nicely decorated with a small bathroom and perfectly adequate, but as Barnaby was a puppy and in the same room as us we didn’t get a very good night’s sleep!
So the second time we booked a bigger room in the separate building to the left of the main chateau. This was great as it was a really big comfy room with a huge bed, but even better a large bathroom in which to deposit Barnaby ensuring a good night’s sleep for all. He was perfectly happy in his space and so were we!
The last time we stayed we were in the main house again but on the second floor with a big room and big bathroom. However, Barnaby could hear lots of noises in the hotel and being a bit nervy kept growling to protect us from anyone or thing that might have been lurking. So we’ll try and book in the separate building again next time. The resident dog is the lovely Dolly who came on a walk with us the first time we came, and showed us the route!
The restaurant – Dogs welcome
This has always been the highlight of our stay. The restaurant is separate from the main chateau and you can enjoy an aperitif in the sitting room by a lovely fire before dinner. The nibbles are fabulous, particularly the savoury macaroons with wasabi! Well behaved dogs of any size are welcome. Barnaby was very happy to lie by the table, whilst we dined in style. By the way the cheese board is to die for!
You can easily take your dog out for a short or longer walk from the chateau without even putting them on a lead. For a longer walk exit through the car park, turn right, take the left fork by the little cemetery and you can be in the woods in 5 minutes. There are well trodden paths so you can do a quick circular route or go straight and pick up a right hand path that leads down to the road back to the village. We spotted deer in there one morning which was very exciting! For a quick night time wee for your pup, just take the right hand fork at the cemetery and keep to the roads in the village. There are rarely any cars!