We arrive at our hotel on the outskirts of Chester The small black and white sign to the right of the glass door instructs us to push the black button to ring the bell. We look through the glass and see an empty hotel lobby. The interior is decorated like an Englishman’s study with a darkly stained and heavily carved oak reception desk. The matching dark oak paneling wraps the walls behind the desk. The remaining walls are painted forest green and hung with English hunting scenes in gold frames
We watch through the door as just the head of a dark-haired woman appears over the countertop. Her nose supports thick gold-framed glasses. She smiles and her hand creeps into view. Her index finger presses a button and the door unlocks. As we enter she slowly rises to her full height, still smiling, but giving us the once over. And just like that, a tall young man, whose head is much too small for his body, pops out from a small office adjacent to the desk. He towers over his colleague. With a toothy grin and high pitched “Woo Hoo” he flips open the guest book. All the while the dark haired woman has been bouncing slowly up and down on her toes smiling but not speaking. I get the distinct feeling we are checking into Faulty Towers.
As Terry signs the guest book, I notice the hotel checks all the boxes I wanted for an old, English manor house. There are several comfy rooms off reception, including a library with fireplace, a sitting room with fireplace and a bar with restaurant beyond.
We follow the young man up an impossibly narrow staircase, turn and go through a glass door and up several more stairs, turn left and up several more stairs to our room on the third floor. We are in the middle of the hotel with a small window that opens out to the neighboring green slate rooftops. We drop our luggage and take a nap.
We walk to the city in the late afternoon. I’ve gotten a list of restaurants to try and keep my fingers crossed we don’t need reservations. We take a walk around the city on the old stone wall before descending to Bridge Street. Chester, along the River Nye, was granted city status in 1541. It was founded as a Roman Fort during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in 79 AD. William the Conqueror ordered the construction of the castle to dominate the town and the Welsh border. It is now known for the Grade I restoration of the wall and the restored black and white buildings within the city centre.
The Eastgate Clock is said to be the most photographed clock in England next to Big Ben. The next most photographed icon was the Queen during her visit two weeks ago. She and the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle to you) visited Chester for a day of engagements which included the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
The food did not disappoint….if in Chester, be sure to try The Chef’s Table www.chefstablechester.co.uk it is the size of a closet and seats only 30 and Upstairs at the Grill www.upstairsatthegrill.co.uk where you can get a proper Sunday Roast.