Updated: Nov 2
Gifted stay at Staying Cool
What a view ... from the penthouse at the top of the Rotunda you can, literally, see for miles. As a proud Brummie, being able to look far and wide over my city was something very special indeed.
High above the cranes and the shops; from Moor Street station across to St Andrew's on the right, up along Corporation Street to the Wheel in Centenary Square on the left. The full-length floor to ceiling windows and wrap-around balcony at our Staying Cool apartment granted the most commanding outlook.
Our home for the weekend was one of five penthouse suites, 270ft at the very top of the iconic Rotunda building. The carefully styled space offers a slick and comfortable place to stay: there's two king-size bedrooms and two generously sized en-suite bathrooms.
At the centre of the apartment is the large kitchen, dining and seating area. Two dark grey sofas dominate, and the fuss-free accessories and retro-inspired portraits add welcome pops of colour. The well-appointed Poggenpohl kitchen includes a dishwasher, fridge and freezer, a great espresso machine with complimentary coffee beans, and even oranges and grapefruits for the juicer.
The modern decor scheme continues in both bedrooms, as does the view. And while you can easily shut out the bright lights at night with the black-out curtains, there was something rather special about waking up high above as the streets of Birmingham came to life below.
But it's at night when that view really comes into its own. Thankfully, the grey skies cleared on our Saturday night stay, allowing us to marvel at the city lit up in all its splendour; the balcony providing the perfect spot for a G&T sundowner.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
With the famous Bullring shopping centre, the world's biggest Primark and a host of top-class restaurants (including five Michelin-starred) on its doorstep, a stay at The Rotunda couldn't be better placed.
It's a three-minute walk from Birmingham's two central stations - New Street and Moor Street - and when it opens in 2028, Hs2 will be a close neighbour. There's also the hugely popular Frankfurt Market, which opens on November 3 and runs until December 23, just feet from the entrance doors.
SO, WHAT IS THE ROTUNDA?
For the none-Brummies amongst us, this cylindrical high-rise has watched proudly over Birmingham since 1965. For many decades it was an office block designed by architect James A Roberts, who made the top floor his home (and who can blame him!). Original plans included a rotating restaurant, but this was apparently scrapped at the last minute.
Like many structures in post-war Birmingham, it was very much ahead of its time and initially derided by the public. However, a proposal to demolish it in the 1990s to make way for the Bullring development, horrified locals. Thankfully it was saved, and today it's Grade II listed with the Staying Cool serviced apartments housed on the 19th and 20th floors.
My stay was gifted. You can find out more about Staying Cool at The Rotunda here.