Review: Bloc Hotel Birmingham
The Bloc Hotel is a futuristic hotel in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. Recently, I have been travelling around the UK a fair amount and have stayed in several hotels. With that in mind I thought I’d have a go at reviewing the hotels I stayed in.
What is most unique about this brand of hotel is their minimalist approach. The philosophy behind the hotel chain is that most people who use hotels in the city centre don’t need massive rooms, wardrobes or views as they live out of their suitcases. By having that outlook the hotel has small rooms that are finished to a high standard. They model the rooms on the inside of a luxury yacht cabin and while you don’t feel that you are out at sea in the hotel, the prices at as little as £45 a night, don’t make you feel sea sick (sorry couldn’t resist).
Finding our way to the city centre hotel was easy enough and with a special car park rate at the local NCP for staying at the hotel, parking was relatively cheap. The Jewellery Quarter, named thusly because of the high concentration of jewellery merchants in the vicinity is a modern refurbished classy area. Billed as an urban village and a hub for creative businesses the area boasts multiple bars, clubs and restaurants. On top of that its a few minutes walk away from the heart of Birmingham, with BT Tower and Birmingham Cathedral all easily accessible. The Bullring Shopping Centre is about 30 mins walk away.
Arriving at the front entrance it took me a few moments to work out how to get into the place. I was looking for a glass panel door to get in when in fact the whole glass window surround slid across like something out of a sci fi film. Pretty cool. A swanky, modern and clean reception was my reward for finding the door. The receptionist was very welcoming and easy to talk to. Within a few moments we had our keys to our rooms. Before I even had chance to ask about how we get on the wi-fi I was given a receipt with a unique login and password for each room. Efficient. In some ways I was a bit disappointed to be given a card key to the room. I had read somewhere on the website about an app that acts as your room key. The tech boy in me was excited by this idea, but I didn’t have the opportunity to ask about this.
The rooms, as advertised were finished to a high standard with multiple features you wouldn’t find in an ordinary hotel. High speed interent, an HD LCD TV and advanced climate control all as standard lived up to the reputation of the hotel. Above the bed were several lighting options to create ambience in the room. Included in this was a violet light (see picture above). Not really necessary I must say, but it is a cool little quirk that adds to the futuristic feel. The bed itself was wall to wall, with the TV built in to the wall at the end of the bed. A high quality comforatble mattress dressed with egyptian cotton sheets really upped the class level another notch. The bathroom or should I say wet room was Italian styled with a sleek and sexy finish. It even had 2 options for showering, a traditional shower and rain show. The glass door on the bathroom was a bit odd to me but it did give me the rather unusual experience of watching TV while showering. Outside of the room, the communal areas and hallways were well kept, if a little dark. One cool aspect worthy of note is the sensor lighting in the hallway and stairwell. As you walk a long the lights turn in sync with your movements. An unnecessary feature some might argue, but it must save electricity and it is quite a nice feeling having the handrails light up upon your touch.
Overall, I rate the Bloc hotel highly. It doesn’t have the most features in the world, no bar or food options in the hotel but that doesn’t matter. This kind of hotel isn’t about the features. With bars, restaurants and more on your doorstep why would you want to stay and eat in the hotel anyway. The philosophy of the hotel is one I admire as well. Minimalist but luxurious is the best way to sum it up. This might just be a male thing, but I’ve never used the wardrobe provided in a hotel before and I suspect many of you don’t either. On that note, it’s pleasant to see a new technological hotel, catering for a new environment and clientele.
- The Boost: Birmingham gets a gleaming new music venue, what’s in the paper (al.com)
- Visiting Birmingham ICC for a corporate stay. – Birmingham, United Kingdom (travelpod.com)
- Development of new hotel set to be given the green light (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)