Midcentury style can be overdone and can easily become a pastiche. Done right, and its the perfect contemporary foil for old banks and law courts and serious period properties. Cool hotels done in this style are pretty easy to come by in the Capital and in the iconic country-luxe outposts of some of the London members clubs. Sometimes though, you’re headed for a city which is not necessarily the hangout of off-duty magazine editors and fashionistas. Then what? Cue frantic website searches and calls to colleagues. Its time to check out the chains and hope for a midcentury miracle?
Time away from work and the daily grind is precious and none of us like feeling its been wasted. If you’ve got kids and a weekend sans the fun-police beckons, then a nice place to just chill is even more important. This happened recently when for various reasons, (bodged anniversary, forgotten birthday, some tenuous rugby invite etc) we found ourselves heading without our little handbrakes to Exeter. Nope, me neither..but I WOULD go again now I have been.
Hotel interiors and style play a large part for me in choosing where to stay on rare weekends away. (Proximity to a rugby or cricket ground and a decent pub more so for Mr S). I am not a midcentury fanatic but I do love the combination of new and old. Relaxing in a great room with interesting interiors or sipping something cold in a hotel style bar or art-covered library with a good book is one of THE best ways to while away some downtime.
Exeter had the usual suspects and some great deals, but nada on the Air BnB front so I was utterly delighted to find that Hotel Du Vin has done the honours and taken over the old eye hospital. Such a great building and all the high ceilings, parquet floors and kooky corridors you would expect from an old medical institution!
Definitely a mid-century vibe here, as well as some tasty contemporary art on the wall and severeal public rooms where you can hide away and be quiet (like the library) or a busy bar with folks coming and going and afternoon-tea shenanigans if you’re up for some people-watching.
Bedooms are fairly neutral and tame (you’re here to rest after all) so less of a midcentury feel upstairs. Still, lots of lovely light fittings and the bathrooms are choc-full of Ren goodies, huzzah !
Hotel breakfast is extra but SO worth having as the design and style of the room is utterly brilliant being a modern extension on the rear of the building AND the delicious options for insta-worthy breakfast are endless.
This restaurant faces the lawn and swimming pool -yes, there is a pool too – and on warm days, the doors open and you’re eating your (insta-worthy) breakfast al fresco.
A short walk from Hotel Du Vin brings you into the town and some pretty cute shops and backstreets. I particularly loved this boutique for its homewares and stylish pieces. Lorna Ruby, you rock.
There is a gorgeous harbour side well worth a walk too. Check out the coffee and gallery walls at Puerto Lounge. Me likey.
All in all, bravo Exeter ! A chic hotel bolt hole and plenty of options for some weekending if you’re down west country way.
So whilst we are all looking for that elusive boutique gem that reveals an interior to die for, its still worth checking out the smaller chains like Hotel Du Vin, Mal Maison and Indigo Hotels so you don’t miss out on some really amazing buildings, places and spaces.