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Review: Hotel Indigo Coventry, Warwickshire, UK

Opened in January 2024, the brand-new Hotel Indigo Coventry has an elegant barcode cladding of metallic blues. Shades that home in on Coventry’s history. Originally it was the blue tint of the city’s woven cloth that brought spectacular medieval wealth. Today that blue is celebrated in Coventry City’s sky-blue football shirts.

On the ground floor, recessed glazing, placed between those barcode columns, gives passers by glimpses of Cogs Bar and Restaurant. Quirkily, symbolically, the hotel blends two of Coventry’s icons for a welcome poster: a contemporary flame-haired Lady Godiva pedalling a push-bike.

Riding high after its 2021 reign as City of Culture, Coventry is pulling in visitors for business and leisure. Hotel Indigo, a mere two minutes’ walk from the Railway Station, is in pole position to welcome them.

Blitzed for 11 hours by the Luftwaffe on November 14th 1940, possibly as Hitler’s retaliation for an RAF bombing raid on Munich, Coventry led the way in phoenix-like urban regeneration with a ring road leaving the centre free for pedestrians.

The welcome

Friendly, welcoming staff are very proud of both their city and their new hotel, telling us about the hotel’s themes.

We are given a map of the city centre with major attractions pointed out.

The suite

Looking to Coventry’s traditions, the 101 rooms are designed around the three themes of The Spinning Wheel, Motor City, plus Re-imagination and Regeneration.

On the second floor, the theme of our suite is Motor City. Chequered-flag pillows, a gleaming motor grille on a small chest of drawers and a yesteryear advert for Coventry Cars all contribute. One collage displays colour swatches for an E-type Jaguar evoking nostalgia for a Golden Age of Motoring.

The Hypnos bed is dressed with Egyptian cotton linen. There’s high speed wi-fi and a 40” flatscreen television to watch from the comfort of a two-seater sofa.

The bathroom

A spa-inspired bathroom has a free-standing roll-top bath and separate rainfall shower. By the his-and-her units, each with a lit porthole style mirror, are Bramley toiletries.

The facilities

Tall light-giving windows invite passers by to join the crowd at Cogs bar for local ale or gin, maybe even something a little fizzy. In postmodern industrial style, the ceiling’s innards are exposed

For a restaurant with only 100 covers there’s impressive variety on Cogs a la carte menu. As guests order, a wine wall emphasises the variety of vintages on offer.

Diners watch as platters of charcuterie, breads and baked Camembert leave the open kitchen. They hear the drama of steaks – rump, rib-eye, fillet – sizzling and chefs shaking a pan-fried sea bream with chorizo, cannellini beans, cherry tomato, shallots, peppers. Meanwhile chefs check on the oven roasted lamb rump and the slow braised pulled beef. Throw in a superfood salad, roasted courgettes with couscous cous, burgers, as well as haddock and chips and it is a menu that offers something for everyone.

A well-equipped gym is open 24/7, God only knows what Coventry’s original bicycle manufacturers would have made of the high-tech exercise bikes

The location

Coventry is renowned for its third cathedral. Henry Vlll destroyed the first during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 11 hours of Luftwaffe bombing destroyed the second, but a third cathedral was consecrated in 1962.

Boldly, Coventry decided to shelf the previous Gothic design and opt for Sir Basil Spence’s radical modernist design using steel and reinforced concrete with an arrow shaped spire soaring 90 metres towards heaven. Two charred timbers, that fell from the roof to form a Christian cross, inspired the building of a new building with the words “Father Forgive” leading the spirit of reconciliation.

Since 1939, the neighbouring Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, with free general admission, has been at the heart of Coventry’s dynamic cultural life.

Exhibits tell the story, or more probably myth, of Coventry’s most famous resident. In the 11th century. Lady Godiva’s husband promised he would only lower the tax burden on the people if his wife rode naked through the city centre. She agreed to do so, but decreed that the people should stay in their houses with windows shuttered. They all did, save for “Peeping Tom” who subsequently went blind. Nice story but without reliable historical documentation.

As Britain’s Motown, Coventry produced the country’s first car, a Daimler, in 1897. Initially, the Herbert Museum told the automotive story but when the collection grew too large, the Coventry Transport Museum was established.

Other nice touches

Two of Coventry’s traditional God cakes await us in our suite. From around the 14th century, godparents gave these triangular flaky mincemeat turnovers to their godchildren at New Year.

A taster of Peeping Tom gin is ready and there are chilled tonics in the fridge.

The cost

Room rates begin from £103.

The best bit

Decor and artwork at Hotel Indigo pay homage to Coventry’s heritage. Lifts are papered with newspapers from the golden era of the cycle trade.

Around the ground floor public areas black-and-white murals recall the early 1980s when Coventry became the birthplace of two-tone music. Four decades on from The Specials singing about a Ghost Town there is nothing spectral about today’s vibrant, buzzing city.

The final verdict

No need to send people to Coventry anymore. Now they flock to the city for its cultural heft.

Strategically positioned, in an eminently walkable city, Hotel Indigo, packed with contemporary comforts, is part of the next wave of imaginative regeneration to lift the city.

Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Hotel Indigo Coventry.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. Coventry’s one of those British cities that I’ve not been to. Maybe it is worth a visit after all. Indigo looks very comfortable.

    1. I must admit that I hadn’t previously visited. The city’s got a lot more going on than I’d expected. Taking the walk from the hotel into the city there were plenty of street food options available. It all makes for an interesting short break.

  2. When it comes to architecture I’m very much in the Prince Charles way of thinking and don’t like all these modernist atrocities. So I surprised myself in liking Coventry cathedral. I can see that it’s designed for modern events with the space and lighting for events. The design also shows plenty of respect for the previous cathedral’s history.

    1. Is carbuncle the word you’re looking for? I remember him making a speech about architecture and carbuncles. Though, as ever it’s all a matter of taste.

  3. This is a nice addition to Coventry’s collection of hotels. Definitely one for when I’m next in the city on business.

    1. Attesh, Indigo is designed for business. Service in both the bar and restaurant was warm but not too deferential. Plenty of variety on the menu too, if you have to stay for several nights.

  4. You’re right about the exercise bikes in the gym. Down to earth guys from the 19th century wouldn’t get the idea of a bike that doesn’t go anywhere.

  5. I’d heard the Lady Godiva story but never knew the full tale behind it and I never know that the Peeping Tom name was all part of the story too. There’s more to Coventry’s history than I ever thought.

    1. I was a bit sketchy too on my Lady Godiva knowledge too – until I went to the exhibition at the Herbert Gallery. Some interesting takes on the politics behind what is probably a myth.

  6. There is something special about a purpose built hotel. You get the right sizes for rooms, not en-suites squeezed from cupboards.

    1. Yes, I had a suite and the bathroom was a really generous size. None of this putting a shower over the bath.

  7. As a retired history teacher I’m delighted that Indigo is making so much of Coventry’s history.

    Hotels really seem to be upping their game and decorating themselves to reflect their location. A few years ago I stayed at a hotel in Cambridge which was brilliant at telling the stories of the academics who had made the university what it is.

    1. If you’re a retired history teacher you’ll love the Herbert gallery & museum too.

  8. We live a 40 minutes train ride from Coventry and have been to the Herbert gallery and Museum twice.

    The visiting exhibitions usually grab the headlines and the recent wildlife photography exhibition was brilliant. Though the permanent Coventry exhibition is a must visit. It’s really good at telling Coventry’s story, especially during the Second World War.

    If you visit the city you should schedule at least half a day for the Herbert, especially as it’s free!

    1. I got the impression that there’s always something good on at the Herbert Gallery and Museum, with plenty of new events coming along to spice things up.

  9. We’re on the up in Coventry. First we had the opening of the very stylish Telegraph hotel at the site of the old newspaper premises.

    Now we’ve got the Indigo too. I’ve only been in for a drink to have a nose around and was impressed. Coventry’s on a roll.

  10. To be honest until I read this piece it had never crossed my mind to think of Coventry for a weekend break.

    One of the big advantages is that it’s not too expensive. £103 is a very competitive starting rate for the hotel and then the big sights of the cathedral and the Herbert museum are both free.

    Also we could avoid any parking charges, which are often extortionate in city centres, by going by train as the hotel is so close to the station.

  11. This is a very different take on the industrial Midlands to what we usually get. It’s nice to have a positive spin on an area that doesn’t usually get the best press. There’s far more going on culturally around Coventry than I’d been led to expect.

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