Montpellier, Cheltenham: The Sophisticated Hen Party Destination
Cheltenham and Montpellier, in particular, has become England’s cultural capital with its Regency architecture, excellent theatres and, of course, the Cheltenham Festivals. Not least of all being the Literature Festival, attracting leading international and local writers, media personalities as well as stage and film stars.
The area has also appeared on the radar of another group of people wanting to soak up the area’s style and elegance - hen parties.
However, like so many things “Cheltenham”, its Hen Party visitors tend towards the sophisticated and elegant - a far cry from the raucous booze fuelled final flings associated with “other” hen party destinations.
Andrew Chard, co-owner of the Montpellier Town House estimates that around 60% of his weekend bookings are now Hen Party guests. The Town-House’s award winning interior is more Downton Abbey than Blackpool - so is he not just a bit concerned about letting to Hen Weekenders? “Absolutely not”, he tells us.
“Although at first we had some concerns, we’ve now hosted over thirty hen celebrations and each has been a delight. Hen guests come to Cheltenham for an indulgent, sophisticated celebration among friends. They’re generally successful professionals in their late 20s or 30s with a “To Do” list including spa pampering, cocktails, fine wine tastings, elegant dining plus country pursuits like clay pigeon shooting, or horse riding.”
So where to stay in Montpellier? There’s the Montpellier Town House - ideal for groups from 6-15. More traditional hotels include the boutique Bradley Hotel, offering guests nine luxurious bedrooms and a distinctive style all of its own. Nearby on Imperial Square, the Queens Hotel is a Cheltenham landmark. It’s recently been refurbished to become an M Gallery Collection luxury Accor property, whilst retaining its historic decorative style. The hotel offers a range of rooms, including a four poster for the bride to be. Other five star options for a memorable weekend among friends include 131 - something of an institution now - with its Crazy Eights cocktail bar and eclectic, sumptuous bedrooms. The Montpellier Chapter and Hotel du Vin are also true destination hotels, each with excellent in-house restaurants for a celebratory dinner.
Spa pampering days have become component to many Hen Do’s and Montpellier has plenty of styles and choices for a group of ladies for all budgets and tastes. The Montpellier Town House can book spa days at the property. Other hotels in Montpellier have in-house dedicated spas — the perfect preparation before a glass or two of fizz (wine merchant D’Arcy Wines can deliver a tasting selection to Montpellier Town House guests) - or head out for a cocktail before dinner. The Crazy Eights is a great starting point - with expert mixologists in achingly trendy surroundings. Soho Bar on Montpellier Street is ideal for groups of friends with a relaxed atmosphere and extensive cocktails (not least of all, they mix a perfect martini), plus it’s a venue for “laters” with a VIP atmosphere in the first floor lounge. Brasserie Blanc is also popular choice, especially if dining in the buzzy restaurant - reservations essential!
Dining out with a group of friends on a Hen Do will certainly require a reservation. Cheltenham is hopelessly prosperous and its numerous brasseries and fine dining restaurants can be booked weeks’ in advance. For the ultimate private party dining experience, 131 offers a private dining room alternatively, guests at The Montpellier Town can order their own private BBC Masterchef finalist chef to prepare anindividually tailored menu. For a really buzzy people watching evening try Cote Brasserie, or for a more reserved, club like atmosphere, Tarragon on Montpellier Street is regularly counted among the top 10 restaurants in town on TripAdvisor.
Picture: Thanks to Vanilla Moon Spa Therapies in Cheltenham