Birmingham: A Guide To The Modern UK City

Where to stay – AHEAD OF THE PACK: Bloc (from £45 per night) is a brilliant idea – a budget hotel with all the stuff you don’t need taken out, and all the stuff you do need done better: Italian tiles, Egyptian cotton, king-size double beds, hi-tech TV, free Wi-Fi. The rooms are deliberately tiny (no wardrobe; a walk-in wet room with loo and shower), and lots of units means lower prices. A double is a tight fit unless you’re very good friends, but compact quality is what Bloc is all about. And the hotel does deals with local restaurants, including Lasan around the corner.

HIGH ROLLER: I adore the clean lines and paint-box colour scheme of Hotel Indigo (doubles from £100), but it’s the location that makes this contemporary hotel such a treat. On the 23rd to 25th floors of The Cube, Ken Shuttleworth’s glitzy high-rise (shaped like a gigantic jewellery box), the vistas are gobsmacking. Drink in the view from the Champagne bar on the top floor, or Marco Pierre White’s penthouse restaurant. The Ikon is a short walk away, along the spruced-up canal.

From modern architecture to the incredible view towards the city, the suits create the perfect location to relax and enjoy your vacation.

CENTRE OFTHE ACTION: You probably already know the Malmaison brand (doubles from £89): night-club ambience, dark furniture, cheeky chatty signage. This one is slap-bang in the middle of the Mailbox, previously Brum’s postal sorting office, now a swish shopping centre (Harvey Nicks. Armani) backing onto the canal. And the hotel bar and brasserie is a popular nightspot.

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