We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but occasionally un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style.
Complement that with all that is best in the French bistro ethos, bars that reach out to please, and you have a setting that provides an inspirational background for people to meet, do business, get married, provide a base for golf or fishing, somewhere you can call your own for a private celebration, a spa or - most engagingly - a wine school that breaks the mould.
In Birmingham du Vin has taken on the former Birmingham Eye Hospital, a handsome building in the best style of Victorian public buildings, strategically placed in the newly revitalised Jewellery Quarter, but close enough to the city centre to make a liver-livening stroll in the morning a real pleasure.
Equipped with a spa and gym, the hotel has 66 bedrooms and boutique sites round a central courtyard that is blessed with many of the building's striking original features, including the grand sweeping staircase and granite pillars. Every room has handsprung mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, deep baths, power showers and high speed wireless internet access.
In the classy bistro a choice of six starters could include lamb's kidneys and wild mushrooms on toast with mustard crème, Serrano ham and celeriac remoulade, or Uig Lodge smoked salmon and traditional garnish. Tournedos Rossini remains one of the great dishes of all time, served with garlic roast potatoes and red wine jus. Poached smoked haddock is served with bacon and pea risotto, crispy leeks and chive veloute.
Whilst one might argue that the whole point of being in a du Vin is to snuggle up to the wine list, this list is designed to march with the food and can only be described as superb. With a team of four sommeliers, headed here by François Bourde, there is no room for anything but the best. Service is telepathic in the best possible sense.
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for full information and rates. Hotel du Vin, with fourteen options throughout Britain, awaits your call.