In 2010, a grand, Grade II-listed, early 20th-century town hall was transformed into a classy modern aparthotel – despite its location between a council estate and a scruffy row of shops.
The decor is minimal, retaining many features (walnut panelling and marble for the interior, Portland stone outside, stained glass and fire hoses on old brass reels scattered about) that would be familiar to the bureaucrats who used to toil here, but jazzed up with contemporary art and a patterned aluminium ‘veil’ that covers the new floor at the top of the building.
The pale-toned, spacious apartments are well equipped for self-catering, but hotel luxuries such as free wireless internet and TV/DVD players are also in place. The De Montfort Suite is the size of most houses, stretching over three floors, with a living room as big as a council chamber, and the attached restaurant, Viajante, is one of the hottest in town. Under a conservatory roof, there’s a narrow basement swimming pool with sparkly tiles.