The original Midland Grand hotel, a fantasy gothic château imagined by architect George Gilbert Scott, has been restored to its enchanting former glory – thanks to the Marriott Renaissance chain.
Its vast main bar occupies the cathedral-like, former booking hall, a truly dramatic space whose ornate wooden ticket office survives intact. The drinks list was still in development when we
visited, but expect lots of re-invented high-Victorian mixes tailored to 21st-century palates: Garrick Club and Billy Dawson’s punch are worth trying, but whether ‘gin and milk’ or 19th-century
nightcap ‘dog’s nose’ (warm porter, sugar, gin and nutmeg) will catch on is a moot point. Refreshing ‘morning glory’ fizz, creamy Soyer au Champagne and ‘cosmopolitan daisy’ are more likely to find
a modern fan base. Fine wines, ales in pewter tankards and a snack menu including moreish haggis balls complete the picture.