Some places are built for business and others for leisure. The town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire falls very much into the latter category. Not that the town is without business opportunities and indeed it is regarded as something of a wealthy place to live and work but if asked to name two things which most define the town, both would be in leisure and at opposite ends of the spectrum. A famous spa town since the early 18th century, spa retreats and facilities remain popular today, many within Cheltenham hotels, and for those looking for thrills and excitement, the town is the home of national hunt horseracing in the country.
Such is the significance of the discovery of mineral springs in 1712, that the name of the town is often suffixed with the word 'Spa', and can be seen in many facilities including the main railway station. Whilst the health giving properties of spas throughout the world have been usurped by notions simply of indulgence and luxury, within the town the spa waters are still taken at Pittville Pump Room, built for the purpose on 1830. Those staying within luxury Cheltenham hotels will likely have access to a range of spa treatments and procedures and hotel packages for luxury spa breaks and weekends are commonly available.
Horse racing in the town started in 1815 and leapt onto the world stage in 1902 with the introduction of the Cheltenham Festival, the most highly regarded jump racing fixture in the world. Held in March, the main feature is the Gold Cup and the Festival coincides with St Patricks Day, attracting all the best horses, trainers and riders from Ireland as well as great numbers of visitors keen to enjoy the real festival atmosphere. The racecourse is situated on the outskirts of town and easily accessed from the comfort of the many Cheltenham hotels which accommodate race fans.
Horseracing provides just one of the festivals in the town, with others devoted to literature, music, jazz and science, attracting international names in each as well as good crowds. Popular venues include the Playhouse Theatre, Everyman Theatre, the Town Hall and the Pittville Pump Room, amongst many other pubs and clubs which host regular live performance events. The town is also a regional centre for shopping and contains some superb museums and galleries. There is always something going on whatever the season and Cheltenham hotels will provide all the necessary visitor information to make the best of any time available.
The town is home to what is considered some of the finest and most complete examples of Regency architecture, a feature which dates back to its early spa importance. Some of the best hotels in town display all the romance and character of the age with splendid interiors evocative of the period and stylish, luxurious guest rooms which could compete with any top hotel in the world. Perhaps the best hotel spaces which exemplify the Regency style are the dining and lounge areas, where fine food and refreshments have never been quite so elegantly presented.
Larger Cheltenham hotels will have a greater degree of leisure provision but there are some terrific smaller hotels too, every bit as stylish and with a warm and intimate ambience which adds to the appeal. Other options are traditional inns and lodging houses, which have their own rustic take on history and hospitality and outside the town some great country house hotels which offer superb facilities and services equally applicable to luxury breaks as corporate retreats. It is difficult not to be charmed by the town and with so much to do it may be difficult to leave.