Hotel Indigo Exeter — A review (AD)

From the minute you stand at the check in desk you are reminded that the Hotel Indigo Exeter used to be a department store called Colson’s. And if you have ever watched Are You Being Served you will find yourself peering round the corner of the bar in the hope of catching a glimpse of Mrs Slocombe.

Yes, this used to be the City’s department store and there are nods to the building’s heritage from the reception desk, the name of the restaurant and even the original signs on the outside of the building. 1n 1792 Colson’s was originally a store trading tea and silk, opened by a widow known as Mrs Colson. It went on to become of the west country’s largest department stores and was home to the first escalator in Exeter. More recently Danny La Rue worked in its bakery and after being closed for a number of years it reopened after a major refurbishment as the Hotel Indigo in December 2022.

We travelled down to Exeter to check out the hotel having visited the other Hotel Indigo Bath and Hotel Indigo Chester and to see for ourselves what the hotel and restaurant were like.

The Hotel Indigo Exeter has 104 rooms all designed around three central teams: “The House that Moved”, “Colson’s Department Store” or “Cathedral Heritage” though I couldn’t see anywhere in the hotel where this was explained, or information in the room to tell us which one ours was. The lack of background information though was more than made up for Egyptian cotton bedding, Nespresso coffee machine, a huge TV and a beautiful bathroom with spa inspired toiletries. Suites have views over the city and cathedral, and some also have outside balconies.

Colson’s bar on the ground floor is the perfect spot for drinks on a night out, or before dinner and the restaurant with the same name has a fabulous menu featuring locally sourced from within Devon. That banana banofee waffle was the stuff of dreams and followed a wonderful chicken dish with a fondant potato. The chef was happy to accommodate Bruce’s “can I have that but with that” request and the service was prompt and attentive. When we asked of a wine that was initially elusive the Bar Manager was happy to come over and offer a couple of bin end alternatives that he thought we might also like.

After dinner there is a roof top bar called Beckett’s which is the ideal space to have a night cap and take in the city’s skyline after dark. And if you are a sports fan (or your husband is and their favourite team are playing on Saturday afternoon) you can head down to the Dug Out Sports Bar where a multitude of screens show the best of Sky Sports. Failing that you could leave them there and head to the Retreat Spa or hang out in then gym or sauna with its own Champagne serving lounge.

The hotel is just a 30 second walk from the cathedral and the medieval houses around the cathedral green and from the Ship Inn where Sir Francis Drake frequented.

In conclusion, the Hotel Indigo in Exeter is more than just a place to stay; it’s a gateway to the city’s past and a celebration of its present. With a history that spans centuries and a commitment to local culture and hospitality, it stands as a testament to Exeter’s enduring charm.

Whether you’re drawn to its historic architecture, the rich neighborhood, the comfortable beds, or the locally inspired cuisine, a stay at the Hotel Indigo is an experience that seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, making it an essential part of Exeter’s allure.

Bed and Breakfast Room Rates start at £125.

We were gifted an overnight stay in return for our honest opinion of the hotel

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