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How Can Anyone Fail To Be Seduced By The Durham Hotel Indigo?

I recently stayed at the Durham Hotel Indigo and to say it was love at first sight is an understatement. The harsh Victorian exterior hides architectural delights, fabulous friendly service and super cool design features. Take this 1970s style phone for instance …

Hotel Indigo Durham bedroom features
Reminds me of the 1980s!!

I thought I’d been transported back to my childhood. This hotel is a joy and if you are visiting Durham in the foreseeable future, I urge you to check it out.

Victorian architecture

The hotel resides in the former university offices at Old Shire Hall and reminds me of a Victorian high school. As you wander the hallways you will spot brass etchings, colourful marble tiles and stunning stained glass windows. Many of the original features have been retained to create a dramatic but inviting home from home. I encourage you to take the long way back to your room in your hotel as it is sublime.

Durham Hotel Indigo exterior
Durham Hotel Indigo exterior

Check in at the Durham Hotel Indigo

Check in was slick and friendly with the receptionist making polite chit chat. Meanwhile I was busy admiring the eclectic mix of a modern coffee bar, and Victorian design features. I would not resist the aroma of freshly brewed coffee for long!

Durham Hotel Indigo reception area
Any valuables to store?

Durham Hotel Indigo rooms

I absolutely loved the room in the hotel. My room entrance was a narrow corridor with a full-length mirror. Around the corner is the main bedroom area, whilst bathroom is off the hallway. It is spacious and modern with a large rain shower and oversized basin.

There’s plenty of room to dump your toiletries and big fluffy towels to luxuriate in. Bathrobes are in the wardrobe and there’s a coffee maker on the desk (not that I can ever be bothered trying to figure out how they work!)

Durham Hotel Indigo bedroom
Durham Hotel Indigo bedroom

Tinderbox coffee shop

After exploring my room, I was keen to sample the hotel’s delights. I headed to the coffee bar to sip on a latte and catch up on emails. It’s fresh and colourful with fantastic service. I ordered a snack at the coffee bar and everything was delivered to my table promptly.

The coffee bar closes around 5pm but don’t worry, there’s an elegant bar next door.

Durham Hotel Indigo coffee bar
Durham Hotel Indigo coffee bar
Durham Hotel Indigo reception
Durham Hotel Indigo reception

Rotunda bar

I rarely go for a drink in a hotel bar when I’m travelling for work. I could not resist the allure however of the sultry bar, it’s lighting reminiscent of a gentleman’s club. Dark panels decorate the curved bar but if you prefer something a little less masculine you can escape into the colourful little snug to the right of the bar.

Durham Hotel Indigo snug
Durham Hotel Indigo snug

You can feast on all day tapas under the ornate domed ceiling which was formerly the city council’s debating room. Or sip on a cocktail and admire the polished wood panelling and crystal chandeliers.

Marco Restaurant

There is a Marco Steakhouse on site serving the usual menu. Sadly I didn’t indulge as I went out for dinner with a pal. I can however highly recommend the Rabbit Hole if you are visiting Durham. It’s a funky take on Asian cuisine and more reminiscent of Alice in wonderland than Asia. Downstairs there is a superb cocktail bar.

Back at the steakhouse, guests can indulge in classical English dishes including steaks and tasty Welsh rarebit or nibble on afternoon tea with Prosecco.

Other facilities

There’s a small gym on site but if you enjoy running, the path along the nearby river makes for a great outdoor run.

Parking costs £15 a night and is to the rear of the hotel.

Seatiing in the area outside the Rotunda Bar, Durham Hotel Indigo
Seatiing in the area outside the Rotunda Bar, Durham Hotel Indigo


My favourite thing about this hotel is the architecture. I found myself wandering the corridors, marvelling at the mixture of old and new. I loved how original features had been restored and paired with modern furnishings and room facilities.

That said, everything else was also of a high standard with good service and a genteel atmosphere. I would highly recommend this hotel. Book the Durham Hotel Indigo through hotels.com to earn one free reward night for every ten stayed.

Gorgeous architecture of the Durham Hotel Indigo
Gorgeous architecture of the Durham Hotel Indigo
Seating at the Durham Hotel Indigo
Seating at the Durham Hotel Indigo

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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