Imagine being able to shop 'til you drop, dine in some fantastic restaurants, watch a film, drink cocktails in a rooftop bar and rest your head all in one place. You don't even have to venture outside, unless you want to look at the views from the Sky Bar that is. Sounds like somewhere in the capital, right? I was introduced to Resorts World in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago and still can't believe this hidden gem was just off the A42 near the NEC.
Invited to see what the newly opened Resorts World was all about, I took my mum along for a meal at the Robata Bar & Grill and a stay at the Genting Hotel within the complex. At this point I hadn't realised that it was also full of outlet shops too - you can imagine our excitement at getting some last minute Christmas treats with most stores open 10am-10pm too. We found the car park layout and lift signage a bit confusing, with the postcode taking us a bit too far into Pendigo Way, but before long we were at the hotel on the ground floor.
The plush hotel was decorated in a mixed metallic, gold and neutral palette, which made it feel extra special and luxurious. We had a warm and professional welcome to our Standard Twin Room (from £70 or from £90 breakfast included) on the third floor, with great views of the skyline. The room was equipped with a fresh coffee machine, plenty of seating and extra touches to make you feel right at home with lots of space to get ready. Lots of plug sockets and mirrors is what we like!
Half way through mum and I trying to work the coffee machine, a knock at the door saw a friendly delivery of fizz and mince pies as a Christmas treat. Although I was reviewing the stay, I believe other guests got the same treatment as a festive gesture. A lovely start to our experience nonetheless!
Going through to the bathroom, the contemporary neutral theme continues with large charcoal and champagne tiles, clean white porcelain and a large space-enhancing mirror. The products from Deborah Mitchell's award winning Heaven Skincare included body wash, lotion and hair products which smelt divine and were in perfectly formed packages.
With all diners getting a great view of the chefs at work, the restaurant has a fine dining feel with lofty ceilings and little nods to Pan Asian decor. Our beautifully laid table was soon met with a copper wine cooler of rose and a few snacks to whet our appetite. These came in the form of Village Bread with Chilli Jam and Sweet and Sour French Fries. The bread, which was more poppadom-esque, would be perfect for tearing and sharing with friends. Although the jam had quite the kick! The fries, which were actually deep fried green beans, were very well received and a generous portion for £3 too.
For mains we ordered Grilled Crispy Aromatic Duck with Honey and Szechuan Pepper (£16), Lechon Kawali – Crispy Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with Pickled Cucumber and Ginger (£14) and a side of Sticky Thai Jasmine Rice (£3). Don't be put off by the use of spicy Szechuan, this main was like a fine dining answer to your usually crispy duck. Coming with a duck bon bon and vibrant Asian inspired salad, this dish was very well received.
My steamed buns and pork were just divine. Just the right amount and served with two doughy buns, the indulgent melt-in-the-mouth pork was lifted with zingy ginger and cucumber.
After such rich meals and an abundance of flavours, we were happy to round off our palettes with a sorbet each. I went for green tea and my mum chose mango, although there are lots of pan Asian inspired desserts on the menu to choose from. Think Roasted Spiced Pineapple and Mango Long Bao with Green Tea Dipping Sauce and Rum Baba with Filipino Don Papa Rum and Banana Parfait.
Next, we made our way to the fifth and highest floor to explore The Sky Bar. I believe this is best enjoyed in the evening, with the twinkly lights of Birmingham feeling ever so special and cosmopolitan in the night. The sleek decor was a pleasure to sink into whilst the modern cocktail menu was a further pleasure to sip from.
Morning rolled around and although it brought rain, the breakfast view was rather lovely. I can imagine on a sunny morning this being the ideal place to enjoy a pot of your favourite tea before a wander round the shops. Hosted in the same Robata restaurant, the Genting Hotel breakfast has a buffet format with fresh hot drinks to order.
Creatures of habit, mum and I both went for a pot of Earl Grey to start the day. Unfortunately we weren't fans of this particular blend, it tasted very earthy and more like Rooibos. Obviously not the fault of Resorts World but perhaps would put me off Newby teas in the future.
With the usual hot breakfast and continental options, the offerings included fresh fruit, granola, loaves and pastries.
I went for my favourite smoked salmon and eggs with some berry granola and yogurt. The only thing missing was avocado!
Well rested and full of breakfast, we waited until 10am for a quick potter around the shops and a few Christmas gifts for loved ones. With Denby, cook shop, The Body Shop and Lindt outlets I was in heaven! There isn't something for everyone just yet but watch this space as more discounted and outlet shops will be opening for 2016. Look out for daily offers on the leaflet too as my mum got 10% extra off in one of the stores.
There is of course a casino, cinema and spa too - so you really could just never leave! A fantastic start to the newly opened complex, I really do hope they keep up the good work and that locals (and those further afield) come to enjoy the place. I still can't believe it is just up the A42 from me!
Have you been to Resorts World Birmingham yet?
We stayed and dined as guests of Resort World. All words, photography and opinions my own.