Open for just two months, there’s something remarkable about Exeter’s Magdalen Chapter. It’s not the amazing re-styling of an old hospital building, the comprehensive own-brand in room iPad app or the luxury rooms. It’s the fact that it is located in Exeter, bringing members club chic to a city so close to the sea. Designed by architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, the hotel is a clear sign that Exeter is embracing tech entrepreneurs and creatives in equal measure. The first Exeter TED conference began in April this year and the timing of the hotel opening couldn’t be better as the city welcomes a new wave of tech-savvy professionals.
The framed butterfly origami on the ground floor walls is made out of old Devon maps, the wallpaper is dark enough to shame Shoreditch bars and the curated library is full of books designed to inspire the bored creative away from home, placed enticingly behind the garden with deck chairs and a heated pool. Every inch of the Magdalen Chapter feels like a private members club in central London. Staff mill around in regulation black and white Converse, the outdoor pool flows underneath the roof of the indoor spa entrance and the restaurant wine list is on iPad, helpfully divided by grapes and regions. The relaxing, open kitchen restaurant is the work of the BBC’s Simon Hopkinson, presenter of BBC 1’s The Good Cook and includes locally sourced ingredients such as mussels from the River Exe – a 5 minute walk from the hotel. The overall feeling is one of easy luxury – what could have been a pretentious hotel at odds with the local surroundings is turned into a home of well engineered simplicity.
The rooms are well equipped, feature iPads and docks for music alongside a modern range of Samsung TVs. Importantly, the desks in every room are large with comfortable seats and the complimentary Wi-Fi doesn’t need a password. The extensive lighting options offer 5 settings alongside a dimmer switch and there’s few more relaxing ways to catch up on emails or finish a presentation.
The 59 rooms start at £150 per night with breakfast included. A train journey from London Paddington to Exeter St Davids takes 2 hours, 2 minutes.