Hart’s is a modern hotel built into the ramparts of Nottingham Castle. It began life as an adjunct to Hart’s Fine Dining Restaurant, which opened nearby in an old brick hospital building in 1997. That restaurant, like the hotel itself, was a new venture by Tim and Stefa Hart, the couple who had previously turned Hambleton Hall into a country-house hotel for fine-dining.
In keeping with its contemporary idiom, Hart’s has large glass windows, modern art, and 32 small but comfortable bedrooms and suites, some with views over Nottingham’s Park Estate. There’s also a small courtyard garden up here on top of the ramparts. The hotel is surprisingly close to the city centre, making it popular with business travellers and parents visiting their offspring at Nottingham University.
What is unusual about Hart’s is its theatre connection. The small new restaurant – known as Hart’s Kitchen – is full of signed photos of TV and West End stars who have stayed here while performing a ten-minute walk away at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal: David Baddiel, Dawn French, Bill Bailey, Ruby Wax, Robert Lindsay, Ruby Wax, and Michael Palin, to name but the more obvious. The hotel has more framed famous faces than it can display at any one time, so they get rotated. You may well catch the latest celebrity turn having an after- show supper around 11pm in Hart’s Kitchen. This triangular room used to be the hotel bar and it retains an intimate, late-night Soho feel. Many guests arrange to eat their starter and main course in the Kitchen before the show and return for dessert and a nightcap afterwards.
The hotel is also a keen promoter of the Theatre Royal and other Nottingham venues, offering its own allocation of tickets and a dinner, bed and breakfast package at specially reduced rates. When Opera North is in Nottingham, Tim Hart and his wife Stefa – a keen opera enthusiast - host a champagne reception for the company and guests and provide transport down to the theatre afterwards. Not so much a hotel, more a patron of the arts.