Fred Esgen talks us through the preparations to get ready…
Being a university city, Exeter’s badly in need of hotel accommodation, so it’s great to see another refurbished hotel in Exeter, brought totally up-to-date with all facilities and decor. I’ve always wondered what the Iron Bridge part of Exeter is, and if you take a walk underneath the bridge, there’s a lower level road that was probably the old medieval North Gate approach road to the city, now called Lower North Street, linking up to Northernhay Street, which veers off at 90 degrees, taking you up to Queen Street. The Iron Bridge appears to span a mini valley, with the City gate situated at one end of the bridge.
City Gate’s a fine old coaching inn and is blessed with a lovely dining/beer garden that has the ancient city wall running alongside. It’s been refurbished to a very high standard, the rooms being comfortable, chic and extremely well appointed with all you could need. Rooms even have their own coffee machine and also something every hotel should have, a fridge containing fresh milk for your tea. The decor was lovely also, the bedroom having a ‘designer’ feel to it, being both stylish and cheerful. I particularly liked the en-suite facilities which were excellent.
One aspect you cannot fail to notice is how friendly and helpful the staff are, nothing’s too much trouble and they genuinely seemed to care about making you comfortable. On the evening of our arrival, live music had been laid on in the garden. It’s truly incredible to reflect that ancient Romans were here 2,000 years ago and built the wall you’ll sit next to whilst having a glass of something. Why the city council haven’t made much more of the city walls as an attraction is puzzling and should be rectified because they are impressive. Much are currently roped off due to maintenance issues. City Gate’s outdoor space is cool, with comfortable chairs, garden heaters, warm lighting along with softening greenery meaning that on warm evenings you can relax outside.
Inside City Gate, you’re treated to welcoming, spacious and stylish rooms, just the place to enjoy lunch whilst in town, or for evening dinner. I have to confess, I really liked the whole ‘feel’ to City Gate, whoever’s been responsible for the interior design/refurbishment certainly knows their craft.
Food sampled was all excellent as were the house wines, making for an enjoyable overnight stay. City Gate is a great new venue for lunches and dinner and is a chic boutique hotel for those traveling to our metropolis. A visit is heartily recommended – Editor.