A Bit of Background
We set up Staying Cool back in 2005 ('we' being two friends, Paul and Tracey). We both travelled a fair bit and the accommodation we stayed in was, to say the least, of mixed quality. We thought there had to be a better alternative to a boutique hotel (great design but small rooms and a hefty bill) and a serviced apartment (cheaper and more spacious but often badly and blandly furnished).
We came up with the concept of Staying Cool: individual apartments for the more independently-minded business and leisure traveller.
Our Design Ethos
Form and Function
We've turned the hotel business model on its head by blowing the budget on each apartment not just on the lobby (although these are generally very nice too).
Guests often ask where we get our furniture from. The simple answer is it comes from all over the place.
- We commission pieces from up-and-coming designers and studios (naughtone, Anne Kyyrö Quinn, Lou Rota...)
- We source original pieces and refurbish them (from Eames, Jacobsen and Panton...)
We also make sure that the space works well from a guest's point of view, with plenty of plug sockets in the right places for example. Form and Function combined.
Great reviews and ratings
We've held Birmingham's only five star rating for our larger apartments at Rotunda for six years now and we have been awarded a prestigious Gold Award by the tourist board - Visit England.
Our guests write some pretty nice things about us and we've had some glowing media reviews, such as:
"..why can't all city stays be as cool as this?"
The Times, on their stay in a Mini in Birmingham
Comfort and the Little Things in Life
We've taken a lot of time and care choosing the basics. For instance, a good night's sleep is high on the priority list so beds are pocket sprung with memory foam. The makers of our kingsize mattresses call them The Ultimate. We think you'll know why in the morning...
We love great coffee so we've put in really good espresso makers and commissioned our own locally sourced coffee roast. And, this being England, there's quality tea and hot chocolate on hand too.
In contrast, we loathe those silly little plastic UHT milk thingies you often find in hotels so we pop a pint of fresh organic or locally produced milk in your fridge before you arrive.
We're also a bit gadget mad so there's a DVD/Blu-ray player in every apartment. And we hate the world of rip off Wi-Fi, so obviously that comes free. Once upon a time we used to have Apple Macs in every room but nowadays everyone seems to travel with their own laptop or tablet so we've switched the Mac Mini's for iPod docks. If you need a converter or cable for another kind of device just ask at reception and we'll supply one.
Service matters at Staying Cool
We're passionate about great service. Staying Cool isn't just about providing you with a fantastic boutique hotel experience, we also try to anticipate your needs and give you everything you need to enjoy your stay with us - independently.
- We'll confirm your booking with a fact-packed email to ensure you get from A to B with the minimum of fuss.
- We won't interrupt you while you're in your apartment; we'll ask on check-in if you want to see us and if you don't - you won't. We'll provide you with a Daily Maid Service (only if you request it) when you are out at work or enjoying the city. Should you prefer not to be disturbed at all, we're happy to provide you with a 'Top-up Bag' with all the essentials.
- We try to be as flexible as possible when we can - with check-in and check-out times, for instance - and to respond to your requests quickly. In short, we try to treat you how we would like to be treated ourselves.
- If you stay with us on a regular basis, you don't need to worry about bringing a suitcase each time - you can simply leave your luggage with us. We'll store your belongings safely for you and put them back in to your apartment in time for your arrival.
- When you arrive, there is no need to rush out to the shops, you can relax with a coffee or tea from the selection we leave in your apartment - there is even fresh locally sourced milk in the fridge, along with oranges if you would prefer freshly squeezed orange juice.
- You don't need to worry about food and drink during your stay with us. You can pick breakfast choices from our menu or order shopping to be delivered to us and we'll unpack it for you.
- We can help with your travel arrangements - both to and from Rotunda and any trips you need to make while you are in the city.
- We have an apartment guide in every apartment packed full of our favourite bars and restaurants: you can choose one yourself or we'll book your table for you.
We really do value guest feedback and use all of your comments at our monthly meeting where we discuss new ideas. Some of our best ones have come from guests.
Please email our Managing Director [email protected] with your feedback.
We also read everything that people say about us on TripAdvisor - where we're consistently in Birmingham's top 3 - and will try to respond to anything people raise there.
Advance Purchase Rate: Your booking fee is non-refundable. However, you may amend your dates up to three days prior to your arrival so, for example, if you are staying on a Saturday, you have until midnight on the Wednesday before to change your dates at no extra charge. There is no limit on how many times you can change your stay dates. (If you don't know your dates, we keep the amount you paid as a credit on your account for future use. There is no expiry date.)
Flexible Rate: you can cancel or amend your booking at any time up to 12pm two days before your check-in date at no charge. Thereafter, the cost of the first night's stay will be charged. On longer stays and group bookings, this may increase to seven days notice.
Staying Cool People
Staying Cool was set up in 2005 by Tracey Stephenson and Paul Taylor. They are supported by an Advisory Board.
Tracey is Managing Director and has day to day responsibility for running the company and managing the team.
Tracey began her career in marketing and tourism, managed a range of commercial units in universities and local authorities and later became the Tourism and Marketing Manager for Salford City Council. This was at the time of the launch of The Lowry arts centre, the Commonwealth Games and the establishment of a new public-private sector destination management organisation for The Quays.
Upon leaving Salford City Council in 2003, Tracey worked as a marketing and sponsorship consultant for clients including the Harlem Globetrotters before setting up and working full time for Staying Cool.
A qualified lawyer, Paul has worked for 20 years in legal, commercial and senior management roles within the media industry including board director of Granada TV, consultant and non-executive director to independent TV companies.
Paul also has a degree in architecture and takes the lead on Staying Cool's business and creative strategy.
Staying Cool Advisory Board
Architect extraordinaire. Winner of many awards in the UK and abroad for great design and responsible for designing the refurbished Rotunda.
Serial entrepreneur and founder of boutique brand Mr & Mrs Smith.
Co-founder of the Bespoke Hotels Group and creator of the iconic, blue-bottled Ty-Nant mineral water brand.
Marketing strategist and co owner of creative agency, Hemisphere, which designed the Staying Cool brand identity.
Want to work at Staying Cool?
We're always on the look out for the right people to join our award-winning team.
If you are a forward thinker, love to go the extra mile, have a can-do attitude, work hard, loathe moaners and have a good sense of humour then there could be a place in our team for you.
- No current vacancies
Five Random Things you may like to know about Staying Cool
1. We are a boutique, independently-owned company with twelve (lovely) full and part-time team members
2. Our bedding feels like goose down but allergy sufferers need not worry - it's actually filled with microfibre
3. We pride ourselves on great, personalised service where nothing is too much trouble
4. Unlike many hotels, we don't earn commission from the places we recommend to guests to eat and drink
5. After ten years in business, we still get excited and cheer every time a booking comes in!