Moxy, Chester - A Really Honest Review

Chester Cathedral gardens and historic shops

Hey Owlets,

I know that as a travel blogger I should be excited to try a new brand, and I always am. Am I sometimes a little reluctant to try these new brands? If we’re being totally honest then yes. The whole “once bitten, twice shy” thing definitely applies here, and after a few less-than-great experiences with “millennial-focused” brands I tend to stay clear and wait for someone else to review them first. So when Moxy brought their playful nature and cheeky branding to the UK hotel industry I’ll admit that I was a little slow on the uptake. Having said this, when I was invited to visit Moxy’s Chester location the pages of positive reviews on Trip Advisor filled me with cautious optimism. So, is Moxy the one brand that’s popular with millennials and more than just a gimmick?

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Moxy hotel check in desk bar and restaurant area
The bar/check in desk where the receptionists will serve you a welcome cocktail

The Location and Welcome - 

Built at the water’s edge, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a canal-facing room you’re in for a treat. Moxy is also pretty much as central in Chester as you could possibly hope to be, although it’s helped by the fact that Chester itself is quite compact. Both a 5 minute walk from the train station and a 10 minute walk to the rows.

moxy chester coworking space check in area bar and restaurant
The foyer/bar area during is used for a mixture of co-working and eating lunch during the day

moxy chester coworking space bar check in area and restaurant at night
At night the check-in/foyer area turns into a chilled out bar

Check In and the Public Spaces - 

The usual downfall of brands that appeal to millennials is usually that they’re overflowing with novelty and forget the basics. However, when I walked into the swanky lobby of Moxy Chester I was greeted with unobstructed views of the canal, modern interiors that perfectly walked the line of ‘grammable yet comfortable. The usual millennial touches were there (why are there ALWAYS flamingos somewhere in millennial-focused brands?!), but it didn’t impact on the functionality of the space. The reception desk was also the bar, and there were lots of cosy spots to hang out with friends that doubled as well-equipped workspaces. 

moxy chester chill out area games room and meeting space
The upstairs chill out space with board games, a pool table and foosball table

From the main entrance there was a small metal staircase with a big surprise; upstairs revealed a second part of the reception area, solely focused on relaxing. Home to comfy armchairs, boardgames, a pool table and table football, it was the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon (or morning, in our case! It came in very handy). On the same level you’ll find lockers for guests that have checked out but want to leave their luggage, although they were all taken by 11am so it might be worth reserving one on your way to breakfast. There are also several meeting rooms of various sizes, ranging from a small room with a desk and single chair to take calls to a full boardroom for larger gatherings. These were surprisingly quiet despite being next to the chill out zone. 

moxy chester hotel bedroom standard room

moxy chester hotel bedroom bathroom standard room space

The Bedrooms - 

There isn’t a better way to describe the rooms than “perfectly designed” - everything just makes sense, and it’s brilliant. The bathroom is is compact but well laid out with a generously sized shower (although during my stay I had the opposite of the standard hotel struggle - I couldn’t get any COLD water in my shower). The stunning light up mirror is adorned with welcome drawings in each hotel, hand-crafted by one of the hotel team.

The wardrobe space is limited to one pipe hanging from the ceiling which is plenty for a long weekend, although the lack of drawers were noted and would be frustrating if you’re not one of those people who are happy to live out of a suitcase. 

As you walk past the wardrobe rail there is a large desk space with a TV above, with the bed opposite. The bedside table doubles as a built in seat with a comfortable cushion - perfect for curling up after a long day of exploring. The best part of the bedroom, however, isn’t noticeable until the middle of the night and it’s absolutely genius. Under the bed you’ll find a motion activated LED light strip that’s just enough to illuminate your path to the bathroom without waking you up - it’s easily one of the most clever pieces of design I’ve seen in a hotel.

The bed was incredibly comfortable but I didn’t have the best night’s sleep due to the air conditioner being broken which resulted in it making a constant banging noise all night. To be fair to the hotel staff, when I reported it I was informed that the maintenance team had already gone home for the evening but they offered for me to change room. I declined the offer because I didn’t want to end up in a separate part of the hotel to the rest of my group and thought it wouldn’t be too bad - I was very wrong, but just know that if you do have any issues Moxy are very quick to offer a solution.

Checkout is a very leisurely 12pm and there are a handful of lockers to store your bags while exploring the local area. There definitely aren’t enough, but they’re reserved like gym lockers with a £1 coin so it won’t cost any extra to grab one the night before checkout. We weren’t that organised, but the office/bar has a back room and the reception staff were happy to store our bags for us.

moxy hotel chester included continental and full english breakfast

moxy hotel chester breakfast area full english breakfast buffet

Moxy Chester’s Catering Offering -

All of Moxy Chester’s catering can be found at reception which doubles as the bar. Once you’ve ordered your food you’re directed to sit at one of the many tables downstairs.

We shared some snacking plates for lunch which were basic but really tasty and there was a great offering for all dietary requirements, including gluten free pizza which is almost impossible to find in the UK! Later in the evening the reception area transforms from a workspace to a chilled out bar, and the cocktails are great! You are given a complimentary welcome cocktail on checkin, and it was so good that I ended up buying another during our stay.

Breakfast was a choice of continental or full English, and if you don’t have any allergies you’re in for a treat. Reception was transformed into a wall of pastry with every form of sweet treat you could possibly imagine, from donuts to waffles and everything in between. However, if you’re gluten free like me then breakfast is a much more minimal affair and a little disappointing. Your choices were limited one or two types of cereal, bacon, tomatoes, or scrambled egg. When I asked at reception I was told that they had bought a loaf of gluten free bread for me, but as I was on a group media trip I can’t comment on if they’d do that for all guests. To be totally honest, if you’re gluten free, staying at Moxy Chester and don’t fancy a full English breakfast then your best bet is probably to head to Waitrose just behind the hotel to treat yourself to some posh pastries!

iconic Chester rows as seen from the historic city walls, just a short walk from Moxy Hotel Chester

The Local Area - 

As a Southerner, the North is a kind of vague concept somewhere past Birmingham that I don’t really give much thought, but this is very much a mistake.

Moxy Chester is situated on the outskirts of the historic city, overlooking the stunning canal. After just a short ten minute walk you’ll find yourself exploring the iconic Rows shopping streets, or walking the historic city walls. Chester is a tiny city that’s packed to the rafters with culture and well worth a visit. We visited in October and spent a lot of the time ducking in and out of coffee shops to keep dry but still fell in love with the area, so I can only imagine how incredible it would be on a sun-baked August weekend (and I fully intend to find out one day!). 

Among the long list of activities to tempt your fancy, you’ll find stunning walks, boat trips, quaint coffee shops, antiques shopping, independent boutiques and a wealth of museums to entertain even the biggest history buff. We visited Sick to Death during our visit which is a museum of medicine - if you’re a fan of gore then you’ll love it. I’m personally more of a pretty boat trip kind of person, so Sick to Death was decidedly NOT for me - it wouldn’t have been my choice but it was interesting. 

Becky playing foosball in the chill out space at Moxy hotel Chester

Final Thoughts - 

It’s very easy for a hotel chain to feel impersonal when staying with them, and Moxy manages to completely flip this on its head. Despite having a successful chain of hotels across the UK and Europe, staying at Moxy Chester feels like you’re staying at an independent hotel where the staff are excited to welcome you to their passion project. Every member of staff I spoke to had a smile on their face, whether they knew I was reviewing my experience or not. 

Chester is the only Moxy hotel I’ve stayed in so far, but I’m very keen to visit others after my brilliant experience “up North”. I will definitely be returning next time I’m travelling anywhere near a Moxy hotel. 

Book your stay at Moxy's Chester hotel here

Love and Feathers, 
The Owlet 💛

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