I was lucky enough to be invited to an evening at The Holte (the former and gloriously restored Holte Hotel) last Thursday.
I must say the place is just so classy and has been superbly restored, the furniture is modern and you can see no expense has been spared with the fixtures and fittings. Much too good for us lot, if I was Alison Plant (who was in charge of the project and is Head of Business Villa) I'd not let anyone near it!
The whole place oozes class and if that is a sign of things to come at Villa, then we really are going places - and fast. Even the flooring is superb, they've re-created some of the old tile flooring from outside the pub from its glory days. Same with the windows, stained glass and all. It really did feel something to be proud of.
Hey, even the food was nice (bit different to the match day catering from the kiosks at Villa Park I hear you cry!), as I'm sure you'll want to know, I had fish and chips. Hmmm nice. So nice I went back and had a portion of pie and chips. Hmmm, doubly nice.
I can see why the place has to be limited on match days, you really couldn't have more than the 130 odd with the one bar, but I'm sure it would be a great place to meet on non match days and as of today, it is open each day and on Sunday's serves a Sunday lunch.
This really is a fabulous building, something to be proud of now as you walk up towards Villa Park. Bit different to the decay and ruin we saw previously. I'm sure there is a parallel to be drawn somewhere between the old and new regime, but just can't put my finger on it.
Upstairs there are meeting rooms as well, I think they are open to ideas as to how best to use the place (in fact I know they are) so maybe one of these days we can do a Vital Villa meet up the night before a game. Hey, if I'm pushed, I might even put a few pennies behind the counter for a drink... only water mind, wouldn't want to go mad.
Anyway, hopefully you'll go and have a look for yourselves, the place is a triumph and I'm sure I'll be down there again, especially on a Thursday as they've a curry night then!
(Now to pursuade Randy to let me have a bunk on the top floor, you'd never get me out of the place apart from on match days!)
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