As a Cheltenham Festival goer who doesn't stay in Cheltenham because of the ridiculous prices many hotels there charge when the fesitval is on, Birmingham is a great alternative. The trains from New Street to Cheltenham Spa are frequent (take 35 mins, £22 return) and when you've got affordable hotels like the Briar Rose (we paid £75 but you can get it cheaper if you book early enough) it's a no-brainer.
The Briar Rose is a 5 min walk from the station, the room we stayed in was not only spotless but much bigger than you'd find in a Premier Travel Inn or Travelodge and for a hotel in a city centre above a Wetherspoon pub it's not half quiet. If you want a twin room you need to phone the hotel in advance as all are automatically set up as doubles - it makes this clear on your confirmation email - and I'd say my bed was the comfiest hotel bed I've stayed in for a long time.
You don't get breakfast included in the price of your room, but as you're above a Wetherspoons and pretty much every breakfast is less than a fiver you're still getting a good deal. What's more, brekkie is served until 12 in the pub - giving you an hour after check-out if you happen to have a hangover, which it's fair to say I did.
Having arrived at the hotel far too early to check in, we left our bags behind reception and went to the races. Got back into Birmingham for 7pm, far poorer in case you were wondering, and check-in was efficient. Make sure you ask for two keys though - we only got one and as we ended up back at the room at different times later on getting into the room proved to be quite a challenge for my mate as I had the key!
My only gripe with the Briar Rose is that the electricity in our room kept going off, even with the key-card in the slot. We left our phones in the room to charge the notoriously rubbish batteries that Apple provide smartphones with while having tea downstairs, went back up to collect them and neither had charged. I thought this was because there wasn't a key-card in the slot, but the same thing happened overnight when we put our phones on charge again with the key-card in place. I'm guessing the electricy is triggered by a movement sensor, which is great for the environment but not much use when you're trying to charge a phone while sleeping. I ended up having to charge mine in the pub downstairs (which has free wifi) while having breakfast - not ideal but it got the job done. Check-out is 11 and again the girl behind reception allowed us to leave our bags with her while we spent the day in the city centre.
Anyhow, if you're staying in Birmingham and need a clean, quiet, decently priced hotel in the city centre near New St station, I'd recommend the Briar Rose. It's a fair bet I'll be staying there again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC