Location, location—every hotel’s mantra. In Stratford-upon-Avon, The Arden Hotel takes it to the extreme. If it were any closer to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, it would be sharing the stage with King Lear and Falstaff.

The Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Stratford has had a Royal Shakespeare Theatre for over 75 years, but not like this new one. Scrapping virtually everything but the original art deco riverside lobby, a recent $200 million, 3 1/2-year reconstruction completely reconfigured the 1400-seat cinema-like auditorium. It is now an intimate 1040-seat cocoon, with a “thrust” stage that brings the actors so close the audience can look into Hamlet’s troubled eyes.

There are many other improvements: state-of-the-art technology that can move whole sets like the Forest of Arden up and down at the flick of a switch; a serious Rooftop Restaurant overlooking the River Avon; a riverside café and terrace for lighter snacks; a soaring tower from which to view key Shakespeare locations in the Bard’s home town.

The Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

For years, Stratford has also had a hotel across the street from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. But not like this new one. About the same time the RST, as it’s popularly called, opened its new complex, The Arden unveiled its $10 million renovation of the former Thistle Hotel, a joint partnership of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Eden Hotel Collection.

The reborn hotel now has 45 individually designed rooms, all with marble bathrooms, minibar, tea/coffee makings, and complimentary wifi, some with views of the River Avon. In a charming nod to the Forest of Arden, each room is named for a different tree, and lest you lose your way in the woods, they are helpfully arranged in alphabetical order along the halls.

The once dowdy premises now have a handsome lounge; a theatrical Club Bar with the obligatory bust of The Bard and photos of RSC actors in signature roles, and a new Waterside Brasserie with its own Champagne Bar and terrace for al fresco dining.

The Arden, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

Head Chef Adam Brown, who has trained in Michelin-starred kitchens including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and the Arden’s sister hotel, Mallory Court, has developed a modern British menu.

&ldquoI use a mixture of traditional and new era methods of cooking,” said Brown. “I am a big believer in using seasonal, sustainable and well sourced local produce with a wild food influence to showcase my food. Our menus change frequently to work with nature.&rdquo

The Waterside offerings often include rabbit terrine, pan-fried sea bass, loin of venison, and wild duck breast, as well as the popular Arden fish and chips. Starters are from $10, mains from $26, desserts $12. On performance evenings, a special pre-theater menu is $30, with two courses pre- and dessert post-performance. Afternoon tea is served daily in the Lounge.

The Arden is a fine base for exploring Stratford’s Shakespearean properties. Five key sites–Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Nash’s House, and Mary Arden’s House—are administered by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, www.shakespeare.org.uk. A five-house ticket costs about $31. Shakespeare is buried at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Two-hour guided walking tours of the major sights begin in front of the RST at 11am, Monday to Wednesday, and 2pm, Thursday to Sunday. Adults about $8, no booking needed.

The Arden Hotel, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, 011-44-1789- 298682, www.theardenhotelstratford.com. Doubles from about $275 weekdays and $310 weekends.