Spoil yourself with some five-star splendour
Chewton Glen has set the bar for English country house hotels for over 40 years. Garlanded with accolades over the years, the 58 rooms come with every conceivable luxury while foodie-minded locals pack out its restaurant. There’s a spa with highly trained therapists, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and in the summer, an outdoor swimming pool. In the middle of the country, surrounded by the ancient trees of the New Forest, Chewton Glen also holds a secret. Following a path through a gate, after a short walk you’ll reach the sea, a rather magical experience.
This was the first hotel in the world to have en suite bathrooms and central heating when it opened in 1910. Just around the corner from Buckingham Palace, this 71-bedroom hotel has been a favourite with the British Royal family and their foreign cousins ever since. It has been run by Goring family for over a century and the current generation is maintaining its traditions and reputation for perfect service. The chandelier-clad dining room showcases the finest British cuisine; in summer don’t miss having afternoon tea in the hotel’s private garden; a true luxury in central London.
In a bend of the River Ouse, these 18th century barns are part of a large farm. It’s rural living but with a distinctly stylish accent. You’ll find huge kitchens to gather around, log fires to enjoy and plenty of space to relax as well as posh bathrooms, galleried dining rooms and underfloor heating. And your eco-conscience will feel good after a stay here. All the heating comes from renewable energy. The barns may feel wonderfully tranquil, but if you fancy exploring the city of York, it’s only a 20 minute bus journey away.
With just seven rooms, this B&B is run with passion and commitment by Nigel and Sharon, the young couple who started it in 2008. Near Boscastle in Cornwall, with a beautiful garden, nothing is too much trouble – they’ll design the evening menu around your favourite dishes and make you a packed lunch for the next day. There’s a bike store and coastal walkers will find their luggage magicked onto their next destination. Unlike many B&Bs, Pendragon is licenced and you’ll find local beers, ciders and even wines on the menu. Relaxation is definitely on the menu; there’s a dedicated games room with a pool table. It’s very family-friendly (the owners have young children), providing toys, equipment and even a nappy service!
Luxury comes in many forms at this hotel, but above all it’s the sense peace and quiet that you will remember. On Bryher, the smallest of the Scilly Isles which is just one mile long and half a mile wide, your neighbours on the white sand beach will be seals and puffins and a lighthouse. Sensibly, this hotel keeps things simple, with quiet serene rooms that make the most of its setting although there are plenty of comforts including satellite TV, Wi-Fi and sofas. The restaurant, naturally, specialises in seafood, especially local lobsters and crab.
Sometimes where you stay can turn you into the coolest kid at the party. Every desirable gadget is present and gleaming at these serviced apartments, from the Gaggia espresso machine to the Bose iPod players and the full kitchens. The perfect city pad, perched at the top of one of Birmingham’s most distinctive buildings, each apartment is stuffed with designer furniture, clever lighting, desirable Mac computers and staggering views across the city.
A gorgeous English country house, wrapped up with lashings of romance. The English are passionate gardeners and Bolham Manor is a perfect example of how passion and knowledge can be harnessed to such good effect. Near the market town of Retford in Nottinghamshire, there are just three rooms at this very posh B&B, all have been sumptuously decorated but it’s friendly welcome from owners Butch and Pam that will linger longest – along with the award-winning breakfasts.
Trendy but welcoming, truly rural but really rather urbane. Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District knows how to pamper, whether it’s a meal in a restaurant that reels in accolades every year or a night time dip in the outdoor hot tubs. For an especial treat, there’s the ultra private but fully staffed Lake House which comes with its own indoor swimming pool and spa. An added bonus is a private lake with its own rowing boat and jetty; the perfect place to allow your life to pause for a while.
Manicured lawns, avenues of trees, walled gardens, herb gardens, rose gardens and arboretums; all are here. A beautiful country estate just outside Bath, this hotel even has its own equestrian centre that will take you riding through the estate or give you your very first lesson. Rooms go for the classic English country house look with extravagant wallpaper and chintz curtains and have every conceivable comfort. The 21st century spa has indoor and outdoor swimming pools and thalassotherapy areas making Lucknam Park a wonderful combination of ancient and modern.
You’ll move effortlessly between the great outdoors and the equally lovely interiors of this Edwardian mansion. There’s a superb golf course, sybaritic spa and all sorts of ways to immerse yourself in the countryside, whether it’s a falconry course, fly-fishing or cider making. In the middle of Dartmoor National Park the wild moorlands contrast with the unabashed grandeur of the library and drawing rooms complete with vast fireplaces and wood panelling. For extra privacy, head for one of the lodges. Perfect for families; stay in one of them and the hotel will fill your fridge with your favourite food before you arrive and deliver food from its restaurants.