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My Favourites

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Hotels we heart! 53 stylish staycations to book now

Fancy cool interiors, facilities to die for and plenty of space at the inn? Your wish is our command! Feast your eyes on the chicest large hotels the Muddy counties have to offer

BEDFORDSHIRE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BERKSHIRE CAMBRIDGESHIRE CORNWALL DEVON DORSET ESSEX GLOUCESTERSHIRE HAMPSHIRE HERTFORDSHIRE KENT LEICESTERSHIRE NORFOLK NORTHAMPTONSHIRE OXFORDSHIRE RUTLAND SOMERSET SUFFOLK SURREY SUSSEX WARWICKSHIRE WEST MIDLANDS WILTSHIRE WORCESTERSHIRE

ESSEX

Down Hall, Hatfield Heath

If you’re looking for a fancy yet family-friendly stay then this luxury country house hotel is brilliant for kids (big and small). Set in 110 acres of lush Essex countryside, its sprawling grounds play host to everything from archery and tennis to woodland walks and giant games. Each of the stylish bedrooms – there are 98 FYI – are suitably luxurious but our vote has to go to the newly-created Liddell Suite with its stunning roll-top bath and plush pink headboard. And, if that’s not enough to bowl you over, there’s also a fine-dining restaurant and ESPA-stocked spa.

Lifehouse Spa & Hotel, Thorpe-le-Soken

Sorry sprogs, but there’s no kids allowed at this adults-only oasis. We’re talking 12 acres of tranquil English Heritage Gardens, heavenly spa treatments (think Clarins and Elemis pampering goodies) and white fluffy robes on repeat. The actual dream. There are 89 cool, contemporary rooms to choose from in this ultra-mod hotel but our favourites have to be the Garden Rooms with full-length glazed doors that open out onto your very own private patio. Aaaaaaand relax.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Tortworth Hall, Wotton Under Edge

Get your Bridgerton vibe on at this historic, Grade II listed manor house with a wow-factor spa. Following a multi-million pound restoration, this gorgeous getaway mixes 21st-century style with epicurean grandeur. Set on a 30-acre estate with its own Victorian arboretum, book in for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea at the stunning 1853 Restaurant or the funky new Atrium Bistro bar with its 60-foot high glass roof. Befitting its palatial proportions, the rooms and suites are all super-spacious, and the Leaf Spa is one of the best in Glos, with a sublime swimming pool and six treatment rooms.

No.131, Cheltenham

This mod-Georgian grandee is the pride of the promenade in Cheltenham. Created from several listed townhouses its elegant rooms are the pinnacle of Regency-core chic. Choose from Cosy Rooms to Family Rooms or Superior Suites, all with enormous Emperor-sized beds, luxe bed linen, and features like original cast iron fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s a round-the-clock service and deep sofas to sink into. Sip Sancerre on the heated terrace, try one of 400 gins in the Gin & Juice bar or hit the brand new for 2022 Yoku restaurant. This Tokyo-vogue Japanese Sushi and Asian dining experience with resplendent Bar Tokyo cocktail bar, is hot news in Glos right now.

WORCESTERSHIRE

Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester

Set on a 26 acre country estate, the stunning 16th century Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, has recently had a £4.2m renovation. Once a monastery, with its dramatic stone cloisters, gothic stained-glass windows and 70 design-fabulous rooms it’s one of Worcestershire’s best kept getaway secrets. Go cosy or treat yourself to a sumptuous suite, there are interconnecting rooms for families or book out the adjoining Manor House. You’ll dine like a queen at the new brasserie-style The Refectory restaurant – situated in the site of the original nun’s cafeteria! Perfect for a romantic weekend away or family getaway, and it’s dog-friendly too. 

The Wood Norton, Evesham

Located in a beautifully crafted hotel built by the Duc D’Orleans in 1897 (exiled French Royalty!) you’ll get a fix of the fanciest French country chic-meets-Cotswolds here. Choose from 50 rooms, with beautiful roll top baths and Molton Brown products, including five spectacular suites with Romeo and Juliet balconies. The stand-out Fleur de Lys Brasserie uses the finest local produce or sit out on the alfresco dining terrace and watch the sun go down. A lovely, tranquil getaway with extensive formal gardens to explore and halcyon views.

DORSET

Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, Christchurch

Located on the edge of Christchurch Harbour – many of the 67 rooms have views across the water to nature reserve Hengistbury Head – and minutes from white sand beaches at Avon Beach and Mudeford Quay, this place is pretty idyllic. While away the time in the spa, kayaking around the harbour, relaxing on the beaches, exploring the Jurassic coast, the Dorset countryside and the New Forest and noshing on fresh seafood in the award-winning Jetty restaurant. Bliss.

Hotel du Vin, Poole

The US was declaring its independence the same year that ‘Mansion House’ – aka the Poole outpost of the stylish hotel group – was built. Located on a cobbled street just off the historic quayside, the characterful hotel is decorated with nautical ships’ lanterns and a sail-style awning in the courtyard. The 38 rooms and suites have trademark Hotel du Vin touches – luxury bedding, deep baths, drench showers and more – and it wouldn’t be complete without a bistro, would it? 

OXFORDSHIRE

The Randolph Hotel, Oxford

You’d be hard-pushed to find a more iconic hotel in the City of Dreaming Spires – the past haunt of Oxford alums like Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde and heavily featured in Inspector Morse, The Randolph is practically groaning with history (plus the location is ace for a little city centre exploration). Thanks to its recent glow up courtesy of new owners Graduate Hotels, it’s also major Instagram fodder – think wood panelling, kitschy prints and chandeliers galore. Can’t make it for a stay? Visit new restaurant The Alice for their excellent afternoon tea.

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton

In the market for a seriously luxe stay with mega foodie cred? You can’t get much better than Le Manoir, stomping ground of Raymond Blanc (and countless other chefs including Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White, who trained in the two-Michelin star kitchen). Just outside of Oxford, this 15-century manor boast an excellent kitchen garden (where else do you think they source those first-rate ingredients from?), charming grounds with daily tours (check out the serene Japanese tea garden) and 32 individually-designed rooms that’ll leave you feeling like you’ve stepped into a French chateau. Book us in ASAP.

Malmaison, Oxford

Who would have thought a prison would make a great escape? Enter Oxford’s branch of Malmaison, which is set in the Castle’s old jail and comes complete with bars at the windows and an ‘Exercise Yard’ garden – although the rooms are so plush and the facilities so welcoming, you won’t want to leave anyway! We’re big fans of the Chez Mal restaurant and neon-lit bar, but if you’re after something a little different, the Westgate Centre with its rooftop dining is mere steps away. Well, it would be a crime not to.

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

The Langley, Iver

We’ll never stop extolling the virtues of this five-star gem here at Muddy – because frankly, there aren’t many other places we’d rather be. The palatial spa is worth the trip alone – it’s the largest underground spa in Europe at a whopping 1600 sq m – but there’s also 150 acres of Capability Brown-designed grounds to explore, elegant dining at the excellent Cedar restaurant and personal training available on site. You can even bring your dog!

Stoke Place, Stoke Poges

This charming country house hotel might only be 30 minutes from London, but the tranquil setting and 26 acres of landscaped grounds (complete with picnicking spots galore and lakeside bike rides) will have you feeling light years away from the hustle and bustle. If you can bear to leave one of the 39 luxuriously appointed rooms (including those set in a Victorian walled garden away from the main house), you can tuck into delicious fare at the King and Lamb restaurant, partake in a little afternoon tea in the Drawing Room or sip a cocktail in the cozy Juniper Bar. The ideal spot for a romantic weekend.

Danesfield House, Marlow

Hey, if it’s good enough for the Clooneys’ wedding reception, it’s good enough for Muddy! The fabulous Spa Illuminata is a big pull to this Grade II-listed 19th century manor house, but even if you don’t manage to don your swimsuit (sacrilege!) there’s still plenty to keep you entertained – not least the 65 acres of grounds with views over the River Thames, a sun-drenched Terrace that’s the perfect spot for taking tea (or something stronger) in the summer months, and excellent food in the Orangery. Too sedate for your tastes? Try a trike tour around the Chilterns, a skippered river trip on a Dutch barge or a vintage day out in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. Don’t mind if we do…

SOMERSET

Hotel Indigo, Bath

Combining the elegance and romance of Georgian Bath with quirky contemporary styling, this boutique hotel on Georgian South Parade in the centre of Bath, is wittily decorated to reflect different aspects of the city and its culture, including its Bridgerton-esque debutante season. The 166 rooms are themed, some bathrooms have roll top baths and rainforest showers and there’s an excellent restaurant on the premises, The Elder (named after the Georgian architect who designed much of the city), which is renowned for its game and wild food.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath

Not only boasting a grand neo-classical facade and contemporary New York-designed interiors, this is the only hotel in Bath with its own access to the city’s famous thermal, mineral-rich waters, so makes for a brilliant spa/city break combo. The Romanesque spa under a glass atrium has all the facilities and treatments you’d expect – and some. Some of the 98 elegant rooms are decorated in restful shades, others with ornate touches; all create a little haven to come back to when you’ve finished exploring the city. 

SUFFOLK

The Northgate, Bury St Edmunds 

The Victorian townhouse exterior of The Northgate might be classic Bury St Edmunds, but step inside and there’s nothing old school or traditional about the place. From the cool restaurant decorated in a kaleidoscope of pinks to the experimental and at times dramatic cocktails in the cosy bar, this hotel wouldn’t be out of place in the Big Smoke. The 9 rooms are more pared back, and extremely relaxing spaces to rest after an exquisite meal or a day spent exploring Bury St Edmunds’ shops and Abbey Gardens, both of which are a short walk away.

The Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich 

Wake up on a warm sunny day in one of the rooms at Salthouse Harbour Hotel and as you throw open the windows to take in the views of the boat-studded marina, you could almost be on the Cote d’Azur. Ok, so Ipswich isn’t exactly Cannes, although it does have its own Film Festival (just saying!), but this stylish boutique beauty has all the elements to transport you to another world. The setting is stunning with all those boats bobbing around outside, the rooms are smart and the public spaces are very cool with quirky pieces of art and fun curiosities to admire. The Waterside Restaurant is a buzzing spot by night and serves up locally-sourced food from an award-winning chef. 

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

The University Arms, Cambridge

wood panelled bar in hotel

This hotel is a Cambridge institution, and since it was totally revamped a few years back it’s now also a super stylish place to stay, eat and drink when you’re in town. The interiors are top notch (only to be expected from the designer behind London’s Annabel’s), and there are loads of lovely eccentric touches that keep the history of this amazing place alive. Footie fans will enjoy all the sporting memorabilia about the place (the rules of footie were made up on Parker’s Piece just outside) and anyone visiting to soak up the educational atmosphere of Cambridge will love the literary details. Book a room overlooking Parker’s Piece for the best views and don’t forget to schedule a special meal in the fabulous restaurant, Parker’s Tavern.

The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge 

There’s a lot more to this 92-room Cambridge hotel than meets the eye. The first hint that you’re somewhere special are the two vintage Bentleys parked up outside, ready to whisk guests off on tours of the city, guided by the very knowledgeable Head Concierge Elliot. Out the back in the pretty gardens there’s a lovely surprise too – Gresham House, a bijou but beautiful spa with the fabulous Feature Rooms above, as well as a lovely Spring Terrace for al fresco drinks and dining. Inside, the Atrium is a relaxing and bright space to while away an afternoon with a book and coffee, while The Terrace Restaurant is where you’ll want to head for a smarter meal.

The Fellows House, Cambridge 

This stylish number, just across the River Cam to the north of the city, only opened in 2021 but is already a real hit with Cantabrigians and visitors alike. It’s a bit of a different concept – an apart-hotel, with both classic rooms and apartments, so it’s amazing for families who need rooms with a bit of extra space and flexibility. The interiors are fun and fabulous, all inspired by the university’s famous fellows (we’re talking DNA-inspired wall panels, and fun cocktails – we’ll have Attenborough’s Life On Earth please!). As well as a restaurant with Manhattan vibes, the Folio Bar and Restaurant, and a chic café, The Sage of Cambridge, there’s a pool with sauna and steam room, so your every holidaying desire is catered for.

SURREY

Barnett Hill, Wonersh

What better spot to explore the Surrey Hills from than a historic Queen Anne style mansion set in 25 peaceful acres of gardens and woodlands? Perched atop a hill, it’s only three miles from Guildford town centre and only 30 minutes from London in a wonderfully tranquil and peaceful rural setting. There are 56 boutique bedrooms spread across the Mansion House, the Courtyard and the Gardener’s Cottage. Each room is individually styled with luxury at the core – think huge freestanding baths in the suites, eye catching furnishings and luxury woollen fabrics. There’s a spa here, too, so if you fancy a bit of pampering you’re in luck. And there’s no need to leave your pooch at home, because dogs are also welcome. 

Great Fosters, Egham

If you’re craving a dash of Royal elegance, Great Fosters should do just nicely. This Tudor country house hotel is set in 50 acres of gorgeous gardens and grounds just outside Egham, and as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant, there’s also a superb art-deco heated outdoor pool. There are 56 rooms and suites – all individually styled – and whether you’re looking for a romantic break for two or a family stay, there’s a room (or suite) that’s perfect. There are two treatment rooms and a lovely range of pampering treatments on offer. And while there’s a lot to see and do at Great Fosters, the hotel is also perfectly positioned for other great attractions; Thorpe Park, Runnymede National Trust, Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water are less than 10 minutes’ drive away.

KENT

One Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells

When it comes to location, this town-based venue has it all. Within easy tottering distance from the Tunbridge Wells train station, the hotel stands in the cute and characterful part of town and you are literally minutes away from the Georgian colonnade of shops known as The Pantiles. Dine in the hotel’s own restaurant STEAK, but not before you’ve filled your kitten-heeled boots during happy hour in the cocktail bar. Composed of 39 beautiful bedrooms, suites and a self-catering house, here you’ll find all you need for a relaxing, luxury experience that’s especially popular for weddings, conferences or girlie shopping weekenders.

Cave Hotel, Canterbury

If just a little bit of bling is your thing, then you’ll love the Cave Hotel nestled near Canterbury with its high-spec, luxe interiors, cocktails and fine dining. No low-key, shabby chic hideaway here – the vibe is deliberately dramatic and modern. Tucked away on the outskirts of Canterbury and attached seamlessly to Boughton Golf Club, the hotels is popular with – but not designed solely for – golfers. It’s also the destination of choice for weddings, girlie weekends and date nights. The restaurants have gained a reputation in their own right, including the new and exciting Korean Cowgirl Restaurant where you’ll discover a unique blend of Americana and Asian style dishes.

NORFOLK

Congham Hall Hotel & Spa, Grimston (near King’s Lynn) 

Boutique modern luxury meets the rural country dream at this West Norfolk hotel, a Georgian Manor inside 30 ares of stunning parkland. The chic, individually decorated bedrooms are split between the main house, garden rooms and five gorgeous new cabins set in an apple orchard. It’s all about the gardens at Congham, providing pretty cut flowers to scent the rooms and produce for the hotels’s 2AA Rosette restaurant (as well as a glorious spot for a stroll.) All guests have access to the sleek Secret Garden Spa, and a light and airy swimming pool. Bliss.

Park Farm Hotel & Leisure, Hethersett 

A sweeping country house-style hotel with a top notch spa, Park Farm Hotel & Leisure is only 20 minute’s drive from central Norwich. Perfect for getting away from it all, while keeping the fun of the city right on tap! Choose between staying in the picturesque Georgian main building, a newly renovated barn and private lodges set across the beautiful grounds. Then kick back in the freshly done-up spa, hit up the sleek gym or take a few laps round the fab pool. Reward yourself afterwards with a drink in the pretty conservatory bar or a top notch meal in the AA Rosette restaurant.

The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market 

If you’re after cool but classic country luxury then step right up to The Hoste Arms. Located on the green in pretty Burnham Market, it retains a boutique vibe despite having 45 rooms which are all individually crafted. Feast in a 17th Century wood panelled restaurant, serving incredible food made from local produce. There’s also a cosy pub, a chic spa, a stylish fitness suite and an elegant walled garden – oh, and even a bijou cinema. Plus, you’re not far from the glorious North Norfolk coast. 

BERKSHIRE

Fairmont Windsor Park

FAIRMONT WINDSOR PARK TREEHOUSES

One of 2022’s hottest hotel openings, Fairmont Windsor Park offers luxury on steroids. Part of the Fairmont Hotel Groups (The Savoy in London, Fairmont Monte Carlo, St Andrew’s and many more) this is a ‘go big or go home’ kinda place. This 40-acre country estate is one of the grandest in the UK, with 251 rooms, suites and treehouses to rest your weary head. The 2,500m2 spa and wellbeing centre oozes glamour and there are bars to refuel and refresh depending on your mood. It’s a hotel fit for royalty, just one hour from London and the perfect base for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Legoland and Royal Ascot. From £475.

Cliveden House Hotel

Nancy Astor Suite Cliveden House

Grand, glam and peppered in scandal, a stay at Cliveden House Hotel is sexier than a showgirl in her swimming cossie (John Profumo first laid eyes on Christine Keeler as she basked in Cliveden’s grade II listed outdoor pool). Old school glamour, decadence, scandal and intrigue ooze from the building, originally built for the Duke of Buckingham’s mistress, no less. Set in 376 acres of National Trust grounds, Cliveden is a celebrated haunt for politicos, literati, and stars of stage and screen. Today everyone’s welcome, with the stunning spa, famous afternoon tea and fine dining restaurants to enjoy. There are 47 rooms, including 15 suites. The Lady Astor suite (above), where Meghan Markle stayed the night before her wedding to Prince Harry, starts at £1,535 a night. But prices start at £505, which is still spenny but worth well worth it. There are often offers for kids to go free during the school holidays and dogs get the VIP treatment too.

SUSSEX

Alexander House & Utopia Spa, East Grinstead

Alexander House, set in the rolling West Sussex countryside, is a Jacobean grand-dame with a difference. The five-red-star gem has 56 rooms and suites, including a private residence, two restaurants including the 3-AA rosette ‘AG’s’ and a stunning Utopia Spa, complete with outdoor whirlpool, private hot tubs and luxe barrel sauna. It’s contemporary glamour with bold interior design and 120 acres of gardens and grounds to explore. 

The Grand, Brighton

You don’t get grander than Brighton’s landmark hotel right in the middle of the south coast action and boasting over 200 rooms. Indulge in delicious fresh seafood and local produce from their restaurant Cyan or finish a sunset stroll with a cosy cocktail or two in the stunning Victoria Bar. Plump for a Grand King Suite located on the 7th floor with breath-taking views of the famous Brighton seafront from the stylishly appointed separate lounge. 

WARWICKSHIRE

Mallory Court, Leamington Spa

Perched on the edge of Leamington Spa, this rural Grade II listed 4 AA star country house hotel with 43 rooms is surrounded by lush countryside and some gorgeous walks to unwind – not forgetting the Muddy Award-winning boutique spa and 3 AA Rosette restaurant. Muddy tip: the afternoon tea is a must-try and can either bed enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the gardens or anywhere on the grounds as a picnic.

The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon

Sitting plum in the centre of Shakespeare’s Country on the River Avon, this handsome boutique-style hotel has 45 smart bedrooms, some of which are dog-friendly and have views of the grounds, river and neighbouring Royal Shakespeare Company. Book for fingerless sarnies and scones in the afternoon tea lounge, or for fine dining, the hotel’s on-site restaurant No. 44 Brasserie has two AA Rosettes. Further Muddy kudos for the free parking in a town centre location.

WEST MIDLANDS

The Belfry Hotel, Sutton Coldfield

Jamie Dornan – aka 50 Shades’ drool-worthy Mr Grey – is a fan of this 300+ room, award-winning golf hotel with three courses (two of which have hosted the Ryder Cup). And if that’s not enough to convince both you and your golf-mad other half, the impressive selection of on-site bars and restaurants should do the trick, including à la carte dining at The Ryder Grill, an Italian restaurant, the Club House or Brabazon Bar. Special occasion? Book into the Presidential Suite for stunning views from the double balcony, or the Brabazon Lodge (sleeping 8) located on its own private drive.

Grand Hotel, Birmingham

After a 20 year closure, this landmark hotel in Birmingham city centre recently underwent a whopping £50million restoration – talk about swish! Now the grande-dame hotel is a heady mix of Victorian architecture and cool design-led touches like moody lighting and squishy, plus furnishings. The building also houses chic Parisian-inspired bar Madeline (pictured), or tucked around the corner is New York-style restaurant Isaac’s serving American comfort food and brasserie classics.

LEICESTERSHIRE

Stapleford Park, Melton Mowbray

The Wedgewood Room

Looking for a relaxing countryside break? This elegant 17th-century country pile with gorgeous gardens, a fantastic restaurant, splendid rooms and a luxurious spa could be just the ticket. With 48 rooms to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice but, we suggest bagging one of the Grand Rooms which have been designed by iconic British names including Mulberry, Nina Campbell and Wedgewood. A four poster bed, a glass encased clock in the bathroom, fantastical murals, traditional English decor. What more could you ask for? Oh and it’s also child and pet-friendly so the entire family can stay.

The Gresham, Leicester

Fancy a stylish overnighter slap bang in the city? Hello The Gresham! This stylish aparthotel is located in one of Leicester’s oldest buildings and cost a whopping £17 million to renovate. Post revamp, the grand old dame of a building is still as impressive and many of the original features still remain, albeit with a few contemporary twists in the one and two bedroom fully-furnished serviced apartments. There’s also deluxe and superior studio apartments and let’s not forget the epic terrace apartment (pictured) that comes with stonking views across the city. Rooms from £85.

RUTLAND

Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, Oakham

Enveloped by the idyllic surroundings on the north shore of Rutland Water, Barnsdale Lodge Hotel comes with 48 charming individually-furnished rooms, some with their own unique features including exposed brick walls and original wooden beams and each one with great views of either the local area or the picturesque courtyard. The hotel is far away from the hustle bustle of everyday life but close enough to the charming market towns of Oakham and Uppingham – two of Muddy’s Best Places to Live, natch.

Rutland Hall Hotel and Spa, Rutland

Set in over 65 acres, Rutland Hall Hotel and Spa is an elegant countryside break with sweeping views across Rutland Water and luxury spa treatments to boot (the clue’s in the name!). The hotel was recently taken over and as well as a makeover, it’s been rebranded with a new name, a new chef and a brand spanking new restaurant. Stay in a modern suite or book a cosy lodge with panoramic waterside views – either will make an excellent base for long walks and family bike rides.

HAMPSHIRE

Heckfield Place, Hook

Heckfield Place restaurant Hampshire Stylish hotels

A little over an hour from London, North Hampshire’s Heckfield Park is a luxe, celebrity haunt – think Harry and Megan’s babymoon, Ant McPartlin’s wedding… Effortlessly tasteful, the laidback luxury vibe flows through the hotel, from the 45 bedrooms to the A-List boutique cinema and ‘Little Bothy’ spa (look out for big Bothy “gently” opening soon). Big news too that Heckfield’s sustainable, farm-to-fork restaurant, Marle, just snagged a new Michelin Green Star, with most of the produce served up here grown in the hotel’s own biodynamic garden and organic home farm. 

Chewton Glen, New Forest

Chewton Glen treehouse room Stylish hotels Hampshire UK

A grand dame of the New Forest, Chewton Glen’s 5-star, country house hotel is surrounded by 130 acres of parkland and a vast expanse of croquet lawns. Dining here is whatever the guest wants it to be, from a new-concept slap-up afternoon tea to fine dining or a bite in the relaxed, open plan Kitchen (headed up by James Martin, no less). And if you don’t fancy sleeping in the main hotel, there’s always the ultra-luxe, bliss-out spa and influencer/celeb-magnet treehouses (above), with panoramic woodland views from the balcony and your very own spa tub. Basically, we’re talking all-out hotel nirvana.

CORNWALL

Polurrian on the LizardNr Mullion

Polurrian on the Lizard sits in a glorious position on the Lizard peninsula, near the most southerly point in Cornwall, with 41 bedrooms, ocean views and its own lovely beach accessed by a stairway directly from the hotel. For a hybrid option, there are additionally six luxury, three-bedroom self-catering villas each sleeping up to six guests. With plenty to do on site, including an outdoor swimming pool, tennis court, Elemis spa and Health Club featuring a gym, indoor pool and hot tub, there’s also direct access to the South West Coast Path. Now under new ownership and having had a significant refurbishment in 2019, there’s a vintage-glamour-meets-coastal-contemporary vibe – fitting, as it was first opened as a fashionable railway hotel in the 1890s. Dog and family friendly. 

The Alverton, Truro

Cornwall isn’t all coastal stays and modern buildings. The Alverton is a Grade II-listed, Victorian-Gothic manor, complete with ivy-covered walls, arched windows and even a bell tower. Inside, elegant original features combine with contemporary styling to create luxe interiors, and the 2 AA Rosette restaurant and glamorous cocktail bar make Truro’s only 4-star hotel the perfect base for a relaxed city break. Each of The Alverton’s 51 rooms is individually designed with comfort in mind. Sumptuous suites feature bespoke furnishings, roll-top baths and designer touches, while the 15 newest rooms can be found in the luxurious courtyard development surrounded by peaceful gardens.

DEVON

Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plymouth

Lady of the manor, this way! Boringdon Hall excels at 16th century style, where you can sleep in a four-poster bed, sink into a roll-top bath, and take afternoon in front of a huge 17th century fireplace emblazoned with King James I’s Coat of Arms. So far, so historic. But what makes Boringdon the perfect stay, is when you step Alice in Wonderland-like from the ancient wood-panelled hallway into an uber-modern and multi-award winning Gaia Spa. Old and new, here ticks all the style boxes.

Harbour Beach Club Hotel & Spa, Salcombe 

Not to be confused with Salcombe Harbour Hotel, here is its stylish new sister, located just a pebble’s throw from South Sands Beach. Decked out in ‘gram-friendly Scandi style with 44 rooms and 6 six suites, we’re panting for the luxe penthouse suite complete with balcony, open-plan lounge and dining area. Once we’d snapped a pouty selfie (joking!) with the Med-like views, we’d be off for a soothing spa sesh (it has a 12m pool and signature Temple Spa treatments), then it’s a short wiffle to the restaurant’s wraparound terrace for fresh local crab and more ocean views, all washed down with a snifter of Salcombe Gin. What else?

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

Rushton Hall, nr. Kettering

Rushton Hall Northants

In the market for some decadent pampering, sumptuous rooms and fine dining? Aren’t we all. Welcome to the magnificent Rushton Hall in Northants (it’s where Emma and Matt Willis got hitched and features as the wedding venue in the BBC adaptation of Strike, Lethal White). Expect country grandeur on an epic scale, with spectacular countryside views and two super stylish restaurants. Plus you can escape to the Stableyard Spa for all the relaxing treatments you could wish for. 

The Falcon Inn, Castle Ashby

falcon hotel castle ashby

The Falcon is owned by local aristos Lord and Lady Northampton so, as you might expect, the decor is exquisite. Everything here is focused on wellbeing and relaxing in nature, so expect yoga, outdoor swimming and even foraging walks, with a hefty dose of luxury thrown in. The Eyas restaurant here is sheer delight, plus there’s a juice bar for a post gong-bath refuel. Ommmm….

WILTSHIRE

Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort

For the ultimate country chillax with added aristo splendour,  book yourself into Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort – just 15 minutes by car from Chippenham station. Although Bowood House itself is still home to the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, it now forms part of this luxury retreat which includes complimentary visits to the house and garden for guests (you), an exciting adventure playground for kids, a Doric temple, and your destination – a contemporary, 43-room hotel that’s dedicated to fresh air fun (including cocktails on the Clubhouse Brasserie Terrace). There’s also an all-day dining restaurant (The Shelburne), sumptuous spa with pool and 18 hole golf course. Highly recommended for its friendly, efficient service, it’s must-do for those days you want to go a bit Downton.

The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury

When you find out that this 34 room , country town hotel dates back to 1220 – making it the oldest in England – you might be forgiven for expecting dated décor. Instead you’ll find a clever mix of period features and fashionable country styling – expect ornate William Morris patterns, vintage-influenced jungle wallpaper and jewel-coloured upholstery. Happily, the menu at the hotel’s Saint and Sinners restaurant is 21st century too, with dishes like steak and frites, butternut squash risotto and an exquisite afternoon tea. During the day, visit the tomb of King Athelstan (the first King of England) which is practically on the doorstep in the Abbey next door, or take your dog to explore Cotswold walks (yep, The Old Bell welcomes pampered pooches too).

HERTFORDSHIRE

Sopwell House, St Albans

This super slick stay on the outskirts of buzzy St Albans is a go-to for a really grown-up getaway. Choose from a room in the main house, or one of the gorgeous private mews suites. With its AA rosette restaurant, brasserie, cocktail lounge and super-fancy private members’ spa, Cottonmill, you can lap up the luxury all day long. The hotel’s chic, modern appearance belies a rich history too – it dates back to the 17th century and was the former home of Lord Mountbatten and Prince Philip’s parents reportedly got engaged within the idyllic 12-acre grounds. Talk about the royal seal of approval!

Hertford House, Hertford

If it’s understated style, privacy and convenience you’re after, you’ll get all three at this holy grail of hotels, nestled in a Grade II-listed townhouse in the, well, heart of Hertford. Blending period features with contemporary design and myriad comfort features – from Hypnos beds to climate control! – the hotel is a home from home and, being family-run, you can expect an extra warm welcome. There’s a restaurant (with bottomless brunch and kids’ menu), the al fresco Courtyard and The Lounge – a ‘secret’ basement bar with happy hour cocktails. Plus keep an eye on the calendar for special live music and dining events.

BEDFORDSHIRE

Luton Hoo, Luton

This magnificent 5* country pile boasts its own country club (with golf course and spa) and exclusive riverside venue for weddings and events, within 1,000 rambling acres. There are over 200 decadent rooms – think chandeliers, ornate cornicing and marble fireplaces – in the Mansion, Parkland wing and country club (which is housed in the former stables), and the Versaille-inspired dining room will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a scene from Bridgerton.

Bedford Swan Hotel, Bedford

If a riverside location floats your boat, book into this elegant boutique hotel on the banks of the River Great Ouse. This former coaching inn in the heart of vibrant Bedford features individually designed stylish bedrooms (paying homage to its 18th century heritage), the gorgeous Pen & Cob brasserie, serving modern British fare, and the elegant Anna’s tearoom, where scones with lashings of clotted cream await! Wander along the embankment watching the swans glide along and make the most of vibrant Bedford’s indie offerings while you’re there, too.

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