Escape by rail to these 7 heavenly new hotels
No flight, no faff... hop on the train to these gorgeous new hotels from the newest Pig Hotel to a Peaks treehouse and a cheeky little number in Paris
If COP26 has got you thinking about your carbon footprint, holidaying by train is a good way to start. Plus, there’s an element of glam to it, especially if there’s a fabulous hotel waiting at the end of the line. Here are some of the most exciting new openings.
HIGH LIFE IN EDINBURGH
The red hot hotel opening of the century for the Scottish capital is happening this winter. The 12-storey W hotel has attracted a whole lot of attention for its unusual design and been compared to everything from a half-peeled orange to a certain emoji (Google it), but inside it’s 100% glam. Expect 214 chic bedrooms with slick decor, a rooftop cocktail bar, cool gym and fabulous spa.
If you can’t wait until the as-yet-unconfirmed winter opening date, there’s No.32 Hotel, which opened earlier this year and is a sassy little boutique hotel right in the heart of the city. Rooms from £160 a night.
How to get there by rail: The romantics take the Caledonian Sleeper which costs from £140 if you want a bed (berth) and leaves London late, arriving in Scotland first thing in the morning. So that’s dinner in town and breakfast in some atmospheric little Edinburgh coffee shop (we recommend The Milkman, which will be just about open by the time you’ve walked from the station, at 8am). Otherwise you can get the day time LNER train in 4hrs 25 mins from London via Peterborough.
A PIGSTY IN SUSSEX
They’re in a league of their own when it comes to weekend escapes – the epically fun and fabulous Pig Hotels. They’ve utterly nailed the weekend escape with their combo of incredible food, great cocktails and sumptuous decor. The latest opening, fresh out of the Pig pen last month, is The Pig in the South Downs. It’s in Madehurst, Sussex, and has the classic Pig greenhouse restaurant with 25-mile menu, garden and field wagons if you fancy a spot of glamping, a lavish kitchen garden and ‘potting shed’ treatments rooms for a pre Christmas spruce up/de-stress/refresh. There’s Arundel down the road as well as Chichester and the coast. From £295 a night.
How to get there by rail: Arundel or Amberley stations are 10 minute’s drive away and both are served by trains from London in under 1.5 hrs with prices from a fiver (save your money for a martini, darling!).
WILD TIMES IN THE PEAK DISTRICT
Wildhive at Callow Hall is a renovated Victorian mansion in the Peak District, complete with two treehouses and 11 ‘hives’ in 35 acres of woodland and meadows. Think outdoor baths, yoga studio, sauna and steam room and library snug. The outdoor rooms sleep up to five and have ensuite bathrooms, mini kitchens, and Nespresso machines (you can leave the blow-up bed at home…). Rooms start from £179 a night.
How to get there by rail: It takes just under four hours to get from London to Uttoxeter by train and costs around £20 each way if you’re lucky and book ahead. It’s then half an hour by taxi to the hotel, or if you’re sticking to public transport, get the train to Derby then the bus, a 30 minute guilt-free ride.
PLAYFUL IN PARIS
Chouchou is a new, bright, bold and cheeky, but who doesn’t want a bit of bonkers when in Paris? The 63-bedroom boutique hotel has a bar with dance floor, a stage, ‘La Scene’, for live performances of comedy, music and dance, and a mini food hall. The ‘bath house’ has tubs for two with Champagne on the side and you’re minutes away from Galeries Lafayette and Sacré-Coeur – that’s your culture, shopping, and nightlife sorted, sweetie. From £130 a night.
How to get there by rail: Eurostar services run out of London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord every hour or so, 7 days a week, with the fastest journey time being 2h15. It costs from £52 one-way.
ARTY IN AMSTERDAM
The 4-star boutique hotel, Jan Luyken, opened earlier this year across three converted townhouses in the Museum Quarter of Amsterdam, which makes it perfect for a long weekend dabbling in a little culture. The Van Gogh Museum is just round the corner… that’s if you can tear yourself away from the chic rooms, cosy hotel library or the cool cocktail bar. From £100 a night.
How to get there by rail: Eurostar’s direct Amsterdam service takes 3hrs 55 mins from London and costs from a bargain £40 each way.
COSY IN SNOWDONIA
So, The Royston has been open, on and off, for a couple of years, which means it’s not spangly new, but when it’s just been voted best place to stay in Wales, and has graced the pages of Conde Nast Traveller and Elle Decoration, it’s got to be on your hit list, right? The boutique seven-bedroom hotel is all about bucolic views, drinks by the log burner, long walks, exploring castles or even hitting the beaches of Cardigan Bay (read more about them in our autumn breaks round-up). From £110 a night.
How to get there by rail: Hop on the main line between Birmingham and Aberystwyth and you could be in the green valleys in a couple of hours. It’s then 20 minutes from Caersws, which you can do by taxi, or bus if you’re keen to reduce the carbon.
BLOW AWAY THE COBWEBS IN OBAN
One of the best bits about a weekend escape to Oban is the journey – take the West Highland Line out of Glasgow towards Mallaig and you’re dropped into picture postcard Scotland – ragged Highland scenery, moors, lochs, castles. It’s an award-winning trip that is right up there with the great rail journeys of the world (seriously!). And waiting at the end of the line in the pretty coastal town of Oban, is the newly opened No. 26 By The Sea. It’s a boutique hotel with sea views, nine bedrooms, a terrace with fire pit and an honesty bar stocked with local tipples. There’s currently a rather tempting dinner, bed and breakfast deal on for £400 for two nights. Snap it up, we say!
How to get there by rail: Its 4.5 hrs from London to Glasgow then another 3hrs onto Oban. Or you could take the Caledonian Sleeper on the line known as ‘The Deerstalker’, all the way to Crianlarich, from where it’s just over an hour to Oban. It costs from £140 single in a berth.
Itchy feet? Read on, globetrotter…
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