HOTELS • September 2018
Who better to share Britain’s best escapes than some of its best travel writers? From a hideaway haunt in the Cumbrian hills to an ocean-front retreat with clifftop hot tubs, our UK experts reveal their favourite boltholes where the bragging rights come free
Says who? Lucy Thackray, commissioning editor at The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Around an hour’s drive from both Edinburgh and Glasgow, Gleneagles is a purpose-built playground for grown-ups, deep in the Perthshire countryside. Its 2017-refurbished, Farrow-and-Ball-hued corridors lead you to suave Art Deco lounge bars, Scottish fine dining, a hair salon and house florist via a serene, modern spa. All of these are merely support acts for golfers, who come for the century-old courses. Whether you’re learning the ancient art of falconry or tasting the cellar’s rare drams, it’s devilishly good fun to dress up in your Barbours and Hunters to frolic in lord-of-the-manor luxury. Don’t miss the Bloody Mary bar and haggis nuggets at the overflowing breakfast buffet. Doubles from £390, B&B.
Says who? Jack Palfrey, online assistant editor at lonelyplanet.com
The UK is blessed with an array of exceptional hotels boasting decadent interiors and mind-melting mod cons, but the ultimate braggable British staycation lies in a former shepherd’s bothy in the scene-stealing Lake District. Simply reaching this rural retreat – a stone-walled lodge that forms the only landmark in a panorama of pristine Cumbrian countryside – is an achievement in itself. However, those who brave the meandering mountain footpaths will be rewarded with superb hiking opportunities, story-swapping sessions around a wood-burning stove and delicious home-cooked meals each evening, as well as a perennially well-stocked beer fridge. Just be aware you won’t be able to show off your intrepid stay on Instagram – there’s no Wi-Fi out in the wild. Beds from £32, private rooms from £139.
Says who? Sian Lewis, author of The Girl Outdoors
Grown-up, sexy, decadent – not always words applied to eco hotels, but smart, adults-only The Scarlet manages to be them all and more. The modern, sustainable design is all clean lines and huge glass windows, bringing the ever-changing ocean into the deceptively simple room decor. Common areas are restful, white-washed spaces dotted with inspired art, and the restaurant is a wonderful place to sample classic Cornish treats. Downstairs is a smart Ayurvedic spa, a seaweed-strewn natural outdoor pool and, best of all, two wooden hot tubs from which to perch loftily above Mawgan Porth beach and toast the sea with a glass of fizz. Doubles from £260, B&B.
Says who? Norman Miller, UK travel writer
Cliveden is a 350-year-old, Grade I-listed National Trust country house that happens to be a ravishing, scandal-tinged luxury hotel hideaway, too. Built for a 17th-century duel-fighting duke to indulge his mistress (and most recently the spot Meghan Markle spent the night before her royal wedding), its seductive past has given way to a relaxed opulence – rooms adorned with burnished wood and beds like sleeping on a cloud. Meanwhile, the chandeliered André Garrett restaurant lets you gaze over 19th-century formal gardens in fine-dining bliss. All this amid the woods of Berkshire, overlooking a lazy curl of the Thames flowing past in rural tranquillity. Doubles from £495, B&B.
Says who? Sally Shalam, UK hotel critic and travel writer
Dramatic limestone cliffs, wild, sweeping valleys… there is a sheer joy to being in the Yorkshire Dales, enhanced by a stay at bucolic Yorebridge House. This privately owned boutique hotel in a former schoolmaster’s house in Wensleydale has just 12 charming rooms and suites furnished in homey, cappuccino tones. In the restaurant, which has three AA rosettes, head chef Dan Shotton and team deliver simply stunning dishes – savoury beetroot macarons with fennel, wild halibut with chervil and smoked eel, a dessert of blackberries with ginger and Granny Smiths. Now you can dine privately, too, in the new Laurent Perrier Champagne Room. Doubles from £220.