The 12 Best Luxury Hotels In The UK
by Fitzroy of London
The word ‘luxury’ is one of the most overused in marketing, no more so than when it comes to the travel industry. So, where does that leave people who want to stay in a genuinely lavish and all-round superb hotel?
The hospitality industry’s hotel star ratings are a good start, of course, but even this can be misleading and confusing. Moreover, online reviews quickly reveal that even some five star hotels can let service, food or facilities slip, whilst others inflate their prices.
Read on to discover The Independent’s pick of the best hotels in the UK – the hotels that they think it’s worth forking out the extra money on for a really special overnight stay. Whether you want a swish city-based boutique hotel or country house accommodation set in rolling fields – or maybe you want a romantic, family or corporate stay – the list will help you find your perfect hotel in the perfect destination.
Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire
This 18th century mansion house has more of a feel of a private country club (more because it doubles up as one) and the benefit is two-fold. First, it’s relaxed, while remaining sophisticated. Second, it means guests get use of all the club facilities – spa, tennis and championship golf course. The grounds stretch to 300 acres and there’s a superb spa and exceptional restaurant, run by Head Chef Colin Wheeler.
Hambleton Hall, Rutland
The Michelin-starred restaurant is so good that it’s ranked among the top 50 restaurants in the UK. But that’s not all that keeps this calming, unpretentious 17-roomed hotel a firm-favourite, particularly among TripAdvisor travellers. The lakeside setting is spectacular and whilst you can go on long walks, cycle rides and go sailing, there’s a very good chance you’ll just wind up succumbing to the sheer comfort of this hotel – with its sophisticated yet homely interiors.
The Vineyard, Berkshire
Inspired by the vineyards of California – which is home to the owner’s personal winery – this 49-bedroomed hotel used to market itself as a ‘restaurant with rooms’. The contemporary bedrooms have exceptionally comfy beds and Ren products in the bathrooms, while the stunning restaurant has some of the best tasting menus around, with staff who will help select matching wines that are truly memorable.
Ynyshir Hall, Eglwysfach
Once the childhood retreat of Queen Victoria, this five-star country house hotel in West Wales is the perfect rural getaway, with Richard Gere and Eddie Izzard among fans. Take a ramble in the 14 acres of landscaped gardens, climb a mountain, walk on a wild beach, book a treatment in the new therapy centre or just read by the fire. Every one of the 10 bedrooms and suites, as well as the reception areas are individually and stunningly designed.
Calcot Manor, Berkshire
Somehow, Calcot manages to be everything to everyone, so whether you want a romantic spa weekend, family break or girlfriends’ getaway, your expectations will be surpassed. The rooms are chic; the spa is blissful and huge; and there are two restaurants – an inn for gastro-pub style informal dining and a finger dining experience in the conservatory.
Chewton Glen, New Forest
This 58-roomed hotel wins award after award. Its secret seems to be the perfect balance of elegant extravagance, attention to detail and a willingness to adapt. The black-and-white restaurant is classy without being stuffy, with flexible menus, and the spa (which alone is worth a visit) is divine, always offering new and imaginative treatments.
Holbeck Ghyll, Cumbria
The first thing that hits you at this country house hotel is the awesome views over Lake Windermere. As for the interiors, think Parker Knoll chairs and roaring fires, which keeps it blissfully old-fashioned. The Michelin starred cuisine is imaginative and there’s an award-winning wine list. All 13 rooms and suites have great views and there are more rooms in cottages and lodges. There’s an on-site boutique spa with ESPA products and the hotel has recently started offering 4x4 off-road driving opportunities to experience the Lake District at its best.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
Start saving – you’ll need to. Dinner at Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin starred restaurant generally works out at several hundreds of pounds for two and that’s before you’ve even started on the wine. To stay the night here too is, for most, simply not affordable. It is, however, unforgettable, with unsurpassed attention to detail and themed rooms and suites that are startling beautiful, while the gardens are both beautiful and fascinating.
Gidleigh Park, Devon
Set in 107 acres of gardens and woodland, this hotel has held two Michelin stars for the last 15 years, making it a popular destination for foodies. There are oodles of other awards and the hotel itself is just beautiful, with 24 rooms and suites, including Dartmeet, the spa suite that features a stream room, sauna and statement bath where you can soak whilst overlooking the views of Dartmoor.
The Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh
The Witchery restaurant, close to Edinburgh Castle and arguably just as famous, opened on Halloween in 1979. The eight suites are all theatrical, decadent, moody and gothic. Cosmopolitan magazine named it “one of the seven wonders of the hotel world” and the list of celebrity guests is long.
This is, quite simply the best address in town and arguably the most famous five-star hotel in the capital, attracting everyone from royalty to tycoons and celebrities to fashionistas. The seven-storey Mayfair hotel originally opened in 1898, with an Art Deco makeover in the 1920s, and has kept its top-notch reputation ever since. Rooms are every bit as fabulous as you would expect – and are all so different. The rooftop spa offers wonderful treatments, the bar is buzzy and the afternoon teas are faultless.
Barnsley House, Cirencester
Now run by the same owners of Calcot Manor – this 17th century, 18-roomed Cotswold hotel is first-rate. It’s got one of the most stunning hotel terraces and service is impeccable without being over the top.
Fitzroy of London thank The Independent for publishing this interesting read.