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Top 10 Hotels To Make Christmas Shopping Fun

by Adrian Mourby

Top 10 Hotels To Make Christmas Shopping Fun

Christmas shopping shouldn’t be a chore.

Many years ago I worked out there are two ways to make it pleasurable. One is to collect presents for people throughout the year as you see things they’d like. This means that – as long as you can remember where you actually put them - all you have to do on Christmas Eve is take an hour or so to wrap everything over a glass of something nice.

The alternative is to get everything done in one weekend blitz, fortifying and rewarding yourself with a stay at a hotel you love that is no distance from the shops. In this way you can eat a healthy breakfast, sally forth to the shops and sally back again whenever you want a rest or even a nap.

So here are my Top Ten Hotels for making Christmas Shopping fun this year:

Showing below are all 3 records in "Top 10 Hotels To Make Christmas Shopping Fun"

Nira Caledonia (Hotel)

6-10 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh

Nira Caledonia, 6-10 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

Nira Caledonia in Edinburgh’s Gloucester Place is a great place to wake up and breakfast before shopping your way down Princes Street. The hotel is made up of two large Georgian townhouses on the north side of Edinburgh’s New Town. Inside the decor has eschewed stags heads and tartan in favour of black and silver, with black laquer Chinese furniture in every bedroom and an all-black restaurant on the ground floor. Head Chef Gordon Inglis oversees the menu, one that gives you the provenance of just about every Scottish ingredient from Loch Duart salmon to beef from Highland Drovers Farm, pork from Puddledub Farm in Fife and seasonal free-range turkeys from Gartmorn Farm near Alloa.

Now for a day plan. First talk to the hotel’s concierge team who will be very keen to help you find just the right purchase (they will even help you back with your shopping if your purchase exceed your upper body strength - just ask ). I’d start on George Street with its upmarket brand names and then drop down to Princes Street for the more familiar chain stores. By the end of a busy day you may be desperate for Nira Caledonia’s own single malt scotch, a 16-year-old Ardmore sourced and bottled by the Adelphi Distillery. The hotel was limited to just 24 bottles so if you’re a whisky drinker you’re in for an exclusive treat.

Nira Caledonia is a thoroughly Scots experience but with a modern twist. And Edinburgh is a great weekend getaway destination whether or not you’re shopping.

The Chester Grosvenor (Hotel)

Eastgate, Chester

The Chester Grosvenor, Eastgate, Chester, Cheshire

Very few hotels are located in the middle of a major shopping street. Even fewer are as glamorous as the Chester Grosevenor. A hotel has stood on this site since 1784 when it opened as the Royal Hotel. In 1815 the Grosvenor family bought and renamed it, and then in 1865 they rebuilt it entirely in splendid mock-Tudor style.

Immediately outside the hotel you’ll find the usual chains but also an exciting range of independent retailers: Toycraft, a family-run traditional toy shop, Chateau de Sable, a boutique for traditional French children’s clothing, Pyramid (glassware), Eva Chester (women’s clothing) and The Hat Place (speaks for itself).

To make the prospect of hitting the stores even more palatable, the hotel offers ‘mid-week Christmas shopping breaks’ every Thursday from 17 November to 22 December. This allows guests to take advantage of Chester’s late-night shopping on Thursday evenings and throws in a traditional Grosvenor Afternoon Tea and a 45-minute spa treatment to make the experience even more painless.

The centre of this walled city is so pretty all you really need is some snow and a few carol-singers in mufflers for Christmas shopping to be truly transformed from duty to total delight.

Bailbrook House (Hotel)

Eveleigh Avenue, London Road West, Bath

Bailbrook House, Eveleigh Avenue, Bath, Bath & Northeast Somerset

The first time I ever took a weekend away to do Christmas shopping it was to Bath and that proved such a success that I’ve advocated shopping weekends ever since. The important thing to remember about Georgian Bath is that more than any other British city –even more than Brighton- it was built for pleasure. While the number of balls in the Pump Room and Assembly Rooms has reduced drastically since the eighteenth century, Bath as a place to eat, sleep , drink and shop remains unrivalled.

But where to stay?

Bailbrook House stands just outside the city in 20 acres of grounds on a hill above the London Road. Mr Eveleigh, a wealthy lawyer, began work on his family seat here in the 1790s but the Napoleonic Wars intervened and the mansion was not completed until after Congress of Vienna in 1815. In 1817 Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, visited Bailbrook and here she met local philanthropist Lady Isabella King, commending her work saving street beggars “from the dangers attendant on idleness and poverty” In the twentieth century –less glamorously – the house became a training college for the General Post Office but in 2013 it emerged from scaffolding to become one of only two Grade II listed hotels in Bath.

Here is where you can relax after a hard day’s shopping in the Cloisters Restaurant, located in the basement of the hotel where modern archways have been opened up to provide views of the hotel grounds and over the Christmas city of Bath beyond.

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