Well, if you're looking for hotel glitz in London, it doesn't come much more glamorous than a stay right opposite Buckingham Palace. The Rubens' history stretches back to the 1700s and was actually part of the palace estate grounds in its earlier incarnation. These days its interiors are truly regal. The plush red and gold New York Bar with its buttoned leather banquettes and intimate table lamps is desperately glam while the leopard bar, decorated as if by a colonial looking to display his hunting spoils adds heritage spice. You'll dine like royalty in The English Grill, sleep like a princess in zillion-thread count sheets atop canopied beds and be entertained like a king – the hotel has its own Director of Fun and Adventure!
The Dunstane has undergone a top-to-toe refurbishment and the result is decidedly classy boutique establishment that is a rather a dark horse in the Edinburgh hotel scene. This high-Victorian mansion is all about dramatic design, velvet teals and burnt orange over-stuffed sofas and Habitat-feel soft furnishings. They'll pick you up from the airport in a vintage Daimler if you ask, too. It's hard dragging yourself out of the Ba' Bar with its Chesterfield sofas and glorious bay window views but once you do, it's a quick ten minute drive into the heart of the city.
This striking terracotta brick Victorian grand dame started life as the Leeds and County Liberal Club back in 1891 and has been entertaining the great and the good of this Northern Powerhouse city ever since. Suites here are particularly spacious for a city hotel, with terrific city scape views (just off City Square in the financial and legal quarter) from huge period windows. Those in the know buzz to the hotel's Porter's Lodge car and lounge for Friday night cocktails. If you are after private dining, the ornate oak-panelled Oak Room is cosy and elegant at the same time.
Sitting in one of the city's dandiest and leafy Georgian squares equidistant from the city centre and chi chi Clifton (and near to Bristol Uni), the Berkeley is in an excellent spot. Step inside and the staid exterior gives way to a riot of colour with pop art, funky design and stripped wood creating a very cool vibe indeed. The downstairs members bar continues the hip feel of the hotel but staff are pleasingly old-school in their excellent service skills. We rather like the decanter of Bristol Cream Sherry in every room, left along with a bowl of fruit and a cafetiere. Eat in The Square and you'll be surrounded by the city's media and creatives. Come morning, the breakfast is ample, of high-standard and at only £12.50 rather good value.
Tucked away by the castle moat in the ancient city of Hereford, the family-owned Castle's utterly exquisite style and décor is frankly faultless. Go for one of the five Castle suites in the main house, which are the most spacious rooms in the hotel and offer lovely little extras like L'Occitane essential oils and a decanter of sherry. Food served in the excellent Ballingham Bar and Bistro is in great part sourced from the hotel's very own farm eight miles away (which breeds Herefords and rare-breed sheep as well). If you go in summer, do try the Herefordshire beef Sunday lunch, served out on the terrace by the moat. Bliss.
After a day of scholarly pursuits, the delightfully swanky Vanbrugh sits behind the city's main street, close to all the tourist hotspots, restaurants, bars and cafes. Designed by John Vanbrugh, who also created Bleinheim Palace down the road in Woodstock, this 22-room charmer fuses eclectic design with comfort, its wood beams and panelled walls complemented by 21st century twists of luxury (we LOVE The White Company toiletries). Fans of the restaurant group Bill's will be delighted to know that the hotel has recently teamed up with the foodie's fave, (Oxford's Bill's is right next door), where guests can avail themselves of breakfast (until 11am – oh yes), lunch and dinner. Can't be bothered to leave your room for a snack? Attack the minibar – it's totally free. If you can, bag the Vicarage suite, with its luxurious city garden and terrace and TWO baths.
Named for the Marquess of Queensberry, he of boxing rules fame, one of the houses that makes up this darling of a city centre hotel was the very man's bath home when taking the waters. There's a wonderful quirkiness in the layout to this place, as its many devotees will attest, with cute design features that will make you smile. Treat yourself to a little luxury and book the four-poster suite, with its giant, seven-foot square of bed, L-shaped seating area overlooking Russel Square and huge double walk-through shower. On no account miss a trip to The Olive Tree, hugely popular in the city thanks to head chef Chris Cleghorn's award-winning menus.
Set in four acres of lovely grounds in the city of Somerset, this Regency dazzler sits high on a mount with the Quantocks to one side and the Black Hills on the other. The views are, natch, to die for. And, hang on, some of the bedrooms even have their own private hot tubs from which to ponder the West Country's gorgeousness. Talking of which, there's a great spa here too – book in for the bubbling hydrotherapy tub, thermal suites or ESPA treatment. This place is all about elegant relaxation, from the chilled lounge complete with open fire to the Garden Room's pre-dinner aperitifs each evening. Go on, spoil yourself.
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