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Amanda Statham

Back to Inspirations
You're young, free and no longer single and want to arrange a weekend away with your man, easy, right? Wrong. The UK is brilliant at many things, like cream teas and ballroom dancing, but until recently funky hotel rooms that don't cost the earth haven't been its forte. Grand hotels with acres of dark wood and a £500 bill for one night are fine if you want to channel Downton Abbey and have a millionaire's budget, and guest houses decorated like a posh aunt's house have their place, but what if you want something, dare I say it, a little bit more sexy or fun? Whether you're seeking a bargain city bolthole for a night on the town or a romantic love nest that's more A-list then B&B-list, I've selected the best of British, just for you.
Hotel du Vin - Bristol

For a naughty weekend away, the Hotel du Vin chain is a favourite and its Bristol outpost is particularly cool if you're trying to impress. Lying in a restored 1700s sugar warehouse close to the waterfront, it's all stunning double-height loft suites, low-lit bistro and courtyard drinking. The 40 bedrooms' interiors won't disappoint, particularly the delightfully squishy white Egyptian cotton linen on the huge king-size beds and free-standing roll top baths big enough for two.

Maison Talbooth

This is the place to book if you want 24 hours away somewhere romantic and tranquil that won't bankrupt you. All 12 rooms are named after poets at this country retreat and I particularly liked Shakespeare, with its sunken bath and outside garden and hot tub. However, my favourite part of the hotel was the separate pool house with heated outside pool, honesty bar, music and magazines: a little bit of LA in Essex. And dinner just down the road on the terrace at Le Talbooth overlooking the River Stour is a treat, particularly the Monday barbecue night.

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