The UK is a luxury traveller’s dream come true. No longer is the humble B&B the staple accommodation of the wandering visitor to a region. These days, travellers can choose from an endless list of lavish hotels which fill the countryside from Lands End to the northern tip at Wick.
Around every London street, across every moor or glen, and secreted in any one of the many forests across the country, luxury hotels are always within easy reach, a glow of 5 stars on the near horizon.
But while opulent hotels are hardly unique to the UK, the hospitality industry here has been able to capitalize on the rich history of the land, opening hotels in stately homes and manor houses that would once have housed gentry and their servants, as well as developing those corporate chains the world has become so familiar with.
The Arch, London
For true luxury, it’s hard to look past the fabulous The Arch in London’s Whitehall. This fabulously decadent hotel is a step apart from the traditional inner city locations visitors often aim for, and lies nestled in a quiet residential street cunningly disguised as the original Georgian townhouse it used to be; most travellers could be forgiven for not realising it was there. A pity really, as this is truly a gem on London’s worn streets.
It’s the simple things which set this hotel apart; individually designed rooms welcome guests to the elegant interior and afternoon tea is the order of the day. For something a little stronger, bespoke martinis are presented in the designer bar, and if the drinks are to your liking, the one hour martini master class is not to be missed. This hotel is a short saunter from the best shopping that Bond Street has to offer, and is truly for the discerning guest.
Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park
Heading away from the capital and into the English countryside, travellers could find their way to the stunning Bovey Castle in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. This hotel is the epitome of what an English castle should be without any of the austerity of the old fashioned lifestyle. Lofty ceilings, distant chandeliers and impossibly long rooms, mix with an unexpected family feel to provide luxury accommodation that anyone can feel at home in.
Bovey Castle offers a link to one of the best loved National Parks in the UK, and travellers can choose to stay in one of the intricately preserved rooms within the hotel, or book a modern lodge in the extensive grounds. Don’t assume that the high end restaurant, piano bar and cocktail lounge means that best bid and tucker is a strict dress code; Bovey Castle arranges all manner of afternoon pastimes for its more energetic guests, like hot air ballooning or paintball, where your best cashmere is far from advised.
Borthwick Castle, South of Edinburgh
For luxury castles with a history that will easily catch your eye, take a trip north of the border to the ancient Borthwick Castle, just south of Edinburgh.
With a history that dates back to the 16th Century, Mary Queen of Scots as a frequent visitor, and haunted Red Room where a servant and her illegitimate heir to the Title were reported to have been ‘put to the sword’, there are few chapters in history not covered by a stay here. In fact, you may find this luxury hotel just a little draughty, but the visible holes in the stone castle walls, courtesy of Oliver Cromwell’s bombardment in 1650, may be the reason for that.
Bishopstrow House, Warminster
Luxury hotels often go hand in hand with other indulgent services that many people don’t routinely get the chance to enjoy, and booking a hotel with a world class spa means killing two birds with one stone.
Bishopstrow House Hotel in Warminster oozes upper class riche with a blend of modern additions to the ancient stone house. Part of the Von Essen Group, this hotel has it all; a modern and thoroughly relaxing Halycon Spa, the delectable 2AA Rosette Mulberry Restaurant, where Fois Gras is on the menu and jeans are definitely off, and of course, the seriously sumptuous bedrooms that litter the upper floors of this ancient family home.
The grounds at Bishopstrow are far from large and partly given over to the growing of the restaurant produce, but it’s not a place you want to leave so what lies beyond that stone arched doorway is distant enough to be of little interest for guests relaxing here.