Four great spots for a British staycation
From a luxury hotel in Surrey to a converted townhouse on the Isle of Wight. Nicole Garcia Merida reports.
“Surrey isn’t short of spa hotels, but Beaverbrook stands in a league of its own,” says Bridget March in Harper’s Bazaar. The Grade II-listed country house once belonged to press baron Lord Beaverbrook, but has now been converted into a luxury hotel. It is set in the picturesque surroundings of the Surrey Hills and the 470 acres of grounds are perfect for a walk through the meadows or a cycle along the woodland trails.
Indoors there is a “cosy private cinema”, a cookery school, a children’s club, and the “pleasingly different spa… is a kaleidoscopic-coloured space” that instantly reinvigorates. “Drenched in light”, the spa favours wellbeing over beautifying. There’s also a barber’s salon and an English bath house. And “when it comes to food and drink, Beaverbrook spoils you”, says March. The restaurant, The Japanese Grill, is an “elegant affair” offering modern Japanese dishes that feature the “finest cuts of fish and meat with punchy flavours”. Beaverbrook also hosts The Garden House, a “rustic, romantic restaurant that serves seasonal dishes that are both hearty and healthy”.
Double rooms start at £350, beaverbrook.co.uk
Dormy House: a Skandi-chic spa in the Cotswolds
Rest and relaxation are the order of the day at Dormy House, says Annabel Harrison in Luxury London. The hotel is located “in one of the prettiest parts of the Cotswolds” and recently opened its fine restaurant, The MO. The set menu makes for a “decadent, delicious meal, and a treat of an evening”. The hotel’s rooms are mostly housed in the 17th-century farmhouse, which underwent a multi-million-pound refurbishment in 2013, and have an iPad that allows you to order breakfast at the touch of a button.
The hotel has oak-panelled walls, wooden beams, Cotswold stone walls and log fires. There’s also a spa, which has a “bright and warm Skandi-chic dining area”, an infinity pool, a Jacuzzi and an outdoor terrace “with an array of wicker furniture just begging to be lounged on”. Head out on foot for a “glorious walk” or a round of golf. The village of Broadway, with its “famed deli, quaint cafes, homeware shops and local pubs”, is also worth a visit.
From £230 per room per night, dormyhouse.co.uk
Take a catamaran to the Isle of Wight
The North House boutique hotel in Cowes on the Isle of Wight “is packed with luxury features and just a gull’s squawk from the waterfront”, says Simon Heptinstall in The Mail on Sunday. It is just a two-hour trip from London and guests arrive via the Red Jet catamaran from Southampton. You then “stroll up a quiet street of pastel-painted period houses” to North House, a 19th-century townhouse and theatre that have been knocked together and renovated to create one of the island’s best hotels.
The interiors have chalky painted wood panelling, stripped wooden floors, period fireplaces and framed botanical drawings, and guests have a choice of “cosy”, “comfy,” or “spacious” bedrooms. In the latter, double doors lead to a giant bathroom with a freestanding bath and shower. Bikes are available and walkers can choose from a “long row of brightly coloured courtesy wellies”. Eat in the hotel’s smart gourmet restaurant, on the garden terrace, or in the owners’ lively bistro.
Double rooms start at £110 per night, northhousecowes.co.uk
A palatial floating hotel in Edinburgh
In the outskirts of Leith in Edinburgh, “you might just find yourself gawping at an oddly placed piece of luxury”, says Olivia Petter in The Independent. The Fingal, docked two miles away from Edinburgh’s “bustling city centre”, has recently undergone a £5m conversion that turned the former lighthouse-supplies ferry into a “palatial” floating hotel. “No corner has been spared from splendour.”
The Fingal’s rooms are fit for royalty. Sourced from the same manufacturers that provide beds for the royal family, “mattresses are cloud-like enough to mollycoddle even the most belligerent of insomniacs into a deep slumber”. Breakfast highlights include the Scottish breakfast, pancakes and Scottish smoked salmon of the highest grade. Dinner is a “decadent three-course treat”: expect oysters, steak, risotto and a chocolate-fondant dessert that “quite literally melts in the mouth”. The large decking area comes into its own during the summer.
Double rooms start at £200, fingal.co.uk