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Take a refreshing break in one of these four hand-picked bolt-holes. From stately spa to beachside bliss, there’s something to suit every budget, says Sophie Dening.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House is family owned and run, but it’s far more than simply a welcoming home from home. This is true English luxury: the 20 rooms are decorated with textiles from Zoffany and Brunschwig & Fils, the food is some of the best in the Lake District, and there’s a ridiculous amount of beautifully designed space to roam around in. At the main hotel, the garden suites have private decks with hot tubs and views over woodland, waterfalls or the llama paddock. The Lake House itself (pictured) provides Gilpin’s most private and luxurious accommodation. It has six suites, amazing views, and its own indoor pool and spa, with patio doors opening on to a lawn down to the lake and jetty; in summer, you can have spa treatments in a gazebo on the edge of Windermere. There’s a rowing boat, canoe and dinghy to play with, not to mention 100 acres of woods and moorland. Doubles from £320 B&B.
Anne and Shaun Malindine have been running a B&B in Bristol for decades, and still take a lot of pleasure in making their house beautiful for their guests: Anne decorates the three bedrooms with cut flowers from the garden; Shaun makes the orange-and-ginger thins. Painted in Farrow & Ball colours, and hung with prints and etchings ‘by people we know’, Rosebery House is on a Georgian terrace, a short walk from both Clifton village and the harbour. Breakfast, served in the green/blue breakfast room, is impeccably ‘local’: apple juice and eggs from nearby farms, sausages made in Bristol by a small producer, bread from Mark’s Bread, and Anne’s own jams and marmalade. Doubles from £95 B&B.
This recently revamped boutique hotel isn’t an architectural beauty, but who cares? The location is perfect for Camber’s dunes and miles of beach, the interiors are stylish, and you can bring dogs. In the Beach Bistro, the chef makes the most of the region’s superb produce: look out for Rye Bay scallops, salt-marsh lamb, and fish in Kent-ale batter. There are 18 rooms, all with driftwood furniture, L’Occitane products and a supply of shortbread; deluxe rooms have sofas as well as super king beds; and the beach hut suite has its own outdoor entrance. There’s loads to do round here, from kite-surfing and seaside strolls to taking tea in Rye. Do bring a windcheater. Doubles from £135 B&B.
The faux-stately style of this member of the Exclusive Hotels group won’t be for everyone, but provided you’re not looking for urbe in rus chic, Pennyhill Park has two cracking trump cards. One is its gastronomic restaurant; the other is the monster spa, replete with no fewer than eight pools, indoor and out, including a ‘ballroom pool’ with underwater music, and hot tubs with jets as cruelly powerful as you like. Among the superbly appointed treatment rooms is a VIP suite, and rooms for two, where couples can cake each other with therapeutic clay. The bedrooms are plush, the suites more so, combining very good, handmade mattresses and conservative textiles with some gorgeous antiques and baronial views. Doubles from £335 B&B.
This article was published in the spring 2012 edition of Square Meal Lifestyle.