Planning a staycation for your summer hols? Check out – and check into – our pick of the best hotels to have opened in the UK recently.
Words: Ben McCormack
Backwell House, Somerset
For starters: This Georgian country house dating from 1817 quietly opened as a hotel in September 2016 and has just launched its new restaurant. Nine luxurious bedrooms have everything you want from a relaxing weekend away: huge roll-top baths, wet rooms, sumptuous Egyptian cotton towels. Bonus marks for the twin sinks.
Mains and more: The spacious dining room has views across the rolling north Somerset countryside and nicely mixes contemporary colours and salvage-chic lamps with furniture that complements the Georgian features. The cooking is adventurous and the presentation of the likes of the show-stopping strawberry cannelloni is a feast for the eyes. And a bargain, too: £35 for three courses.
Sides: The bright lights of Bristol are a mere six miles away: check out the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Brunel’s SS Great Britain and one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes in the UK (Casamia and Bulrush are both in our UK top 100 2017). There are miles of walks on the doorstep or just stay put with afternoon tea in the lounge and a snifter or two in the bar.
Bill, please: B&B from £95
Contact: Farleigh Road, Bristol, BS48 3QA; backwellhouse.co.uk
Eden Locke, Edinburgh
For starters: Ever fancied living in a studio flat in the heart of Edinburgh’s Georgian New Town? Locke Hotels has answered your prayers with the launch of this 72-apartment hotel housed in a six-storey townhouse on George Street. Each room comes equipped with a fully kitted-out kitchen and living area while mezzanine suites have stunning views over the Scottish capital.
Mains and more: Hyde & Son is the hotel’s coffee bar by day, cocktail, wine and craft beer bar by night. Assuming you’re only going to use your in-room kitchen for breakfast, Edinburgh has one of the best restaurant scenes outside London: SquareMeal favourites include The Kitchin, Norn, Ondine and Timberyard (see the full list here).
Sides: Everyone visits Edinburgh in August for the festival but there’s plenty more to Auld Reekie than stand-up comedy: the Scottish capital is one of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cities. Explore the winding alleyways of the Old Town, climb the Scott Monument and Arthur’s Seat, admire the art in the National Gallery of Scotland – not forgetting of course, the fairy-tale castle that is the city’s iconic landmark.
Bill, please: From £110
Contact: 127 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4JN; lockeliving.com
The Pointer, Buckinghamshire
For starters: David and Fiona Howden bought The Pointer when they ended up growing so many vegetables in their garden they needed a way to use it all up. (They also bought 250 acres of farmland to breed cattle, sheep and pigs). Now the 17th century village pub is one of the best places to eat near Oxford – so much so that the Howdens have just opened four rustic-chic bedrooms for overnight guests.
Mains and more: The daily-changing, field-to-fork menu includes 70 organic ingredients from the kitchen garden and farm and might include Longhorn beef sirloin and brisket with charred alliums, blue Hewitt mushrooms, lovage and dripping-cooked chips. Like what you eat? Take home the raw materials from The Pointer’s butcher’s shop next door.
Sides: Take a wander up to Brill Windmill (open on Sundays) to admire the view for miles around and decide which direction to strike off into the countryside. Prefer your attractions a little more cosmopolitan? The former Rothschild residence of Waddesdon Manor (a baroque French chateau transplanted to Buckinghamshire) and the discounted designer delights at Bicester Village are both a short drive away, as are the dreaming spires of Oxford.
Bill, please: B&B from £130
Contact: 27 Church Street, Brill, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9RT; thepointerbrill.co.uk
The Zetter Townhouse, London
For starters: It might have been going for 13 years but this Clerkenwell hotel has recently re-launched its rooftop suites, offering loft living without actually having to buy a warehouse conversion. Private patios boast floor-to-ceiling windows and sunchairs; inside, bathrooms come with rain dance showers. The hotel’s remaining rooms will be refurbished throughout the rest of the year.
Mains and more: Club Zetter Wine Room and Kitchen, the in-house restaurant, looks out onto cutesy St John’s Square and serves undemanding Anglo-European fare: croquettes and baby squid to snack on, pork chop and côte de boeuf to feast on. A Coravin wine system allows you to sample much of the wine list by the glass.
Sides: The Zetter’s free events programme includes star sommelier Benoit Allauzen talking about ‘How to look like a pro when handing back the wine menu' on 30 August – something that might come in handy when confronted with The Zetter’s impressive list. Otherwise, you’re slap bang in the middle of one of London’s most fascinating urban landscapes, with Smithfield Market, the arty Barbican centre and restaurant-lined St John Street all on your doorstep.
Bill, please: B&B from £258, rooftop suites from £348
Contact: St John's Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RJ; thezetter.com
Looking for more UK eating inspiration? Check out our just published list of the 100 best restaurants around the country
This article was published 27 July 2017