I love travelling the world: California beaches, the Australian rainforest, Thai jungles and Italian gastronomy are all fabulous, but there’s nothing I love more than this scepter’d isle. A country that has rolling countryside, pretty pebble beaches and the most cosmopolitan of cities. England is fantastic and sometimes we take it for granted…
Need to know: A totally glamorous country mansion in Ascot, the hotel is part of the esteemed Dorchester Collection.
What is it good for?: The hotel is less than an hour away from London so it’s perfect for some time away from the madness of the city or a cosy night away from the kids. Coworth Park is the only hotel in this selection that I’ve not actually stayed in but it’s perfect if you want a countryside lunch without a long journey. That said, the hotel is ideal for everyone, with intimate dining for couples, a kids club for the little ones and eco-luxury spa for a ladies day.
Tell me about the food: Choose from the fine dining Restaurant Coworth Park, serving British cuisine (Mr Silver loved the Sunday lunch), The Drawing Room for cocktails and afternoon tea, The Barn for rustic comfort food or the Spatisserie for a healthy salad or a decadent afternoon tea.
Oooh what else?: Coworth Park has an Equestrian Centre with riding lessons for both adults and children. You can even bring your own horsey along for the night! Coworth Park is also home to world class Polo grounds and guests are welcome to make full use of these facilities. Well you can’t get more best of British than that!!
Need to know: A luxury country house hotel, spa and golf course in the home counties. Actually, my own home county of Buckinghamshire!
What is it good for?: Apologies for the gender stereotyping but Stoke Park is the perfect hotel for Mr and Mrs on a minibreak. For sporty types there’s a 27 hole championship golf course, 13 tennis courts, indoor swimming pool and gym. For the ladies there’s an 11 room spa and nail bar; I stayed here with five of my best friends for a girlie weekend and it was the totally perfect way to escape from London for some time together. The hotel is less than 35 minutes from London but with over 300 acres of rolling countryside it couldn’t be further from the big smoke.
Tell me about the food?: Choose Humphry’s for elegant fine dining and modern British cuisine, San Marco is the hotel’s relaxed Italian brasserie or head to The Orangery for all day dining and the decadent chocolate afternoon tea including Stoke Park’s ultimate hot chocolate. The hotel is very family friendly and offers a special ‘Little Stars’ afternoon tea for children under 12.
Oooh what else?: Stoke Park is close to Pine Wood studios and has a close relationship with the British film industry. The James Bond films Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies were filmed in and around the hotel including the most famous golf game in cinematic history between James Bond (Sean Connery) and Goldfinger. Stoke Park was also the scene of the famous mini break in the film version of Bridget Jones’ Diary. Playboy, Daniel Cleaver whisks the heroine away to the fabulous hotel for an afternoon boating of on the lake before retiring to the grand Pennsylvannia Suite with it’s four poster bed.
Need to know: Soho House’s super deluxe country retreat in Somerset.
What is it good for?: Those looking for a country retreat that’s a home away from home. The lounge areas and bar are so cosy and relaxed you could be chilling out in your own living room but with great service! The hotel is super glamorous but there is no real sense of formality so you can feel free to take a seat where ever you like for a drink or a bite to eat. You can relax even further at the very wonderful Cowshed Spa which includes both indoor and outdoor pools.
Tell me about the food: The Orangery is the main dining room and once again it’s all about home comforts. There are mugs of soup, pizzas, mac and cheese and hearty sandwiches for lunch and robust fish and meat dishes for dinner. One great thing about Babington House is the amazing tasting food that is completely unpretentious and unfussy.
Oooh What Else?: Babington House is fab for children, with dedicated family rooms, a kiddy creche, children’s menus and lots of activities. Also be sure to check out the cinema which has pre-release films, children’s movies and old classics.
Need to know: A luxury five-star estate just 18 miles from London.
What is it good for?: The Grove refers to itself as London’s Country Estate, as it’s the nearest country retreat to London. There is something forever enduring about The Grove and my family has returned there year after year for short stays, lunch, dinner even staying over there for Christmas Day. Maybe it’s because there really is something for everyone, golf, spa and plenty of activities for children. There is also the Walled Garden which houses a separate holiday world of tennis courts, croquet, a swimming pool, an urban beach and pool and table tennis.
Tell me about the food?: Collette’s is the place for fine dining and romance, whereas The Stables is family friendly and serves comfort food such as pizzas, burgers and fish and chips. But our family favourite has always been The Glasshouse, which has one of the best buffets I’ve ever experienced. I’m not a big fan of buffets but at the Glasshouse there is a open kitchen with a carvery for the meat, a live wok station and a wood-fired oven. There is a vast array of fantastic quality antipasti, sushi and breads on offer but save room for the dessert selection and wide range of cheese.
Oooh what else?: Victoria and David Beckham’s love the hotel and it’s not unusual to see the entire England football squad staying here.
A City Staycation
Need to know:
One of London’s top hotels and an art deco jewel. Beautiful, glamourous, sophisticated and forever-enduring, do you need more superlatives to describe Claridge’s?
What is it good for?:
Ladies taking a break from shopping for a spot of afternoon tea, couples wanting a sophisticated suite for the night or business people looking for a meeting room in a central London location.
Tell me about the food: Fera by Simon Rogan is the new restaurant at Claridge’s and it has already been met with critical acclaim from critics and food bloggers alike. I’m yet to try it but I definitely hope to soon. The centre piece of Claridge’s is it’s gorgeous, glittering foyer where you can have a more casual meal or Claridge’s famous afternoon tea. Just here for a drink? Check out the iconic Claridge’s Bar or for an intimate cocktail served in a Lalique glass step back into the 1930’s at The Fumoir.
Oooh what else?: This is Claridge’s do you need anything else? *Sigh* ok then…Claridge’s grand piano suite was designed by Diane Von Furstenberg and is the perfect resting place for a fashionista. And with Mayfair on your door step you pop out for a fab new pair of shoes and a designer outfit!
Need to know: A beautifully designed boutique hotel in central Soho.
What is it good for?:
The very stylish among you will love the way that Kit Kemp has designed the Soho Hotel. Part of the Firmdale group
, there are eight boutique hotels in London each with a signature style and personal touch. The Soho Hotel is totally rock star! I’ve seen more celebrities there than any other hotel in London, including Hugh Grant, Gemma Arterton and David Walliams, so head to the banging bar for a cocktail. Staying in the centre of Soho some of London’s most lively bars and restaurants are right on your doorstep.
Tell me about the food?: The hotel’s Refuel Bar and Restaurant serves a menu of International cuisine. But I would also recommend trying one of the Firmdale hotels for breakfast or brunch, The Soho Hotel serves ‘High Breakfast’ which is kind of like a breakfast afternoon tea with mini eggs benedict, bacon finger sandwiches and mini muffins and granola bars.
Ooh what else?: The Soho, Covent Garden, Charlotte Street and Ham Yard hotel all have a screening room and run a weekly film club. Have lunch, dinner or afternoon tea followed by a film in the hotel’s plush cinema. The Soho offers a three course meal and a film for £35!
Need to know: Regular readers of my blog will know that the Dorchester is my favourite hotel in London. One of the world’s most iconic hotels, The Dorchester totally epitomises luxury and old-fashioned glamour.
What is it good for?: Well, everything! The hotel is loved by royalty, celebrities and politicians but it’s also the perfect place to go with your girlfriends for afternoon tea. Despite being the top hotel in London, it’s relaxed and unpretentious and the central location makes it an easy place to pop into when you fancy a cocktail after work. I also love the spa, it’s light, bright, relaxed and girly! Plus they serve low-calorie champagne in their gorgeous cafe, The Spatisserie.
Tell me about the food: At The Dorchester you are totally spoilt for choice in terms of dining. Trust me, I’ve tried every restaurant there and I’ve even been in the kitchen itself a few times! China Tang offers some of the best Cantonese food in London, The Promenade allows for all day dining on a whole range of cuisines plus the famous Dorchester afternoon tea, The Grill serves hearty meat and fish dishes and the Spatisserie serves lighter cuisine along with afternoon tea and cocktails. The jewel in the crown is Alain Ducasse, a three Michelin star French restaurant, and in my opinion the best restaurant in the UK.
Oooh what else?: The Dorchester is where I had my wedding reception so it will always have a big place in my heart.
If London is your staycation destination here some ideas of what to do:
Rebecca from Runaway Kiwi
gives great advice on how to plan your London Staycation efficiently.
Need to know: Life isn’t all about London, what about Manchester for a city stay-cay? And where else but the Lowry? Manchester’s first five star hotel, by the river in the heart of the city.
What is it good for?: It’s so central that it’s perfectly located for all the shopping, culture and night life that that lively city has to offer.
Tell me about the food?: The River Bar and Grill is the main restaurant serving best quality meat and fish cooked on the Josper Grill. We didn’t try the restaurant last time we were there, but I can guarantee that the bar serves a damn good Espresso Martini.
Oooh what else?: The hotel’s minimalistic modern interior features cool contemporary artwork by rising young artists.
Read my full review of The Lowry here
As you can see there are so many wonderful and luxurious hotels to visit on our precious stone set in the silver sea. I really enjoyed joining the travel link up for the first time and I look forward to joining in the next!
Photos from Chewton Glen, Coworth Park, Stoke Park, Babington House, The Grove, The Soho Hotel and Claridges are all courtesy of the hotels.