The secret hack to getting cheaper hotel rates

Advice

It’s time to give away my best trick as a hotel guest: I never – unless it can’t be helped ­ ­– stay in hotels on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s because I have long been an advocate of Sunday night stays, but then I’m lucky: as a hotel critic I’m aware of the advantages and as a freelancer I’m not obliged to be in an office on a Monday morning.

There are several reasons why I make Sundays my Saturday and Mondays my Sunday. Of course, the saving in cost is the biggest draw; because Sundays are hotels’ quietest days and so they drop their prices and/or throw in extras. In fact, according to travel agency Kayak, it’s on average 23 per cent cheaper to check-in on a Sunday than a Saturday.

Sunday sleepovers are in

One pub group whose Sunday Sleepovers I have been taking advantage of for years is EatDrinkSleep, which owns the Felin Fach Griffin in Wales, and Gurnard’s Head and Old Coastguard in Cornwall. At the Felin Fach Griffin (which features below, along with 19 other great options), dinner, bed and breakfast Monday to Saturday starts at £225, whereas their Sunday Sleepover includes Sunday lunch, supper, room and breakfast on Monday from £230.

“And what could be better,” reads the description of their Sleepover offer, “than kicking back after Sunday lunch and watching everyone else retreat to the Sunday night blues.” As for London hotels, a new app, staycation.co, has just launched to offer Sunday deals and “experiences” such as cocktail making.

Of course, swapping Saturday for Sunday isn’t a new concept, and those who have tried it have quickly cottoned on to its appeal, but even so it’s been an uphill struggle trying to persuade my friends to give up their Saturday nights away. Think of the buzz, they say. Think of the crush, I say, the unnecessary expense, the lack of peace. There are other advantages too: you get Saturdays at home to do the DIY or the gardening, and you don’t get locked in to the requirement of so many hotels to stay for two nights. And you don’t have to cope with ghastly Friday traffic.

Monday is the new Sunday

As for Mondays, the worst day of the week, yes, they are for working, but do they always have to be? Even if you have to take the day off as holiday, it’s worth it. Who wants to schlepp in to the office and stare out of the window in a listless trance, when they could be waking to a view that brings the heart joy.

All right, it’s not always easy to take a Monday off, but since the pandemic, many of us work at least partly from home and if you have to work on your laptop on a Monday, it’s surely more pleasant to do it from the comfort of your chosen hotel than at same old, same old home. I love the peace of Sunday stays, I love the price of Sunday stays, and best of all, I love still being there on a Monday.


20 of the best Sunday night stays in the UK

Beaverbrook, Surrey 

Wear your Sunday best to this Surrey countryside mansion, Beaverbrook brings together an elegant, traditional English estate with Japanese dining and an artistic spa. Its Sunday Cinema Club packages include a movie viewing in the plush, chaise lounge-seated cinema (complete with blankets and unlimited popcorn), plus a tasting menu in the restaurant and a cracking breakfast the next morning. You’ll get full use of the Brian Clark-designed spa with its statement tilework and balmy outdoor pool, and you can add on extras such as fishing trips, cycling or tennis. Monday mornings have never looked so good.  

How to do it: Beaverbrook (01372 571300; beaverbrook.co.uk) offers doubles as part of its Sunday Cinema Club Package, including dinner and breakfast, from £495 on a Sunday (standard b&b from £570 on a Saturday).



Beaverbrook Surrey


The glorious outdoor pool at Beaverbrook, Surrey

Dormy House, Cotswolds

Up a steep hill and on the outskirts of the honey-hued Cotswold village of Broadway, you’ll find Dormy House. The simple exterior of this 17th-century farm belies the size and scope of what lies inside: a warren of cosy sitting rooms and snugs, inviting bedrooms, alluring restaurants – and a superlative spa. What better day than a Sunday to drift between lavender steam room, juniper sauna, infinity pool and outdoor hydrotherapy hot tub. Use the money you save by skipping Saturday night to splash out on a treatment (facial, flotation session, or body scrub, perhaps) and then sink in front of the fire with board games and cocktails. Don’t miss the Comte cheese souffle at dinner.

How to do it: Dormy House (01386 852711; dormyhouse.co.uk) offers doubles from £299 on a Sunday (from £399 on a Saturday), including breakfast.



Dormy House, Cotswolds


The handsome exterior of Dormy House, Cotswolds


Credit: Ray Main 2013

Pennyhill Park, Surrey

Just 45 minutes southwest of London is this grand 18th-century mansion that sits within 120 acres of parkland. Time moves slowly at Pennyhill Park, as it’s all about relaxation here. The spa, with its heated outdoor pool and bar and indoor thermal suite, is where the heart of the languid action lies – float between sauna, steam room and whirlpool before enjoying a treatment with natural skin products, created specifically for the hotel. Spend what you save on the Sunday room rate on dinner at Michelin-starred Latymer.

How to do it: Pennyhill Park (01276 478300; exclusive.co.uk) offers doubles from £445 on a Sunday (from £570 on a Saturday), including breakfast.

The Belfry, Warwickshire

Sleep well thanks to Suite Sunday at The Belfry, a spa and golf hotel that’s held the Ryder Cup four times and is hosting the Betfred British Masters this May. Its Sunday night offer gets you a modern suite with private balcony enjoying fairway views, plus a three-course dinner in the Ryder Grill where steak and fish is the main event. The spa will tempt you away from the outdoors with its new exfoliating, mud-mask treatment, and Monday mornings are made better with late check-out and an extensive breakfast buffet. 

How to do it: The Belfry (01675 238600; thebelfry.com) offers suites from £225 on a Sunday (from £429 on a Saturday), including dinner and breakfast. Use code SUITE to book.



The Belfry, Warwickshire


The Belfy in Warwickshire with its pristine golf course


Credit:
CBK

Leven, Manchester

Spend the last day of your weekend surrounded by chic industrial style and Scandi minimalism at LEVEN Manchester, an almost intimidatingly cool hotel set within a former cotton warehouse on Canal Street. It’s all about design here, with an irrefutably sexy emerald green and brass lobby area and fresh, crisp white bedrooms with their own kitchenettes. There’s no breakfast served on site, but the coffee shop has pastries and flat whites aplenty and buzzes with creative locals engaging in a little remote working, so why not bring your laptop and join them?

How to do it: LEVEN Manchester (01613 597900; liveleven.com) offers doubles from £88 on a Sunday (from £199 on a Saturday), excluding breakfast.



LEVEN, Manchester


The cool bar at LEVEN in Manchester

Elmbank Hotel, York

Sandwiched between York’s historic city centre and its racecourse, The Elmbank is a little Art Nouveau gem with a storied past – it was a home to some of the city’s most elite residents, a one-time gentleman’s club and Second World War army billet. Expect stained-glass windows, magnificent murals, a double-height wood-panelled lobby and some of the most arresting carpets in the country, plus bedrooms with colourful furnishings all set within a 19th-century mansion. As part of the hotel’s Sunday package, you’ll get afternoon tea with bubbles in the chintzy Peacock Bar and a hearty breakfast the next morning. 

How to do it: The Elmbank (01904 610653; elmbankhotel.com) offers doubles from £115 on a Sunday (from £199 on a Saturday) including afternoon tea and breakfast. Use code SUNDAY to book.



Elmbank Hotel York


An art noveau gem in York’s city centre: the Elmbank Hotel


Credit: William Amann

The Greenbank, Cornwall

Falmouth’s oldest hotel, which dates back to the 17th century, has had a trendy facelift and now the Greenbank is this Cornish town’s coolest place to stay. Sundays here are spectacular and not just because of the 30 per cent discount on your room rate: the hotel is the only property to have its own pontoons and private quay, so bring your paddleboards or kayaks and splash about in the ocean before settling in for a pint at its pub. Dinner at the Water’s Edge restaurant (£40 pp when you book the Sunday Saver rate) means fresh seafood with ocean views – dreamy.

How to do it: The Greenbank (01326 312440; greenbank-hotel.co.uk) offers doubles from £76 on a Sunday (from £109 on a Saturday), including breakfast.



The Greenbank, Cornwall


Some bedrooms at The Greenbank in Cornwall overlook the sea

Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire

If you’ve ever wanted to live like a wealthy Tudor, Thornbury Castle is the place for you. And if you haven’t, it’s well worth booking anyway, especially on a Sunday night. This Relais & Chateaux property exudes Tudor opulence – think crenellated towers and wood-panelled lounges – and serves it up with the bells and whistles you’d expect from modern luxury hospitality. A romantic bolthole once host to weekends away for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, it’s the ideal place to spend some quality time together, and eat like kings and queens while you’re at it.

How to do it: Thornbury Castle (01454 281182; thornburycastle.co.uk) offers doubles from £299 on a Sunday (£528 on a Saturday), including dinner and breakfast.



Thornbury Castle Gloucestershire


Live like a wealthy Tudor at Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire


Credit: Lee Searle

Fistral Beach, Cornwall

For wild Cornish sea views with white surf and a soft-sand beach on your doorstep, Fistral Beach is a serene adults-only retreat. Rooms are bright and blueish to reflect those ocean views, and the restaurant tasting menu is highly recommended. The Sunday night rates can be as much as 30 per cent lower than Saturdays, but it’s the Sunday Stay package that wins out. Get bed, breakfast, a 45-minute spa treatment and free access to the fitness classes, plus 10 per cent off further treatments from just £291 – a smashing way to start the week.

How to do it: Fistral Beach (01637 852221; fistralbeachhotel.co.uk) offers doubles from £90 on a Sunday (from £126 on a Saturday).



Fistral Beach Hotel Cornwall


Plenty of rooms at the Fistral Beach Hotel look out to the famous sandy beach

Fishmore Hall, Shropshire

Set on the edge of the undulating Shropshire Hills AONB, Fishmore Hall is a privately owned country house hotel with endless appeal. It’s surrounded by lush countryside where you can work up an appetite climbing Brown Clee Hill and Titterstone Clee Hill – which are visible from many of its rooms, too – before settling down to dine in the Orangery, where roast dinners come with Herefordshire rare-breed beef. Plus, there’s a charming garden spa with cedar-wood hot tub and giant hammock for lazy Sunday snoozing. Dogs are welcome, too, so make this walking break one for all the family.

How to do it: Fishmore Hall (01584 875148; fishmorehall.co.uk) offers doubles from £75 on a Sunday (from £175 on a Saturday) including breakfast.



Fishmore Hall, Shropshire


Fishmore Hall in Shropshire welcomes the whole family (plus dogs)

Morgans, Swansea

Swansea might not be your first port of call for a weekend break, but with the gorgeous Mumbles and Gower coastline on its doorstep, you’d be remiss not to consider a break in this Welsh coastal city. Especially at Morgans, a handsome 20th-century building that was built as the Harbour Trust Offices. With half-price rooms on Sundays, there’s no excuse not to extend your weekend – or perhaps upgrade your room to one of its spacious superior rooms – and use this as your base for exploring the region’s fine sweeps of yellow sand. Raise a glass to your excellent choices in the Champagne Bar. 

How to do it: Morgans (01792 484848; morganshotel.co.uk) offers doubles from £62.50 on a Sunday (from £125 on a Saturday) including breakfast. Use code WEB3 online.



Morgans hotel Swansea


You can bag a half price room on a Sunday at Morgans in Swansea

Harbour Hotel & Spa, Chichester

Sundays are elevated at this elegant Georgian mansion in the centre of historic Chichester. The Grade II-listed building is as handsome on the outside as it is indoors, with its swish marble bar and blue velvet stools, and bedrooms that have enormous sash windows looking out over the town. A Sunday-night stay here comes with a generous 30 per cent off the usual price tag and you’ll get dinner at The Ship, where Alex Aitken serves up fish grilled to perfection, moreish moules mariniere and a gorgeous cranberry and almond tart to finish. A Monday morning stroll around the harbour is obligatory before you head home.

How to do it: Harbour Hotel & Spa (01243 778000; harbourhotels.co.uk/chichester) offers doubles from £171 on a Sunday (from £248 on a Saturday) including dinner.



The Harbour Hotel Chichester


Stunning interiors at The Harbour Hotel & Spa in Chichester


Credit: Chris Russell

Birch, Hertfordshire

Just north of the M25 is Birch, a really rather good-looking hotel that doesn’t act much like a hotel at all. There are bedrooms, as you’d expect to be the minimum, but beyond that it’s all a bit different. Think workshops on pottery, talks by creative thinkers, an interactive bakery, a lido in a walled garden and a music room ripe for jamming, if that’s your sort of thing. One night simply isn’t enough to experience everything Birch offers, so book in for Friday and Saturday, and your Sunday night will be completely free. 

How to do it: Birch (01992 633375; birchcommunity.com) offers doubles from £170 per night excluding breakfast, Sunday nights free when you stay three nights.



Birch Hertforshire


Book Friday and Saturday night at Birch in Hertfordshire and you get Sunday night totally free

Rectory Manor Hotel, Suffolk

A Georgian exterior belies the medieval timber framing that makes the Rectory Manor such an exciting piece of history, and you can sleep in it on a Sunday for far less than any other night of the week. The decor is all very classical and in keeping with the Georgian period, and its four-poster suite has an enviable claw-foot bathtub with lovely garden views. There are tennis courts, a croquet lawn and an outdoor pool that’s heated to 28 degrees year-round, so that’s your Sunday afternoon activities sorted.

How to do it: Rectory Manor Hotel (01787 372428; rectorymanorhotel.co.uk) offers doubles from £136 on a Sunday (from £225 on a Saturday), including breakfast.



The Rectory Manor Hotel, Suffolk


The Rectory Manor Hotel, Suffolk

The Speech House Hotel, Forest of Dean

One of the last surviving hunting lodges in England, Speech House is a fascinating slice of history set within an ancient woodland near the Forest of Dean. Expect fancy afternoon teas with proper bone china, plush bedrooms with period furniture and a fine dining restaurant, Verderers’, inside an old courtroom packed with hunting paraphernalia and bronze light fittings. You can save more than 30 per cent on a Sunday stay over a Saturday, and as all good hunting lodges should, Speech House allows dogs so there’s no excuse for leaving them at home.

How to do it: The Speech House Hotel (01594 822607; thespeechhouse.co.uk) offers doubles from £157 on a Sunday (from £228 on a Saturday).



The Speech House Hotel Forest of Dean


Four-poster beds at The Speech House Hotel in the Forest of Dean


Credit: Justin Short

The Gallivant, East Sussex

Just across the road from the expansive Camber Sands in Rye, The Gallivant has more than just beach fun on its side. Incredibly stylish bedrooms with large roll-top bathtubs and private patios are a welcome retreat after a day on the sand, and a yoga studio and treatment room will see to it that you’re feeling appropriately Zen by the end of your stay. Sunday-night stays come with Sunday brunch, elevenses whenever you please, English wine at 5pm and access to the wellness classes. Dinner is by Jamie Guy, who has Rye bay squid and scallops on his menus. 

How to do it: The Gallivant (01797 225057; thegallivant.co.uk) offers doubles from £295 on a Sunday (from £385 on a Saturday), including breakfast. Reservations must be made by phone.



Gallivant East Sussex


The Gallivant in East Sussex

House of Gods, Edinburgh

Unapologetic extravagance is the modus operandi at House of Gods and boy does it deliver. Not only do you get butler service, bedtime milk and cookies and a luxury breakfast hamper to enjoy in the privacy of your bedroom (which is better described as a boudoir with all its rich red velvet and marble), but you get to do it in a hotel with Gucci wallpaper and Orient Express-inspired decor. Sunday rates are so reasonable, it’s worth investing that spare cash in the ‘rider’ offer, which gets you a host of extras including a £50 bar tab for cocktails. 

How to do it: House of Gods (0131 2300445; houseofgodshotel.com) offers doubles from £89 on a Sunday (from £295 on a Saturday), excluding breakfast.



House of Gods Edinburgh


A sultry, romantic bedroom at the House of Gods Edinburgh


Credit: Mbp

The Chester Grosvenor, Chester

The Chester Grosvenor is set inside in one of this historic city’s most attractive buildings, a half-timbered, half red-brick property with pretty gables right in the centre of town. Rooms are elegant, with king-sized beds and understated floral wallpaper, and dining here is a real treat. Think posh afternoon teas, a brasserie with delicate stained-glass skylights, and an exciting tasting menu at Arkle, the hotel’s fine-dining venue. With a two-night minimum stay during the rest of the week, Sunday nights at The Chester Grosvenor are excellent value, with bed, breakfast, dinner and champagne included. 

How to do it: The Chester Grosvenor (01244 324024; chestergrosvenor.com) offers doubles from £240 on a Sunday including dinner and breakfast (from £270 on a Saturday b&b only).

The Felin Fach Griffin, Powys

Sundays are made for one thing and one thing only at The Felin Fach Griffin: roast dinners. This hotel knows how to put on a Sunday roast, and if you book for a Sunday sleepover you’ll get yours virtually for free. Meat comes from the lowland hills of the Brecon Beacons and much of the greens can be found in the garden, while the wine list is even more exciting – don’t miss the Monmouth wines from Ancre Hill. Rooms here are simple but stylish, and breakfast is smoked salmon with fruit from the garden.

How to do it: The Felin Fach Griffin (01874 620111; sawdays.co.uk) offers doubles from £230 on a Sunday including a dinner and breakfast (from £230 on a Saturday b&b only). 



Felin Fach Griffin, Wales


A pretty bedroom (with wildflowers on the bedside table) at The Felin Fach Griffin, Wales

Sloane Place, London

Sundays in London are for brunch, shopping and late afternoon cocktails, and you can do all three at Sloane Place. Located just off Lower Sloane Street, you’ve got designers such as Massimo Dutti and lululemon around the corner on the King’s Road, while the hotel’s brunch menu provides a compelling reason to arrive early (hello, blueberry pancakes). Rooms are low key with muted tones, and dinner a refreshing mix of comfort food and healthy plates, such as burgers, artichoke risotto and aromatic coconut curry. Wake up with the rest of the city on a Monday ready to face the week. 

How to do it: Sloane Place (0203 928 0700; sloaneplace.com) offers doubles from £150 on a Sunday (from £238 on a Saturday), including breakfast.



Sloane Place, London


Sloane Place is the perfect London Sunday brunch spot

For more ideas on where to stay, see our guide to the best hotels in UK

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