You wait two years for a minibreak then two come along at once. First, a multi-generational get-together in the Cotswolds at the Swan Inn, stone the colour of honey and set on the dreamy banks of the Windrush beside an absurdly comely bridge. The barman walked us to our room, which felt like home only nicer – roll-top bath, homemade biscuits, window flung wide on the whole delightful scene. In the morning, the rescue hens had laid eggs for breakfast.
The following weekend, Bristol with old friends. A fancy hotel for a treat – one of the city’s grandest, now run by an international chain that shall remain nameless. Alright, I’ll tell you: it was the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel. Victorian façade, shiny revolving doors, checker-board marble lobby.
Impressive, but, I quickly realised, inescapably corporate, complete with a queue at check-in, £20 parking fee, Wi-Fi for members only. The swimming pool had closed because, they said, it “no longer made sense financially” (Marriott generated US$13.86bn revenue last year). The window would not open in our stuffy, greige room (twice the price of the inn, incidentally) and there were no fewer than 10 plastic miniatures in the bathroom. At breakfast I asked where the anaemic sausages had come from. “From the kitchen,” explained the waitress gently, after a pause.
Now, it’s not that I don’t love a posh hotel. When they’re getting it right (and the luxury hotel sector is booming, ever-more five-star hotels getting ever-more fabulous) they can be fantasy wonderlands, every aspect of life honed just-so.
Yet simultaneously, accelerated by the climate crisis and pandemic-induced shifts, the desire to live and travel better has fuelled our appetite for small-scale staycations. A wave of coaching inns and coastal pubs are being reimagined by a new generation of savvy young hoteliers, designers and trailblazing chefs to satisfy Champagne taste on a beer-bottle budget. And there’s a new breed of gourmet guesthouse emerging – gems such as Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall and Glebe House in Devon, run by families passionate about food, interiors and the planet.
These are places that are loved by their owners, who have slept in every room and chosen every book on the shelves and painting on the wall, whose personal touch delights at every turn. Where fine dining is always seasonal and local – from the kitchen garden, perhaps, or a neighbouring farm, but never, ever, just “from the kitchen”.
Here are 50 small and lovely hotels, from coast to countryside, which are proving it’s possible to offer a wonderful, memorable stay for a price that’s accessible to all.
Their travels to Italy planted the seeds of an idea for Olive and Hugo Guest, who last April opened six-room Glebe House in east Devon, a colourful , artful revamp of Hugo’s family B&B. “We stayed at lots of lovely small agriturismi in Italy, and we liked that idea of a guesthouse that feels personal, where you get to know the family and [its] produce,” says Olive, who also cites Coombeshead Farm (below) as an inspiration for food, and Charleston House for interiors. The Guests are very much hands-on hosts – Hugo is the chef – and put on events, from still-life drawing classes to mackerel fishing trips culminating in a twilight dinner on the beach.
Drawn to the source of the produce he was cooking in his restaurants, chef and restaurateur Tom Adams and his wife Lottie, a sustainability consultant, moved to Cornwall and launched a supper club on a former dairy farm near the Devon border in 2016. They have since added a restaurant, nine lovely bedrooms, a cottage, café, bakery, farm shop and creatures great (Red Devon cows) and small (bees) – but the star attraction remains their sensational food, everything hyper-local and handcrafted. Indeed, so committed are they to their ethos that Coombeshead has actually lowered prices recently.
The Bear Inn
Interior designer Octavia Dickinson breathed new life into every ancient nook and cranny of the 500-year-old Bear Inn last year. Her signature bold colours, statement fabrics and interesting art making everywhere a joy, from the bar and restaurant to the 12 bedrooms named after trees. Appropriate, as green and lovely Shropshire abounds with gardens; as well as the Bear’s own walled kitchen garden (homegrown and local produce is the menu mainstay), those at Hodnet Hall and Wollerton Old Hall are within walking distance.
Doubles from £110 B&B (01630 685214; thebearinnhodnet.com).
The Lamb Inn
There’s a gourmet inn around every picture-perfect corner of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. And yet still, The Lamb Inn, new last year, shines bright among them. It’s a stylish country inn with a hearty welcome, 10 great-value rooms, and vamped-up pub classics that get rave reviews from restaurant critics happy to make the drive from London for the bone-marrow flatbread alone. But don’t drive home – stay over instead.
Malton, North Yorkshire
Tablescaping queen Mrs Alice owns this revamped 17th-century hotel and coaching inn in the market town of Malton (“Yorkshire’s food capital,”, as Antonio Carluccio dubbed it), which tells you all you need to know. Good taste runs from top to toe: the colour-pop bedrooms are on-trend but entirely suited to the elegant Georgian building, with long windows overlooking the meadow running down to the Derwent; the pub is a proper boozer, albeit super-smart, while the accomplished cooking in the restaurant showcases all that’s made in Yorkshire.
The Royston is deep in the belly of Wales, both miles from anywhere and yet precisely where you want to be: that is, surrounded by green, green, green. Go walking directly from the door, the Cambrian Mountains rising up to meet the sky before you. Remote and rural it may be, but there’s nothing backwater about its seven sophisticated modern bedrooms, welcoming living spaces, and seasonal and sustainable menu.
Rooms from £129 B&B (01650 519228; theroystonwales.com).
The Hare & Hounds
The North Wessex Downs has an embarrassment of top-notch pubs, and this year it gained a new one outside Newbury: The Hare & Hounds, a 17th-century coaching inn fresh from a refurbishment. Thirty rooms spread across restored stables, a lodge and coach house, are tricked out in audacious wallpaper, hunting and horseracing fabrics – a nod to Newbury racecourse – and Bramley’s goodies for dogs as well as humans. The lofty, oak-beamed restaurant is a major draw.
Doubles from £120 B&B (01635 521152; hareandhoundsnewbury.co.uk).
The Yan at Broadrayne
Lake District, Cumbria
The slate buildings of a former sheep farm have been transformed into The Yan, a modern, family-run hotel in the stunningly beautiful central Lake District. Nearby are Grasmere, Rydal Water and Great Langdale, while paths from the hotel lead up to Fairfield and Helvellyn from the hotel. The bistro’s sunny terrace overlooks slopes grazed by Herdwickss (descended from the farm’s original incumbents), which feature on a menu of Cumbrian classics with a global twist – like lamb sliders, for instance. Rooms are crisp and contemporary.
This cob-and-stone Dartmoor hideaway feels like a posh rental (and you can take it over exclusively), but it’s principally an eco guesthouse. Jo and Sam Gossett have filled it with homely touches: sheepskins on window nooks in its six cocooning rooms, a well-stocked honesty bar that never closes, home-cooked meals three days a week (organic veg from the Teign Greens co-operative, lamb from “John and Sophie next door”), and a couple of playful spaniels.
The Alice Hawthorn Inn
Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire
Sitting pretty on Nun Monkton village green, Alice is something of an over-achiever, lauded and awarded for design, sustainability and food. Yorkshire classics with a modern twist showcase the best of the region’s produce (potted rabbit vamped up with rhubarb chutney; for example, and east-coast mussels with Thai broth). Rooms, either in the old inn or the new eco-friendly garden buildings, are deeply restful, all natural tones and raw wood.
Doubles from £120 B&B (01423 330303; thealicehawthorn.com)
The Swan Inn
Beside a stone bridge on a lane to nowhere, The Swan Inn makes an excellent end to a country walk. Invariably there are people drinking pints outside in the sunshine, or, in winter, beside one of the log fires. Produce comes from the village farmer Tom Walker. Eleven rooms, spread across the riverside cottage and stables, are cottage-lux and deeply comfortable, with big-bottle bathroom products made by local lady Jessica Dean Smith. Given its location, near Burford, it’s refreshingly unpretentious and good value.
The Ram Inn
Firle, East Sussex
Down a tree-canopied lane from Charleston House, the home and studio of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, is Firle, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hamlet that’s essentially a cricket club and a pub. But what a pub! The Ram Inn is just the ticket for a South Downs escape, serving excellent modern British dishes in its moody, candlelit dining rooms, and putting guests up in five fab rooms.
Old Hall Inn
Peak District, Derbyshire
The Old Hall Inn and its neighbouring Paper Mill Inn make a rewarding resting place in Chinley for Peak District walkers and cyclists, with their comfortable, classic rooms (some have four-posters) and range of fortifying ales, along with hearty pub food in the timbered dining room – or covered garden, (with burners and piles of blankets,) for year-round al-fresco dining.
On the edge of the Cairngorms, Saorsa 1875 has a hell of a USP: it’s vegan from nose to tail, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner that’s animal free, colourful and imaginative (kohlrabi ravioli and miso charred aubergine, perhaps). As well as being a pioneer of plant-based stays, though, it’s a gem of a boutique hotel – stylishly decorated in lush colours and interesting prints, with homely touches in the art, throws and quirky lamps – and has a fab little bar serving craft beers and locally inspired cocktails.
Double Red Duke
Residing in countryside between Thames and Cotswolds, the Double Red Duke is a handsome devil, inside and out. It opened last May after an overhaul by Sam and Georgie Pearman, the inn-crowd power couple who specialise in magicking pubs into boutique boltholes. Painterly murals and fanciful wallpapers are combined with vibrant velvets to create drama from head to toe, from 19 seductive rooms to the richly layered restaurant, where chefs cook seasonal produce over fire, such as saddle of lamb and spit-roast porchetta (the Hawksmoor founder and chef Richard Turner was involved in the creation of the menu). Bonus luxury: the shepherd’s hut treatment room in the garden.
Maiden Bradley, Wiltshire
The village of Maiden Bradley is surrounded by bucolic Cranborne Chase dreaminess, with Bruton to the west, Frome and Bath to the north. The village is part of the Duke of Somerset’s estate, maintained just-so, and at its heart is the gracefully restored Bradley Hare. The former Soho House design director James Thurstan Waterworth did the interiors, and all 12 rooms are gorgeous: the kind of muted tones and quiet luxury that whispers “‘old money”’ – yet joyfully, doesn’t cost too much of the stuff.
Doubles from £135 B&B (01985 801018; thebradleyhare.co.uk).
The Gunton Arms
Near Cromer, North Norfolk
It is hard to know what’s most exciting about a stay at this Norfolk shooting lodge. The deer park setting; the art collection (Lucien Freud, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst among them); the wow-factor interiors (a combination of maximalist designer Martin Brudnizki and the very English decorator Robert Kime); the food (venison cooked over fire by Mark Hix alumni) – or the price: all this for less than a hundred quid.
Lord Poulett Arms
Honeyed Somerset stone walls without, log fires within, and the welcome is just as warm at this marvellous 17th-century inn in sleepy Hinton-St-George. Everything’s delicious – the food (pub classics cranked up several notches); the local ales in a bar beloved both by locals and faraway visitors; and the six cosseting rooms – far more so than the low room rate implies. Out back, find gardens and a boules court.
The Bottle and Glass Inn
Binfield Heath, Oxfordshire
This thatched inn on chocolate-box Binfield Heath near Henley has been drawing fans from miles around for its superb Sunday roasts since chef David Holliday and sommelier Alex Sergeant (both formerly of the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms) took it over in 2017. The drawback was the drive home after your roast venison and Eton Mess – but last year they opened three rooms, restful in gentle tones and contemporary country style. Opening soon are five shepherd’s huts.
Doubles from £142.50 B&B (01491 412625; bottleandglassinn.com).
Loch Linnhe, Argyll
Downtime in his beloved homeland prompted luxury hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray (the man behind Covent Garden’s One Aldwych and The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links on the isle of Islay, among others) to shift down several gears with his new project: a pair of bonny wee boltholes with an altogether more sustainable outlook. The Pierhouse is one of them: a sprinkling of humble buildings on Loch Linnhe, overlooking the Isle of Mull and the Morvens, with 12 rooms and a restaurant that goes big on seafood.
Doubles from £130 B&B (01631 730302; pierhousehotel.co.uk).
The Sandy Duck
Young owner Freyja Ducker breathed new life into a crumbling Falmouth Victorian boarding house with the kind of Scandi-Brit modernism that has become the new seaside chic. Eight bedrooms – most with sea views – are painted in natural shades, with pared-down furniture and Hypnos beds; homemade cakes are served in the cosy lounge. The tight-knit team of locals (plus Rhubarb the border terrier) know the area intimately, and love sharing off-the-beaten-track secrets with guests.
Brighton, East Sussex
Brighton is where the Artist Residence story began – when Justin Salisbury inherited his ailing family’s B&B on Regency Square and, with barely any cash to do it up, invited local artists to redesign each room. Fourteen years and five hotels on, and the Artist Residence look is instantly recognisable – splashy and imaginative bedrooms with iron four-posters and unusual art – and the Brighton outpost has a cool café too.
Alex Bagner, author of “How to Leave London,” Alex Bagner illustrates exactly how it should be done here. In the fishing village of Deal, The Rose is her latest venture, and with husband Christopher Hicks – great-grandson of the inn’s original owner (who also owned the Walmer brewery, producer of owner (the ale still served in the bar) – they have overhauled the 200-year-old hotel in a style that’s part mid-century modern and wholly now. There are velvet headboards and contrasting paints (shell-pink and pea-soup green; butter-yellow and ocean blue), set off by 1950s armchairs, 1960s G-Plan and 1970s cane, with books and vinyl to fool around with. A seasonal menu of fresh, bright dishes, with an emphasis on the sea, is devised by executive chef Nuno Mendes and exquisitely presented on vintage crockery.
Brown’s is best known for being the pub where Dylan Thomas drank, and though there is no shortage of those, this was his local, stumbling distance from his writing shed above Laugharne’s silty beach on the Taf estuary. Bedrooms – panelled, beamed and done up in inky blue and ochre – are now a good deal more chic than the flannelette and candlewick days of Under Milk Wood. Walk the Wales Coast Path around the headland to wide-open Pendine Sands.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
Owners Lyn and Jason Martin turned a crumbling Georgian house in Lyme Regis into a stylish B&B deluxe, with five contemporary rooms that echo their seaside location in colour and design. There’s no restaurant, but the Martins serve a hearty breakfast, welcome G&Ts and cake, and love dishing out tips for the best local places to eat and visit.
This 14th-century inn, in the thatched comeliness that is Branscombe village, just got comelier still after a recent makeover, updating its 28 cottage-esque rooms into something altogether smarter, without losing their irregular historic charm. Food is a cut above your average pub grub, and the terrace is a joy on a sunny day. Branscombe beach and the Jurassic Coast are a fossil’s throw down the lane.
The Victoria at Holkham
Near Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
From the Earl of Leicester’s rather grand flintstone inn at the gateway to Holkham Hall, it’s a stroll along tree-lined Lady Anne’s Drive to one of Britain’s most magnificent beaches and nature reserves: Holkham Bay, with its wild-flowered dunes, and birdlife and great golden sands wide enough to ride horses through the surf. There are 20 rooms, pale and classic with antique furniture,; and Norfolk-sourced food is a passion here, from Wells lobster and samphire to the estate’s own game in winter.
Doubles from £125 B&B (01328 711008; victoriaatholkham.co.uk).
Hope Cove House
South Hams House, Devon
Restaurateurs Oli and Ra Barker’s taste for eclectic vintage finds has transformed a bland 1950s house into a funky eight-room coastal retreat. The location couldn’t be better, presiding over Hope Cove, a champagne-sand beach on a glorious stretch of National Trust-maintained coastline in South Hams Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As well as breakfast, their restaurant serves fish-tastic lunches and dinners, and has a terrace overlooking the sea.
Co-owner Melanie Boissevain is an interior designer, and it shows in her reimagining of this character-packed 18th-century house, a 10-minute walk from Tenby’s south beach. It’s welcoming, comfortable, but also superbly designed and deeply luxurious, 12 rooms mixing up emperor beds, quality antiques, razzmatazz chandeliers, hand-stitched quilts and gothic windows. Rhosyn is its award-winning restaurant, where dinner might be a six-course blow-out, and chef Richard Browning whips even breakfast standards into works of art.
Eastbourne, East Sussex
Shaking off its “God’s waiting room” reputation one address at a time, Eastbourne’s hip newcomer is the Port, a reimagining of one of its Victorian seafront hotels – you can spot it a mile off: it’s the only one painted black (whatever will they think of next?). Its mixologist shakes up the most sophisticated cocktails in town, and its restaurant, hung with works by local artists, serves punchy small plates and Sussex wines. Clean-lined bedrooms reflect the shades of the coastline: shingle gold, deep sea-blue and sunset pink.
George & Heart House
Designer-builder couple Kelly Love and Dan Williams have reinvented this 300-year-old boozer in the spirit of an east London scenester moving to Margate. They brought in six local artists (Whinnie Williams among them) to put their stamp on each room, and the result makes an imaginative, exuberant and very affordable addition to this groovy seaside enclave. Guests also have the run of retro Reggie’s Bar, the Zen Den for treatments and meditation, and a courtyard garden.
Doubles from £95 B&B (01843 225447; georgeandheart.com).
When The Bull opened in 2006 it heralded a cultural change in Bridport, a country mile inland from Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, which became known as “‘Notting Hill on Sea”’ as celebs from the capital came to stay. The 16th-century hostelry has been refreshed with a smart restaurant serving modern British dishes, plus a pizzeria in the stables; while upstairs, there’s a speakeasy hidden behind a door in the historic ballroom. Nineteen grown-up-glam rooms have Cole & Son wallpapers, clawfoot baths and vintage furniture found in the town’s antiques quarter.
Near St Ives, Cornwall
Down on the toenail of England, the Gurnard’s Head is a gorse-yellow inn shining bright as a lighthouse on the ragged coast west of St Ives. Cheerful rooms overlook furze-carpeted moors or the ocean, which is a pootle along a country lane. The food is something to write home about, even in these gourmet parts: dishes are a spritzy celebration of earth and sea, with vegans and pescatarians well catered for, plus hearty roasts on Sundays.
One of Queen Victoria’s first holidays was in Ramsgate, aged four, where she took donkey rides on the beach. She stayed here, in Albion House (formerly Townley House) and did so again as a sick teenager, the sea air aiding her recovery from typhoid fever. Nearly 200 years on, Albion House remains a stately seaside retreat, its Regency interiors restored with historic paint shades and in-keeping modern accessories alongside antiques. The elegant restaurant has sea views, as do most of the 14 bedrooms – including Little Victoria’s Room where the future queen recuperated.
Bike & Boot
Scarborough, North Yorkshire
OK, so this Victorian terrace hotel on Scarborough’s seafront is hardly bijou – but Bike & Boot is independent in spirit, with rooms full of character, both historic and contemporary. It’s aimed, as the name suggests, at outdoorsy types – lovers of cycling, walking, surfing – and also at families and dog owners (there’s a boutique cinema and a pooch grooming area). No airs and graces in the lounge bar here – this place is all about fun. Pedal hard and play hard.
What a location! Kylesku sits practically on Loch Glendhu, on the North Coast 500 road, near Sutherland’s knock-out west-coast beaches – white sand and, when the weather plays ball, turquoise water. It’s all about honest-to-goodness simplicity here. Unfussy rooms are painted the colour of clouds, with crisp white linens and tweed headboards; in the award-winning restaurant, unwieldy langoustines and king prawns are hoiked straight out of the water and served on sharing platters at wooden tables, indoors and out, overlooking the water and peaks beyond.
A homely little hotel on Northumberland’s wide-open coast, well-dressed in William Morris prints and wood-panelled walls, with familial quirks (a wall of vintage telephones in the lobby, say; and shelves stacked with curios and beachcombing finds). Its 18 individual rooms are named in dialect – some accessible, some dog-friendly, some for families, and all delightful in soft shades and tasteful wallpaper. The restaurant/bar serves robust pub classics and local ales, plus as well as the hotel’s own Beadnell Gin.
Llys Meddyg Hotel
Pembrokeshire couple Ed and Louise Sykes opened this low-key boutique hotel last year on the spectacular stretch of coast between Fishguard and Cardigan. Set in a listed Georgian house, it has eight deep-hued rooms, a laid-back lounge and a Cellar Bar that was once a Tudor pub.
Heaven for poets, painters, and lovers of solitude, Glenview is a micro-bolthole on Skye’s remote Trotternish Peninsula. It offers bed and vegetarian breakfast in just three characterful rooms – with a retro cottage thing going on – and a yoga studio, where owner Simon Wallwork leads hatha sessions. The views are something to meditate on: out across the sea, where humpbacks, orca and dolphins swim, to the craggy peaks beyond.
The Tiger Inn
East Dean, East Sussex
The South Downs village of East Dean is as delightful as a summer’s day. On the village green lies The Tiger Inn, a mediaeval smugglers’ tavern now painted dazzling white, which is all atmospheric gloom and low ceilings within, tables in the sunshine outside, and five country-casual rooms upstairs. Beachy Head’s a bracing couple of miles’ walk away.
Doubles from £110 B&B (01323 423209; beachyhead.org.uk/the-tiger-inn).
Number 38 Clifton
In Bristol’s loftiest, loveliest neighbourhood, Number 38 Clifton is a (very stylish) home from home – a renovated Georgian house with drawing rooms and original fireplaces, mustard-velvet armchairs for idling in and a library with shelves of books. Twelve smart bedrooms are distinctly decorated – deep blue panelling here, copper roll-top overlooking the park there – and there’s a terrace garden, too. Some of the city’s best pubs and restaurants are a well-fed stroll away.
This limestone coaching inn makes a peaceful retreat from the crowds thronging the centre of Bath. It is quietly tasteful, with its restrained palette, Ercol furniture and pared-back, tongue-and-groovy Scandi-English modernism in its 14 bedrooms. The wine bar has a hidden courtyard garden, and breakfast hampers of homemade goodies are brought to your door in the morning.
Behind the stately Regency facade of No.1 York lies an unexpected conviviality: a jazzy 1920s vibe pervades the Marmalade Lounge, there’s a vinyl library in the lobby and record players in rooms. Rooms are smart, dressed in white linen and many with four-poster beds – though children and dogs are very welcome.
Doubles from £90 room only (01904 644744; guesthousehotels.co.uk/no-1-york).
No.38 The Park
This No.38 The Park (no relation to Number 38 Clifton, weirdly) is another Georgian house-turned-boutique hotel, this one in Cheltenham’s Pittville neighbourhood. It is an elegant old thing: original details, from intricate cornicing down to stone fireplaces, forms the period backdrop for contemporary statement chandeliers and picture walls. Rooms range from airy grandeur with roll-top baths, to under-the-eaves cosy.
The Baltic Hotel
The fun-loving Baltic is one for party people. This restored gunmakers warehouse is the first boutique hotel in Liverpool’s regenerated Baltic Triangle, which has the city’s coolest places to eat, drink, dance, and see art – all of which you can do at the hotel itself. Its Duck & Swagger pub serves food all day, there are live DJ sets every Friday in the Parlour and a gallery space hosts exhibitions. Modern rooms come with vintage gig posters, record players and fridges disguised as Marshall speakers.
Doubles from £85 B&B (0151 218 7230; thebaltichotelliverpool.com).
Lime Tree Hotel
Belgravia is many splendid things, but good value it is not – which makes the Lime Tree a rare find. The owners spent lockdown giving their Georgian townhouse hotel a fresh new look that’s more Somerset than SW1, with rattan lighting, botanical prints, and oils of dogs. The 28 bedrooms, in shades of sage, cornflower and clotted cream, overlook chichi Ebury Street at the front (chic bakery Peggy Porschen is across the road); or out back is, a secret garden, with deck chairs on proper grass. The new Buttery restaurant is open for Nyetimber-fuelled breakfasts.
Jesmond Dene House
Newcastle, Tyne and Wear
An Arts & Crafts manor in leafy gardens, Jesmond Dene House (try saying that to the taxi driver after a few Newcastle Brown Ales) has the feel of a country house, yet it is in a suburb 15 minutes’ drive from this dynamic city’s centre. Lounges and the restaurant impress with their panelled and carved oak walls and ceilings, while there’s a room to please everyone, from pale (but never chintzy) florals to greys.
House of Gods
In Edinburgh’s storied Cowgate neighbourhood, House of Gods is part intimate hotel, part decadent drinking den. Cocktails form the mainstay of the experience, served in its moody pink bar, in its cocktail club, the late-night Lilith’s Lounge, or in your room – some of which are inspired by the Orient Express, others by Versailles, all of them bordello-dark red, gold and upholstered in House of Hackney velvets. A menu of “riders” with names such as “Treat Me Like I’m Famous” amps up the 24-hour party vibe.
Manchester, Greater Manchester
On Canal Street in the Village, Velvet started as a vibrant brasserie-bar, and now has 19 large, highly individual rooms upstairs. Some are flamboyant-fabulous – gold and black beds! Catholic kitsch murals! Four-posters and chandeliers! – others dark and moody. Those on the upper floors are quieter – though in this location, you’re bang in Manchester’s party-hard heart.
Georgian House Hotel
Interiors obsessives might recognise the divine stairway of the Georgian House Hotel, dressed in House of Hackney’s Babylon wallpaper and much shared on social media. The Pimlico townhouse has been in owner Serena von der Heyde’s family since it was built in 1851 as part of Thomas Cubitt’s development, and retains the feel of a family home (albeit a deeply fabulous one). The basement Wizard Chambers rooms are magical for kids, with their four-poster beds and gothic windows.