While we’re all for a won’t-break-the-bank escape, sometimes big ticket occasions call for a push-the-boat out, blow-the-budget, truly special getaway. Whether it’s feasting at an acclaimed foodie retreat, old school glamour or a contemporary countryside idyll you’re after, here are some of the UK’s best luxury hotels, which deliver top-notch service and truly spoiling stays without fail.
The best luxury hotels in the UK are:
- Best for culinary escapades: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Booking.com
- Best for louche luxury: The Pig at Bridge Place, Thepighotel.com
- Best for a rebalancing retreat: Lime Wood, Limewoodhotel.co.uk
- Best for family adventures: Gleneagles, Booking.com
- Best for romantic getaways: Beaverbrook, Beaverbrook.co.uk
- Best for swish surrounds: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Booking.com
- Best for sky high adventures: Chewton Glen, Booking.com
- Best for traditional glamour: The Savoy, Booking.com
- Best for British quirk: Callow Hall, Booking.com
- Best for countryside and coast: The Grove of Narberth, Booking.com
Offering a flourish of France in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir, helmed by culinary maestro Raymond Blanc, has long been a foodie pilgrimage site. At this honey-hued Cotswolds stone manor house surrounded by Provencal lavender and a herb-filled garden, guests dine on two-Michelin wizardry at the restaurant. Hand-dived scallops with caviar rub up against strawberries with sorrel sorbet, paired with Chateau d’Yquem vintages, and very polished service. Afterwards, retire to one of 32 bedrooms, with interiors inspired by Monsieur Blanc’s travels; some evoke Asia with dark timber and draped curtains, others feature Venetian masks. Left inspired to ramp up your own skills? Join the cookery school or a gardening workshop.
Price: Doubles from £895, B&B
Nobody does modern luxury like The PIGs, and their outpost in the Nailbourne Valley outside Canterbury is no exception. A 17th-century red brick pile where the likes of Led Zeppelin gigged in days gone by, this 31-room hotel nails eclectic cool, fusing Jacobean period features with kaleidoscopic maximalism. Its storehouse-chic restaurant has a 25-mile menu, with much grown in the kitchen garden. Whether nibbling marmalade cake in the courtyard, sipping basil-infused Greenhouse Margaritas in candlelit nooks or enjoying a VOYA spa treatment in a Potting Shed treatment room, everything here is an occasion. Opt for the main house for risque touches – some have golden four posters – or Hop Pickers Huts for top-tier cosiness.
Price: Doubles from £130
Neighbourhood: The New Forest
It’s impossible for your soul not to feel lifted after a visit to Lime Wood, which has 33 rooms in a revamped 13th-century forest lodge and sprinkled through its wooded grounds. The New Forest National Park setting informs floral decor – contemporary rather than twee – twinned with antique furnishings. Superstar spa Herb House is all about restoring balance, with Bamford, VOYA or Sarah Chapman treatments on offer across 10 rooms. There are warm pools for soaking as well as a 16m indoor pool for swims with garden views. Graze on nourishing borlotti bean salads and rosewater, chickpea and pistachio meringues at in-spa restaurant Raw & Cured, or for something more hearty, excellent Hartnett Holder & Co delivers stylish Italian home-cooked fare.
Price: Doubles from £405
Synonymous with Scottish luxury, Gleneagles in Perthshire’s Ochil Hills will trick you into feeling like you’re a laird or lady of the manor in no time. Set in a rolling 850-acre estate it has a hint of French Chateau allure and 233 smart rooms with countryside-inspired decor. Best of all is the vast roster of activities – from tree climbing to falconry – on offer. Combined with a championship golf course, revamped spa, Den space for difficult-to-please teens, and several glorious restaurants and bars, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Don’t miss the two Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie restaurant, and botanical cocktails at the sultry, 1920s-feel American Bar.
Price: Doubles from £575, B&B
Neighbourhood: Surrey Hills
The former home of press baron Lord Beaverbrook, this 19th-century mansion and its 470-acre grounds – a mix of woodland, folly-filled gardens and a shell grotto – bring Gatsby glam to Surrey. The antiques-filled Main House has a grand staircase which spills into lounges with green-on-green panoramas. From a retro wood-panelled cinema to Sir Frank’s Bar – where martinis accompanied by caviar are de rigueur – Beaverbrook delivers unbridled opulence at its best. Abstract art-filled bedrooms keep you close to the action in the Main House, while those in The Garden and Coach Houses are more whimsical. The spa, renowned for its stained glass ceiling, serves up AS Apothecary massages and has an indoor and outdoor pool. Sushi at the Japanese Grill and Mediterranean fare at the Garden House both deserve standing ovations.
Price: Doubles from £630, B&B
Sandwiched between Hyde Park and Knightsbridge’s fancy boutiques, with The Saatchi Gallery and Royal Court theatre on the doorstop, Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park pairs a brilliant location with slick service and wolf-whistle dining at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Bedrooms with gentle apple green, blush and peacock blue shades pay homage to the hotel’s Royal Park neighbour with leafy motifs, luxed up with onyx chandeliers, record players, Diptyque toiletries and GHD hair straighteners. Top-level suites have terraces or balconies and personal butlers. Other highlights include spotting the Household Cavalry clip-clop past the property in the mornings, and there’s a ritzy spa with a 17m pool, amethyst crystal steam room and mani pedis by nail guru Bastien Gonzalez.
Price: Doubles from £720
Another New Forest wonder, this 18th-century country house hotel does English charm with aplomb. Think bedrooms with frilled curtains in rose and moss palettes, marble bathrooms and croquet lawn views. Up-to-the-minute quirk comes in 14 eco-friendly treehouses, perched 35 feet high in a wooded valley. As high-end as glamping gets, they’ve floor-to-ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings and hot tubs on hardwood terraces for sundowners. Masterclasses in everything from watercolour painting to wine tasting, golf on the nine-hole course, spa time, lessons at the James Martin cookery school – or simply dining on elevated Brit classics in his restaurant – can easily fill a getaway. That said, it’s worth getting out on a forest hack, going sailing on the Solent or, to go truly sky high, get staff to arrange a coastal helicopter flight.
Price: Doubles from £500, B&B, treehouses from £1350, B&B
Neighbourhood: Northbank, London
This Thameside grande dame is a class act, with 267 rooms kitted out in Art Deco and Edwardian style with marble, chequerboard floors and weighty clawfoot bathtub. Oh, and a Royal Suite kitted out by Gucci. Check in and you’ll be slumbering in the wake of the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Maria Callas. Both the Queen and Marilyn Monroe dined in The Savoy Grill – which, alongside seafood-focused River Restaurant, is now headed up by Gordon Ramsey. Service is flawless, and one-bed river view suites and above include an unflappable personal butler. While some afternoon teas are gimmicky, The Savoy’s – served in the Thames Foyer with classic sandwiches, scones, and pastries as pretty as the room’s glass domed atrium – is the real deal. Also, The American Bar, London’s longest surviving cocktail bar, is a Mad-Men feel mirrored space, where clever cocktails are soundtracked by talented resident musician Jon Nickoll who ‘takes requests no matter how weird or wonderful.’
Price: Doubles from £680
Proving that you don’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive to do luxury, Callow Hall is a spoiling, sustainably minded gateway to the rugged Peak District. Isabella Worsley has given interiors at this grand stone house a lift with liberal sweeps of colour – think red-and-white striped upholstery and gilt-edged mirrors by roaring fires. There’s also a clutch of Hives – luxed-up cabins – and two treehouses high in the woodland, with terraces filled with blackbird song. The candlelit Garden Room restaurant feels like a romantic indoor olive grove, and David Bukowicki’s seasonal, tasty dishes come served by cheery, unpretentious staff. There’s also a dinky wellness centre for massages using heavenly 100 Acres oils, and facials using honey from on-site hives.
Price: Doubles from £179, woodland hives from £259, two-bed treehouses from £329
With views out to the Preseli Hills, this country house sits in gorgeous Pembrokeshire, just a few miles from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which has high-drama coastline, 600 miles of trails, golden sandy beaches and quaint harbour villages. Interiors combine heritage features – ceramic fireplaces and grand hallways – with vintage Welsh lace and love spoons, and contemporary artwork by local talent. As well as 13 rooms in the main house there’s also a stone-walled longhouse and a handful of cottages with oak-beamed loft rooms. Triple AA rosette The Fernery serves up modern Welsh cuisine with considerable flair – think delicate plates of home-grown vegetables and Black Bomber cheese and morel tart – while Artisan Rooms is more laid-back and a perfect place to kick off your boots and enjoy a leisurely post-ramble bite to eat.
Price: Doubles from £350, B&B
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