While it’s still summer, spend some quality, post-lockdown time with friends and family by booking yourself a luxury staycation at one of the top hotels listed in the MICHELIN Guide.
We’re talking about secluded spots with all you need for some first rate R&R: think restored manor houses, lochside castles and sumptuous stately homes. Some are set in hundreds of acres; some have stunning spas; others boast MICHELIN-Starred restaurants – and all this without having to get on a plane. Here’s our pick of the best in the UK and Ireland:
Coworth Park, Ascot
An exquisite 18C property set in 246 acres, with stylish, contemporary guest areas and beautiful bedrooms featuring bespoke furniture, marble bathrooms and excellent facilities. The superb spa has a ‘living roof’ of herbs and flowers. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea in the Drawing Room or dine in the casual brasserie overlooking their championship polo fields. The elegant, One MICHELIN-starred restaurant will reopen on 4th September.
Cliveden House, Taplow
An imposing Grade I listed, 17C stately home in a superb location, boasting views over the gardens towards the Thames. The opulent interior boasts sumptuous, antique-filled lounges and richly appointed bedrooms. Unwind in the smart spa then kick-back in style with a picnic on one of the vintage launches – or bring your walking boots and explore the National Trust gardens. Dining options include modern British dishes in the Dining Room and the more relaxed Astor Grill in the old stable block.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Bowness-on-Windermere
A delightfully modernised country house hotel nestled in the fells and run by a charming, experienced family. Bedrooms range from contemporary country doubles to spacious garden suites with outdoor hot tubs. There are even more peaceful suites a mile down the road beside a tarn – stay here for exclusive use of the fabulous spa. HRiSHi offers MICHELIN-Starred cooking in an intimate atmosphere; Gilpin Spice follows the Silk Road from Cumbria to Asia, with many dishes designed for sharing.
Gidleigh Park, Chagford
A stunningly located and truly magnificent Edwardian Arts and Crafts house with lovely tiered gardens and beautiful Teign Valley views. Its luxurious sitting and drawing rooms have a classic country house feel but with a contemporary edge, and the wonderfully comfortable bedrooms echo this with their appealing mix of styles. The intimate dining rooms, meanwhile, have a lovely discreet feel with their comfy chairs and floor to ceiling wood panelling.
Heckfield Place, Heckfield
Set in over 400 acres, this lovingly restored Georgian country house has an atmosphere more akin to that of a house party than a hotel. It has a stylish blend of modern and period furnishings and the owner’s prized collection of post-war art adorns the walls. Kick back in the plush cinema or cellar bar, or take part in organised activities such as wild swimming or outdoor games, before dining on seasonal, home-grown produce – some cooked over the wood fire.
Lime Wood, Lyndhurst
This remarkable Georgian mansion boasts a gorgeous spa topped by a herb garden roof. Stylish guest lounges have quality fabrics and furnishings; one is set around a courtyard and features a retractable glass roof. Beautifully furnished bedrooms boast marble-tiled bathrooms, and many have New Forest views. The lovely vintage-style restaurant looks out over the gardens and offers appealing, classic Italian dishes, which come with a refined edge.
Chewton Glen, New Milton
One of the UK’s best known country houses comes with a sensational spa and is set in 130 acres of New Forest parkland – try a host of outdoor pursuits, including croquet, archery and clay pigeon shooting. Luxurious bedrooms range from classic to contemporary; opt for one with a balcony or terrace, or try one of the unique Treehouse suites. Dining options include a traditional restaurant and a modern brasserie, which showcase produce from their own kitchen garden and greenhouse.
Longueville Manor, St. Saviour
An iconic 13C manor house, which is immaculately kept and personally and professionally run. Country house style guest areas have a modern edge and the well-equipped bedrooms are a mix of classic and contemporary styles. Relax in the lovely pool and delightful gardens before dining on island produce (including some from their own kitchen garden) in the 15C oak-panelled restaurant, the brighter Garden Room or out on the charming terrace.
Lucknam Park, Colerne
This grand Palladian mansion is set in 500 acres of private parkland and has a mile-long tree-lined drive, rich, elegant décor, luxurious furnishings and beautiful fabrics. Bedrooms are classically appointed and extremely comfortable. Top class facilities include a fantastic spa, a renowned equestrian centre and a cookery school. One MICHELIN-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones offers country house dining at its finest.
Whatley Manor, Malmesbury
A charming Cotswold stone house built in 1802 and set in 12 acres of formal gardens. Guest areas include a delightful wood-panelled sitting room, a super spa, a top class business centre and a cinema. Individually decorated bedrooms have sumptuous bathrooms and a contemporary feel. Food options include an elegant brasserie and the Two MICHELIN Starred Dining Room, which serves modern cooking with Asian touches on multi-course set menus.
Belmond Le Manoir, Great Milton
The vision of legendary French chef, Raymond Blanc, this quintessentially English country house part-dates from the 15C and is surrounded by majestic gardens. You cannot help but fall in love with the place: the setting is divine and a feeling of luxury envelops you. Service is top-class, guest areas are resplendent and bedrooms are opulent (ask for one in the Garden Wing). Enjoy drinks on the delightful terrace overlooking the grounds – and Two MICHELIN Starred cooking in the restaurant.
Inverlochy Castle, Fort William
A striking 19C castellated house in beautiful grounds, boasting remarkable views of Ben Nevis; having spent a week here in 1873, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary that she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'. The classical country house interior comprises sumptuous open-fired lounges and a grand hall with a striking ceiling mural, while the elegant bedrooms offer the height of luxury. The grand candlelit dining rooms have stunning loch views and offer richly flavoured classic dishes which showcase luxury Scottish produce.
Llangoed Hall, Llyswen
A fine country house beside the River Wye, in the heart of the Welsh countryside; it was redesigned by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1910 and restored by the late Sir Bernard Ashley, husband of Laura. Delightful sitting rooms and splendid, individually designed bedrooms feature rich fabrics, mullioned windows and antiques; the impressive art collection includes pieces by Whistler. Ambitious modern cooking, served in the elegant dining room, is led by what’s fresh in from the kitchen garden.
Republic of Ireland
An immaculate Regency mansion built in 1820 and set in over 600 acres of parkland, with a lake, woods, follies and grottoes. The interior is stunning, with its cantilevered staircase, breathtaking ceilings, Irish art and restored antiques from around the world. The eighty-foot library features 4,000 books, the drawing room is decorated in gold leaf and the bedrooms are luxurious. Produce grown in the kitchen garden informs the dishes served in the elegant dining room.
Adare Manor, Adare
This glorious 1830s Gothic-style mansion was built in 1832 for the Earl of Dunraven. It sits in 850 acres and offers attentive service and a host of outdoor activities. Ornate ceilings and superb wood panelling feature throughout and bedrooms have an understated elegance. Enjoy afternoon tea in the cathedral-like ‘Gallery’ – or dine in the MICHELIN-Starred restaurant, the Oak Room, which gets its name from its wood-panelled walls and comes with period artwork and lavish chandeliers.
Ashford Castle, Cong
A hugely imposing, 800-year-old, lochside castle surrounded by extensive grounds; try archery, falconry, clay pigeon shooting or zip-lining; take to the water; or relax with loch views in the spa. The handsome guest areas in this former home of the Guinness family display plenty of historic splendour and the bedrooms are beautifully appointed. Take afternoon tea in the Connaught Room or, dine in the stone cellars in Dungeon, casually in Cullen’s or formally in elegant George V.
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