Accommodation Update – September 2019

As summer turns to autumn, discover the latest fresh openings and planned developments in Britain’s accommodation sector. From Instagrammable luxury treehouses to renovated Georgian period properties, there’s something to suit all tastes.

 

Recently opened

The Biltmore, Mayfair

The Biltmore in Mayfair has opened its doors this month following a multi-million-pound redevelopment, offering 257 contemporary rooms in addition to 51 lavish suites. Part of Hilton’s luxury LXR brand and with stunning views looking out over Grosvenor Square, guests can expect elegant designs and state-of-the-art facilities. Located minutes from Bond Street’s exclusive retailers and a number of London’s major landmarks, the hotel also houses an impressive ballroom with private street access while a large gym-tech fitness suite opens at the end of the month. Chef James Atherton will open the hotel’s flagship restaurant, The Betterment, on 19 September, offering a year-round alfresco terrace, new culinary concepts and an exclusive cocktail bar.

South Cliff Holiday Park, Bridlington

Found in delightful East Yorkshire countryside, but just yards from Bridlington’s award-winning beach, the South Cliff Holiday Park now offers a range of new lodges, holiday homes, touring pitches and shepherd huts. From its site overlooking the North Sea, guests can opt to stay in a range of two or three-bedroom static homes, six-person cabins or one of two unique shepherd huts. The picturesque coastal town of Bridlington is just a short walk away, as well as a number of beautiful wildlife and conservation areas.

Beverley Minster House, East Yorkshire

Located in a Grade II-listed Georgian town house and in shadows of the striking Beverley Minster, the newly restored Beverley Minster House has now opened its doors. With accommodation spread over three floors and with an abundance of quirky spaces, all rooms in the five-star holiday home have Minster views, making it a central self-catering base from which to explore the East Yorkshire market town. Capable of sleeping six people and with three luxurious bathrooms in addition to a spacious lounge and dining area, this period property stands proudly in one of the oldest parts of the town.

Ness Walk, Inverness

Set in the beating heart of Inverness, Ness Walk offers five-star luxury and a secluded hideaway in a historic Grade II-listed building. Many of the 47 rooms retain fine period features, blended with unique modern twists and a décor that reflects the Highlands’ seasonal landscape. Guests can relax and soak up the views from the ground floor private terraces, while floor-to-ceiling windows fill the upper rooms with light. Two exclusive suites provide an indulgent experience with stunning views out over Inverness Castle, alongside private lounge and dining areas, chic marble bathrooms, lavish super king size beds and luxury cashmere throws. The hotel’s Torrish Restaurant provides elegant fine dining using seasonal local ingredients, and the Riverside Room, with its lounge and bar space, offers ample space for guests to unwind.

 

Coming soon

Luxury treehouses at Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa, Durham

Opening September 2019

Guests will soon be able to relax in luxury treehouses overlooking the Ramside Hall Hotel and The Prince Bishops Golf Course, just outside Durham. Set to open in September, the highly Instagrammable treehouses are built on stilts and can be used as three-bedroom lodges, or split into a one bedroom and two bedroom suites. There’s also a lavish bathroom in each treehouse, complete with free-standing copper baths, while the wraparound balcony houses a luxurious sunken hot tub.

Artist Residence, Bristol

Opening October 2019

Housed in a former boot factor in Portland Square, just minutes from Bristol city centre, is Artist Residence. The 23-bedroom hotel in the creative St Pauls community will feature a coffee shop, event space and garden, as well as a bar and kitchen offering a delightful food menu. Marking the fifth venture of the arty chain, the hotel promises a mix of art, design and vintage in equal doses.

Moxy Hotel, Southampton

Opening December 2019

Southampton is set to welcome Moxy Hotel to the south coast for the first time with the opening of a chic 208-bedroom offering, based near the hustle and bustle of West Quay. Featuring a bright and airy lobby space that’s chock-full of contemporary furniture and a state-of-the-art video wall, the multi-million-pound boutique hotel will add to a brand that has properties in London, York, Aberdeen and Glasgow. All bedrooms in the eight-storey building will feature the latest technology, while the hotel bar offers an array of wines and local beers.

Yotel Glasgow, Scotland

Opening spring/summer 2020

YOTEL’s distinctive design and technology-driven hotel offering is set to open its second venture in Scotland in 2020 with the launch of YOTEL Glasgow. The Westergate Building on Argyle Street is being transformed into a 256-room hotel, as well as a destination rooftop bar complete with bowling alley. Found opposite Glasgow’s Central Station, the hotel will feature a range of rooms from Premium Queen Cabins for two guests up to VIP Suites, meaning there is something for every budget.

Moat House Hotel/ DoubleTree by Hilton, Stoke-on-Trent

Opening 2020

Hilton has unveiled ambitious plans for Stoke-on-Trent’s Moat House Hotel on Festival Park, having agreed a franchise deal this summer. The hotel chain has outlined proposals for a £6.5 million refurbishment of the site, before rebranding it to become a DoubleTree by Hilton in 2020. The 140-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn is also set to open its doors in Stoke-on-Trent in early 2020 as part of the Smithfield development in the heart of the city.

48 Hours in Inverness and Loch Ness

The ‘capital of the Highlands’, Inverness in north Scotland is a vibrant city that has recently welcomed new attractions and restaurants, but which also sits in an enviable location close to some of Scotland’s most beguiling scenery and tranquil countryside. A trip here allows you to enjoy all the attractive elements of city life while simultaneously experiencing the best nature has to offer.

Time to check in

Whether you stay in heart of Inverness or on the shores of Loch Ness, it’s easy to reach the other within 20 minutes to an hour, depending on which area around the Loch you are visiting/staying in. It also means a lovely choice of accommodation, whether that’s cosy B&Bs, elegant hotels or luxurious lodges. In Inverness itself, set on the tree-lined banks of the River Ness, are the four-star, boutique Glenmoriston Town House Hotel and the three-star Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa. Ten minutes from town is the Kingsmills Hotel & Spa, a four-star contemporary hotel built within stunning 18th-century architecture. A little further out is the luxurious Achnagairn Castle, with its own spa and restaurant, while close to the southern tip of Loch Ness, The Lovat Loch Ness is a 30-bedroom independent hotel combining an eco-ethos with elegant interiors and 3 AA rosette fine dining.

DAY ONE

09:00 DELVE INTO THE CITY’S PAST

A great place to gain an in-depth insight and understanding of the history, heritage and art of the Highlands is at the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. An ever-changing programme of temporary exhibitions feature all year-round at the art gallery, while the museum includes a number of fascinating collections, including Highland weapons and costumes.

11:00 STEP INTO A TROPICAL PARADISE

A beautiful gem in the heart of a city, the Inverness Botanic Gardens are wonderful to explore any time of year, with a broad variety of plants blooming every new season. Explore the glasshouses for plants from deserts and tropical rainforests, as well as hundreds of species of cacti and a waterfall surrounded by orchids and bougainvillea.

13:00 DINE WHERE MUSIC HISTORY WAS MADE

Stop for a bite to eat at the Rendezvous Café, a quirky vintage cinema café that is also the site where The Beatles – known then as the Silver Beetles – played on their first-ever tour as a support act in 1960. Feast on warming homemade soups, tasty baguettes and generous wedges of sticky toffee pudding or chocolate fudge cake.

15:00 TAKE IN A BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE CITY

Close to the café is one of the city’s must-visits; its newest attraction, Castle Viewpoint. Not only will you learn about Inverness’ fascinating past, you’ll also be rewarded at the top of the viewing platform with magnificent panoramic views.

17:00 ENJOY PRE-DINNER COCKTAILS

City centre bar The White House produces its own innovative in-house creations – check out its Breakfast Martini, made with Rock Rose gin, Cointreau, with elderflower liqueur, orange marmalade and homemade rosemary syrup – as well as the classics, all made with fresh ingredients.

20:00 FEAST ON HIGHLAND CLASSICS

Make sure you bring an appetite to Inverness newcomer, Prime, which serves up juicy, locally sourced steaks and succulent seafood at its riverside location. Try its large, shared dishes of meat cooked over charcoal or individual dishes such as wild Highland rabbit, and finish with a Scottish classic – Clootie dumpling (warm, steamed fruit cake) served with cranachan ice cream and Scottish honey.

 

DAY TWO

07:00 PADDLE AT SUNRISE

Head 30 minutes outside of Inverness for on an early morning canoe safari with activities company In Your Element. This is as close to nature as you can be; as the sun comes up look out for roe deer, badgers and otters as you paddle along the River Beauly and through the Aigas Gorge.

OR

07:00 WALK AROUND A WORLD-FAMOUS LOCH

You can now walk the entire way around Loch Ness on an uninterrupted trail – the Loch Ness 360°. This new complete pathway, which opened in summer 2018, loops around the entire circumference of this famous loch. While you won’t have time to do all of it in one day, you can walk through a good chunk of over six to seven hours in that time frame, or book to stay on longer than 48 hours and spend a few days completing the walk.

12:00 PICNIC ON LOCAL PRODUCE

If you opt for early morning canoeing, you’ll have built up an appetite; pick up fresh, local fare for a picnic lunch at Corner on the Square, a cute, award-winning delicatessen and café in the historic village of Beauly.

13:00 CRUISE AROUND LOCH NESS

Sail out onto the deep waters of Loch Ness on a Jacobite Cruises boat and take in the glorious surrounding forests and glens (and conduct a little Nessie-spotting of course), before stopping off to explore Urquhart Castle, which overlooks the mysterious loch. One thousand years of history await you as you explore its ruins and discover priceless artefacts and interactive displays at the visitor centre’s exhibition.  

16:00 HEAD OUT DOLPHIN SPOTTING

While you may not have found Nessie earlier in the day, you have the chance to spot magnificent bottlenose dolphins! Climb aboard one of the boats run by Dolphin Spirit, which will take you out into the Inner Moray Firth for potential sightings.

19:00 DRINK AT A CITY FAVOURITE

Head back into Inverness to try out one of MacGregors Bar’s set beer menus. Each order is set so that each drink compliments the next in its flavour profile, and all have been handpicked to represent the bar’s featured Scottish breweries.

20:00 DINE IN A FORMER CHURCH

Located within a converted church The Mustard Seed has retained many of the church’s original period features and boasts a double-height ceiling and a beautiful open log fire. Its top-floor terrace is perfect for picturesque views of the River Ness. As well as a la carte, Chef also produces daily specials, which may include treats such as seared eye fillet of Highland beef served with a malt whisky cream sauce.

22:00 PARTY THE NIGHT AWAY

The city is packed with brilliant live music options if you wish to continue your night out after dinner. Johnny Foxes & The Den is a traditional Scottish pub with live music every night and its wine bar and nightclub, The Den, offers live music alongside DJs and dancing until 3am. Award-winning Hootananny is a great place to go for a traditional Scottish folk music programme and weekly ceilidh parties (upstairs is its sister venue Mad Hatters, which specialises in live rock music). Elsewhere The Market Bar also hosts live folk music and Gellions Bar is home to one of longest-established Saturday Ceilidhs in Inverness city centre.

Getting there: Inverness has its own international airport; direct flights are daily from Heathrow and there are flights available year-round from London Gatwick, London Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast. Inverness Station receives direct, fast services from Glasgow Queen St, Edinburgh Waverley (both three-and-a-half hours) and London Euston (11.5 hours on the overnight Caledonian Sleeper service, which you can book up to 12 months in advance).