The Good Hotel Guide makes a habit of knowing Britain’s hotels better than anyone else, so who better to sniff out the details and quirks that make a place really special. From rock ’n’ roll shockers to foodie havens, these are the places that will make you say “wow”!
1. Have a rock ’n’ roll romance at The Portobello, London
The Rolling Stones, U2, Patti Smith and Morrissey have all stayed in this quirky, recently revamped hotel in Notting Hill. If you’re unfazed by following in the footsteps of a doomed romance, book Room 16, the first choice of Johnny Depp and Kate Moss – it has THAT Victorian bathing machine where the pair famously bathed together in champagne. Bear in mind it’s the same bath in which Alice Cooper is said to have kept a boa constrictor…
2. Live like Agatha Christie and Noël Coward at Burgh Island, Devon
This glamorous hotel on a tidal island was the favoured retreat of Noël Coward and the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie. Wallis Simpson and Edward Windsor stayed here too. It first opened in 1929, and the current owners have restored its art deco glory. Stay in the Christie room, dress up for dinner, and jitterbug the night away to the Great Gatsby band in the hotel ballroom.
3. Steam into Harry Potter film sets at Glenfinnan House Hotel, Scottish Highlands
You’re slap-bang in Harry Potter country at Glenfinnan House Hotel. The lawns of this Victorian mansion stretch down to Loch Shiel – aka the Black Lake near Hogwarts. And it’s just 10 minutes from Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the Hogwarts Express steams across somewhere between Platform 9¾ and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Don’t be tempted to land a flying Ford Anglia on the lawn though – it’s purely for helicopters.
4. Sample the high life at Cliveden House, Berkshire
This illustrious stately home hotel on the River Thames is the epitome of luxury: dark panelling, coats of armour, tapestries, a chandelier-adorned restaurant and opulent bedrooms. The grounds are wonderful too. Tear yourself away from the hotel to cruise along the river to Windsor Castle in one of Cliveden’s vintage launches; take it up a notch with a champagne picnic.
5. Get into the seafaring spirit at Number Thirty Eight Clifton, Bristol
Another star of 2016’s GHG, this luxury B&B at the top of Clifton Downs will put you in the right frame of mind for a trip to ss Great Britain. Its interior is inspired by Bristol’s seafaring history, making it the perfect preparation for pretending you’re a 19th-century sailor as you climb 30 metres (108ft) up into the rigging of ss Great Britain, the world’s first great ocean liner.
6. Be like Bond at the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, Argyll and Bute
Stay in a 5-star spa hotel in a Victorian Scottish baronial mansion on a Bond-esque private island. There’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, a golf course and driving range, and the hotel can help you plan a sailing trip in a luxury yacht. If the weather allows, cruise to Duart Castle, home of the man whose exploits are said to have been the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.
7. Follow Seamus Heaney to Laurel Villa Townhouse, Northern Ireland
For fans of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, this elegant B&B is a literary cornucopia. Heaney even hosted an evening reading his works here. A rich collection of the poet’s memorabilia is on display, and owner Eugene Kielt – who is also a Blue Badge guide – arranges poetry readings and tours of ‘Heaney country’. The B&B has a sideline in helping to trace Northern Irish ancestry.
Find more amazing hotels recommended by the Good Hotel Guide, one of the few truly impartial guides to hotels and B&Bs in the UK.