Bespoke Access Awards 2017/18 Opens for Entries

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in association with Bespoke Hotels, launched the second year of the Bespoke Access Awards this week.

The Access Awards are an international competition to design fully accessible hotel rooms, to continue improving access to properties worldwide for disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, as well as all other guests. The Awards aim to challenge the perception of hotel facilities set aside for disabled people, which can often be viewed as joyless, poorly-designed and over-medicalised.

The Bespoke Access Awards were established in 2016 and were the first awards of their kind. In their opening year, teams of designers from countries as far afield as Hong Kong, Russia and Canada submit entries across a range of categories. The overall winners, awarded the Celia Thomas Prize worth £20,000, were Motionspot & Ryder Architecture, who devised ‘AllGo’, a unique, universalised approach to hotel room design system to ensure that all hotel rooms are functional, flexible and accessible.

The scope of the competition has been broadened for its second year to cover five strands of inclusive design: Architecture, Product Design, Service Applications (digital), Service Applications (training), and Inclusive Employment. Prizes will be awarded for the most imaginative, innovative and potentially realisable ideas in any or all of these strands,, with the overall winner of the Celia Thomas Prize will receiving £20,000.

The Paralympic Gold Medalist and Peer Baroness Grey-Thompson, whose interest in design was fostered by her father, a professional architect, will judge the competition, together with the distinguished architect Alan Stanton, winner of the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture.

Alongside them will be Robin Sheppard, Chairman of Bespoke Hotels and Hotel Sector Champion for Disabled People; Baroness Celia Thomas, Patron of the Access Awards Graeme K Whipper MBE, Disability Specialist for Channel 4; Alastair Hignall CBE, Trustee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation; Sarah Weird OBE, Chief Executive of Design Council; and Paul Gregory, MCIBSE, MSLL, Global Specification Director for Dyson.

For full competition and entry details, please visit

Warm Winter Holidays at the Fireside with Bespoke Hotels

There’s nothing like cosy fires and warm hearths to keep you toasty during the cold months of the year. With the winter holidays coming up, it is time to plan for a getaway that will make you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and renewed. Stay at a hotel that features inviting fireplaces in lobbies or if you are lucky enough, your very own chimney corner in your room.

Fireplaces do not only provide warmth in an eco-sustainable way, they also evoke homely, intimate and romantic settings. Imagine a lodging that features something extra special – inviting and trendy lobbies, relaxed rooms with amazing fireplaces, sumptuous food and great service. These are the things that make you feel at home whilst on holiday in some of the best spots in the UK.    


Boasting of the largest lake in England, Windermere is the place to go if you love natural parks, quiet surroundings and beautiful landscapes. Cumbria’s Lake District National Park in northwest England is where you will find amazing mountain peaks and charming villages. Walk, hike, follow trails or just absorb the beauty of the lake and its environment. After an invigorating day outdoors, head home to one of two Bespoke hotels in the area that offer comfortable facilities and simply curl up next to a fireplace. The Lake District features two outstanding accommodation for your pleasure: Storrs Hall and Ennerdale Country House Hotel. Both have fireplaces featured on their properties; needless to say, you’ll be spoiled and will probably consider installing one when you get back home!


The Cotswolds region is renowned for its historic villages and towns. Declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Cotswolds is simply pretty with its rolling hills, beautiful vegetation and stately manor houses. There are many places to visit in Cotswolds such as The Chipping Campden, Broadway and Snowshill Manor. And if that’s not enough to entice you to visit the region, think of roaring fireplaces, fine food and fantastic service when you stay at Bespoke hotels in the region such as the award-winning Cotswold House Hotel & Spa and King’s Head Hotel Cirencester.]


Exmoor in southwest England is named after the River Exe. If you are looking for a romantic and relaxing place for winter, head to Exmoor. There are plenty of choices when it comes to historic sites, lovely gardens, pristine coastlines and charming countryside. It is great for both couples and families or groups of friends. Exmoor boasts of a national park, theatres and cinemas, dining places and crafts shopping so there is always something for everyone. And if you are hunting for a cosy place to stay, the Highbullen Hotel & Country Club is a great choice with its wide range of facilities. Enjoy this beautiful manor with its vaulted ceilings, antique furniture.

Whether you are looking for a quick getaway this winter or are seeking an extended stay during the holidays, there are several places in the UK worth visiting. If fireplaces are your thing, look no further for Bespoke Hotels has a good inventory of accommodation that will satisfy even the most discerning guest.

Destination Dorset

Destination Dorset for the Perfect Family Holiday

Autumn might be just around the corner but there’s still time for a last minute getaway – and a traditional family holiday sampling the best of Britain is a recipe for success. Head for the south coast with its charming seaside villages and lively towns, endless stretches of cliffs and beaches, and history hidden around every corner. Staying in the UK is a great way to maximise your money and your time, meaning you can splash out a little on a luxurious hotel to make your break extra special – we’ve got several for you to chose from.

Spotlight on Dorset

While there’s plenty to love all along the south coast, Dorset is a particularly good county to pick. Whether you’re after a relaxing week’s walking along the coast and playing on the beach, or amusements and adrenaline-pumping watersports, Dorset is the place to choose. There’s so much going on and in a relatively compact area, meaning you have plenty to entertain the whole family for days.

Multi Generation Family Having Fun On Beach Holiday

Steeped in History

The Jurassic Coast isn’t a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing; the towering cliffs are home to some of the most important geology in the world, with early fossil discoveries from the region giving birth to geology as a science. There’s plenty of opportunities to sign up for guided fossil hunting trips so that you can bring home a unique souvenir, or you can grab a guide book and head out yourself. Try a walk starting at the famous natural arch of Durdle Door, along the coast to Lulworth Cove. Heading out on the water here is also a great choice, giving you a different perspective of the power of the sea and how it’s shaped this special coastline. Corfe Castle is another one for the list, as picturesque a ruin as anyone could ask for, and the chance to ride on a steam train from the nearby village.

Go to Town

If you’re in need of a touch of civilisation, there’s plenty on offer in Bournemouth – including some of our beautiful hotels overlooking the beach like the East Cliff Court Hotel. A classic seaside pier and attractions, miles of golden sands, a visit to the Oceanarium, or even Monkey World – and with a great range of shopping and eating options too, you can make a day of it. For a quieter and more historic feel, try a visit to Lyme Regis or Weymouth. Both have beautiful beaches, opportunities to try several different water sports, and fantastic museums with hands-on experiences for the whole family which help to bring to life the rich history of the area.

Bespoke Hotels Appointed to Manage Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel

We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed to oversee management of Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel. Set beside the city’s renowned Portland Street, the 85-bedroom property, itself a former cotton warehouse with a history dating back to the Industrial Revolution, has been acquired this month by Fragrance Group Ltd.

Set to feature within our portfolio alongside the award-winning Hotel Gotham, itself just a stone’s throw away in Central Manchester, The Townhouse Hotel forms part of a significantly expansion into the UK market by the Singaporean Fragrance Group. Purchased alongside a number of properties across the country, including The Palace Hotel in Torquay and Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel, the Townhouse is seen as a central pillar of their strategy, particularly given Manchester’s robust trading performance in recent years.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement to take The Townhouse under our wing”, commented Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “Following on the heels of Hotel Gotham’s notable success, we have long been investigating means to further our commitment to Manchester and increase our presence within the city, with a historic property such as this providing the ideal vehicle through which to do so.”

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