Category Archives: cool hotels

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 www.bespokehotels.com/access

Spotlight on the Lake District Hotels

Popular for its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and historic literary associations, The Lake District is one of the UK’s scenic trump cards. From Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain, to Wastwater, its deepest lake, as well as beautiful market towns, spectacular walking routes and water sports in between, it’s a peaceful holiday destination and a treasure trove of discovery, exploration and inspiration. Particularly if you know the best Lake District hotels to stay in while you’re there.

For walkers

Lake District Hotels Ennerdale COuntry House Hotel

It’s a tall order to find a more beautiful part of the world for walking than the Lake District. Combining countryside and coastline, Ennerdale Country House Hotel is beautifully located in five acres of gardens close to the seaside town of St. Bees, making it an ideal base from which to tackle the Coast to Coast Walk which takes you from the town itself to the awe-inspiring Robin Hood’s Bay. Chances are you’re not going to cover the complete 190 miles, at least not on foot, but you can head out as far as you fancy and then potter back for tea at the Grade II listed building, which has been painstakingly restored with its original fireplaces and ceilings on display. And even if you don’t fancy being quite so energetic as to head out to the coastal paths, you will be pleased to know that this Lake District hotel’s own gardens provide equally stimulating vistas with significantly less effort, thanks to the tranquil landscaped gardens surrounding a picturesque Italian fountain.

For water sports

Lake District Hotels Lodore Falls Lodge

Alternatively, at Lodore Falls Lodge it’s almost impossible to beat the dramatic beauty of the Lodore Falls themselves within the hotel grounds. The water cascades over huge boulders from a distance of some 30-metres, set contrastingly against a backdrop of unmoving mountains and placid lakes. The 200-year old hotel sits within 40 acres of grounds, and while walking is still an unmitigated pleasure here, so too is kayaking from the Lodore jetty on Derwentwater, or simply sitting in the outdoor hot tub and admiring the unrivalled views.

Lake District Hotels for foodies

What would an utterly British holiday be without a good afternoon tea? Unbearable, we say. And fortunately The George Hotel in Penrith stands out as an elegant experience known for its fine dining as well as its excellent lunches and afternoon teas. It’s something of a social hub with events peppered throughout the year, and while it’s supremely elegant with wood paneling, antique furniture and open fires, it’s also extremely friendly. Children and well-behaved dogs are all welcome, and its location makes it a splendid spot from which to explore the town as well.

For special occasions

Lake DIstrict Hotels Storrs Hall

A Grade II listed Georgian Mansion, Storrs Hall sits on the edge of the famous Lake Windermere and as a result has unparalleled views of the water. It combines everything as far as a holiday in one of the Lake District hotels goes, with incredible scenery, proximity to the water, beautiful walks, excellent food served in a restaurant that boasts three AA Rosettes, and that’s not to mention the hotel’s own grandeur and elegance at the centre of it all. In addition to 31 bedrooms the estate is home to nine log cabins to stay in and beautiful landscaped lawns to stroll throughout. So if you’re going to have an introduction to the Lake District, and take in all that makes this region so unique, it’s the perfect place to start!

But whatever your tastes a visit to this beautiful part of England and a stay in one of the Lake District hotels is a must this Summer. To check availability and book your choice just follow this link >>>

A City Break in Manchester

A city break in Manchester is well worth, given it is one the most vibrant and varied cities in the UK. Whether you want shopping, culture or sport, you’ll find plenty within close reach of most Manchester hotels.

Culture in a City Break in Manchester

The city’s splendid architecture ranges from the iconic Town Hall to the beautiful St Mary’s Catholic church, known to locals as a hidden gem. There’s a wide range of museums, too, from the Manchester Art Gallery to the Museum of Science & Industry.

Manchester has traditionally been second only to London for theatre, and your city break can take in a trip to the Royal Exchange, the Opera House and many more stages. You can also visit iconic sites connected with Manchester’s television industry, from Media City to a tour of Coronation Street and the Rovers Return itself

City Break Manchester Hotel Gotham Honey Restaurant

Music and Nightlife in Manchester

While the heady days of “Madchester” are gone, the city still offers plenty of music venues, from the vast Manchester Arena to the legendary Roadhouse. Manchester’s rich nightlife ranges from the sophistication of the Cloud 23 bar to clubbing at Gorilla, or the vibrant, varied bars of the Northern Quarter. There’s excellent nightlife within easy reach of the Hotel Gotham for example as well as its own Club Brass where you’ll have membership for the duration of your stay.

Shopping in Manchester

Manchester has all the major shops you’d expect, but it’s also rich in specialist and boutique shops. The Arndale, the Trafford Centre and the Lowry Outlet Mall leave you spoilt for choice, while Afflecks offer quirky, independent fashion stores. The best area, though, for independent shops is the Northern Quarter, offering everything from crafts and design to classic vinyl records and world famous upmarket brands, such as Vivienne Westwood and Hermes.

City Break Manchester hotel room

Sport in Manchester

Many visitors to Manchester undoubtedly come for a trip to either Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium, depending on their preferences, but the football fan can also enjoy the National Football Museum. Old Trafford is also the home of Lancashire Cricket Club and has hosted memorable Test Matches, while the Manchester Velodrome is Britain’s earliest indoor Olympic cycling track.

Eating Out in Manchester

You can find whatever type of restaurant you’re looking for in a city break in Manchester, whether it’s The French by Simon Rogan, with two Michelin Stars, the 2 AA rosette Honey Restaurant at Hotel Gotham or the informality of Northern Soul Grilled Cheese. You can also find almost any ethnic food you might want, and Manchester’s Chinatown, reputedly the biggest in Europe, is well worth a visit.

If you want to stop off for lunch or afternoon tea, Manchester is well supplied with first-rate cafés — Moose Coffee and Home Sweet Home are both excellent choices.

City Break Manchester View

This has only scratched the surface — Manchester’s attraction for a city break range from parks to trips on the Manchester Ship Canal. And the city’s Metrolink tram system can take you anywhere and back to your Manchester hotels for just £5 a day.

So why not book your city break using the Hotel Gotham as your base by following this link to find out availability and some great rates!

Where to find the Best Riverside Hotels

There’s something about a short break at a riverside hotel nestling by the riverbank that really adds another dimension to a holiday.  Strolls by the water, picnics in the sun, and a leisurely pace of life all seem to go hand in hand with a waterside location. But which are the best riverside hotels to visit for such an experience?

Take for example The Arrochar Hotel in Scotland.  On the banks of Loch Long, the 19th century hotel is in an enviable location that combines the tranquil waters with the surrounding mountainous landscape in the kind of idyll that fairy tales are made of.

Riverside hotels Arrochar Hotel
Arrochar Hotel

However, for those after something a little closer to London, there’s also the aptly named Bridge Hotel in Chertsey.  Just 30 minutes from the buzz of the city, this riverside hotel sits quietly on the banks of the River Thames with spectacular views over the hotel’s own tributary, as well as the main river and the far reaching meads beyond the historic Chertsey Bridge.

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So the thinking goes in The Wind in The Willows, and so it is that where there’s a river, one hopes there is a boat to sail away in as well. Which is precisely the case at Stonehouse Court in the glorious Cotswolds.

riverside hotels in uk

This 17th century manor house sits in six acres of stunning grounds overlooking the Stroud Water Canal and rolling hills of the Stroud Valley.  Surrounded by beautiful gardens, including a croquet lawn for a quintessentially British summertime experience, it’s also a wonderful spot for walking, picnicking, taking a boat trip, or hiring your own and pottering along the canal at a more leisurely pace.

The summer offers so many wonderful possibilities for whiling away the time in beautiful outdoor bliss, but whether it’s cities, countryside or somewhere near the coast, a little water goes a long, long way.

To book the riverside hotel of your choice just follow this link >>>