Category Archives: cool hotels

Afternoon Tea — As English as Roses

There’s nothing that evokes old-world England quite like afternoon tea. In the 19th century, and well into the 20th, it united the aristocracy and working classes as the country came to a halt at four o’clock for sandwiches, scones, cakes — and, of course, tea made the old fashioned way. As the old popular song put it, “everything stops for tea”.

Today, we might throw a tea-bag into a cup, but most of us don’t have time to stop for a full afternoon tea. We still love it, though, whenever we have the opportunity indulge ourselves at a tea-room or hotel.

Bespoke - Risley Hall Hoetl

 

Afternoon Tea in Hotels

If you’re in London, tea at a hotel like Claridges or the Dorchester is a treat everyone no one should deny themselves, but a hotel doesn’t have to be that famous or expensive for the experience to be special. Properties up and down the country offer this service both to guests and non-guests.

If you’re staying there, a traditional tea can make your break extra special. Or, if you’re in the vicinity of the right hotel, you can pop in and enjoy the elegance just as it should be.

Afternoon Tea 1

Here are just a few of the hotels around the country that offer afternoon tea:

  • Hallmark Carlisle Hotel — In the heart of the historic city of Carlisle, the Hallmark offers a comprehensive tea menu in the bar or brasserie. It’s popular, though, so you’ll need to book.
  • Tigerlily — A chic hotel in the centre of Edinburgh, Tigerlily’s celebrated restaurant offers tea either cosily inside or at its pavement tables on George Street in summer.
  • Hotel Gotham — A listed art-deco building in mid-town Manchester, the Hotel Gotham serves tea at any time between 2.30pm and 6pm.
  • Inn on the Lake — By contrast, the Lake District’s Inn on the Lake offers stunning views over Ullswater while you take your tea in either the Lake View Lounge or the Orangery.
  • The Grosvenor Arms — Situated in the picturesque Dorset town of Shaftesbury, the Grosvenor Arms serves tea in its restaurant.
  • Hallmark Hotel Bournemouth West Cliff — This elegant hotel in the middle of one of Britain’s most popular seaside resorts offers both traditional and themed teas.Afternoon Tea in Your Area

    Of course, these are just a handful of the many hotels around the country serving afternoon tea. Whether you’re on holiday or a day out, or whether you’d like to treat yourself close to home, check out your area for hotels to visit.

Romantic city breaks: what REALLY makes them romantic?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, and a Leap Year following swiftly after that, romantic city breaks are most definitely in the air in 2016.  While Paris is the capital of proposals and Italy has a reputation for sweeping people off their feet, we are delving beyond the stereotypes and looking to explain what really gives some of the most romantic cities in the world their edge…

Paris

You can’t really talk about romance without mentioning Paris, but in amongst the suave, sophisticated men and effortlessly stylish women, it isn’t just the accent and the food that makes Paris such a hotspot for Cupid’s Arrow.  Nope, for anyone who has spent a little time walking around the famous city it’s clear that Paris’s charm lies in the details and the atmosphere.  Personal recommendations would be to take a wander in the Luxembourg Gardens and then go for a jaunt around the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in the 20th arrondissement.  It might seem like a peculiar recommendation on a romantic getaway but here you will find the final resting places of everyone from Jim Morrison to Oscar Wilde (a legendary knee wobbler).  It’s certainly a trip you won’t forget!

Bermondsey Square Hotel
Bermondsey Square Hotel

London

The beauty of London lies in its diversity.  From Bermondsey, where visitors find themselves surrounded simultaneously by iconic contemporary features like The Shard, nestled right alongside the artisan pleasures of Borough Market, to the hoi polloi of Chelsea and Bloomsbury, the city is a chameleon where you can be whoever you want to be and the possibilities for adventure and magic are endless.  Hold hands wandering down the Southbank after an evening at the National Theatre, or pop the question on Tower Bridge… it is a Leap Year after all!

Florence

Much like France, romance is woven into the fabric of Italian culture, and nowhere is that more apparent than Florence.  One of the most beautiful heritage cities in the world, it feels alive without having the weighty hustle and bustle of other major European settlements.  At no point are you weighed down by congestion or find you’ve turned a corner only to be confronted by an offensive postwar edifice.  On the contrary, this is the city of awe-inspiring architecture, living history, palpable creativity, and perhaps the most spectacular skyline you could hope for, especially if you enjoy it at sunset from nearby Fiesole.

Edinburgh

Wrap up warm and head to a city that has history at its heart.  There’s no one more patriotic than the Scots, and their capital, with its cobbled streets, boutique shopping, spectacular castle and ample opportunities to snuggle up with a dram of whisky, makes for one heck of a passionate escape.  It might not have been the first city you thought of for Valentine’s Day, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find it has all the makings of an epic romance.

Vagabond Hotel - Miami

Miami

Another curveball to throw into the mix, while moving still further away from all things stereotypical, comes in the form of a trip to the heat and buzzing atmosphere of Miami.  Romance here isn’t about staring into one another’s eyes, but partying until sunrise and absorbing the unique social climate in this vibrant city.  If you’re lucky enough to stay somewhere like The Vagabond Hotel then you can also absorb a little of that 1950s Hollywood-esque history that it does so well… it’s like stepping out into your very own silver screen.

International Bespoke Hotels

Now the British winter seems here to stay, most of us are dreaming about getting away to the sunshine. Even if we can’t drop everything and take off right this instant, at least we can plan a holiday in the sun for later in the year. If you’re tired of the usual hotel brands, and eager to experience something a little bit different, there are plenty of bespoke hotels offering unique experiences in locations ranging from surprisingly unfamiliar corners of Europe to the exotic and far-flung. Allow us to show you a few…

Reads Hotel, Mallorca

The major resorts on Mallorca may be crowded, but the setting around Reads shows why the original tourists came to the island. The first five-star hotel in the island’s countryside, Reads is one of those bespoke hotels that has been offering exclusive service to its guests since 1995.

Nestling again the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Reads has suites and double bedrooms that offer views across four acres of landscaped gardens and vineyards where the hotel produces its own wine. The Vespasian Spa, rated by Tatler amongst the top 50 spas in the world, provides an impressive range of wellness options.

Reads Hotel Majorca

Palazzo Belmonte, Italy

In the Campania region, two hours down the Italian coast from Naples, Palazzo Belmonte is a 17th century palace converted into a luxury hotel, with a choice of apartments and suites as well as a restaurant. With a private beach on this glorious Mediterranean coastline as well as a swimming pool, it’s surrounded by extensive walled gardens.

And if this wasn’t a great find just five miles away, the Villa Sirena  with seven en-suite double bedrooms is under the same management. Besides its own swimming pool and Roman ruins, guests at the Villa Sirena can also use the Palazzo’s facilities. So you can chose from your type of Bespoke Hotels from one location and the facilities that you want.

The Dune Eco Village & Spa, Puducherry, India sunset

The Dune Eco Village & Spa, Puducherry, India

If you’re looking for something worlds away, both geographically and culturally, the Dune Eco Village and Spa is a beach hotel in south-east India that offers a mixture of eco-friendly living, Indian spirituality and a glorious climate. With 55 bungalows (many of them historical buildings) offering accommodation, the Village also has a spa that provides alternative therapies such as Watsu, as well as yoga, meditation and Ayurdevic treatments.

The Dune is as much a way of life as a hotel, and guests are invited to share activities like milking the cows on the property’s organic farm, which provides most of the food serviced in the healthy-eating restaurants. And alongside the quieter activities in the spa, a wide range of sports are available — as well as the glorious beaches on the Bay of Bengal.

India is becoming a great place to visit in 2016 with lots more different bespoke hotels on offer from City to Country from large to small so check out what on offer by clicking here >>>>

Chic Hotels: Why 2015 is Right For A London Staycation

When it comes to cities and chic hotels, few are as awe inspiring as London, particularly when the sun is shining. Yet for most of us who live here it’s not often we take the time to really enjoy it. The city has so much to offer, and personally if I had a weekend in London in the sunshine I could think of nothing better than checking into one the chic hotels and exploring it through the eyes of a first-time visitor.

Chic Hotels La Suite West
La Suite West Hotel Hyde Park

While north London has its character and central London has untold
vibrancy, it’s south west London that wins when it comes to charm however, particularly in the summer months and so for this time of year that is where I would focus my urban adventure for chic hotels.

Kensington and Chelsea are almost impossible to beat for elegance and with them come some of London’s most iconic sites. The Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace are a living, breathing part of the city’s history while Notting Hill with its array of postcard perfect houses broadly lives up to its romantic reputation as depicted in Hugh Grant’s rom-com classic. It’s probably also got some of the best boutiques in the area (including charity shops that redefine the genre).

chic hotels The Lodge Putney
The Lodge Putney

Meanwhile, there’s also the leafy village of Putney, the large open space of Wimbledon Common (perfect for Wombling), and events including the historic Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, and of course the upcoming Wimbledon tennis which always inspires excitement, even if you’re mostly in it for the strawberries and cream.

Perhaps one of the greatest joys in South West London however, is simply watching the world go by, so it’s fortunate that it’s brimming with coffee shops, pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces and gardens. Few things are finer than a leisurely weekend lunch in the sun as the world pootles around you in this little corner of the metropolis – it really is a world unto its own.

chic hotels La Suite West
La Suite West Lobby

When it comes to chic hotels, a favourite is The Lodge Hotel, a contemporary gem and former coach house nestled into a Victorian terrace that’s otherwise characteristic of its home in Putney. It has a conservatory at the back (in case you prefer the quiet of the hotel to the aforementioned pub), and it’s close to the tube should you care to go beyond this little oasis of calm and explore the wider capital.

So many people come to London every year for work and play, and see it through excited eyes, so perhaps this summer is the year for an urban staycation; time when you can look up at the beautiful architecture rather than down into the murky Underground, and instead of thinking of London in terms of job prospects and daily commutes, rediscover is as the beating heart of England, throbbing with culture, stories and exceptionally good food.