Category Archives: Spa Hotels

Turn off, tune out and drop in: spa hotel for a digital detox

After the traditional indulgence of Christmas, we now find ourselves entering a new period of tradition; the January detox.

For some that’s all about green juices and no carbs, going alcohol free or joining the gym, having a spa hotel break or maybe even all of those things. For some, however, those few days off over the festive season were a welcome reminder of what life is like away from the computer (with the exception of Instagramming your Christmas dinner and New Year selfies of course). All of which leads to the need for a digital detox this January.

It’s an almost impossible thing to escape from the phone, the nearest WiFi connection, your TV, the new Apple Watch you got for Christmas, as well as any other devices that determine your daily routine – we need them… after all, how did anyone ever navigate a city without the use of Google maps? The thought of going without is also something of a panic-inducing concept for the first 24 hours, until you start thinking about what a digital detox really means.

Bespoke Spa Hotel - The Lugger
Bespoke Hotels – The Lugger

In brief a digital detox means not having to answer your work emails, the phone or making life look postcard perfect in 140 characters or less on any number of social media platforms. In short, it means a lot less stress. But let’s think of what it really looks like to steer clear of all things techy for a brief period of time.

As I write I am sitting listening to nothing but crickets by the pool in Barbados. I have slept all day, drifting in and out of sleep as I read my book, waking only to swim, eat, talk to my best friends (no phone involved) and maybe go for a dip in the sea. I have not looked at my phone once (although I appreciate the irony of writing an article for the Internet on this subject), and while WiFi is available I cannot think why I would bother when I’m so busy with better things?

Bespoke Spa Hotel - Cotswold House Hotel
Cotswold House Hotel

I am not telling you this to make you jealous, although that is part of the joy of a good holiday, but rather because this is what makes a real digital detox such an unapologetic pleasure. Unlike that feeling where you go without your favourite foods for a week, a digital detox is all about gain, and there are several ways to do it. Heading into winter sun at the grottiest and most bitter time of the year in the UK, or you can go down the spa hotel route complete with a facial, massage and some professional guidance thrown in for good measure.

Personal preferences on the spa front includes The Lugger Hotel, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel and Cotswold House Spa. The Lugger has recently been named ‘Best Seaside Hotel’ by the Sunday Times, it’s surrounded by footpaths, cliffs and headlands on the Cornish Coast (which have the added bonus of almost no mobile phone signal should the itch to check that iPhone arise). You can even opt to stay in the appropriately titled self-catering cottage the Hideaway, to really complete the escapist vibe.

Bespoke Spa Hotel - Cotswold House Hotel
Cotswold House Hotel

Then Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex is a contemporary building surrounded by beautiful gardens and a dedication to all things health and wellbeing. Food frequently comes from the vegetable garden and what they don’t know about mind, body and soul isn’t worth knowing… even if you had mobile signal, there’s not time to use it with that many treatments on offer.

Meanwhile, Cotswold House Hotel and Spa has an award winning spa and is in the heart of Gloucestershire, so there’s lots of incentive to head out into the countryside and explore – a much better thing to do than check emails. However, it’s by the pool looking out onto their spectacular gardens that you really get a sense of peace and tranquility.

So there you have it, our guide to kick starting 2016 as you mean to go on. Or, to put a bit of a twist on Timothy Leary’s famous quote, all the reasons to turn off, tune out and drop in to somewhere different this month… at least for a little while.

Why Nothing Beats a Trip To a Pembrokeshire Country Hotel

According to National Geographic, the Pembrokeshire coastline ranks as the second best in the world… and if anyone knows about these things it’s National Geographic.

A magnet for walkers, nature lovers, foodies and families, this Western part of Wales has become a favourite amongst tourists, and for good reason. Take for example the city of St. David’s – with a population of less than 2,000 it is the smallest city in Britain and one of the prettiest too, with its 12th century cathedral dominating the skyline.

Lamphey Court country hotel
BW Lamphey Court Hotel

On the other hand the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its abundant flora and fauna is a sensory feast. Impossibly beautiful and breathtakingly dramatic, it’s one of those places that’s typifies all the reasons to travel around the UK in the summer time – surely there’s nowhere more beautiful?

For families, Oakwood theme park with its Megafobia rollercoaster is the place to go (proudly tipped as the best ride in Britain according to Visit Wales), and the Victorian seaside town of Tenby is renowned for the health-giving properties of its sea air.

In amongst the reasons to head to Pembrokeshire while the sun is shining however is Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa, a gracious country hotel. Set in beautiful grounds and within two miles of a collection of beaches and secluded coves near Tenby, the Georgian mansion dates back to 1823 and is nestled into the Pembrokeshire National Park.

view from a country hotel

Accommodation is divided between the original building (complete with confection like white columns and light pouring in through the sash windows) and a collection of courtyard rooms and studios, which all have an equally beautiful but very different vibe, so if you do choose to go then have a proper gander through the pictures to get a better idea of which one’s for you.

Despite the building’s history, the décor is contemporary, and nowhere is that more evident than in the spa and leisure facilities of this country hotel. There’s plenty to keep you entertained, from floodlit tennis courts to the 14-metre pool and herbal sauna, as well as Aromatherapy Associates and Cinq Mondes spa treatments – if you haven’t tried either brand, you’re in for a treat.

Conservatory at the country hotel
Lamphey Court Hotel Conservatory Restaurant

When you visit this hotel you absolutely must potter over to Lamphey Bishop’s Palace. Adjacent to the hotel, the palace is a National Trust site and the former retreat of medieval bishops seeking solace away from the everyday demands of Church and State. These days it’s a ruin, but the scale and proportions give you a hint of the decadence it promised these worldly men accustomed to power and status – something to contemplate over a picnic perhaps.

Tenby’s four beaches are also a must, all boasting a variety of environmental awards and beautiful views, perfect for a walk from this Georgian country hotel. From the cove that is Castle Beach it’s possible to walk out to St. Catharine’s island at low tide (just be careful that it doesn’t cut you off while you’re there), and Harbour Beach is a sheltered little spot at the rear of the bay offering a path back to the town and a walkway around to another sunbathing hotspot – North Beach, which welcomes the crowds in the summer months thanks to its large stretch of golden sand and easy access.

Bedroom at Lamphey Court country hotel
Lamphey Court Hotel Bedroom

Finally, after all that fun the food at Lamphey Court is an experience in its own right. Adhering to the Slow Food Movement, ingredients are locally sourced and the natural production process is interfered with as little as possible – all rather pleasant things to think about when tucking into that Sunday lunch after a bracing swim in the sea.

 

Everyone’s talking about Hotel Gotham

Can you feel it? The buzz, the palpable hum of excitement? I am not hiding my excitement about the opening of Hotel Gotham, Manchester’s newest five star hotel, at all well. But I’m not the only one.

Hotel Gotham Manchester Bedroom
Hotel Gotham Manchester Bedroom

In the weeks preceding the hotel’s opening last month, local and national press have been equally effervescent about it, with its 1930s interiors that have brought the 80 year old building and former bank back to life. Manchester Evening News enthused over the “swanky private members bar”, “stunning views across the city” and the “playful nods to that banking past” with gold ingot toiletry displays and moneybag-style laundry bags.

Hotel Gotham Manchester Bar
Hotel Gotham Manchester Bar

Much love has also been expressed for the video that’s shown to guests at the Hotel Gotham, which gives Manchester a New York twist. It shows the city’s glamorous side and features landmarks such as the central library, the big wheel and China Town, all epitomizing the hotel’s tagline “Manhattan comes to Manchester”.

Manchester is seeing an increasing number of people visiting for weekend getaways, exploring all the history and culture it has to offer, and as the doors swung open at Hotel Gotham, it can now claim its title as the second five star hotel in the city, although no other can stake a claim to the accolade of ‘Europe’s sexiest hotel’. Perhaps if they too channeled their inner Gatsby then they would get that sensual feeling. Hotel Gotham Manchester

While we have waxed lyrical about the hotel’s history and the narrative surrounding it however, it is the service unlike any other that’s really getting our hearts pumping. Only guests with a reservation either at the hotel or in the restaurant are allowed in because the name of the game here is privacy and luxury.

Rooms range from £150 per night to £1,000 per night for an inner sanctum room, especially good for those with a hidden desire to be Batman and have an utterly clandestine break. On which note, the hotel’s name does come from the comic book antihero’s home town and a nod to his secretive nature comes in the form of bat shaped ‘do not disturb’ signs on the bedroom doors.

Hotel Gotham Bedroom
Hotel Gotham Bedroom

Of course there’s more to talk about, and no doubt we will, but for now the anticipation is over and it’s time to celebrate a summer with serious sex appeal…

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink-news/hotel-gotham-exclusive-first-look-8925727

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/manc-hattan-hotel-gotham-transforms-manchester-8937011

 

Bespoke’s Newest Family Member – The Chester Grosvenor

 Spring is in the air, the Easter eggs have been well and truly demolished and the lambs are leaping around the fields, so it’s the perfect time of year for Bespoke Hotels to welcome a new member to the family. Stand up, The Chester Grosvenor.

Celebrating 150 years of style and elegance this year, the former Tudor Inn has received princes from pretty much the day it opened, not to mention playing host to some of Hanoverian politics’ bawdier moments.

The Chester Grosvenor - Bespoke Hotel

Today it has made a name for itself as one of the UK’s leading hotels,  a bastion of tradition and taste in the heart of the historic city of Chester.   While that history is palpable in the architecture and gravitas of the hotel, its contemporary renovation makes it a luxurious destination for 21st century travellers. The interiors have been very cleverly choreographed, working harmoniously and sympathetically with the rich past of the location and building.

Key amongst its highlights are a decadent spa and Michelin Star restaurant ‘Simon Radley’. They also do a mean afternoon tea, which is so much more than your bog standard triangle sandwiches and scones – check out the Decadent Champagne Afternoon Tea  for more details.

If you haven’t been to Chester then now is a good time to hop in the car. The Roman city is charming, particularly in the summer time. Boutiques abound and if you go when the horse racing is at its peak then it possesses a colourful and buzzing vibe that’s hard to beat.

The Chester Grosvenor Team
The Chester Grosvenor Team

The Chester Grosvenor is positioned slap bang in the middle of all the action, which of course is exactly what you want on a city weekend getaway. (Although for the moments when you do need time out, you do of course have that aforementioned spa to explore and enjoy.

With so much available by way of hospitality, it’s very rare these days, to discover a hotel that has the detailed elegance that this one has, particularly in the middle of a city, but The Grosvenor Chester has made its mark throughout history and its reputation is well earned.

So, round of applause, wave hello, and a hearty embrace to The Chester Grosvenor, the newest member of the Bespoke Hotel family.