Tag Archives: UK Breaks

Bespoke Hotels version of the Valentine’s Day History

Bespoke-Hotels-Valentine's-Day-OffersPeople often ask about the history of Valentine’s day – that time of year when people open their hearts and spoil the special person in their lives.  Well here at Bespoke Hotels we’ve researched the matter extensively. And that’s just as well, seeing as all our properties are very much involved in this wonderful occasion.

Roman Roots

We’ve learned that the history of Valentine’s Day is obscure and rather clouded by various whimsical legends. The holiday’s roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. This was subsequently recast by Pope Gelasius I around 496 as a Christian feast day, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day.

Which St: Valentine, Bespoke Hotels would like to know?

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honour remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of the third almost nothing is known except that he met his end somewhere in Africa! Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine we celebrate was a priest who attracted the disapproval of Roman emperor Claudius II. However, after this initial point of agreement, the factual ends and myths have a tendency to intertwine. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies and was eventually apprehended and put to death. Bespoke Hotels has discovered another legend that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.” However, the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one centred on religious love, rather than passion, in which the unlucky Val was martyred for refusing to renounce his beliefs.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

Chaucer’s Love Birds

Valentine's-day-offersBespoke Hotels’ investigations now move to the 14th century when this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to the scholars, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance.

In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honour of the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In “The Parliament of Fowls,” the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine’s Day are linked:

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,  When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

Hardly the most romantic of images!

Tradition of Valentine’s Cards

Over the centuries, the holiday has evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards of lace and ribbons, featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine’s cards did not become widespread until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, an American national, began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the day has become a booming commercial success with around 25% of all cards sent each year being associated with Valentine’s Day.

Bespoke Hotels‘ Dinner and Overnight Stay Offers

Now this is a more modern tradition that has its roots in the 20th century. Restaurants and hotels use the evening and night to encourage love! Bespoke Hotels is no different, and all our hotels offer special Valentine’s menus and special room rates that have added features like Champagne, roses and chocolates for that special someone.  Check out your local hotel here to book dinner, or here for a great break.  But hurry it’s barely a week away!

Bite 2014 the Cotswold Food Festival is supported by Bespoke Hotels

Bite-2014-sponsored-by-Bespoke-hotelsIt’s all in the name, really. Bite 2014, sponsored by Bespoke Hotels, has everything you could possibly want to get your teeth into. It’s all coming to the Cotswolds between 1st and 9th February 2014: breakfasts, brunches, lunches, teas & dinners, pop-up restaurants, cocktails and fine wines, masterclasses, talks and tastings, an Open Kitchen trail, meet the chef events and book signings, food fairs and farmers’ markets sponsored by Bespoke Hotels.
BITE 2014 is a can’t miss event for all food lovers. To register for their newsletter and for further booking details visit the Bespoke Hotels’ web site here.

For those who don’t know the Cotswolds, it’s one of England’s favourite destinations, famous for hundreds of honey-colour limestone villages surrounded by rolling hills and winding country lanes.

Bite 2014, sponsored by Bespoke Hotels, is just one the events taking place here amidst the fabulous Cotswolds hotels and beautiful scenery.  Lively cultural events, a year round season of sporting events and festivals – even the range of individual, quirky shops here – have all combined to ensure repeat visitors are in plentiful supply. For lovers of the quaint and rustic, the Cotswolds is a delight – full of experiences, inspiration and shops that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Winter in the Cotswolds

Winter in the Cotswolds offers long walks in the spectacular, unspoiled countryside, followed of course by cosy hotels, pubs and tea rooms dotted around the villages and towns. Perhaps visit the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester, or maybe Stow on the Wold to admire the views from its hill top location. But that’s not to say the smaller towns and villages don’t have much to offer. The Slaughters, Broad Campden, Chalford, Bibury, Longborough and many, many more each have a unique character and we’d recommend spending a day or two exploring them at your leisure.

Cotswold House Hotel

Take Chipping Campden, for example. Here Bespoke Hotels can offer you two choices – The Cotswold House Hotel and the Noel Arms – both primary venues for Bite 2014. The village will appeal to discerning travellers visiting the Cotswolds in search of tranquility, sublime comfort, exceptional food, and a stunning spa.  The contemporary style makes Bespoke Hotels’ Cotswold House and Spa one of the most admired boutique hotels in the region, as well as an award winning retreat for the therapeutically-minded.

Across the high street, The Noel Arms Hotel  is one of the oldest Cotswold inns. It’s a building steeped in history. They even say Charles II stayed here during the English Civil War! When staying at the Noel Arms, be sure not to miss trying one of chef Indunil’s famous curries – so good that he is the current holder of the Best Pub Curry Chef Award at the Great British Pub Food Awards! Additionally, as befits  Bespoke Hotels , both these properties give ample opportunity for you to put your feet up in front of the log fire, read the papers and treat yourself to a Bite 2014 Event.

BITE 2014 Pop-Up Masterclass Theatre

In partnership with Bower Willis Designs, Bespoke Hotels will transform the Dining Room at The Cotswold House Hotel into a BITE 2014 Pop Up Masterclass Theatre, showcasing a whole host of skills giving you the chance to learn at the hands of the experts.

No matter which Bite 2014 events attract you, a stay at one of Bespoke Hotels’ Cotswold hotels is be a must.  To book your accommodation, click here and for more information on Bite 2014, click here.


Keep up to date with BITE 2014 news and exclusive content by clicking here and signing up for the official mailing list. Enter your details now to be entered into our competition for a chance to win an overnight stay and two tickets to the event of your choice during the main festival.

Why stay at a Bespoke Boutique Hotel?

In recent years, boutique hotels have emerged as the most popular accommodation across the world. Ironically, however, no one really seems to know the real meaning of the term ’boutique’ or why it is used in connection with hotels. What are the benefits of staying in a Bespoke boutique hotel?

Wikipedia defines a boutique hotel as a term popularised in North America to describe “hotels which often contain luxury facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations that began appearing in the 1980s.”

Typically a Bespoke boutique hotel is furnished in a themed, stylish and aspirational manner. Thus, a Bespoke boutique hotel is individual and focused on offering its services in a comfortable, intimate, and welcoming setting.

Guest rooms and suites may be fitted with telephone and Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, a mini bar and often satellite TV, but sometimes they will feature none of these, focusing instead on quiet comfort rather than gadgetry. Additionally, Bespoke’s boutique hotels have on-site dining facilities and offer bars and lounges.  But the one thing which is very clear among the Bespoke hoteliers is the fact that they know exactly what qualities or characteristics make their hotel a boutique hotel.

The first quality is none other than size of the hotel. It is often questioned as to how many rooms should be there in a boutique hotel? As per the connoisseurs of this business, a hotel with less than 100 rooms can be called a boutique hotel.

The second quality or characteristic is the atmosphere of the hotel. At Bespoke, we believe atmosphere to be a very significant factor for any boutique hotel. Here, the definition of atmosphere is the sum of all facilities and services that make an ordinary stay an outstanding one. When used in the context of our boutique hotels, the term atmosphere comprises of decor, ambience, personalised service and the mind-set of hotel staff, and most importantly an understanding of how all these can combine and create a sense of closeness among the guests which further adds to the popularity of any hotel.

Every boutique hotel must have great service. For Bespoke, the staff of our boutique hotels should predict or know in advance the needs and requirements of their guests rather than merely responding when asked. Knowing what your guests want, when they want it, how they want it and anticipating all of this is what transforms good service into great service.

So, we can see that the definition of a boutique hotel is rather vague. Sometimes they can be hip and at other times historic, while others are unique in design, architecture, or theme. The boutique hotel usually distinguishes itself in the areas of design, service, and target market.

With all these factors included, the definition of a boutique hotel could well be an accommodation that makes its guests feel at various times happy, contented, and extraordinary, while ensuring they will desire to return and discuss the property with their friends.

Get bookish with Bespoke Hotel Breaks UK…

Savings, free books, half-price offers, and exclusive hotel breaks UK deals with Bespoke Hotels

Bespoke Hotels is pleased to announce an exciting new offer for all you fiction fanatics out there. Inspired by book month, Great Little Read and Relax Breaks will be available at selected Bespoke hotels from July 1st to September 30th as part of our latest hotel breaks UK deals.

Costing just from £99 per person**, this fantastic hotel breaks UK offer includes two nights’ accommodation with breakfast, dinner on one night, afternoon tea and a glass of fizz. What’s more, we’ve teamed up with Great Little Breaks and publishers Pan MacMillan to herald this literary landmark by offering free copies of best-selling author Lucy Diamond’s books for every Great Little Break booking*

Coinciding with the launch of Lucy’s new book, Me & Mr Jones, we will be distributing complimentary chapter extracts at selected hotels, while also offering half-price savings on the book purchase price. Furthermore, inside each copy of Me & Mr Jones will be a voucher for 15% off a future stay with Great Little Breaks.

Lucy Diamond, the ‘Queen of Summer Reading’, writes about life, love, friendship and everything in between – perfect ingredients for a holiday read. Choose your destination from over 35 Bespoke Hotels across the UK who are participating in our latest hotel breaks UK deal – from the stylish Bermondsey Square Hotel in London (as seen on Channel 4’s Hotel GB) to the glorious Stonefield Castle Hotel on the fringes of the Mull of Kintyre.

*Free copies of Lucy Diamond books on offer with first 1,000 bookings made in June, between the 1st and 30th (travel in June or later).
** Based on two guests sharing.