Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 10 iconic UK hotels

Hotel Portmeirion, Snowdonia, Wales
If you’re looking for a hotel with class, a real sense of tradition, rich history and maybe even a celebrity guest or two, then check in with us at one of the UK’s 10 most iconic hotels.
The Goring, London, England
The only family-run 5-star hotel in London has a reputation for refinement and luxurious understatement. Speak to anyone who’s been here and they’ll probably tell you the real draw is the almost indefinable sense of Englishness – where traditions like taking tea are upheld with charm and good humour. Winston Churchill was a regular guest and Kate Middleton chose to spend the night before her wedding in the Royal Suite. 
Did you know? The Goring was the first hotel in the world to fit all its rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

The pastel-hued Italianate village of Portmeirion was the vision of architect Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis who set about designing this classical confection in 1926. It’s unique in the UK and has attracted the attentions of everyone from TV location scouts to music video producers. At the centre of this fantasy is the Portmeirion Hotel, tucked into dense woodland with magnificent sea views, individually designed rooms and eccentric charm in spades. 
Did you know? Portmeirion was used as the backdrop for cult TV show 'The Prisoner'. 
Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
Play laird of the manor at Scotland’s most famous golf hotel. Set in 850 acres of Perthshire countryside, Gleneagles is home to three of the top Scottish Championship Golf Courses and will host the 2014 Ryder Cup. There’s all the luxury and pampering you’d expect from a 5-Star hotel plus outdoor activities including off-road 4x4 driving, fishing, shooting and falconry. 
Did you know? Gleneagles has opened the world’s first gundog school where you can learn to handle a trained gundog. 
St Pancras Renaissance, London, England
Rescued from destruction, the elaborate neo-gothic turrets of the Midland Grand Hotel have been resurrected as the St Pancras Renaissance after years of lying empty. And for our money, it’s probably the most romantic and extravagant hotel in Britain. Indulge in the Victorian tiled spa, sweep down the Grand Staircase (used as a film location in 'Batman Begins') for dinner and revel in the grandiose luxury of a building that’s part fairy-tale castle and part wonder of the age of steam. 
Did you know? The poet John Betjeman said the building was "too beautiful and too romantic to survive". Luckily he was wrong. 
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire, England
Raymond Blanc’s intimate 32-room hotel and restaurant has maintained its reputation as the place to enjoy a countryside retreat for over 25 years. The atmosphere in this Cotswolds country house is cosy and classy but what most people come for is the food. The two-Michelin starred restaurant is supplied for eight months of the year by vegetables and herbs from the hotel’s own gardens and Blanc’s Menu Découverte is an 11-course tour de force of Anglo-French culinary class. 
Did you know? You can learn how to cook like Raymond Blanc on one of the hotel’s cookery courses. 
Find out more
Burgh Island Hotel, Devon, England
If you’ve ever wanted to grace the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, this is a good place to start. This 1930s hotel served as inspiration for both 'And Then There Were None' and the Hercule Poirot mystery 'Evil Under the Sun'. It’s still the quintessential art deco seaside retreat and while it could never pretend to have Savoy-like levels of glitz, its eccentric period charm is well worth experiencing. Perched on Burgh Island off the coast of Devon, it’s cut off at high tide with access provided by a sea tractor that ferries guests above the waves. Hole up here and ponder whodunit or simply suck up the sea breeze and relax. 
Did you know? Noel Coward booked a room at the Burgh for three days and ended up staying for three weeks. 
Royal Crescent
Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath, England
The sweeping Georgian elegance of the Royal Crescent is the showstopper at the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath. And the 5-star boutique Royal Crescent Hotel is slap bang in the middle. Stroll arm in arm with your beau along streets once thronged with Georgian socialites, then retreat to the hotel’s award-winning spa for a soak. The hotel is refined, comfortable and intimate; the perfect base for experiencing Bath’s superior charms. 
Did you know? Hollywood star Nicolas Cage fell so in love with Bath that he bought a house in the city. He switched on the city’s Christmas lights in 2009. 
The Witchery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Probably the most atmospheric and respected restaurant in Edinburgh, The Witchery stands close to the castle tucked down a narrow alley. Decked out in dark panelling, tapestries and elaborate stone work, the 16th-century building is a favourite with visiting celebrities and serious foodies. The rooms are equally special; decadent, sumptuously comfortable and with roll-top baths for two. A great place to live out your fairy-tale fantasies. Book well in advance to secure a room. 
Did you know? The witchery takes its name from the women who were burned at the stake on Castlehill during the 16th and 17th centuries. 
Culloden Estate, Hollywood, Northern Ireland
Looking out imperiously over Belfast Lough, this gothic-style 5-Star stunner was built as a mansion in 1876 before becoming a Bishop’s Palace and finally a hotel in the late 1960s. Tee off at the Royal Belfast golf course, retreat to the spa, try sailing and horse-riding, or explore the dense woodland, endless beaches and the hotel’s 12 acres of secluded gardens. 
Did you know? The building’s one-time chapel is now the hotel bar. 
The Savoy, London, England
The Capital’s riverside deco gem re-opened in 2010 after a three-year refurbishment which has restored its jewel-like period features and added the latest gadgets. Sip a cocktail in the American Bar where Harry Craddock, author of the Savoy Cocktail Book, worked in the 1930s, eat in the Savoy Grill where Vivien Leigh was introduced to future husband Laurence Olivier or simply gawp at the gold leaf in the black and beautiful Beaufort Bar. If your budget won’t stretch to an overnight stay, pop in for a drink and a snoop round the Savoy Museum – a collection of souvenirs from glamorous guests of yesteryear. 
Did you know? Savoy Court, the short street outside the hotel, is the only street in the UK on which vehicles are required to drive on the right.

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