Tag Archives: luxury

The best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds – A Lady of Leisure’s favourite five

Searching for luxury hotels among the beautiful rolling hills of the Cotswolds may sound like an easy task – there seems to be one round every corner. However with so many to chose from, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. With most insisting on a two-night stay at weekends, you want to be assured that you’re spending your money wisely and that you’re going to have a truly memorable stay. So after extensive research, here’s A Lady of Leisure’s best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds. Do you agree or are there others on your list?

Barnsley House, Barnsley House, Barnsley, Gloucestershire 
01285 740000

barnsley house stay

With 18 rooms, a spa, private cinema, landscaped gardens and superb restaurant, you are practically guaranteed a fabulous stay at Barnsley House. The rooms are beautifully decorated in a simple but classic style, the staff are friendly and efficient, the food is first-class and the cinema (which you can hire for free) is really indulgent, with leather seats and freshly popped popcorn. The grounds aren’t vast and the spa isn’t the biggest in the hotels on my list, but there is a style and charm about Barnsley House which is impossible to resist. The hotel also owns the Village Pub just a short walk away.
Rooms from £200 per room per night

Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Easton Grey,
Malmesbury, Wiltshire 01666 822 888

WM ext2

If it’s indulgence you’re after, then you’ve come to the right place. Whatley Manor is right on the edge of the Cotswolds but you won’t be leaving here to go sight-seeing – there’s too much relaxing to be done. The spa is surprisingly extensive, with a hydrotherapy pool, four separate sauna/steam rooms, outdoor loungers, treatment rooms and even a mud chamber – you could easily spend the day Continue reading The best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds – A Lady of Leisure’s favourite five

A life of luxury for A Lady Of Leisure: The 2015 Review

From Michelin-starred dining to London’s most decadent pancake, grand country houses, brand new cruise ships, boutique hotels and celebrity hangouts (not to mention cocktail classes, private cinemas and hot tubs in the Cotswolds), it’s been a life of luxury for me and ALadyofLeisure.com.

I’ve reviewed just under 50 amazing hotels, restaurants, bars and holidays – which were read by several thousand unique readers a month, plus shared across Twitter and Facebook – and have loved writing about the very best of the British hospitality industry, from Llandudno to the English Channel and all points in between.

Huge thanks to all the venues that made such an exciting year possible (full list of reviews below) and looking forward to reviewing the best in hotels, restaurants, holidays, bars and all things leisure-related in 2016!

All the best,

Sarah
ALadyofLeisure.com
sarahbridge@aladyofleisure.com

Hotels

Gravetye Manor

Old-style charm in a perfect country setting – Bailiffscourt hotel and spa, West Sussex
Impossible not to love it – The Pig near Bath, Bath, Somerset
Relaxed country living Huntsham Court, North Devon
Location, location, locationCompleat Angler, Marlow
A home rather than a hotel: Cheval serviced apartments
A relaxing stay in Queen Elizabeth I’s bedroom: Spread Eagle, Midhurst, West Sussex
A classic country retreatAshdown Park, East Sussex
Calm behind the commuter chaos: Amba Hotel Charing Cross, London
Fine country living: The Grove, Hertfordshire
A stay with the Downton Abbey factorHartwell House, Buckinghamshire
A classic country house with Hollywood glamourLuton Hoo, Bedfordshire
Friendly, fun hotel on a budgetQbic London City hotel, Aldgate
Fine dining and an £1,600-a-night suiteSt James’s Hotel, London
£20,000 wine and the Judgement of Paris tasting eveningThe Vineyard, Newbury
Discovering hidden treasuresThe Stafford hotel, St James’s London
Fabulous foodie heaven in a beautiful settingGravetye Manor, Sussex
An oasis of loveliness miles from anywhereYnyshir Hall, Powys, Wales
An imposing building with impressive viewsBodysgallen Hall, Llandudno, Wales
A Capital place for a cocktail masterclass The Capital Hotel, Knightsbridge, London
Unshowy but smartThe Arch hotel, Marble Arch, London
A wonderfully cosy Cotswolds hideawayBarnsley House, Gloucestershire
A family-friendly escape in the Cotswolds countrysideCalcot Manor, Gloucestershire

Restaurants

restaurant

Lunch with a view – Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar, South Bank, London
A Hidden Culinary Gem – Bourne & Hollingsworth, EC1, London
High quality Italian food in Covent Garden – Four to Eight, London
Lacks Gordon Ramsay’s fireHeddon Street Kitchen, central London
Hop this way for good food – Rabbit restaurant, King’s Road, London
Posh pancakes for Shrove TuesdayThe Botanist, Sloane Square, London
New England comes to Fitzrovia – Lobster Kitchen, London
Art and food at the Saatchi Gallery – Gallery Restaurant, King’s Road, London
The friendliest tapas in Mayfair: El Pirata, Mayfair, London
Pisco Power! Getting into the Peruvian spirit – Senor Ceviche, Soho, London
A lunchtime favourite revisited: Olivo, Belgravia, London
A hat-trick of Konik’s Tail martinis at London’s best hotel bars – Duke’s, the Connaught and Claridges
An indulgent evening – Jimmy Garcia’s Secret Garden in Clapham
Lunch at London’s latest hotspotsKitty Fisher’s and Ham Yard Hotel
Smart, modern food with style – Percy and Founder’s, Fitzrovia, London
Hearty, meaty, boozyOne Sixty City, Liverpool Street, London
Loud, brash, bling and funSexy Fish, Berkeley Square, London

Holidays and spas

spa

Forget gambling in Las Vegas, it’s all about the food and drinkLas Vegas Uncork’d annual food festival
How to go solo without being lonely Mark Warner holiday, Rhodes
My first cruise – a week on P&O’s new cruise ship Britannia
A holiday for the mind and the bodySkyros holistic holiday, Greece
First glimpse of Britannia, P&O’s new cruise ship
The Queen launches Britannia
A hard day’s relaxingNirvana Spa, Reading

Films

Blue Steel and an Ikea room of pain: Fifty Shades of Grey
Bond is back! He’s bold, brilliant and bloody loud – Spectre

Interviews published in The Mail on Sunday

Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers

‘My £125 million Travelodge transformation’ – Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers
A coffee and a chat with Sir Rocco Forte on religion, politics and hotels
Sir Richard Branson on stunts, sky-diving, launching Virgin Hotels Chicago and being a grandfather

Travel pieces published in Mail Online

Photo of Paradise Beach Resort in Nevis, British West Indies.

A relaxing stay in Nevis, an exquisite island paradise
Why Gravetye is fast building a reputation as one of best foodie hotels in the UK
No coffee, no sweets, but a lot of hiking on the NuBeginnings bootcamp in Devon

 

St James’s hotel, London: fine dining and a £1,600 suite

St James’s Hotel in London might be five-star luxury but thankfully it has none of the formal starchiness you might expect from a super-posh hotel. The staff are so cheerful and relaxed that I found myself having all sorts of random conversations with bartenders, doormen and managers during my stay, which made the hotel feel more like a very friendly club.

st james's hotel
My rather plush suite at the St James’s Hotel in Piccadilly
St James's Hotel
St James’s Hotel in London’s Piccadilly

However there’s no disguising that St James’s is a seriously high-end hotel in one of the most expensive areas in London. While London is hardly famed for its cheap hotel rooms, the £1,600 price tag of my suite managed to top my previous record, the £1,500-a-night Prince of Wales suite at iconic country house hotel Cliveden. However the 300-year old Cliveden comes with 376 acres of Grade I-listed formal gardens, a maze, a spa and two swimming pools (including the famous outdoor pooll), while St James’s, well, doesn’t.

But if you want to stay in a luxury five-star hotel in the heart of London, a mere stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, then you do have to pay a premium. Tucked away at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac off St James’s Street, the 60-room hotel does have cheaper rooms, with prices starting at £300 a night. Continue reading St James’s hotel, London: fine dining and a £1,600 suite

Lucknam Park: my very own Palladian mansion for a night

It isn’t every day I stay in a 17th century Palladian mansion but after just a few hours at the Luckham Park hotel and spa I was walking around as if I had lived there for years.

I would grandly descend the staircase from my room – no, make that my set of rooms –  and then sweep out of the front door as if I owned the place. It was especially fun to sweep  out of the front door, because directly ahead was a fabulous mile-long drive lined with 400 lime and beech trees.

Lucknam Park - my country home for a night
Lucknam Park – my country home for a night

‘This is my driveway,’ I would tell myself as I rounded the corner to the view, and then reverse to do it again. ‘I have a mile-long tree-lined driveway leading right up to my front door.’

lucknam park
The view from the front door of Lucknam Park’s mile-long driveway

I later discovered that the trees, which were planted in 1827, played their part in British history, their sweeping branches having been the perfect camouflage under which to park the Spitfire and Hurricane planes from the nearby aerodrome during the Second World War. Continue reading Lucknam Park: my very own Palladian mansion for a night

Cliveden House Hotel: the ultimate English country house (with a scandalous past)

Throughout my stay at the rather fabulous Cliveden House Hotel, there was one burning question which I found almost impossible to answer.

Would Cliveden still be as fabulous if it wasn’t, well, Cliveden?

Would it seem as special if it were just a very nice 17th century country house in which Winston Churchill and Noel Coward hadn’t stayed, for example?

Would its gardens still be as pretty if you weren’t thinking that Lady Astor had strolled these very grounds with George Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin, perhaps?

And would the beautiful outdoor swimming pool in the walled garden still be quite as marvellous to swim in if – well, you get the idea.

cliveden house hotel reviews
It’s Cliveden House Hotel, and it’s rather grand

The thing about Cliveden is that it is almost impossible to judge it on its own merits by separating it from its quite incredible past. The Great Hall with its portraits and grand fireplace is stunning, but it feels even more so because you know that some of the most accomplished people in recent history have discussed art and politics over cocktails exactly where you are sitting.

The swimming pool would be a talking point in its own right, but it is particularly amazing to swim in because you know it is where John Profumo met Christine Keeler and precipitated a whole chain of events which scandalised the nation and eventually led to the fall of the Government. Continue reading Cliveden House Hotel: the ultimate English country house (with a scandalous past)