Tag Archives: hotel

My stay at The Marylebone: a room with a view and a seriously nice roof terrace

A definite perk of reviewing luxury hotels is that ‘wow!’ feeling when you walk into a hotel bedroom for the first time and find something completely unexpected. Unlocking the door to my suite at The Marylebone in central London was one of those moments.

marylebone luxury hotel
Perfect for people-watching or sun-bathing…

It wasn’t sparked by the private staircase to my door off the main corridor, the wacky green circular coffee table or even the huge mirror which I later discovered was actually a television screen, but by discovering that I had my very own roof terrace.

Now it’s rare enough to find a room with a balcony in London but this was a proper terrace, decked out in the style of a ski chalet with wooden walls, cosy sofas with lots of cushions and a roaring (electric) fire, over which was another vast TV screen. A retractable roof and sides meant you could enjoy sun-bathing in a heatwave or stay warm in the winter, and while a view over the rooftops of central London are never going to match the Alps or rolling Tuscan hills, it was great fun seeing London from a totally new angle. Continue reading My stay at The Marylebone: a room with a view and a seriously nice roof terrace

Rockliffe Hall Darlington, County Durham – a relaxing spa escape

After being trapped in for hours in Bank Holiday roadworks hell, the five-star hotel Rockliffe Hall Darlington in in County Durham was a more than welcome sight. Set in 375 acres of parkland, the original building dates from the 1800s, but over the years the 61-room hotel has been extended to include a highly-rated 50,000 ft spa and three restaurants, two of which overlook its 18-hole Championship golf course.

rockliffe hall darlington
The rather lovely view from my bedroom

Thanks to the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the A1, my visit turned out to be a flying one, with no time for a round of golf or even a stroll round the lush-looking gardens.

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Compare latest prices for Rockliffe Hall click here
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However I could admire them from my vast hotel room, which had a huge bed, massive amounts of storage space, a separate bath and shower and French windows which opened out onto my very own patio.

rockliffe hall darlington
The bedrooms are huge, with one or two King-sized beds

The rest of the hotel was equally spacious, with huge, carpeted corridors leading the way to the spa in one direction and the hotel bar in the other. Continue reading Rockliffe Hall Darlington, County Durham – a relaxing spa escape

The Gore Hotel: history, luxury and some rock and roll cocktails

My bedroom at The Gore hotel in Kensington was definitely one with the ‘wow’ factor. There were oil-paintings and gilt-edged mirrors and the bed itself was so vast and so high it felt as if I needed a footstool to climb aboard.

gore hotel kensington
My bedroom was rather grand (number 11, first floor)

The epic theme continued into the bathroom which was decked out in a pink marble effect with pillars, a high ceiling and a loo which was more like a throne – possibly something that Gandalf might use. It didn’t look the most comfortable of seats but was certainly one of the most memorable conveniences I’ve seen in a hotel room – or anywhere else, for that matter.

While some hotels try and emulate the look and feel of a historic country house, the Gore hotel, which opened in 1892, can’t help but feel seeped in history. Many of its paintings and furniture date back to the 19th or early 20th century, although it certainly doesn’t feel tired or dated.

gore hotel kensington
The Judy Garland suite, complete with red slippers

It has 50 individually-designed bedrooms, ranging from classic doubles to junior suites such as the Judy Garland (named after one of its famous guests), Dame Nellie and its top suite, the Tudor Room, has its own fireplace, minstrel’s gallery and 15th century four-poster bed. Continue reading The Gore Hotel: history, luxury and some rock and roll cocktails

Reviews of Cotswolds hotel Lords of the Manor, Brooklands Hotel, Surrey, plus The Patron’s Lunch with the Queen and valet-parking, luxury or liability?

ALadyofLeisure.com is the hotel, restaurant and spa reviews website from national newspaper journalist Sarah Bridge, read by thousands of industry professionals and travel enthusiasts every month.

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Brand new reviews just up on ALadyofLeisure.com:

Lords of the Manor hotel, Upper Slaughter, Cotswolds

Lords of the Manor hotel

Set in one of the most beautiful villages in the Cotswolds, Lords of the Manor hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant, eight acres of land and is perfect for a relaxing weekend break in the summer sunshine (fingers crossed). Read my brand new review here Continue reading Reviews of Cotswolds hotel Lords of the Manor, Brooklands Hotel, Surrey, plus The Patron’s Lunch with the Queen and valet-parking, luxury or liability?

Sopwell House – a stay in my very own VIP courtyard

My heart often sinks when I discover my room is in a separate building to the main hotel – this usually implies some modern, soulless extension – but at Sopwell House luxury hotel near St Albans, our room’s outside location was really quite special.

luxury hotel Sopwell House
The gated courtyard looks very smart indeed at night

Just across from the hotel reception, a tap of our room card opened up a gate beyond which was a totally enclosed courtyard – the newly refurbished mews suites. Around the outside of the courtyard were the suites themselves, looking like designer apartments, while in the space itself was a hot tub, sofas, trees and water features. It was like having your very own VIP enclosure.

luxury hotel Sopwell House
The courtyard had a hot tub, seating and comfortable sofas to share
luxury hotel Sopwell House
One tap of a room keycard and the doors swung open…

The five-star Sopwell House hotel is no stranger to VIPs, particularly of the footballing kind, and indeed just the night before my visit the entire England football team had attended a gala dinner at the hotel with sporting legend Pele.  I felt rather like a VIP myself when I entered my room, which is one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in.


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o book directly with the hotel, go to: Sopwell House
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Continue reading Sopwell House – a stay in my very own VIP courtyard

Dormy House hotel in the Cotswolds – so snug, you’ll never want to leave

It isn’t easy to stand out among such a competitive field – I’m talking about the ‘best hotels in the Cotswolds’ category, of which there are many – but the award-winning boutique hotel Dormy House more than meets the challenge. From the moment I walked in the door and saw the cosy sofas and roaring fireplaces, to the friendly welcome at reception and then finally, arrived at The Snug, one of the nicest hotel rooms I’ve stayed in, I knew I was in for a treat for my stay in the Cotswolds.

Dormy House Cotswolds
Dormy House has cosy lounges with roaring fires to welcome you the moment you arrive

Continue reading Dormy House hotel in the Cotswolds – so snug, you’ll never want to leave

The Capital hotel London: a luxury hotel stay with a cocktail masterclass

Its claim to fame is that it is the closest hotel to Harrods, and it’s true that less than 30 seconds walk will take you right into the iconic department store. But thankfully The Capital hotel, just next to Harrods on a quiet Knightsbridge street, is more than just a place to stagger back to after a hard day’s shopping.

[Note: this review of The Capital hotel in London was first published in 2015 and so some of the details night now be out of date]

Opened in 1971 by hotelier David Levin, this central London luxury hotel is still owned and managed by him and his family today, which gives it a far more friendly air than a chain hotel.

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The cosy lobby at the Capital
A cocktail masterclass at the Capital Hotel

While the hotel does a special ‘Shop till you Drop’ package which includes a £50 Harrods voucher, afternoon tea and a drink to restore you (if not your credit card) after your retail therapy, I went to the Capital with cocktails, rather than shopping, on my mind. Bar manager Cesar da Silva has been at the Capital for 15 years and is still extremely enthusiastic about teaching other people to make cocktails in his popular Cocktail Masterclass, which is just as well as apparently he often does 10 of these hour-long courses a day. Staying at a central London hotel is always special but it’s even better if you can add a unique experience to your stay. Continue reading The Capital hotel London: a luxury hotel stay with a cocktail masterclass