Tag Archives: luxury hotel reviews

A festive round-up of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas

Luxury hotels could be made for Christmas.  Think of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas and instantly you can picture the festive scene: comfy sofas, roaring fires, beautiful decorations and acres of grounds for the Boxing Day walk (or a top spa for some baserious pampering). Many luxury hotels offer two- or three-night breaks which wraps up the whole of Christmas in a festive offering, often starting with welcome drinks, carol-singing and dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a Champagne cocktail and Christmas Day breakfast, the all-important Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, and then a Boxing Day buffet. Sprinkled among all this festivity will be  Christmas films, time for presents and the Queen’s Speech (Christmas at a luxury hotel is nothing if not traditional).

Added to this might be a luxury spa, activities such as falconry, wine-tasting, treasure hunts, black tie dances, cocktail classes, Christmas games and quizzes (Father Christmas could even make an appearance) and probably the best thing of all: absolutely no washing up. You will be looked after, pampered, indulged and thoroughly cosseted and while all this comes at a price, well, it’s only once a year after all. However each hotel chooses to celebrate Christmas, you can be sure of three things: it will be memorable, it won’t be cheap, and there’ll be a massive Christmas tree. Feeling festive yet?

Below is a round-up of some of Britain’s top hotels and their Christmas packages. If any take your fancy then be quick as many are selling out (I’ve included some at the end who have already sold out but which are too good not to include – time to start planning for Christmas 2019!). Good tidings to all!

Cliveden House, Berkshire

best luxury country house hotels for Christmas
Cliveden House

The hotel: A 350-year old country house set in 376 acres of magnificent formal gardens and woodland, Cliveden is one of Britain’s grandest country houses and fittingly promises an ‘iconic’ Christmas house party. The hotel where Meghan Markle spent the night before marrying Prince Harry is a Grade 1-listed stately home complete with antique furniture and a thoroughly modern spa and guests can expect a Christmas celebration worthy of Downton Abbey.
The Christmas package: Christmas Eve starts with mulled wine and mince pies and a champagne reception with carol singers followed by a three-course gourmet dinner with wines, while there’s a three-course Christmas lunch with wines on the big day itself. On Boxing Day there’s a brunch buffet followed by a ‘butler’s tour’ of the stunning building, then dinner with wines and dancing.
Cost: Prices start from £3,585 per room based on two sharing.
Read what it’s like to stay at Cliveden here

Bovey Castle, Dartmoor National Park

best luxury country house hotels for Christmas
Bovey Castle

The hotel: A stunning but welcoming grand historic hotel in the heart of Dartmoor
The Christmas package:
Arrive on Christmas Eve for lunch and a host of festive activities including cider and sloe gin making, plus afternoon tea with carol singing.  The evening includes welcome drinks, a candlelit dinner and the opportunity to attend Midnight Mass at the local church. On Christmas Day take part in Bovey Castle’s scavenger hunt, then enjoy the beautiful scenery with a guided walk followed by a drinks reception and Christmas Day lunch.  A buffet will be served in the Great Western that evening, then a nightcap while a storyteller weaves tales in front of the fire. After brunch on Boxing Day, sign up for the golf tournament or a guided walk, enjoy ferret racing or nearest the pin golf competition, with hot chocolate and mulled wine. The day finishes with a five-course black tie dinner and entertainment in the Great Western Restaurant.
Costs: From £2,730 per person for a three-night stay based on two sharing
Read what it’s like to stay at Bovey Castle here

Ockenden Manor, West Sussex

best luxury country houses hotels for Christmas
Ockenden Manor

The hotel: In the pretty village of Cuckfield, 28-room Ockenden Manor combines the history of an Elizabethan manor house with a first-class modern spa
The Christmas package: Start off with an indulgent afternoon tea, a Sussex sparkling wine reception with carols around the tree then dinner in the elegant restaurant on shared party tables, Midnight mass followed by mulled wine and home-made mince pies. For Christmas Day there’s a continental breakfast, sparkling wine reception with canapés followed by a six course lunch, tea and Christmas cake, light buffet supper with harpist accompaniment in the evening. Boxing Day: Full English breakfast with Sussex sparkling wine, full afternoon tea with Christmas Cake and cocktails  before a gourmet dinner – plus full use of its award-winning spa and swimming pools
Costs: From £1,025 per person based on two sharing
Read my review of Ockenden Manor here Continue reading A festive round-up of the best luxury country house hotels for Christmas

A review of 2016 – a year of excitement and adventure for ALadyofLeisure

It’s been quite a year! It started with an amazing culinary tour of Japan – a week full of sushi, puffer fish and bullet trains –  and ended with a trip to Antarctica (which felt at times like a trip to another planet). During the rest of the year I discovered mermaids in Las Vegas, had lunch (almost) with The Queen on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace, learned to cook at the River Cottage, found my way onto black runs while skiing in Austria and stayed at some of the best hotels in the country.

In 2016 I reviewed just under 50 amazing hotels, restaurants, bars and holidays – which were read by several thousand unique (and travel-loving) readers a month, plus shared across Twitter and Facebook and from now on, Pinterest.

Huge thanks to all the venues that made such an exciting year possible and I’m really looking forward to reviewing the best hotels, restaurants, holidays, bars and all things leisure-related in 2017. There’s a full list of reviews below – lots of inspiration for you!

All the best,


My reviews of 2016

Dormy House Cotswolds
Dormy House looking lovely in the Cotswolds sunshine

Dormy House, the Cotswolds: so snug, you’ll never want to leave
Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham: the perfect place for a day at the races
Burley Manor, Burley: the New Forest’s newest, oldest hotel
Balans, Kensington: it’s smarter, sexier and has its very own tree
It’s Oscar time: but who is going to triumph in my very own ALadyofLeisure.com awards?
The Levin, Knightsbridge: a calm retreat from the shopping frenzy
The Crab and Boar, Chieveley: classic country foodie pub (with hot tubs)

Japan food tour
Meals in Japan were a work of art as well as a culinary delight

My culinary tour of Japan: sushi, puffer fish and bullet trains
Hambleton Hall, Rutland: warm, welcoming and wonderful food
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Knightsbridge – food for thought
Hampton Manor, Solihull – top-class food and a step back in time

A view across London from the roof terrace bar at ME London

A room (and cocktails) with some serious views at ME London luxury hotel, London
The Bull Inn at Sonning – possibly the perfect British pub
Is a hotel room complete without a kettle?
Las Vegas – rain or shine, there’s more to do than gambling
Kensington Hotel – luxury in the heart of London’s museum district

The beautiful courtyard at Whatley Manor

A treat for the mind and the body, Whatley Manor is one of the best hotels in the Cotswolds
Noble Rot on Lamb’s Conduit Street, a welcome addition to memory lane
Turn-downs, coat hangers and posh loo seats – here’s what I think is essential in a luxury hotel room
The best luxury hotels in the Cotswolds – A Lady of Leisure’s favourite five
Sopwell House, St Albans – a stay in my very own VIP courtyard

Danesfield House review
Danesfield House – a hotel with a top spa to match its top location

Danesfield House hotel and spa, relaxation on the Thames
Which are the top luxury hotel spas around? Here’s some of the best to get you in the mood
Baths in hotel bedrooms and transparent loo doors – treat or travesty?
Lunch with the Queen (and 10,000 other guests) at the Patron’s Lunch
Brooklands Hotel, perfect location for car, spa and plane fans

luxury hotel reviews
The beautiful Slaughters in the Cotswolds, home of Lords of the Manor

Quintessential Cotswolds retreat at Lords of the Manor, Upper Slaughter
Valet parking – it’s supposed to be great but makes me panic
It’s a day of tasty foodie firsts at the River Cottage cookery school
A garden with a view at the Alexandra hotel, Lyme Regis
Corinthia Hotel London: luxury on a grand scale
Something for everyone come rain or shine at Foxhills hotel Surrey

My very grand bedroom at The Gore, Kensington

The Gore Hotel, Kensington: history, luxury and some rock and roll cocktails
A cooling terrace (and a cocktail or two) at The Bloomsbury, London
Rockliffe Hall, County Durham – a relaxing spa escape
My stay at The Marylebone, London: a room with a view and a seriously nice roof terrace
The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu: a New Forest feast
A deeply relaxing day at Lime Wood hotel spa in the New Forest

Some very useful wellies at The Painswick

Cosy Cotswolds charm at The Painswick, Sunday Times Hotel of the Year
A very Christmassy stay at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, London
Skiing on a Mark Warner ski holiday – on your own but never alone
A stay at The Old Swan and Minster Mill, a classic Cotswolds country inn