I possibly shouldn’t be the one to say so, but my husband is a lucky man. At regular intervals during our married lives I have organised surprise getaways, for just the two of us. To make it a proper surprise I usually only book one or two nights – somewhere we can get to easily so we’re not spending all our time travelling. Otherwise it would be too much of a hassle, and defeat the purpose of giving him a break from everything else that’s going on in our lives.
But despite the parameters, or maybe because of them, many of these trips have been highly memorable. As well as really incredible meals and spectacular views, we’ve also been lost in what I still insist was a blizzard, and stayed in a Travelodge because we’d not been able to find our hotel. We’ve been ‘parked in’ by ponies on Dartmoor, I sprained an ankle on a beach along the Jurassic Coast and we had to be rescued by boat, and we’ve been trapped in a funicular railway carriage for an hour. Among other incidents….
I’ve had the urge to create another possible-gem of a memory bubbling up for a while, so I thought I’d ask the Gurus where they’d recommend in the next few months…
A Chic Country House Hotel?
The Hotel Endsleigh is an historic shooting and fishing lodge in a secluded spot in Devon’s peaceful Tamar Valley. The impeccably elegant decor is care of Olga Polizzi, and the wonderful Italian-Spanish fusion food is care of Jose Graziosi. All in all you have a truly beautiful, relaxing property with wonderful garden views and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors – be it croquet, riding or birdwatching – and coming in from them. There are 18 rooms starting from around £190 per night. Until the end of March the Hotel Endsleigh are offering winter breaks including two nights B&B, a champagne and canapé welcome, one three course supper with wines selected by the sommelier, and turndown treats. Starting from £479 per couple.
The Perfect Seaside Guesthouse?
Nonsuch House is a charming, four room guesthouse with wonderful views over Dartmouth and the estuary. The rooms are warmly, and elegantly decorated, the owner is a chef who prepares wonderful meals four nights a week – expect some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted – and the small size means guests get a truly personal service. The price is also very reasonable, and if you book three nights during the low season you’ll save £10 a night, making it £135 per night B&B – with the second B being entirely worth it.
Opulence in the City?
Just five minutes from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Prestonfield is a decadent country house hotel in the city. If you want to indulge yourself in a luxurious setting where the concierge has a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ attitude, then Prestonfield is what you need. This award-winning hotel is decorated like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, with three drawing rooms, a whisky bar and a fine dining restaurant, and is surrounded by gardens and parkland. Doubles start from £199 per night including champagne and chocolates on arrival and breakfast in the morning.
A Romantic Country-ish Inn?
Only 15 minutes outside Oxford and an easy distance from the Cotswolds, the Artist Residence Oxfordshire is a country pub and restaurant, with five rooms with chic, quirky interiors that you’ll never forget. If you’re looking for a romantic place to spend time with someone who appreciates design and atmosphere, then this property is perfect. The rooms are all imaginatively decorated with wonderful textiles, vintage and antique treasures and Arts and Crafts details. Plus, the sheets are 100% linen – and, aside from The Ritz, where do you get to sleep on 100% linen sheets? Rooms start from as little as £119 per night including cocktails and breakfast.
The Bell Inn is a charming, Georgian country inn on the northern edge of Hampshire’s New Forest, with 28 individually designed rooms and an AA Rosette awarded restaurant which specialises in locally sourced ingredients – as well they should! Awake in the morning to a view of a green common populated with cows, donkeys and wild ponies, spend your day surrounded by the beauty of the New Forest – the inn will rent you a bike or pack you a picnic if needed – and return to the inn for crisp linens, attentive service and great food and drink. They’re offering special mid-winter, mid-week deals where £129 will secure a couple supper and B&B accommodation.
For lots more inspired travel ideas from Hotel Guru – in the UK and around the world – check out our travel section