Country hotel near Pembrokeshire beaches

Why Nothing Beats a Trip To a Pembrokeshire Country Hotel

According to National Geographic, the Pembrokeshire coastline ranks as the second best in the world… and if anyone knows about these things it’s National Geographic.

A magnet for walkers, nature lovers, foodies and families, this Western part of Wales has become a favourite amongst tourists, and for good reason. Take for example the city of St. David’s – with a population of less than 2,000 it is the smallest city in Britain and one of the prettiest too, with its 12th century cathedral dominating the skyline.

Lamphey Court country hotel

BW Lamphey Court Hotel

On the other hand the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its abundant flora and fauna is a sensory feast. Impossibly beautiful and breathtakingly dramatic, it’s one of those places that’s typifies all the reasons to travel around the UK in the summer time – surely there’s nowhere more beautiful?

For families, Oakwood theme park with its Megafobia rollercoaster is the place to go (proudly tipped as the best ride in Britain according to Visit Wales), and the Victorian seaside town of Tenby is renowned for the health-giving properties of its sea air.

In amongst the reasons to head to Pembrokeshire while the sun is shining however is Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa, a gracious country hotel. Set in beautiful grounds and within two miles of a collection of beaches and secluded coves near Tenby, the Georgian mansion dates back to 1823 and is nestled into the Pembrokeshire National Park.

view from a country hotel

Accommodation is divided between the original building (complete with confection like white columns and light pouring in through the sash windows) and a collection of courtyard rooms and studios, which all have an equally beautiful but very different vibe, so if you do choose to go then have a proper gander through the pictures to get a better idea of which one’s for you.

Despite the building’s history, the décor is contemporary, and nowhere is that more evident than in the spa and leisure facilities of this country hotel. There’s plenty to keep you entertained, from floodlit tennis courts to the 14-metre pool and herbal sauna, as well as Aromatherapy Associates and Cinq Mondes spa treatments – if you haven’t tried either brand, you’re in for a treat.

Conservatory at the country hotel

Lamphey Court Hotel Conservatory Restaurant

When you visit this hotel you absolutely must potter over to Lamphey Bishop’s Palace. Adjacent to the hotel, the palace is a National Trust site and the former retreat of medieval bishops seeking solace away from the everyday demands of Church and State. These days it’s a ruin, but the scale and proportions give you a hint of the decadence it promised these worldly men accustomed to power and status – something to contemplate over a picnic perhaps.

Tenby’s four beaches are also a must, all boasting a variety of environmental awards and beautiful views, perfect for a walk from this Georgian country hotel. From the cove that is Castle Beach it’s possible to walk out to St. Catharine’s island at low tide (just be careful that it doesn’t cut you off while you’re there), and Harbour Beach is a sheltered little spot at the rear of the bay offering a path back to the town and a walkway around to another sunbathing hotspot – North Beach, which welcomes the crowds in the summer months thanks to its large stretch of golden sand and easy access.

Bedroom at Lamphey Court country hotel

Lamphey Court Hotel Bedroom

Finally, after all that fun the food at Lamphey Court is an experience in its own right. Adhering to the Slow Food Movement, ingredients are locally sourced and the natural production process is interfered with as little as possible – all rather pleasant things to think about when tucking into that Sunday lunch after a bracing swim in the sea.

 

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Reception

Forget Ascot, Let’s Go To Chester For Racing and a City Break!

One of the great summer events in the British calendar is horse racing at Ascot, but while Ladies Day has its merits, it’s Chester Racecourse that really knows how to have fun in style…

The oldest racecourse in Britain, perfect for a city break, you haven’t seen creative millinery until you have come here. The colours, the characters and the general hum of entertainment and excitement begin in May and run throughout the summer months, in addition to a healthy spectrum of polo events.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Lobby

BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester – Lobby

On a race day the whole town plays out like a pantomime, bringing to life a sense of tradition that belies its Roman origins and Tudor architecture. The pubs brim over with brightly coloured dresses and teetering heels, happy faces and a sense of anticipation. For the sake of reverie we will imagine that on these days the sun always shines (it certainly does in our experience).

After the races, when the party vibe has reached fever pitch, the jovial atmosphere continues as crowds make their way back into the centre of Chester itself. They totter along the cobbled roads and past the designer boutiques to dine out on the day’s triumphs and tribulations, surrounded by historic sites and ancient city walls.

City break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester Bar

There’s a wealth of restaurants, bars and cafes available during your city break in which to find your preferred tipple (the people of Chester certainly know how to have a good time) but when the day is royally spent and you’re ready to lay your head down, go to the BW Premier Queen Hotel at the heart of the city.

Sitting next to Chester Railway Station (travel does not get more convenient than that), it’s welcomed the likes of Charles Dickens and businessman and politician Cecil Rhodes over the years, sating a breadth of taste and preferences amongst its patrons and, who knows, perhaps providing literary or entrepreneurial inspiration at the same time.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Bedroom

BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester – Bedroom

The hotel which is ideal for your city break, has many an asset to its name but key amongst them is the food. Referencing its past as well as its location, there are three options for eating and drinking in various degrees of formality. The Waiting Room Bar and Lounge is the place to go for homely food and locally sourced drinks and cask ales, while the Albert Lounge is famous for afternoon teas by the fire, so much so that they have been serving them for more than 150 years. It is the Kings’ Quarters Grill and Cocktail Lounge however that’s a personal favourite, and no doubt the name gives a bit of a hint as to why.

Not only do they serve a mean cocktail, but they specialise in a range of regional dishes combined with a relaxing atmosphere, which particularly after all that excitement on the racecourse provides some welcome respite at the end of the day. If the sun is shining (as we are assured it will), then you can also sit outside and enjoy a drink in the afternoon sun on one of two Italian terraces surrounded by landscaped gardens – a welcome surprise in the heart of a city.

City Break at BW Premier Queen Hotel Chester - Bedroom

Beyond the dining, the hotel is a feast of little surprises fusing contemporary design with a strong sense of history; it’s not afraid of bold colours and whimsical features such as elaborately illustrated feature walls. It also has a ‘Secret Sanctuary’ for beauty treatments and easily transitions from being an ideal location for meetings and conferences to weddings and special occasions, or simply the setting for that long awaited glass of red whilst pondering the day’s events. No wonder it’s been such a longstanding favourite amongst the good and the great for a relaxing city break.

So follow a different crowd this summer and head to Chester. You never know, today could be your lucky day…

Columba Inverness

Why Inverness Should Be Your Next Holiday Hotspot

Anyone who has been to a hotel in Scotland will have fallen in love with it. It’s inevitable; the landscape, the history, the accent, the people… it’s all the stuff that great literature is made of (no wonder J.K Rowling was inspired in her Edinburgh café), and of course, great holidays as well.

Chief amongst Scotland’s beautiful locations is the Highlands city of Inverness, a beautiful hotel in Scotland,  on the banks of the River Ness, which even by Lonely Planet’s lofty standards is recommended as the area’s chief attraction, providing an idyllic scenic stroll towards Ness Islands.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness

Columba Inverness

Linked to one another and the riverbank by Victorian footbridges, the islands are planted with mature Scots pine and fir trees, and when the weather holds it’s the perfect opportunity to tuck into a decadent picnic basket. Take a tipple in your hip flask and enjoy watching the Anglers catch salmon in the afternoon before completing a circular walk by returning on the opposite bank to your starting point on your way back to your chosen hotel in Scotland.

On that note, I recommend that you start at The Columba Hotel. The historic building dating back to 1881 has enviable views and a charming restaurant where you can refuel at the end of that day pottering about.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness Bedrooms

Columba Inverness Bedrooms

The hotel looks out not just at the river, but also at another of Inverness’s iconic attractions. The hill above the city is capped by the Baronial turrets of Inverness Castle, a pink sandstone confection of a building that dates back to 1847. It’s not open to the public but the views from the surrounding gardens are admirable – such is the theme of this particular hotel in Scotland.

If that heavy emphasis on walking tires you out at the mere thought, the water is your next stop. Loch Ness made its name thanks to legend and a little help from the movies, so a trip on the water with the likes of Jacobite Cruises seems as good an excuse as any to see what the fuss is about. They offer 90 minute cruises from Tomnahurich Bridge, pointing out the various landmarks along the way from the Caledonian Canal and onto the loch itself.

Bespoke - Columba Inverness

The day has to be completed with a little cultural jaunt, and for this there is nothing finer than the Eden Court Theatre. Drama, dance, comedy, film and music fill the calendar so it’s worth taking a peek before you head off, and plan what you want to see.

All in all, a hotel in Scotland offers a rich tapestry of things to do and places to go, but Inverness is most definitely one of the many jewels in its crown, perfect for a weekend getaway.

 

 

 

Chic Hotels Bermondsey Square Hotel

Chic Hotels: Why 2015 is Right For A London Staycation

When it comes to cities and chic hotels, few are as awe inspiring as London, particularly when the sun is shining. Yet for most of us who live here it’s not often we take the time to really enjoy it. The city has so much to offer, and personally if I had a weekend in London in the sunshine I could think of nothing better than checking into one the chic hotels and exploring it through the eyes of a first-time visitor.

Chic Hotels La Suite West

La Suite West Hotel Hyde Park

While north London has its character and central London has untold
vibrancy, it’s south west London that wins when it comes to charm however, particularly in the summer months and so for this time of year that is where I would focus my urban adventure for chic hotels.

Kensington and Chelsea are almost impossible to beat for elegance and with them come some of London’s most iconic sites. The Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace are a living, breathing part of the city’s history while Notting Hill with its array of postcard perfect houses broadly lives up to its romantic reputation as depicted in Hugh Grant’s rom-com classic. It’s probably also got some of the best boutiques in the area (including charity shops that redefine the genre).

chic hotels The Lodge Putney

The Lodge Putney

Meanwhile, there’s also the leafy village of Putney, the large open space of Wimbledon Common (perfect for Wombling), and events including the historic Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge, and of course the upcoming Wimbledon tennis which always inspires excitement, even if you’re mostly in it for the strawberries and cream.

Perhaps one of the greatest joys in South West London however, is simply watching the world go by, so it’s fortunate that it’s brimming with coffee shops, pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces and gardens. Few things are finer than a leisurely weekend lunch in the sun as the world pootles around you in this little corner of the metropolis – it really is a world unto its own.

chic hotels La Suite West

La Suite West Lobby

When it comes to chic hotels, a favourite is The Lodge Hotel, a contemporary gem and former coach house nestled into a Victorian terrace that’s otherwise characteristic of its home in Putney. It has a conservatory at the back (in case you prefer the quiet of the hotel to the aforementioned pub), and it’s close to the tube should you care to go beyond this little oasis of calm and explore the wider capital.

So many people come to London every year for work and play, and see it through excited eyes, so perhaps this summer is the year for an urban staycation; time when you can look up at the beautiful architecture rather than down into the murky Underground, and instead of thinking of London in terms of job prospects and daily commutes, rediscover is as the beating heart of England, throbbing with culture, stories and exceptionally good food.