The UK is home to an array of unique hotels offering special stays for all kinds of guests and their needs. The Good Hotels Guide has just launched its 42nd edition, shining a spotlight on 830 hotels, inns and B&Bs across the nation. Ten of the most opulent have been given a special commendation with an award described as “the Oscars of the hotel industry”. The César awards, named after César Ritz are presented each year to a selection of hotels which have demonstrated excellence in their field. Here are the ten best stays for 2020.
Underleigh House, Hope
This 19th-Century farmhouse-turned-B&B, situated in the Peak District national park, is perfect for guests seeking peace and tranquillity. Sitting at the end of a “quiet cul-de-sac lane”, the guesthouse owned by Vivienne and Philip Taylor who have been commended for their “warm, friendly and extremely hospitable” nature. Of the four different guest bedrooms, three suites, plus a terrace room. Guests can enjoy a full breakfast served in the communal breakfast area, plus a wide variety of walking trails right on the residence’s doorstep.
B&B from £100-£130 per room
Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow
Set deep in the Shropshire countryside, this farm retreat is surrounded by “parterre gardens”. The rustic offering is brought to guests by Willem and Pippa Vlok, the “hands-on” downers delivering “prompt and effective” service.
A mishmash of barns and farm buildings, guests will stay in one of the unique bedrooms boasting a “medieval feel with all the comforts of a deluxe modern hotel”. The lodge even has a fully trained chef on-site to provide a range of quality dishes for breakfast and dinner, as well as an award-winning wine list.
B&B from £155-£245 per room.
Southernhay House, Exeter
Describes by one Guide inspector as “one of the loveliest hotel experiences I’ve had in a long time”, this romantic, Georgian townhouse set in Exeter landscape is a perfect retreat for those looking for an intimate stay. The hotel is run by Deborah Clark and Tony Orchard and is walking distance from the town’s well-known cathedral. Each of the rooms offer a minibar complete with REN toiletries, an info folder and even a bag of locally made fudge. The restaurant offers an artisan menu of dishes including “pan-fried bream, braised fennel, herb potato gratin”, as well as “beautifully presented” breakfasts comprised of pastries, granola, and hot dishes.
B&B from £110-£283 per room.
The Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton
This Michelin-starred B&B once served s a coaching inn. These days it is run by Kate and James Mackenzie, who welcome guests to come and stay at one of its five “comfortable” bedrooms, basting contemporary decor and a bathroom or wet room. Rooms have the added bonus of a private terrace and garden. However, “the real draw is the food”, thanks to its esteemed menu servicing up everything from a traditional “ploughman’s” to chef James Mackenzie’s “classic dish”: Barnsley chop, devilled kidneys, lamb belly boulangère, mint sauce, butter-braised Chantenay carrot.
B&B from £200-£260 per room.
The Airds Hotel, Port Appin
Neighbouring Loch Linnhe, with spectacular views of the Morvern mountains, this chic gourmet destination was once an 18th-century ferry in. It has since transformed into a family-friendly abode, complete with all of the lavish luxuries of a quality hotel stay. Guests can enjoy individually designed bedrooms complete with “designer fabrics and wallpaper Frette linen, Bulgari toiletries, robes, slippers, whisky mac.” Most rooms have a loch view, two a balcony, and one a sun trap patio. During a stay, travellers can enjoy a variety of food at the restaurant’s chef Chris Stanley, serving up a variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner time treats created using local ingredients.
Dinner, bed & breakfast from £320-£550 per room.
The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny
In the heart of a Welsh market town sits the 200-year-old coaching inn which has transformed into a specialist place for weary travellers to rest their head. The Georgian building is home to most of the bedrooms, however, a lucky few may find themselves directed to additional rooms in the former mews, a Victoria lodge within the castle grounds, or two quaint cottages. Rooms are complete with upmarket fabrics and bathrooms with toiletries. However, one of the lodging’s most unique assets is its original artwork laden throughout the public rooms, each chosen by owner William Griffith’s gallery-owner mother. The hotel has both a bar, named the Foxhunter, and two restaurants – the Oak Room and sister restaurant just a short walk away-the Walnut tree.
B&B from £109-£259 per room.
The Quay House, Clifden
In a small harbour town between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the Owenglin river is The Quay House. Julia and Paddy Foyle run the establishment and are hailed by guests for their “generosity of spirit”. The family affair continues with their son Toby manning the kitchen. Situated in a 19th-century harbour master’s house, the rooms are kitted out with quirky, antique vintage and reproduction furniture. A mish-mash of animal print and traditional stylings, the aesthetic will keep lodger’s interests peaked. Meanwhile, breakfast is a full-English affair, hosted in the “lovely conservatory with a vine-hung ceiling”.
B&B from £165-£175 per room.
On the outskirts of Faversham is the “welcoming” Georgian manor house, ran by David and Rona Pitchford. A stay here offers traditional-style bedrooms, furnished with antique, four-poster beds. However, the restaurant is one of the main draws thanks to Mr Pitchford’s classical training. Serving up local meat and game, as well as produce grown in their own walled-n garden, the restaurant offers a selection of set-priced menus.
B&B from £180-210 per room.
The 2020 Guide has 36 new main entries and says its aim is “to champion properties where the guest comes first.”