PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

England Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
41 Hotel London
41 Buckingham Palace Road
London
England SW1W 0PS
Tel: 44 20 7300 0041
info41@rchmail.com
www.41hotel.com

It "feels like an exclusive British club" at this brick and limestone Georgian building that once housed debutantes attending parties at nearby Buckingham Palace. "First-class" staff make sure you "never have to hail your own cab. Decor is "crisp and posh"; black-and-white guest rooms have mahogany furnishings and baths with rain showers. The Library Restaurant, at sister hotel The Rubens at the Palace—also in the same building—is "good but not memorable."

(30 rooms)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Abode
High Street
Canterbury
England
Tel: 44 1227 766266
abodehotels.co.uk

Hotelier-chef Michael Caines's latest Abode hotel, in the heart of Canterbury, suggests that Caines is getting ever better at his game. Located in a building that dates back to the Middle Ages, the 72-room Abode has been transformed by glass doors and walls that open up the foyer and adjoining champagne bar into a spacious, light-filled space, all without destroying the historic atmosphere, which lingers in its exposed beams and original wood-frame windows. The "Comfortable" and "Desirable" rooms can be a tight fit; you'll do better to book a larger "Enviable" room for $88 more. Do reserve a table at the Michael Caines restaurant, where you may find yourself seated near such local bigwigs as the dean of the cathedral while dining on modern English food that rivals the best in London.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Abode Exeter
Cathedral Yard
Exeter , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1392 319 955
reservationsexeter@abodehotels.co.uk
www.abodehotels.co.uk/exeter/

Be sure to request a front-facing room at the Abode for views of the cathedral in Exeter's historical center. Originally the city's Assembly Rooms, it first opened as a hotel in 1769. A nearly $6-million refurb, completed in 2005, updated the hotel without rubbing out its 18th-century charm: Some of the 53 rooms and suites have original wooden beams, cornicing, and claw-foot tubs, but there are still LCD TVs, DVD players, and complimentary broadband. Three impressive split-level suites with wooden-beamed ceilings and spectacular views on the top floor were also unveiled. Co-owner and Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines (the man behind swanky Gidleigh Park) has brought modern fine-dining French cuisine—such as braised rainbow chard in truffle sauce—here too.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Andaz Liverpool Street London
40 Liverpool Street
London
England EC2M 7QN
Tel: 44 207 961 1234
info.londonliv@andaz.com
www.london.liverpoolstreet.andaz.com/hyatt/hotels/andaz

No matter that many still refer to this hotel as the Great Eastern (its name from its inception in 1884 as one of London's finest railway hotels); in 2006, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts rebranded it under their new "big boutique" Andaz label. And big it is, with 267 bedrooms, five restaurants, and four bars, including a pub and Japanese and fish restaurants. There is no concierge or reception desk; in fact, there's no lobby at all. Instead, kick back and enjoy a vino in the Living Room, where you can meet with a member of the staff who will check you in there or on the walk to your room, on a handheld PC. The bedrooms have warm, muted tones and giant beds offset by the modernist feel of the ergonomic work desk, Eames chair, and Jacobson lamp. The best rooms are 374, 474, and 104 (all larger corner rooms with better views, at no extra cost), where Kate Moss and her girlfriends hang out from time to time. Andaz also ticks the green boxes: The bathrooms use 80 percent less water than your average hotel, the lights use less electricity, and the kitchens serve local produce. What's more, Andaz Liverpool Street plugs into its trendy neighbors in nearby Shoreditch by inviting them round to do comedy turns, music gigs, and art installations. It's this approach, along with the perfect pairing of the graceful old building and the bold new spaces (check out the modern Atrium Gallery and the Rotunda), that has this hotel buzzing with people again, just as in its Victorian heyday.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Arch London
50 Great Cumberland Place
London
England W1H 7FD
Tel: 44 207 724 4700
reservations@thearchlondon.com
thearchlondon.com

This 82-room sleeper hit in Marylebone occupies seven Georgian town houses and two mews houses. Although the rooms are slightly small and look out only over rooftops or the street, they are well conceived, with luscious furnishings in various color schemes. For instance: thick sage-colored silk curtains, a suede headboard, purple patterned cushions, and a polka-dot blanket. Some bathrooms have rain showers with gold mosaic floors, and fragrant Malin+Goetz products. Guests will appreciate underrated and oft-omitted in-room details like instant free Wi-Fi and a U.S.-format electrical outlet. An attractive bar-restaurant, with leather and velvet seating, shows off an open kitchen producing modern bistro fare such as chicken liver parfait and Thai beef salad, and memorable breakfasts such as the portobello mushrooms and poached egg on sourdough. Contemporary art is prominent, from a looped video above the reception desk to the London landscapes by draftsman Marcus James in the library, where one can take afternoon tea by a fireplace. The cheerful, efficient service is a highlight.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ayrlington
24-25 Pulteney Rd
Bath
England
Tel: 44 1225 425 495
mail@ayrlington.com
www.ayrlington.com

This cozy, friendly, family-run 14-room Victorian built of distinctive honey-colored Bath stone is near the center of town and strolling distance from most of the city's attractions. The curious mix of Victoriana—button-back wing chairs, four-poster and brass beds, and deep-pelmeted windows—with Asian antiques and Oriental plantings in the walled garden makes sense when you know the proprietors also have a gallery of Southeast Asian antiques. Breakfast is included in the rates.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
B+B Belgravia
64–66 Ebury Street
London
England
Tel: 44 207 259 8570
info@bb-belgravia.com
www.bb-belgravia.com

The cost of real estate in this upmarket neighborhood doesn't bear thinking about, but at B+B Belgravia—a duo of Georgian townhouses on a residential street—you could convince yourself that you're at home, and a fine one at that. Belgravia's 21st-century makeover of the bed-and-breakfast concept stripped away chintzy assaults on lodgers' senses—and that uneasy feeling of being charged to stay in some old lady's spare room—in favor of the most minimal of decor. A small lounge area, with checkered floor, black leather sofas, and white chairs, has a flat-screen TV and a complimentary-coffee machine that whips up a passable latte. Breakfast is cooked-to-order in an open kitchen, adding a touch of domesticity. The 17 guest rooms are done in shades of mushroom, cream, and white, with flat-screen TVs and free Internet access. Attic rooms don't have the tall floor-to-ceiling windows of the ground floor, but they do have a cottage-like look and lovely views. It's quieter up there, too—light sleepers on the lower floors should request the rear suites, as the hotel is situated on a sometimes bustling street.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Baglioni Hotel
60 Hyde Park Gate
London
England
Tel: 44 207 3685700
reservations@baglionihotels.com
www.baglionihotels.com/pages/eng_hp_londra.jsp

Despite its self-declared status as the city's latest hot spot, this is a solidly pleasant new hotel for anyone who wants to do a lot of shopping (Harrods and Harvey Nichols are a ten-minute walk away, Kensington High Street is five) or surf the city's groovy zones from a single central location (Notting Hill and Soho are almost equidistant, Kensington Gardens is just across the street). The 68 rooms have a nocturnal look: ebonized wood floors and furniture and a color scheme of black, mocha, and taupe. Black-and-white portraits of Italian movie stars are hung in artful groupings, there's an en suite espresso machine, and the 24-hour room service slings some first-rate lasagna. A top-shelf spa and gym complex and a good Italian restaurant add to la dolce vita. Beware the vertiginous phone charges, even for local calls.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Base2Stay
25 Courtfield Gardens
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7244 2255
base2stay.com

This 67-room town house hotel in Earls Court offers spectacular value for the money, and nothing about it sighs "budget." Rooms are snug but well designed, with oak-finished desks, cocoa brown wall-to-wall carpeting, beds with crisp white cotton duvets, and tidy kitchenettes that include an electric kettle, a microwave, and a fridge. Baths are kitted out with heated chrome towel racks and large showers (but not tubs). Though this may sound vaguely dormlike, it isn't, thanks to stylish touches such as framed black-and-white photographs, organic toiletries, and camel-wool windowpane-check curtains on a brushed metal bar. Special kudos for the in-room information guide that not only explains how the air-conditioning and free-Internet keyboard work but also offers a comprehensive list of nearby restaurants, bars, and cafés. The cheerful young staff clearly love working here, too.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Bath Holiday Homes
Bath
England
Tel: 44 1225 830 830
bhh@virgin.net
www.bathholidayhomes.co.uk

A reliable agency with the blessing of the Bath tourism board, this outfit has a stable of 18 furnished weekly rentals that sleep between two and six people. Most of the apartments and cottages are traditionally decorated, but if mod's your thing, ask for one of the choices with jazzy contemporary décor. All have fully equipped kitchens, and most are in Georgian buildings, so you can play at being a local.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Bath Priory Hotel
Weston Road
Bath
England
Tel: 44 1225 331 922
mail@thebathpriory.co.uk
www.thebathpriory.co.uk

Set amid four acres of landscaped grounds near the Royal Crescent, this rambling 19th-century stone inn feels more country house than townhouse. The lounges and 33 bedrooms are done up in English manor chintz, with a ecclesiastical motif running throughout. The rates include breakfast and use of the spa's indoor colonnaded pool (but no treatments). The restaurant, headed by Michelin-starred chef Chris Horridge, turns out excellent seasonal menus based on local produce.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Berkeley
Wilton Place
Knightsbridge
London
England SW1X 7RL
Tel: 44 20 7235 6000
reservations@the-berkeley.co.uk
www.the-berkeley.com

The Berkeley's Knightsbridge location—home to Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and every luxury brand known to man or woman—has firmly established it as one of the most fashionable hotel addresses in London. The 214 rooms (60 of them suites) were each inspired by a top designer; for example, the Chelsea Suite, with a decor of mahogany wood and deep browns, tips its hat to David Collins. A recent refurb by interior designer Helen Green has leant a dramatic air to some of the rooms, with dark reds, monochrome, and objets d'art, while others are traditional with a modern twist, in shades of green and silver paired with mahogany and crystal-patterned mirrors. The top and second floors have terraces and balconies overlooking a church rather than bustling Knightsbridge. Our favorites include room 415, for its exquisite green color scheme and traditional hand-crafted English furniture; and room 110 for its spacious balcony (fresh air for a fraction of the price of a terrace suite). The accommodations vary in size: Rooms start at 264 square feet, and suites start at 431square feet. Other winning touches are the top-floor pool—it has a retractable roof that opens in fine weather—with stunning views across Hyde Park and beyond; two famed chefs in eponymous restaurants (Marcus Wareing and Pierre Koffmann); and the Blue Bar, with its "Lutyens blue" palette (a lavender shade) by designer David Collins. And while we concede it's a mere fashionista gimmick, we love the Prêt-à-Portea, a chic high tea service that includes tiny cookies and sweets intricately decorated to resemble designer pieces, such as a Louboutin stiletto.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Bermondsey Square Hotel
Bermondsey Square
Tower Bridge Road
London
England SE1 3UN
Tel: 44 870 111 2525
Fax: 44 870 111 2526
Tube: London Bridge, Borough, or Bermondsey
www.bermondseysquarehotel.co.uk

Comfy, funky, affordable, and cool, the Bermondsey Square Hotel is yet another sign of encroaching trendiness in the up-and-coming Bermondsey neighborhood south of the Thames. The hotel's design aesthetic is winkingly Pop-mod, with 1960s references showing up everywhere: plastic bubble chairs in the lobby, suites named for popular Beatles-era songs, and a buzzing restaurant called Alfie's Bar and Kitchen after the cult 1966 Michael Caine film. Retro influences aside, the hotel's 80 rooms offer forward-thinking amenities, including Apple televisions, free Wi-Fi, seriously plush Mattison beds, and luxe bathrooms with rain showers. Be sure to request a room far from the elevators, which can be distinctly audible when the hotel is busy. Or spring for one of the four loft suites with terraces overlooking the London cityscape (one even boasts a private outdoor hot tub); they are surprising affordable at about $340 per night. Bermondsey's increasingly hip zone of shops, restaurants, and pubs compensates for the hotel's being a bit out of the way (the West End is a 15-minute Tube ride), and the Southbank Centre and Globe Theatre are within a comfortable walk. Make sure to hit Alfie's for a seafood, cheese, or savory-pie "board," sourced at nearby Borough Market and ideal for an afternoon bite with a cocktail or coffee. Weekends, one of the city's largest flea markets moves into the square right outside the hotel for your browsing pleasure.—Siobhan Adcock

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Blakeney Cottage Company
69A High Street
Blakeney
England NR257NA
Tel: 44 1263 741 773
www.blakeneycottagecompany.co.uk

Aptly named, this company rents out some 40 self-catering cottages in or near the pretty harbor town of Blakeney, on the desirable north coast. The houses, available by the weekend (three-night minimum) or the week, are far more luxurious than your average English rental: Most have dishwashers and washer/dryers in fully equipped kitchens and extras like DVD players with movies. Many are built of indigenous flint—like the adorable three-bedroom Hideaway Cottage overlooking the salt marshes, freshly renovated with cream linen sofas, white-painted farmhouse tables, and brass beds. None of the mod cons come at the expense of charm—any one of these houses, whether it sleeps 2 people or 16, would fit perfectly well on a picture postcard. And if you disagree, drop in on the staff at their Blakeney High Street offices—they're also there to answer your queries and generally help out.

 

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Boskerris Hotel
Boskerris Road
Carbis Bay , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1736 795 295
reservations@boskerrishotel.co.uk
www.boskerrishotel.co.uk

The bustling seaside town of St. Ives, with its large artistic community and great beaches, is one of Cornwall's big attractions. But in high season, that popularity makes it a less-appealing prospect; its winding streets are crammed, and parking can be a real headache. Come evening, it's best to escape to neighboring, less-frenetic Carbis Bay. The friendly, family-run Boskerris Hotel is set on one-and-a-half seaside acres; the view stretches from the harbor to the Godrevy Lighthouse. In 2004, new owners embarked on a complete refurb of this 1931 hotel and injected a contemporary, airy feel into its 15 rooms. They vary in shape and size, but they're all roomy and painted white, with splashes of color. A hip white lounge and bar are bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large terrace out front makes the most of the hotel's ocean outlook; on a balmy evening it feels more Mediterranean than British.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Boundary
2–4 Boundary Street
London
England E2 7JE
Tel: 44 20 7729 1051
info@theboundary.co.uk
Tube: Liverpool Street or Old Street
www.theboundary.co.uk

Terence Conran's Boundary hotel follows hot on the heels of a slew of bars, galleries, and private members' clubs that have settled into the painfully cool Shoreditch neighborhood in east London. This Victorian red-brick warehouse has been transformed into 12 stylish rooms and five suites as well as an eponymous subterranean bar and restaurant serving classic British and French dishes; an upscale version of a typical English "caff" called Albion, offering fish and chips, pies, and puddings; and a rooftop terrace with an open fireplace for those hardy enough to brave the British climate. Boundary's lodgings strike an excellent balance between top-line design and homey city chic. Each room is inspired by a great designer, complete with signature pieces such as the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman or David Tang's near-psychedelic chinoiserie (his suite will have you either basking in Oriental reverie or climbing the walls, depending on your aesthetics). Choose from Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, Bauhaus, and, of course, Conran himself. The rooms are surprisingly spacious for an urban hotel (from 334 to 393 square feet), while the duplex suites are positively palatial (from 470 to 662 square feet). We suggest an upgrade to any of the corner rooms, which have no less than six sash windows and are well worth the extra 30 quid ($50). No-nonsense details like discounts for Sunday nights and long stays, free Wi-Fi, eco-friendly climate control, and underfloor heating in the bathrooms push the envelope, making Boundary a most appealing alternative high-ender for style-conscious travelers focused on visiting the galleries, bars, and shops of Shoreditch—or for those who have appointments in the City but can't bear the idea of staying somewhere business-boring.—Vanessa Able

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Bovey Castle
North Bovey
Dartmoor National Park , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1647 445 016
Fax: 44 1647 445 020
www.boveycastle.com

Longtime hotel maestro Peter de Savary, who used to own Skibo Castle (remember Madonna's wedding?), opened a superdeluxe lodging in this Edwardian-gothic mansion in summer 2004, only to sell it in 2006. The place looks like some ancient Sassenach relation of Skibo—but in fact it was completed in 1907, then established as a hotel in the 1920s by the owners of the very Scottish Turnberry and Gleneagles. Its golf course was modeled on those famous ones, then updated in 2004, but that's just one of the many sporting pursuits—there are facilities on the ample grounds for horse riding, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, tennis, fishing, and archery, and the hotel also owns a classic Riva launch for picnic trips down the River Dart, as well as a cider press and a falconry. Oh—and a spa, of course. This is not one of those "country house hotels made modern" you've been reading about; no, the 65 rooms remain resolutely trad in plaids, velvets, stripes, and toiles. Summer 2005 saw the first of several residential lodges opening on the grounds, most of which are reserved for members only.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Brown's Hotel
Albemarle Street
London
England
Tel: 44 207 493 6020
www.brownshotel.com

This genteel hotel, established in 1837 by Lord Byron's valet and then bought by James Ford, is famous for hosting the first-ever phone call, when Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his invention, and for being Mowgli's birthplace—Kipling wrote The Jungle Book here. Reopened in December 2005 after a $30 million–plus overhaul, its future is now as bright as its past. Credit Sir Rocco Forte, whose generally divine group of luxury properties benefits from his designer sister Olga Polizzi's eye. Though choice fittings like oak paneling, stained glass, and gilt mirrors have been preserved, the musty Victoriana has disappeared. The 117 guest rooms are handsome in shades of tobacco, wine, and cream (this always was a gentleman's retreat), with clean-lined custom furniture and some mid–20th-century vintage pieces. The Donovan Bar—riffing off Berlin's Helmut Newton Bar—has Brit photographer Terence Donovan's work on the walls and a leather bar by Bill Amberg. Even the Grill has gone contemporary, dropping its stuffy dress code, but still offering a daily roast. A gym and spa (now open to nonresidents) are there to work off scones from the famous Brown's tea. That's progress.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Browns Hotel
27–29 Victoria Road
Dartmouth , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1803 832 572
www.brownshoteldartmouth.co.uk

This former coaching inn newly made mod (though still affordable) by owners Clare and James Brown is a top address for Londoners. A hair behind Dartmouth's harbor, the ten rooms are small but funky, with a zebra-print headboard here and leather curtains there, lime and plum walls, vintage lampshades, and Mission-style oak furniture. Downstairs is one of the town's coolest bars, serving tapaslike snacks and local seafood, tea, and homemade scones and cakes. A big Devon breakfast is included each morning.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Burgh Island Hotel
Burgh Island
Bigbury-on-Sea , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1548 810 514
reception@burghisland.com
www.burghisland.com

This Art Deco hotel sits in splendid isolation on a 26-acre island just off the south Devon coast. When the tide rises, a sea tractor—an old-fashioned beast of a machine with wheels on stilt-like legs—ferries guests over the waves. A careful restoration of the hotel's original fixtures and fittings recaptured its 1930s glamour. The 24 rooms are all individual and outfitted with Art Deco furniture. Residents dress for formal dinner in the ballroom, a complicated affair where grilled deep-sea bass, green-tea noodles, enoki mushrooms, lobster, pak choi, and hondashi broth might be combined into one dish. For a low-key evening, head to the island's Pilchard Inn, where low beams, an open fire, and a stuffed parrot called Captain George ensure a low-key vibe. Thirties-style dances are held in the ballroom twice weekly. The incurably plugged-in should consider that there are no TVs or Internet connections (except in the library), but this hotel is so utterly eccentric that it's worth a night or two just to tell the tale.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Chewton Glen
New Milton
England
Tel: 44 1425 282212
Tel: 44 1425 275341
reservations@chewtonglen.com
www.chewtonglen.com

"What a setting for this lovely refuge," an 18th-century brick house near the New Forest and a few minutes' drive from the English Channel. Perfect-scoring rooms epitomize "English country decor at its best," each filled with antiques and modern and traditional textiles. Main courses at Marryat include Scottish sirloin steak and loin of Romsey lamb.

(94.4)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Claridge's
Brook Street
London
England
Tel: 44 207 629 8860
info@claridges.co.uk
www.claridges.co.uk

Claridge's hotel is a 203-room Victorian classic with a number of high-profile collaborations under its belt. Most recently, it's been cozying up to fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, who in June 2010 enlivened five of the hotel's rooms and suites with her signature bold florals and animal prints. Previously, NYC über-decorator Thierry Despont created the Deco foyer with its giant Murano glass Medusa head chandelier; London über-decorator David Collins did the rock-and-fashion–hangout cocktail bar with its adjunct Macanudo Fumoir; and the Queen's nephew, David Linley, designed two suites (one Art Deco; one traditional late 19th-century). The other rooms are Mae West meets Louis XV, with Hollywood brocades and straight-up English country chintz, or wood-paneled-and-tartan Scottish castle, their formality softened by a faint but distinct aura of decadence. There's also Gordon Ramsay restaurant, a La Prairie spa-ette, and a ton of extra services on request—because hip as it may be (Kate Moss celebrated her 30th birthday here), Claridge's remains one of this city's exemplary grand hotels.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Cley Mill
Cley-next-the-Sea
England NR25 7RP
Tel: 44 1263 740 209
info@cleywindmill.co.uk
www.cleymill.co.uk

This 18th-century windmill, standing just outside the flint town of Cley next the Sea (pronounced "Kly," and actually about a mile away from the sea), is one of the most recognizable structures on the North Norfolk coast. Inside, there's a charming, traditional dining room (nonguests can reserve for dinner) and an almost circular lounge crammed with grain-colored sofas, Windsor chairs, and black-stained oak beams: the very definition of cozy. The English country signifiers—more oak beams and Windsor chairs, plus wainscoting and whitewashed walls—continue upstairs in the six sweet rooms, which have names like Wheat Chamber and Barley Bin, reflecting their former grain-processing lives. Enormous families can rent out the entire place, including two cottages converted from the former stables and boathouse. In summer, the gardens and views over the marshes to Blakeney Harbor come into their own. This place is always booked solid, by families and romantically minded couples alike, so think ahead.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Colonnade
2 Warrington Crescent
London
England
Tel: 44 207 286 1052
rescolonnade@theetoncollection.com
www.theetoncollection.com

London's leafy Little Venice, while pretty, is more "Little" than "Venice," consisting as it does of one canal. This brace of handsome Victorian mansions—a former hospital—is a couple of blocks away from that single stretch of water in the blah-but-getting-hipper residential neighborhood of Maida Vale. But an in-betweeny, non-tourist area is a small price to pay for, well, a small price, and this place delivers quite a bit for the buck. The 43 rooms are done in Christmassy pine-and-red-and-white tones, or shades of brown with velvet and dark wood, and come with a/c and WiFi, robes and slippers, fruit, tea and coffee, satellite TV and 24-hour room service—and the sheets are Frette. Improbably, JFK and Freud both stayed here and have bequeathed their names to suites; the former containing the very bed in which Kennedy slept. If suites are beyond your budget and the hotel's not full, they'll probably upgrade you—if not, you may find yourself a bit squashed and taking refuge in the incongruously mod but still cozy E Bar, noshing on tapas.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Connaught
Carlos Place
Mayfair
London
England W1K 2AL
Tel: 44 20 7499 7070
info@the-connaught.co.uk
www.the-connaught.co.uk

You have to do something pretty special to stand out beside Claridge's and The Berkeley—the sister properties in the Maybourne Hotel Group's triumvirate of super-luxury London hotels—yet the Connaught managed it in summer 2008, causing quite a stir when it reopened after a $105 million face-lift. Its new bar, the Coburg, designed by Parisian India Mahdavi, instantly became the place to go for cocktails. The black and taupe surroundings are furnished with antique chairs reupholstered in burgundy, mink, and purple fabrics, and four black-and-white cameos by Julian Opie. Acclaimed French chef Hélène Darroze has replaced Gordon Ramsay, taking charge of the hotel's cuisine. The renovation project continues until December 2009, with the unveiling of a new gym and spa. Designer Guy Oliver has retained the Edwardian grandeur in the 117 rooms, with a traditional palette of light greens, silvers, and ebony, but he's also added some quirky pieces here and there, such as a funky red-and-gold lacquered cabinet. For those who enjoy being pampered, the staff-to-guest ratio of 3:1 ensures service with all the trimmings.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Covent Garden Hotel
10 Monmouth Street
Covent Garden
London
England WC2H 9HB
Tel: 44 20 7806 1000
covent@firmdale.com
www.firmdale.com

There are two types of luxury hotel in London: Grand old hotels like Claridge's and the Dorchester make bold gestures, lavishing posh bars, celebrity-designed rooms, and liveried doormen on guests. Then there's the quiet, intimate luxury of the Covent Garden Hotel, a 58-room bolt-hole in the West End, whose only extravagance is its uncanny grasp of what its guests want: to be left at peace and in great comfort. The flagship of the stylish Firmdale Group of hotels, the Covent Garden has a more traditional demeanor than its contemporary cousins the Soho Hotel and the Haymarket, but the English country decor never feels stuffy. The lobby is understated, offering only a smattering of seats; instead, there's a good all-day brasserie and, upstairs, a cozy "drawing room" where guests can have tea, read the newspaper, or entertain friends in a setting of plush sofas, fireplaces, and an honesty bar. With the exception of the least-expensive category (queen rooms, which are only 118 square feet; the next category up is 205 square feet), rooms are large and extraordinarily comfortable, each individually designed with brightly patterned textiles and wall coverings, original artwork, and a mix of traditional and contemporary furniture. There's also a well-edited minibar, flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi, and a large marble bathroom with dual sinks, a tub, and a shower stall with terrific water pressure. Huge windows overlook the street (either Monmouth Street or Shaftsbury Avenue), providing plenty of daylight and, despite soundproofed windows, a not insignificant amount of hubbub. Well, you're in the city, after all—and a damn near perfect location at that, with theater, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife just out the door.—Peter J. Frank

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Coworth Park
Blacknest Road
Ascot
England SL5 7SE
Tel: 44 1344 876 600
info.coworthpark@dorchestercollection.com
www.coworthpark.com

The Dorchester Collection's first countryside hotel sits on 240 acres of polo fields and wooded parkland at the edge of Windsor Great Park, a mere 20 minutes from Heathrow. The 70-room hotel's main Georgian building is undistinguished architecturally, and contains incongruous design touches: A leafless metal tree arbitrarily dominates the lobby, the dining room ceiling is wreathed with shiny leaves, and upstairs hallways sport perplexing cabinets of whitewashed flower pots. However, there is still much to appreciate here. Guests are completely cosseted by the highly individual, high-spirited staff. Room furnishings in the main house are classical, with four-poster beds, but are updated with light, subtle fabrics and have hypnotic views of woods and parterres. Rustically furnished suites—situated in a small cluster of cottages, a stable, and an eighteenth-century dower house—are all suitable for families due to their generous size. At the casual, stone-floor restaurant The Barn, expect delicious renderings of wholesome English country fare, while the swank formal dining room presents delectable small plates, ingenious foams, and a crack sommelier. Befitting the setting, there's on-site riding, tennis, golf, and a wonderful spa with its own spa restaurant, but nothing tops the opportunity to indulge in that most cherished of rural English pastimes: long country walks.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Dean Street Townhouse
69–71 Dean Street
Soho
London
England W1D 3SE
Tel: 44 207 434 1775
info@deanstreettownhouse.com
www.deanstreettownhouse.com/

Dean Street Townhouse, which opened its doors in November 2009, is a four-story hotel housed in two connecting Georgian buildings in buzzing Soho. The property's 39 guest rooms are wood-paneled and/or wallpapered in hand-painted florals, with pretty shuttered windows and super-soft carpets. The decor is traditional—many of the huge, pillow-strewn beds are four-poster, and there are period-style taps in the black-and-white–tiled bathrooms (some of the larger bedrooms also have roll top tubs). For those looking for a hip and central bolt-hole on a budget, Dean Street's "Tiny" rooms are a bargain, with the same attractive decor as the larger rooms (opt for the cute room 6, up a winding spiral staircase, decorated in shades of blue). If you are staying for a while, book larger rooms 32, 15, or 10. The hotel's excellent brasserie-style restaurant (with banker's lamps at the bar, red leather banquettes and cheeky Brit art on the walls by the likes of Peter Blake and Tracey Emin) serves updated British staples like roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing and luscious treacle pudding. There's also a laid-back parlor with rich wine wallpaper and comfy armchairs—it's no surprise that this place is owned and run by the same people as Soho House.—Giovanna Dunmall

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Dorchester
Park Lane
London
England
Tel: 44 207 629 8888
info@thedorchester.com
www.thedorchester.com

After a multimillion-pound refit, completed in 2003, the Park Lane dowager isn't her blousy old self anymore (some of the 250 rooms were getting a bit droopy—as tends to be the case with anyone born in 1931). Now all is freshly English-countrified with Colefax & Fowler and Zoffany fabrics and papers, with custom-made fruitwood and mahogany furniture alongside the antiques. There's also (very unrural) connectivity centered on an Internet-DVD-CD-printer-scanner-fax-combo machine (seriously), attached to 42-inch plasma TVs in the top 90 rooms and flat-screens elsewhere. The hotel's been hiring, too—a team of e-butlers and Vivienne Westwood's preferred florist are now on staff. Bathrooms are lovely, in Art Deco-style Carrera marble with windows, and, yes, there's quite a spa. The Grill Room is a riot of tartan, but the poor Oriental—despite being London's first Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—didn't make the cut. Instead there's David Tang's sumptuous China Tang restaurant with mirrored pillars, highly lacquered surfaces, and carp murals, and, more recently, an Alain Ducasse restaurant. Like its sisters, the Meurice and Plaza Athénée in Paris and the Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A., this is as grand as a hotel gets.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Drunken Duck Inn
Barngates
England LA22 0NG
Tel: 44 153 943 6347
info@drunkenduckinn.co.uk
www.drunkenduckinn.co.uk

This inn has been around for 400 years, but its name only dates back to the Victorian era. Here's the story: One morning, the landlady found several of her ducks lying dead by the road, so she set about plucking them—only to discover they were very much alive. Turns out a beer barrel in the basement had leaked into the duck's feed, and they had merely passed out, drunk. Today, after you descend from one of 16 comfortable bedrooms (antique furnishings and huge modern bathrooms) into the pub, you can do your best binge-drinking-duck impression by downing pints of the inn's own home-brewed ales. These—along with the candlelit dining rooms—helped the Drunken Duck earn the Good Pub Guide's coveted "Cumbria Dining Pub of the Year" in 2003 and 2004. The Duck also makes a fine base for hikers, as it overlooks the famous Fairfield Horseshoe walk; for fly-fishing enthusiasts, there are two small, private lakes nearby stocked with wild brown trout.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Dukes Hotel
35 St. James's Place
London
England SW1A 1NY
Tel: 44 20 7491 4840
bookings@dukeshotel.co.uk
www.dukeshotel.com

Dukes is tucked away down a cobbled cul-de-sac, a stone's throw from Prince Charles's official London residence, Clarence House, where Princes William and Harry bed down when they're in town. You'll be seduced by this place as soon as you see its pretty doorway and cool, calm interior—it's like entering a grand old library, all hush but without the stuffiness. The Dining Room (serving traditional dishes such as guinea fowl and beet terrine), Drawing Room, and Dukes Bar have understated, classic decor, with Queen Anne chairs, rich wallpaper, luxurious soft furnishings, and oil paintings. Bedrooms come in silvery grays, blues, and greens, and the suites have spacious living rooms with plush sofas and majestic dining tables fit for high-class dinner parties or high-powered business meetings. The rooms were modernized in 2007, so now there's Wi-Fi and iPod speakers alongside the stately decor. The best room, of course, is the Penthouse Suite, with its private balcony overlooking Green Park. Down in Dukes Bar, the signature cocktail is the classic martini, prepared like a sacred ritual table-side with a crystal atomizer.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Egerton House Hotel
17–19 Egerton Terrace
London
England
Tel: 44 20 758 92412
infoEG@rchmail.com
www.egertonhousehotel.com

Close to Harrods and the Natural History Museum, this Victorian town house is "warm and cozy" and has artwork by Picasso, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec. Done in neutrals or pastels or deep turquoise, individually designed rooms "add to the charm of the hotel." The Drawing Room is known for afternoon tea, the bar for martinis. "The service was genuine—the staff could not do enough for us."

(28 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
The Forbury Hotel
26 The Forbeary
Reading
England
Tel: 44 118 958 1234
www.theforburyhotel.co.uk

A good base for visiting Windsor Castle and Henley-on-Thames, The Forbury is also a perfect plush rest stop before an early flight out of Heathrow. Occupying an imposing nineteenth-century building overlooking public gardens that bear its name, The Forbury is a boldly decorated hotel with 24 well-proportioned rooms. The reception area gorgeously blends rich colors and textures—gold, green, mauve, burgundy, tobacco—with post-modern attitude. Six artists have been commissioned to create works for the hotel including Alain Bonnefoit, whose subtly erotic nude paintings can be seen upstairs and down. Room decor is more restrained and together with the opulent baths and Bang & Olufsen sound system with plasma HDTV makes for a pampering atmosphere. An in-house cinema screens movies on Sundays, and at Cerise restaurant, the resident fromager, dressed up in a Dickensian waistcoat and cravat, will regale you with obscure cheese lore.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
Dogmersfield Park
Chalky Lane
Dogmersfield
England
Tel: 44 1252 853000
Fax: 44 1252 853010
fourseasons.com/hampshire/

Near medieval hamlets and built around an 18th-century Georgian house, this country hotel packs in manor pursuits: riding, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, croquet, and more. Rooms in the contemporary wings are done in "strong colors that work," with dark furnishings and heavy silk drapes. The 27,000-square-foot spa's design includes exposed beams and slate showers. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Dogmersfield Park, Seasons has a market-driven contemporary menu.

(133 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Hotel London
Hamilton Place
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7499 0888
Fax: 44 20 7493 1895
www.fourseasons.com/london/index.html

How do you reinvigorate a hotel whose problem is not the service it delivers (always impeccable) but the feeling of predictable blandness? The solution for this 41-year-old Mayfair landmark was to undergo a bone-deep refit, apply a sharp jolt of Italian verve, and add some classy English undertones. The result? Cool luxury in the 192 rooms (plentiful marble and mirrors) and a sexy new lobbyside venue—for all-day grazing and imbibing that deflate previous signs of stuffiness. A series of salons in genteel country house tones connects to a bar and a restaurant, Amaranto, designed in an opulent Italian style (cardinal scarlet mixed with dark wood and, again, a lot of mirrors). You can move from the cucumber and smoked salmon finger sandwiches of afternoon tea to the inventive Italian dinner menu by Adriano Cavagnini (previously of the Hotel Eden in Rome) and arguably London's deepest Italian wine list. Moreover, each wine can be bought by the glass (with a two-glass minimum) so you can skip joyfully from region to region.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Goring
Beeston Place
London
England SW1W 0JW
Tel: 44 207 396 9000
reservations@goringhotel.co.uk
www.goringhotel.co.uk/

Still run by the family that opened it in 1910, this "elegant property very much like a private English home" is adjacent to Buckingham Palace. "Small rooms" are individually decorated with "lots of chintz and bold colors." The restaurant specializes in British staples such as Beef Wellington and steak and kidney pie. "The staff are exceptional," providing children with gift bags on their pillows.

(71 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Great John Street Hotel
Great John Street
Manchester
England
Tel: 44 0161 831 3211
info@greatjohnstreet.co.uk
greatjohnstreet.co.uk

Simultaneously cozy and edgy, this 30-room property is a clever conversion of an old redbrick schoolhouse. The Boy's Staircase and the Girl's Staircase have been retained, and both lead to a rooftop terrace and open-air whirlpool—on a balmy spring night, it's a swell spot from which to savor views over the surrounding Victorian mill buildings. All rooms are duplexes, with lime-washed armoires, glass bubble table lamps, and TVs in the lounge and bedroom areas; many also have big egg-shaped bathtubs. The bar draws a stylish crowd, and the room service menu runs to comfort food such as steak sandwiches and potato-and-bacon soup. Nice touch: the pitcher of milk in the minibar, to add to the tea you make with the in-room kettle. Bad idea: the cinnamon-on-steroids-scented electric room perfumer.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Grosvenor House
Park Lane
London
England W1K7TN
Tel: 44 207 499 6363
www.londongrosvenorhouse.co.uk

Perfectly located on Park Lane, the historic Grosvenor House, emerging from a four-year makeover, emanates a cocooning atmosphere of well-trained professionalism. Only some vestiges of its glamorous Jazz Age heyday have been retained intact—most visibly the classic entrance colonnade joining the two towers housing the 443 rooms. Yet the richly hued refurbishments of the well-sized rooms and bathrooms are styled for mainstream appeal: patterned carpets, thick drapes with swags, and English bath salts for the tub. In the reception areas, however, the invitingly colorful luxe decor is slightly diminished by lackluster contemporary color photography and new woodwork with an incongruously pallid hue. The Bord'eaux brasserie serves terrific cuisine from southwestern France in a cavernous space (the piped in music veers erratically from Piaf to rap). The more formal dining option is Corrigans, but allow time for the truly excellent English tea in the Park Room, overlooking Hyde Park.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Guesthouse West
163-165 Westbourne Grove
London
England
Tel: 44 207 792 9800
www.guesthousewest.com

Though it bills itself as a bed-and-breakfast, Guesthouse West is light-years from the quilted floral polyester bedspreads and balky plumbing that often define the category in London. Located in trendy Notting Hill, this appealing 20-room inn has a friendly laid-back vibe, clean contemporary good looks, and a groovy lounge serving decent tapas. Rooms marry the tactile (teak wardrobes, down comforters, potted orchids, and superhip REM toiletries) with the high-tech (flat-screen TVs, CD/DVD players, and Wi-Fi throughout). Less successful is the anemic and overpriced breakfast buffet.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Halkin
Halkin Street
London
England SW1X 7DJ
Tel: 888 425 5464 (toll-free)
Tel: 44 20 7333 1000
info@halkin.como.bz
www.halkin.como.bz

Each floor at this hotel near Hyde Park was inspired by the five elements. "Very modern rooms" have pale-cream fabrics, wood veneers, and "excellent marble bathrooms." Thai restaurant Nahm serves curries, roast duck, and longan salad with pickled ginger. "We were impressed by the concierge and doormen, who were super at giving advice and getting taxis."

(41 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Haymarket Hotel
1 Suffolk Place
London
England SW1Y 4BP
Tel: 44 20 7470 4000
haymarket@firmdale.com
www.firmdale.com/index.php?page_id=8

If style is high on your list of priorities, then look no further than the Haymarket. This 50-room hotel in a landmark building by John Nash, the architect behind most of Regency London, oozes panache with a dash of quirkiness. But that's only to be expected from dynamic husband-and-wife team Tim and Kit Kemp, whose Firmdale Hotels group includes the Soho Hotel, the Covent Garden, and Number Sixteen. From the lobby—where visitors are greeted by a towering stainless-steel sculpture by Tony Cragg and London landscapes by John Virtue—to the bold lighting and gilded columns around the 55-foot swimming pool, every room packs a punch. The bar and restaurant faces London's buzzy Haymarket neighborhood with its theaters and clubs and is a good spot for people-watching. The rooms and suites have painted antique furniture, French windows reminiscent of a Parisian apartment, and understated vases of country flowers. Muted shades serve as a background to a bold stripe or floral pattern in pink, turquoise, or yellow. The luxurious bathrooms are designed in granite, oak, and glass and have flat-screen TVs for tub viewing. Bag a room on the first floor, where there's a wooden-decked terrace overlooking an enormous skylight into a beautiful conservatory, with a large painting of a forest by Paul Winstanley.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Headland
Fistral Beach
Newquay , Cornwall
England TR7 1EW
Tel: 44 1637 872 211
www.headlandhotel.co.uk

Perched on a bluff in Newquay, the historic Headland Hotel commands an impressive view of the sea and Fistral Beach, one of the best and most popular surfing beaches in Cornwall. Since this Victorian grande dame's main building opened in 1900, it's seen its share of stylish Gatsby-era parties, wartime struggle, and visits from movie stars and royalty. The 104 rooms in the main building, freshly updated with elegant linens and furnishings, are a pleasant surprise in such an antique setting (you were expecting hot water bottles and chintz wallpaper, perhaps?). The Armstrong family, which owns and manages the hotel, oversaw a multi-year face-lift, completed in 2007, that also added 40 one-, two-, and three-bedroom cottages with kitchens, fireplaces, ocean views, and an assortment of eco-conscious amenities such as self-closing taps, low-flow plumbing, power-saving appliances and light bulbs, and biodegradable cleaning supplies. The surrounding college town of Newquay doesn't have much to recommend it, but the dramatic South West Coast Path runs around Newquay and through the Headland's property; the summer months bring a series of surfing events (and a good-looking surfer crowd) to Fistral Beach.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
High Road House
162 Chiswick High Road
London
England
Tel: 44 280 742 1717
www.highroadhouse.co.uk

Nick Jones, founder of the Soho House, is known both for his empire of London brasseries and his private clubs. His latest venture is in the West London enclave of Chiswick, where chic shops and restaurants are replacing the humdrum storefronts. Chiswick is also home to many television and music companies, so it's no surprise that High Road House has quickly become the gathering spot for media types and their entourages. Upstairs, the 14 guest rooms—with their whitewashed walls, plump Frette bedding, and old-fashioned sinks and toilets—suggest a stylish artist's garret. The friendly staff and the excellent brasserie (run by a River Café protégé) are added bonuses, as is the access to the club's private dining room, "playroom" (with pool table and plasma TVs), and quiet meeting areas. The one drawback: It is a bit of a hike from Chiswick to central London.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hope Street Hotel
40 Hope Street
Liverpool
England
Tel: 44 151 709 3000
www.hopestreethotel.co.uk

Perched on a hill with killer city views, and right across the street from the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Hope Street is a near-perfect renovation. Carved out of a former carriage works, all 48 rooms are painted white, with waxed-oak floors and exposed-beam ceilings that create a Nordic ambience at the same time as they reference this port city's shipbuilding past. Each is graced with loads of natural light, underfloor heating, Egyptian-cotton sheets, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and oversized beds. The bar is the most happening spot in town, and the London Carriage Company restaurant is a great bet in a city where the food scene offers an unappetizing snapshot of life before the U.K. went gourmet.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hoste Arms
The Green
Burnham Market
England PE318HD
Tel: 44 1328 738 777
reception@hostearms.co.uk
www.hostearms.co.uk

Dating from the mid-16th century and operating as an inn since 1651, this ridiculously picturesque stone manor house is best known as the gastronomic destination of North Norfolk. But the accommodations here are nothing to sneeze at, either. The interiors of the 43 rooms are exuberantly decorated in wall-to-wall toile de Jouy, tartan, or Regency stripe, with beamed ceilings and opulent bathrooms. Four of the rooms have four-poster beds. The eight rooms in the African Wing are done up in earth tones with chocolate leather headboards, dark wood furniture, and Zulu artifacts—an homage to the Zululand roots of the owner's wife. Another set of rooms, five minutes' walk away in the old railway station, are small and they lack tubs and phones, but the rooms are a bargain and decorated with great care. (This Georgian village is often accused of being the prettiest in the county, by the way.)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay
On the Beach
Watergate Bay , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1637 860 543
life@watergatebay.co.uk
www.watergatebayhotel.co.uk

Outside it looks like a typical seaside hotel from the early 1900s, but after a two-year refurb completed in spring 2007, it's a contemporary space fronting a two-mile beach of powdery sand and surfable Atlantic waves that attracts droves of young Londoners on the weekends. Bedrooms are unfussy, with white wooden floors, clean-lined furniture, fluffy white duvets, flat-screen TVs, DVDs, and CD players. Handmade Cornish bath products, made nine miles away, add a local touch to the simple, white-tiled bathrooms. Definitely pay a few dollars extra for a sea view. Dining options on the inlet include Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall and the hotel's Brasserie, which serves a contemporary Cornish menu (pan-fried sea bass with buttered cabbage, smoked bacon velouté, and gnocchi, for example). Guests also chow down in bare feet and bikinis at the sometimes chaotic waterfront Beach Hut. Activities partner Extreme Academy offers everything from surfing to kite-buggying (a wind-powered, three-wheeled buggy).

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel du Vin
Trumpington Street
Cambridge
England CB2 1QA
Tel: 44 1223 227330
www.hotelduvin.com/HotelLanding.aspx?HotelId=7

Right in the heart of this great university town, across from the intimate Fitzwilliam Museum, the 41-room Hotel du Vin occupies several historic houses—parts of which date back to the Middle Ages—and offers a dose of offbeat English-country-house hospitality. A stylish renovation reveals some of the building's original brick-and-beam construction, and rooms are handsomely kitted out with dark-brown Axminster wall-to-wall carpeting, armchairs upholstered in velvety rust-colored fabric, and oak-framed beds. Every guest room is different—some have sunken private terraces, others bay windows with window seats—but all come with black-and-white photographs, matte-black tile bathrooms with heated floors, an electric kettle for making tea or coffee, and access to the hip basement wine bar. The only off note is the hotel's mediocre restaurant, an Anglo take on a French bistro, with frantic service.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel du Vin
New Street
Henley-on-Thames
England
Tel: 44 1491 848400
info@henley.hotelduvin.com
www.hotelduvin.com/henley/henley_welcome.asp

With the latest branch of the Hotel du Vin chain, this genteel riverside town, famous for its regatta, can claim one of the most alluring long-weekend hotels in England. In a first-rate example of industrial recycling, the former Brakspears Brewery has been imaginatively converted, with each of the 43 rooms named for a vineyard. All are done up with toast-colored walls and thick wall-to-wall carpeting, and furnished with solid oak pieces that have a Shaker simplicity. Plump duvets and Egyptian cotton sheets make for dreamboat beds, while baths have oversized cast-iron Victorian tubs. With thoughtful details—an electric kettle to make your own tea or coffee, organic toiletries, and DVD/CD players—these rooms are ideal for holing up with a good book. If the Champagne Bar and billiards room downstairs sound tempting, the Bistro suffers from cheeky Fawlty Towers service, so you're better off dining out. 

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Endsleigh
Milton Abbot
Tavistock , Devon
England
Tel: 44 1822 870 000
mail@hotelendsleigh.com
www.hotelendsleigh.com

Designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi has weaved her magic once again in this 1812 Gothic hunting lodge, sister to the Hotel Tresanton in neighboring Cornwall. Run by Olga's daughter, Alex, it sits in 108 acres of perfectly coiffed gardens and parkland that run down to the River Tamar (the hotel can arrange a spot of sea trout and salmon fishing, including equipment and a packed lunch, if you're so inclined). It's well placed on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, and for those in need of a bit more bustle, it's only five minutes from the pretty market town of Tavistock. Hotel Endsleigh's interiors combine Regency paneling, grand traditional bathrooms, and period decor with contemporary art, and beautiful hand-painted wallpapers. Lunch and dinner (organic salmon served with crushed potatoes, cauliflower purée, baby squid, and saffron dressing) are as traditional as the wood-paneled dining room they're served in, which proudly displays the original owner's family crest.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel TerraVina
1 Suffolk Place
Netley Marsh
Southhampton
England SO40 7GL
Tel: 44 2380 293 784
www.hotelterravina.com

A fine wine cellar and the local terroir are the essence of this country hotel, the latest enterprise of Hotel du Vin founder and sommelier Gerard Basset and his hotelier wife, Nina. Two new wings flanking the brick Victorian house emphasize earth tones and a natural country look, albeit with some shortcomings: The plank walls do not blend well with the old house, and the stairs are cramped and steep. Yet a stay at the TerraVina is still a delight. The staff are simultaneously unobtrusive and efficient, and the 11 rooms, although snug, are light and inviting. Chef Rory Duncan's cuisine is based on locally sourced and organic ingredients, superlatively prepared in an open galley kitchen and served in an attractive space overlooking a garden. Close by are the lovely meadows and paths of the New Forest, now a national park, where you can ramble or ride (a bike or a horse) and glimpse the forest's famed wild ponies.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Tresanton
St. Mawes , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1326 270 055
info@tresanton.com
www.tresanton.com

There is some evidence that Olga Polizzi, star designer of the gorgeous hotels belonging to her brother, Rocco Forte, keeps her heart here. She opened this labor of love in 1998, and it has been the number-one Cornwall address ever since—it put the quaint (it's really the only word) fishing village of St. Mawes on the map. Here the Polizzi style has lost its urban edge and expanded its sense of fun. Bathrooms have aquatic mosaic tiles or wainscoting, and sand-colored bedrooms are appointed with wood floors, maquettes of lighthouses, and giant fossilized nautilus shells in lieu of oil paintings. All over the place are niches and terraces for catching the Cornish rays—the 29 rooms are spread over a collection of houses that once formed a yachting club so the layout is not straight up-and-down. The contemporary British-Mediterranean restaurant is prime (try the calamari with basil mayonnaise, lemon and rocket); the semitropical gardens lush. If you like her style, check out her work at the Hotel Endsleigh in Devon.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Hoxton
81 Great Eastern Street
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7550 1000
info@thehox.co.uk
www.hoxtonhotels.com

For those who thrive on Hoxton's galleries, garment wholesalers, hip clubs, and swank bar-restos (and can handle blighted, traffic-heavy Great Eastern Street), this is a second home. Wood fires blaze at either end of the glass-fronted, bare-brick-walled, polished-concrete-floored lobby. A flock of papier mâché bird lights hovers overhead. A ruckus spills from Hoxton Grille, the groovy brasserie. Under the glass check-in desk is a small snack shop. This lodge is, in short, for the young. Compact though they are, the 205 rooms are a nice surprise, with Frette sheets and duck-down duvets, flat-screen TVs, AC, and Wi-Fi. Fridges are stocked with free milk and mineral water, and the coffeemakers are for use with the banana, OJ, and yogurt delivered in a brown bag every morning. Bathrooms have showers, Pears soap, and lots of white towels. A sign says: “Hotels ask you to reuse your towels to save the environment (their money more like). So why don't they give you enough room to hang them up (we do). P.S. It's good to save the planet”: Urban Lodge in a nutshell. It's all the brainchild of a Pret à Manger sandwich shop cofounder, Sinclair Beecham, and he plans more. The further ahead you book—via the website—the lower the room rate goes.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
InterContinental London Park Lane
One Hamilton Place
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7409 3131
ichotelsgroup.com

When you enter the lobby—gleaming with chandeliers of cascading Swarovski crystals, opulent with plump red velvet ottomans, and subtly fragrant with elegant floral displays—it becomes clear that the InterContinental London Park Lane's $157 million renovation has not been an extreme makeover. The hotel is evidently too confident of itself and its loyal clientele to have abandoned the classic hallmarks of luxury for modernist fads. The snug rooms remain classically furnished, with fresh chintz and Bang & Olufsen sound systems that also extend to the bathrooms. The walls are hung with art commissioned to evoke the local culture, tacitly reminding you that Buckingham Palace is practically next door. The buzzy new restaurant, Theo Randall at the InterContinental, serves stylish interpretations of regional Italian food; for more casual nosh, Cookbook Café deliciously reinvents familiar British and American standbys. A new spa, run in partnership with Elemis, will open later this month, and for suite occupants and those willing to pay a $160 premium, the renovated Club Lounge offers wide vistas of London's swankiest boroughs.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
King George IV Inn
Eskdale
England CA19 1TS
Tel: 44 194 672 3262
info@kinggeorge-eskdale.co.uk
www.kinggeorge-eskdale.co.uk

Though largely a 16th-century property, the oldest parts of the King George IV date back to Roman times—an appropriate background, given that much of the walking in the Eskdale Valley takes you down ancient Roman roads to visit Roman ruins. The historic feel is maintained with flagstone floors, open fires, oak beams, low ceilings, and real cask ales (plus 200 malt whiskies to choose from). There are three rooms—one has a canopy bed with frilly curtains; another sports a timbered ceiling above pink walls; the last is a self-catering apartment.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Lanesborough
Hyde Park Corner
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7259 5599
info@lanesborough.com
www.lanesborough.com

Evoking "a private club," this Greek Revival hotel near Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace "lives up to its reputation." "Well-appointed suites" and rooms are equipped with laptops and decorated in 1820s furniture; bathrooms are finished in Carrera marble. The modern Italian menu at Apsleys, with ingredients imported from Italy, includes carbonara fagottelli, pasta with pancetta cheese and egg yolk. "The bellmen are top-notch."

(95 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lime Wood
Beaulieu Road
Lyndhurst , Hampshire
England SO43 7FZ
Tel: 44 23 8028 7177
info@limewood.co.uk
limewoodhotel.co.uk

Georgian manor houses invariably lie at the end of a long gravel drive, past formal gardens and elegant outbuildings. Lime Wood, true to form, presents a perfect picture of eighteenth-century gentrification. Wood fires crackle in gorgeously furnished sitting rooms beyond the foyer, while checkerboard floors of cream and black stone gleam under chandeliers and sconces of metal oak leaves. A glass-ceilinged conservatory accommodates tea takers and spirit drinkers alike. Meals are served in the adjoining rustic "Scullery," and when weather permits, guests can also dine on a terrace overlooking clipped yew hedges, vine trellises, and reflecting pools stocked with speckled trout. Bedrooms in white, beige, and silvery blue-gray soothe the soul even as the body is cosseted by the plumpest pillows. Also pampering is the immense bathroom with its claw-foot tub, capacious walk-in shower, and delectably scented Bamford botanic products. For sport you can borrow Wellies from the mudroom, pick up a walking map at reception, and set off on a hearty forest walk—staff will gladly point the way. Alternatively, Winchester is a 25-minute drive and Jane Austen's family home not much farther.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Lugger Hotel
Portloe , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1872 501 322
office@luggerhotel.com
www.luggerhotel.com

A 17th-century smuggler's inn—very Daphne du Maurier—has been translated into a cool retreat for urban escapees. Its 21 bedrooms are cozy, with low ceilings (basketball players should avoid) and whitewashed beams, wooden slatted shades, limed-wood furniture, crisp linens, piles of down pillows, big soaking tubs, essential-oil bathroom products, and showers that are unusually drenching for England. Also unusual for such a small hotel is an ultraclassy spa (in-room and alfresco full-moon treatments on a private terrace are available). There's a top restaurant too, and dramatic views over the cove. It's pricey, but small and perfect.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa
The Mansion House
Luton
England LU1 3TQ
Tel: 44 1582 734437
reservations@lutonhoo.com
www.lutonhoo.co.uk

If it has ever been your fantasy to be Mr. Darcy's houseguest at a grand eighteenth-century country estate, the opportunity has arrived. After a recent stint as a location for films, the magnificent mansion, together with its 1,065-acre park, has been transformed into a 144-room resort with a golf course and a spa. The mission of the new owners has been to painstakingly restore the stately home, rather than redesign it with the waggish postmodern adornments currently in vogue with hotel renovations. While some of the decor fails to complement the soaring grandeur of the architecture and is instead disappointingly drab, the place is stunning nonetheless. There is a wide choice of accommodations, from period rooms in the old house (the grandest are named after the dignitaries who once stayed there) to recently constructed ones in the adjacent Parkland Wing, the more distant Robert Adam Stables building (where the spa is housed), and the Flower Garden Wing (near the golf course). Dining can be casual at Adam's Brasserie or resplendent amid the Aubusson tapestries and French windows in the Wernher dining room. In addition to golf and spa treatments, there are genteel country pursuits: tennis, croquet, boating, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, and snooker.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel
Sydney Road
Bath
England
Tel: 44 870 400 8222
Tel: 888 892 0038
sales.bathspa@macdonald-hotels.co.uk
www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/bathspa

This 129-room Georgian mansion, set among seven acres of landscaped gardens, is a mostly peaceful getaway in the hills outside the city. Rooms in the original house, built in 1848, have period details and furnishings (like the four-poster beds in the 27 spacious suites) that can evoke a Jane Austen-ish reverie, while those in the 20th-century addition have a more contemporary feel. All have polished marble and mahogany bathrooms. In recent years, it's become a favorite destination for conference attendees—and delegates with name badges tend to spoil the sense of historic nostalgia. The good news: You can escape the hordes by hitting the pool, the large spa, the gym, or the croquet lawn—or by booking one of the butler-serviced Imperial Suites, housed in a structure set apart from the main building.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Main House
6 Colville Road
London
England
Tel: 44 207 221 9691
caroline@themainhouse.co.uk
www.themainhouse.co.uk

Thanks to posh ex-nightclub owner Caroline Main, you too can be a Notting Hill bohemian. Her stucco Victorian house within spitting distance of Portobello Road makes the ideal home away from home for London visitors, though with just four rooms, you may never get in. Should you luck out, you'll have the run of a wood-floored, white-walled flat with the kind of graceful proportions, big sash windows, and leafy views that pushed this once-funky area out of the reach of mere millionaires years ago. Ms. Main has perfect taste, hence the Portobello-provenance framed mirrors, deep-buttoned leather chesterfields, slipcovered chaises longues, mahogany secretaries, and wrought iron candelabra. There are TVs with DVD players, phones with voice mail, plus WiFi, and morning coffee or tea is delivered to your room. What else could you need?

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Malmaison
3 Oxford Castle
Oxford
England
Tel: 44 1865 268 400
oxford@malmaison.com
malmaison-oxford.com

The British boutique hotel chain has contrived the United Kingdom's first prison-into-hotel conversion as part of an urban renewal project taking place at Oxford Castle, situated between Oxford's train station and shopping district. Now you can rest your head where felons slept until 1996—although truth be told, fully three of the barrel-roofed cells were allotted for each double room and bath. Mal has had to preserve many of the original features of the prison, which was rebuilt in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries on its medieval foundations. The brass door bolts and cast-iron walkways and staircases remain, but the overall effect is warmed and softened by the deft use of fabrics and color in the refurbished cells and in the ancient dungeon, where you can now dine and drink to these improved times.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
66 Knightsbridge
London
England
Tel: 44 207 235 2000
molon-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/london/

The expanding Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is bringing out the best in this Edwardian pile, which now has the amenities to match its splendid location—opposite Knightsbridge Tube station with the park on one side and the favorite store of fashion obsessives, Harvey Nichols, on the other. In the glam Adam Tihany–designed bar, backlit bottles masquerade as stained glass, and the restaurant, Foliage, is one of the city's foodie hits. Downstairs, there's a big, good gym, and one of the best spas (by ESPA) in London. Decor in the 197 rooms is pitched firmly in the traditional camp, in beiges, golds, and maroons, with swagged curtains, button-back wing chairs, and a pinch of orientalism—there are lacquered and bamboo bits and pieces where the chintz should be. Unless you're a shopaholic who needs to gaze continuously on Harvey Nic's, the Hyde Park rooms are the best, with nothing but trees to look at—until the Horse Guards picturesquely parade past for their morning exercise. Service is notably attentive, with a separate guest-room manager assigned to each floor.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Mandeville Hotel
Mandeville Place
London
England
Tel: 44 207 935 5599
info@mandeville.co.uk
www.mandeville.co.uk

Don't let the reserved Edwardian exterior fool you—there's a lot going on behind the façade at this Marylebone Village hotel. Reopened in May 2005 following a $28 million refurbishment, the Mandeville now has interiors by Stephen Ryan that include quirky Regency and Louis XVI touches. In the deVille restaurant—where former Pelham Hotel chef Jason Booker serves up modern British dishes, such as a trio of lamb with minted pea puree and Madeira jus—an antique dresser has been relacquered hot pink, and Rococo-style floral hangings grace the walls. The Rococo motif is repeated in the deVigne bar, which is frequented by the beautiful boys from nearby Selfridges, media types, and a varied cross section of hotel guests. The 142 bedrooms check all the high-tech boxes: flat-screen interactive TVs with broadband access, a hands-free radio in the marble bathroom. Primarily traditional decor by Julian Chichester doesn't shy from mixing pattern, color, and period: Bedside tables in dark wood with mirrored panels sit next to a white leatherette headboard framed with Deco-style mirror paneling. Fuchsia, pea green, and purple pinstriped sofas are paired with bold floral cushions and urn-patterned curtains in shades of lilac and yellow. Minimal this is not, and it's all the better for it.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Masons Arms
Strawberry Bank
Cartmel Fell
England LA11 6NW
Tel: 44 153 956 8486
info@masonsarms.info
www.strawberrybank.com

If you prefer modern styles to the cozy British charms of most Lakeland inns, try one of the Mason Arms' three suites or two cottages. They're all elegantly contemporary, done up in minimalist black, white, and natural wood tones. Tartan drapes soften the clean lines, and the cottages, which accommodate four or six, feature working fireplaces. The Cartmel Fell suite, which sleeps three, even has a private walled garden. The inn enjoys an unrivaled setting, overlooking the Winster Valley to the woods below Whitbarrow Scar.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Milestone Hotel
1 Kensington Court
London
England W8 5DL
Tel: 44 207 917 1000
bookms@rchmail.com
www.milestonehotel.com

Close to Kensington Gardens, this redbrick Victorian has perfect-scoring service, thanks to the "absolutely infallible" staff. "Plush, luxurious," and individually designed rooms are "uniquely English" and vary from simple black-and-white floors and fabrics to colorful brocaded bedspreads. Inside the mahogany-paneled walls of Cheneston's, modern British dishes—Goosenargh duck, heritage potato bubble and squeak—are on the menu; specialty martinis pour at Stables Bar.

(63 rooms)

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Mill Inn
Mungrisdale
England CA11 0XR
Tel: 44 176 877 9632
enquiries@the-millinn.co.uk
www.the-millinn.co.uk

The six bright, modest rooms at this 16th-century coaching inn above the Glenderamakin River have hosted the likes of Charles Dickens and local hunting legend John Peel, who lies buried in Caldbeck churchyard just a few miles away. Since 2000, owners Margaret and Jim Hodge have fostered a thriving business out of their homemade pies—which you can sample along with grilled fresh salmon and pan-fried duck breast before a roaring fire in the dining room—and they now host an annual Pie Fest at the inn. (Before you get too excited, remember that British pies are usually filled with meat and veggies, not fruit.)

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Number Sixteen
16 Sumner Place
London
England
Tel: 44 207 589 5232
sixteen@firmdale.com
www.firmdalehotels.com

This exquisite little hotel would not normally qualify for the "Budget" designation, but it's a relative term in London at the best of times, and as budget splurges go, this is tops. Sister to the Soho and the Covent Garden, the 42-bedroom white stucco Victorian town house has benefited from just as much of genius designer Kit Kemp's attention; hence the cool, contemporary chocolate and cream stripes in the bedrooms, plus a suite of glamorous drawing rooms with well-stocked honor bars just as at the pricier siblings. This one lacks a gym, a screening room, and a restaurant, though there is 24-hour room service and afternoon tea. It's true, there isn't room to swing a kitten in some of these rooms, but sweet views from the sash windows over the quiet residential street—which is one convenient minute from the South Kensington tube station—or over the backyards and rooftops make up for that, and you can sit out in the perfect little enclosed garden with a koi pond and a conservatory.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Old Quay House Hotel
28 Fore Street
Fowey , Cornwall
England
Tel: 44 1726 833 302
info@theoldquayhouse.com
www.theoldquayhouse.com

Typical of many Londoners suffering from urban ennui, the owners of this 11-room waterfront hotel escaped to the countryside. In the idyllic seaport of Fowey (pronounced "foy"), they bought an 1859 former seaman's hostel and gave it a boutique makeover. While they've retained its quaint exterior, the bedrooms have been modernized and "dressed" slightly differently—a Moroccan mirror or table in one room, basket chairs and tables in another—but all follow a cream and white color palate. Only Room Three strays into dramatic territory with deep-red velvet throws and cushions. Book one of the eight rooms with patios and views of the estuary, otherwise you might end up overlooking a pretty but occasionally noisy street. On the ground floor, there's a lounge and a restaurant with a lovely terrace facing the water. The food is, as expected, mainly fish (Cornish sea bass, Cornish crab, Cornish plaice), with a Mediterranean twist. The hotel is well placed for visiting the Eden Project and driving or yachting around the gentler coastline of South Cornwall.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
One Aldwych
1 Aldwych
London
England
Tel: 44 207 300 1000
reservations@onealdwych.com
www.onealdwych.com

To paraphrase the real estate cliché, three words describe successful hotel keeping: detail, detail, detail. And, thanks to its dapper, exacting man-about-town owner, Gordon Campbell Gray, this ever-hip turn-of-the-21st-century luxe boutique has that down pat. Some of those details are unique to Gray's establishment—for example, the lifesized dog papier-mâché-ed with comic strips standing by the reception desk, and the rest of GCG's hand-curated, hotel-wide 400-piece contemporary art collection. Other details are ones every hotel should master: the plate of rigorously seasonal, perfectly à point fruit and flowers in your room; the friendliness of the handsome doormen, natty in their custom-made Richard James frock coats; and Wi-Fi throughout. The 105 beige, green, lilac, red, and blue rooms are mod, but so very comfy, with their deep carpet, crisp Frette linens, and brown stone bathrooms with mini TVs, special eco-water-systems, and exclusive natural bath products from New Zealand. One side of the basement is a wondrous spa with underwater music in the pool; the other side is Axis, the posh restaurant. On a mezzanine above the lobby is Indigo, the buzzy brasserie—with its canvas of 192 slices of burnt toast embedded in beeswax—and the lobby itself is a perennially hot hangout with its tea and cocktails, and arty bouquets. As for location, location, location, One Aldwych has that down too: This is Covent Garden and Theaterland's doorstep.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pavilion Hotel
34-36 Sussex Gardens
London
England
Tel: 44 207 262 0905
info@pavilionhoteluk.com
www.pavilionhoteluk.com

This is the cherished baby of ex-model Danny Karne and his sister Noshi, so it's not surprising the fickle fashion folk flock here. What keeps them coming back is the loony, decadent Look—it's a favorite location for Mario Testino photo shoots and Leo diCaprio's London forays. All the 29 beyond-theatrical rooms have their own theme: single-nation ones like Highland Fling, Casablanca Nights, War and Peace, and Indian Summer are self-explanatory; then there's Quiet Please with its trompe l'oeil wall of books and mahogany daybed; the 60s spaceship Cosmic Girl and the Honky Tonk Afro room, which, with its disco ball and fake leopardskin, is so convincingly fly that Antonio Fargas—Huggy Bear himself—will stay nowhere else. Even the tiny singles have bathroom, satellite TV, and phone, and the amazing rates include breakfast. But listen: It's not for everyone. If you want a/c, obsequiousness, and babysitting, keep away. On the other hand, if Danny likes you, he may take you for a sightseeing spin in his vintage Roller or purple Lamborghini Diablo.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Pheasant Inn
Bassenthwaite Lake
England CA13 9YE
Tel: 44 176 877 6234
info@the-pheasant.co.uk
www.the-pheasant.co.uk

In 1778, this 500-year-old farm in the northern reaches of the Lake District was converted into an alehouse. It soon became the favored haunt of John Peel, a place where he could hold court and recount his exploits. Adding to the charm of its antique bar, the sumptuousness of the elegant dinners and afternoon teas, and the superb service—which even provides a comprehensive weather forecast delivered to your room every evening—there are 13 comfortable bedrooms, each one unique. Yours might have an antique mirrored vanity or a carved wooden headboard—or even a working fireplace.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Portobello
22 Stanley Gardens
London
England
Tel: 44 207 727 2777
info@portobello-hotel.co.uk
www.portobello-hotel.co.uk

This adorable and slightly naughty Victorian terraced mansion has been a hotel since way before Notting Hill had any cachet. It opened in 1970, the year after the iconic Nic Roeg film Performance (filmed around the corner) came out and, if you squint, it retains a smidgen of Jagger-heyday dirty glamour—which may explain why professional bad boy Colin Farrell stays here now, as does hotel connoisseur and family man Bono. The very definition of shabby chic, the decor is half high-Victorian, half colonial, with claw-foot tubs and a great deal of red velvet. The 24 rooms vary vastly, from a tiny cabin with a TV set tucked into the ample folds of the bed curtains to the famous Round Bedroom suite with the giant circular bed and the restored Edwardian bathing machine—a beautiful, rather dominatrixian arrangement of brass pipe work, the tub of which Kate Moss is rumored to have filled with Champagne. Remember to take advantage of the complimentary evening membership at the nearby Cobden Club, a quirky private venue.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Queensberry
Russell Street
Bath
England
Tel: 44 1225 447 928
reservations@thequeensberry.com
www.thequeensberry.co.uk

Since this 29-room Georgian townhouse hotel was taken over by one of Bath's tourism directors and his wife in 2003, it's become one of area's top places to stay. The redesigned rooms are handsome and—for Bath, anyway—almost edgy: All are decorated in shades of chocolate, olive, pink, and rust, with mod wallpapers, halogen light fixtures, angular couches, and flat-screen TVs. Also redesigned: the popular below-street level modern British restaurant, the Olive Tree.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Queen Victoria
Tel: 800 728 6273
www.cunard.com

Despite all its marketing, Cunard's 1,007-cabin Victoria is not really an ocean liner (it was built to be small enough to transit the Panama Canal, after all). Yet it is a grand ship that harks back to the romantic era of cruising, and its sober yet elegant design is a welcome departure from the brash interiors that blight modern fleets. It mixes warm brown wood panels and polished chrome handrails with subtly patterned carpets and Art Deco light fixtures that give off an almost golden light. The three-story atrium lobby, which wraps above curved twin staircases, is a remarkable centerpiece, housing a 6,000-book wood-paneled library, a Todd English restaurant, and a champagne bar. A sense of Old Britannia pervades the vessel, from the white-gloved afternoon tea accompanied by a string quartet in the Queens Room, to fencing lessons offered at the gym, to the theater with royal boxes that could have been plucked straight out of London's West End. As on its other Queen ships, Cunard passengers dine at those restaurants designated for their cabin category. Though the top-strata Princess and Queens grills have the most comprehensive menus and the richest ambience, dining is a throwback at all the full-service restaurants—men wear tuxedos on formal nights, jackets for dinner all other nights. In some ways the ship falls short: Neither of its two pools is as grand as the stern pool terrace on sister ship Queen Mary 2, and most cabins have inadequate space for storing clothing. Thankfully, the polite yet assured service—especially in the restaurants, where polished waitstaff perfectly pace the meals-is memorable enough to compensate for any shortcomings.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Red Lion Inn
Hawkshead
England LA22 0NS
Tel: 44 153 943 6213
reservations@redlionhawkshead.co.uk
www.redlionhawkshead.co.uk

This, the oldest inn in Hawkshead, dates to the 1400s and was once frequented by Disraeli and Wordsworth. Today, in a black-trimmed stucco building in the heart of town, the inn's 12 rooms mix modern comforts and colorful fabrics with antique furnishings and appointments—and, if you steer clear of the pricey Four Poster room, doubles run just over $100.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Renaissance London Chancery Court Hotel
252 High Holborn
London
England WC1V 7EN
Tel: 44 207 829 9888
Fax: 44 207 829 9889
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/loncc

Within "walking distance of Covent Garden and the British Museum," this former insurance headquarters in Holborn has rooms that are large—"unusual for London"—and feel "luxurious without being ostentatious, albeit a bit fussy." The "well-informed staff really want to help." Modern French cuisine at the Pearl Restaurant & Bar makes for a "marvelous meal."

(356 rooms)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Ritz
150 Piccadilly
London
England
Tel: 44 207 493 8181
Tel: 877 748 9536
enquire@theritzlondon.com
www.theritzlondon.com

One of the world's famous hotels (no longer related to the even more famous Paris Ritz) opened in 1906, and is quite as lovely as it was in its first heyday—thanks largely to more than ten years of sympathetic private ownership. You really need to have a penchant for your Louis XVI, though: Staying here is like owning the Petit Trianon for the duration, especially if you get a room (one of 137) on the west side overlooking Green Park. Everywhere are sparkly glass chandeliers, heavy silk curtains, and curvy brocaded armchairs; the ornate cornices are not just gilded, they are 24-carat-gold–leafed. Bathrooms and fireplaces are marble; ceilings are at least 12 feet high; and everything comes in the Ritz candy palate of rose, lemon, peach, and powder blue. After years and acres of minimalism and white, it's all rather refreshing, especially after a Champagne tea or an exorbitant meal in the outrageously elaborate restaurant with its frescoes and putty-and-pink boudoir chairs. There's a fitness studio on the seventh floor, but runners also have Green and St James's parks literally on their doorstep. The salon, refurbished in early 2006, also provides a range of health and beauty treatments.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Riverbank Park Plaza
18 Albert Embankment
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7958 8000
rppres@parkplazahotels.co.uk
parkplaza.com/londonuk_riverbank

When you arrive at the Riverbank Park Plaza, the engaged hum rising from the young business crowd in the foyer bar affirms that Vauxhall—with its new glossy corporate towers—has arrived. The hotel's architecture may be office block bland, but the interior decor is dramatic: A welcoming gas fire flickers inside a rectangle of chrome; at the rear, beyond plush banquettes of magenta, orange, and dark brown, is an opalescent puce-green glass-backed bar. Guest rooms are well-equipped for business travelers, outfitted with high-tech efficiencies and decorated with minimalist design accents of blond wood, pale stone, glass, and chrome. The London Eye and the Tate Modern are within walking distance, and a water taxi can speed you across the Thames in just five minutes. But the best argument for this hotel is its rooms with unimpeded views across the Thames of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben—if you can get one.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Rockwell
181 Cromwell Road
London
England
Tel: 44 207 244 2000
enquiries@therockwell.com
www.therockwellhotel.com

Outside, there's little to distinguish this white stucco Victorian from the many downscale hotels along this none-too-beautiful stretch of Cromwell Road, but inside, it's instant cheer. A couple of trendy architects were behind the May 2006 opening—which is easy to glean from the modish patterned wallpapers, contemporary couches, and interesting lamps. The 40 rooms benefit from intelligent layouts (especially the smaller ones like #402, a tiny double…but what a roofscape view!) and custom oak closets. There's air-conditioning, minibars, free Internet, satellite flat-screen TVs, Egyptian cotton sheets, and robes (but not tubs) in the bathrooms. Three of the rooms open onto a lower part of the courtyard; tables from One Eight One restaurant (modernized Brit fare that's much better than you'd expect) spill out onto the garden's upper level. The staff is involved and helpful, the net result being a homey vibe. Let's hope all the peeling, sad hotels around Earl's Court take the cue and follow up with their own design-conscious, detail-oriented reinventions.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rookery
12 Peter's Lane
Cowcross Street
London
EC1M 6DS
Tel: 44 207 3360931
reservations@rookery.co.uk
Tube: Farringdon
www.rookeryhotel.com

The Rookery is a charming 33-room hotel in trendy Clerkenwell housed in three 18th-century buildings. The guest rooms range from comfortable doubles (320 square feet) to the two-story Rook's Nest suite (856 square feet), with views over London's rooftops to St. Paul's Cathedral. The guest rooms and public spaces have character and then some, with wood-paneled walls, luxurious silk drapes, stone floors, fireplaces, and antique furniture. In the bathrooms, Victorian cast-iron fittings and copper pipes have been adapted and reconditioned for modern use. Don't expect bellhops or a concierge—come here for the excellent location in one of the most evocative, Dickensian parts of London. If the Rookery is fully booked, stay at its equally sumptuous sister hotel, Hazlitt's in Soho. A third property by the same group is slated to open in Spitalfields late 2013.—Giovanna Dunmall

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rough Luxe Hotel
1 Birkenhead Street
King's Cross
London
England WC1H 8BA
Tel: 44 20 7837 5338
reservations@roughluxehotel.co.uk
www.roughluxehotel.co.uk

Rough Luxe Hotel, opened in September 2008 just a stone's throw from North London's King's Cross Station, takes shabby chic to a whole new level. The vision of Lebanese-born designer and gallerist Rabih Hage was to retain the original building's rough edges in keeping with the rather gritty neighborhood but to combine it with luxury decor. Hence, the walls of this nine-room hotel are layered with decade-old wallpaper and mottled paint, and the original staircase is worn-down and creaky. The luxe part is all about the furnishings (thick velvet drapes), the bed linens (100 percent linen), very comfortable beds (mostly designed by Hage), and made-to-measure or antique furniture. The effect is idiosyncratic and strangely inviting but also can occasionally irk (a 1970s TV with a fuzzy picture is downright annoying). Choose rooms 2, 6, or 10, all overlooking a courtyard, if you want a decent night's sleep away from the cacophony of traffic. Rooms 5 and 8 are the en suite options; choose 8 (the largest room) if you want to experience bathing in a splendid copper tub. Breakfast is served around a beautifully handcrafted chunky table by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek, and the terrace is an oasis amid the urban grizzle that is King's Cross. If you're prepared to forgo spacious guest rooms and high-tech amenities in favor of the unexpected—plus a welcoming, professional staff—this place is worth a visit.—Giovanna Dunmall

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Royal Crescent Hotel
16 Royal Crescent
Bath
England
Tel: 44 1225 823 333
Tel: 800 980 0987
info@royalcrescent.co.uk
www.royalcrescent.co.uk

This 45-room property sits right in the center of the street of streets, the spectacular Royal Crescent. Everywhere you look in the five linked houses are 18th-century antiques, oils by such notables as Reynolds and Gainsborough, and portraits of historical figures with links to Bath, including Lord Nelson and George III. The suites, too, are named after famous local figures (such as Jane Austen and the "Scarlet Pimpernel"—the fictional Sir Percy Blakeney). The Georgian fantasy isn't quite authentic; Sir Percy would have swooned at the luxe bathrooms with their custom-made organic products, the fancy spa, and the Mediterranean- and Asian-influenced fare at the Dower House restaurant. But no one's complaining. On weekends, a wedding is likely to be in progress.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
San Domenico House
29-31 Draycott Place
London
England
Tel: 44 20 7581 5757
info@sandomenicohouse.com
www.sandomenicohouse.com

This 16-room property, a reincarnation of the former Sloane Hotel on Draycott Place, is ideally situated for exploring Chelsea's history and upscale shops. The hotel, two redbrick houses, contains a warren of staircases and landings supplemented by a tiny elevator. Lavishly furnished with late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century paintings and antiques, the cozy interior feels more like a quirky private home than the ubiquitous no-place of global Hotel Land. The thick scent of candles strikes an off-note, however, as do occasional stumbles in the decorating: What could an homage to Napoleon be doing in a London drawing room? The heated towel rail in the gleaming bathroom may not always work, but the bedroom lighting is perfection, the continental breakfast as good as any in Milan, and the Italian staff not only attentive but dazzlingly handsome.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Sandringham Estate
Estate Office
Sandringham
England PE356EN
Tel: 44 1553 772 675
visits@sandringhamestate.co.uk
www.sandringhamestate.co.uk

No, it's not false advertising: These two self-catering accommodations actually sit on the Queen's country estate, providing—in addition to washing machines, microwaves, and all possible linens—supreme bragging rights. The Granary, a spacious converted barn, has three bedrooms (each with its own bath), a wood-burning stove in a cozy living room, and a private patio and lawn. Garden House, once occupied by the property's head gardener, is a bit more grand, with a gabled roof, climbing ivy, and many windows overlooking an ornamental garden. In addition to four bedrooms, it has a dining room, a sitting room, and a full kitchen. The rental period for both lodgings is in one-week increments, Monday to Monday. Note to honeymooners and king-sizers: The largest available beds in both cottages are doubles. Note to everyone: Don't expect royal appointments. The furnishings are on the modest side.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Savoy
The Strand
London
England
Tel: 44 207 836 4343
savoy@fairmont.com
Tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross
www.fairmont.com/savoy/

It took three years and $356 million to refurbish and restore the grande dame of London hotels, the Savoy, which reopened in fall 2010. The part-Edwardian, part–Art Deco building on the Strand in central London is an ideal spot to stay when in town for sightseeing. The restoration has retained the lobby's original friezes, paneling, and black-and-white marble floors, but a lighter color scheme and the Edwardian glass cupola (long covered up) brighten the space. Additions include the Beaufort Bar, a new Art Deco–style Champagne bar with dramatic jet-black and gold-leaf walls, a huge selection of Champagne, and live cabaret (fitting, considering the Savoy's theatrical beginnings). The revamped River restaurant offers a modern French menu and doubles as the hotel's breakfast room. The 268 guest rooms (62 of them suites) are either Art Deco or Edwardian in style, but all are elegant and understated, with Murano glass chandeliers and soft, light cream tones (and floral furnishings in the Edwardian rooms). All have black-and-white marble bathrooms, fresh flowers, and framed photographs of past famous guests of the hotel. If you're looking for an iconic London view, book one of the 38 rooms overlooking the Thames and the London Eye. There's a light-filled pool and gym where you can work off the mouth-watering pastries and chocolates made on-site and sold in the Savoy's Tea Shop.—Giovanna Dunmall

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Scarlet
Tredragon Road
Mawgan Porth , Cornwall
England TR8 4DQ
Tel: 44 1637 861800
stay@scarlethotel.co.uk
scarlethotel.co.uk

This cliffside property tucked away on Cornwall's north shore eschews rustic seaside themes for a more urbane design and quirky Ayurvedic spa. The hotel has strong eco credentials, employing solar panels, biomass boilers, rainwater-harvesting, and gray water recycling—and a delightful ten-percent discount for guests arriving by foot, bike, or public transport. The all-natural philosophy takes center stage in the popular spa with its "get messy" local mud treatments and seaweed wraps; other spa highlights are the cliffside hot tubs and a natural swimming pool cleaned by reed beds instead of chemicals. The 37 guest rooms are contained in the striking architecture of glass, angles, and clean lines, but interiors are less successful: a mishmash of Nordic-style materials, decadent baroque flourishes, and local art with a prevalent nature motif occasionally lead to over-design, like the curvaceous terrace chairs that wobble unsteadily and collect rainwater in the seat. Despite the hotel's design quirks the attentive staff are professional without acting overtrained.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Soho Hotel
4 Richmond Mews
London
England
Tel: 44 207 559 3000
receptionsohohotel@firmdale.com
www.firmdale.com

Hotelier-designer team Tim and Kit Kemp opened this hotel in 2004. Of their flawless six-pack of welcoming, contemporary hotels, the Soho may be even more glamorous than their best-known Covent Garden Hotel. This is partly because the location attracts Soho's floating population of ad and film industry types (and the occasional Hollywood star), but mostly because Kit Kemp's styling just keeps getting better. The 91 rooms have taupe and bisque stripes, velvet loveseats, white matelassé bedcovers, custom faux–flea market dressers, Kemp's signature vintage-styled radios, and gorgeous bathrooms of brindled granite and oak. Downstairs are more Kempian trademarks: the pair of parlors for entertaining guests—and selves—complete with log fires, a cornucopian honor bar with snacks, and more Deco-inspiration than the grooviest shelter mag. There's the bar-restaurant, Refuel, with its fun mural of a parking garage (this building's implausible former occupant), a great little gym, and two beauty-service rooms, two private movie theaters, and—on first entering the sunny brick-colored lobby with its river-stone–covered pillars—a ten-foot high welcome cat, which happens to be a bronze by Botero. Top style and people-watching in every cranny.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
St. Giles House
41–45 St. Giles Street
Norwich
England NR21JR
Tel: 44 1603 275 180
info@stgileshouse.com
www.stgileshouse.com

Until this 23-room independent boutique opened in 2005, the county capital had been sorely lacking in notable hotels. The landmark 19th-century building—a former telephone exchange—stands handsomely on a street about the width of a scarf, a brisk five minutes' walk from the market square, and ten more to the cathedral. Inside, Art Deco–meets-Versace decor (with the odd nod toward Louis XV) reflects the glitzy taste of its Russian owner, although overall, the look radiates calm and comfort. Rooms vary in size; those in the original part of the building (as opposed to the modern extension) benefit from higher ceilings that make them seem roomier. The best bathrooms are in numbers 15 and 16 (with fireplaces and claw-foot tubs) and 23 and 24 (marble-clad with claw-foot tubs). The Elysium spa is catching on with the local high rollers as well as guests. Ditto for the Champagne and caviar bar, Mishka, and the rather overwrought Franco-Russian food of Dimitri's restaurant: Sweet-and-sour fish soup with mushroom piroshki and filet steak with horseradish–foie gras creamed potato are typical dishes.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. James's Hotel and Club
7-8 Park Place
St James's
London
England SW1A 1LS
Tel: 44 207 316 1600
www.stjameshotelandclub.com

Until recently a raffish exclusive club for entertainment types like Pete Townsend and Michael Caine, this splendid neo-Gothic edifice on a quiet cul de sac has been transformed into a stylish hotel. Designer Anne Maria Jagdfeld uses exquisitely textured materials to subtly opulent effect, including in the 60 well-proportioned and (complicatedly) high-tech accoutered rooms. Surfaces are elegantly sheathed in cashmere, silk, and velvet (not to mention stingray and armadillo skin), while golden Murano glass chandeliers and lighting ingeniously recessed under the bathtubs cast luxuriant illumination. Less successful is the hotel's unnecessarily pretentious Silk Route-inspired Andaman Restaurant. And although the museum-quality pieces of early-twentieth-century art contribute jolts of brilliant color, the faint odor of Nazi-era Germany that seeps from a few of the works seems discordant. But, as you're reminded by the naughty nudie pix still tucked away in the bar, the St. James's has not entirely left behind its decadent past.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
St. Moritz Hotel
Trebetherick
Wadebridge , Cornwall
England PL27 6SD
Tel: 44 1208 862242
www.stmoritzhotel.co.uk

On a bluff between the fashionable resort towns of Polzeath and Rock is the rebuilt St. Moritz, reincarnating a beloved postwar forebear. Chef Elliot Ketley, previously of Soho House in New York, gets raves for the cooking; the staff are well trained; and the new premises are, for the most part, thoughtfully designed. The 42 rooms are spare and airy, with pale blue- and sand-colored pillows and throws, and bedside lamps that cast pools of sea-green light. The cramped bathroom and skimpy amenities are a disappointment, but other ablutionary opportunities include indoor and outdoor pools, a steam room, a Jacuzzi, and a Cowshed Spa, not to mention the briny opportunities beyond.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Strattons Hotel
4 Ash Close
Swaffham
England PE377DW
Tel: 44 1760 723 845
enquiries@strattonshotel.com
www.strattons-hotel.co.uk

Set back from the wild mayhem (we're kidding) of Swaffham's market square, this garden-surrounded Queen Anne house is a real labor of love. Les and Vanessa Scott have decorated the ten rooms with gusto, and they're stunners. One (the Red Room, which sleeps a family of five) has a museum-worthy Jacobean four-poster, rich silks and embroidered velvets, and a secret panel opening to the Moroccan bathroom with its giant claw-foot tub; another (the Linen Room) has a private balcony almost as big as the room itself. A few rooms have Lloyd Loom chairs, brass bedsteads, and antique linens, while others dispense with the Victoriana and Georgiana in favor of more contemporary modernism. The place is greener than an emerald, down to the electricity-saving windup radios. A brood of bantam hens on the front lawn welcomes guests to the hotel, a decanter of Madeira to their rooms. The restaurant, which uses local game and produce in most of its recipes, is the best for miles around; if it's available, try the slow-cooked Castle Acre leg of lamb with roasted root vegetables.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Tower Bank Arms
Near Sawrey
England LA22 0LF
Tel: 44 153 943 6334
enquiries@towerbankarms.co.uk
www.towerbankarms.co.uk

Philip and Dorothy Broadley are certainly fine and hospitable innkeepers, and their three bedrooms are as charming and cozy as you'd want in a small British inn (including D.I.Y. tea trays). The five real ales on tap in the dining pub are delightful, and the Tower Bank Arms even has a fishing license so that guests can angle the local lakes. None of these charms, however, are why folks flock to this National Trust–owned 17th-century inn. They come because Beatrix Potter once lived next door at Hill Top (preserved as it was the day she died), and because the Tower Bank Arms was the model for the country inn in the author's The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Victoria at Holkham
Park Road
Holkham
England NR231RG
Tel: 44 1328 711 008
victoria@holkham.co.uk
www.holkham.co.uk/victoria2/Pages.asp?Page=1

Viscount Coke—or Tom Coke, as he calls himself—and his wife, Polly, joined forces with two brilliant designers to renovate this Victorian-styled brick lodge on the Earl of Leicester's ancestral estate in 2001. It was an instant hit, not only for the deliberately faded opulence of the British Raj–meets–Primrose Hill boho interiors, but also for the first-class food in the restaurant. Ten rooms with names like the Wash, the Stone, the North Sea, and the Colonial mix mahogany pieces specially commissioned in Rajasthan with flea-market antiques and crisp linens. Some are madly colorful, others muted, all with shades from the National Trust color wheel you see in every hip home in London: leaf green, burnt orange, shell pink. Such was the demand for the rooms, the Cokes have just renovated three fabulous family-sized self-catering lodges on the grounds—a couple of arched gateways and a gamekeeper's cottage. They're the opposite of IKEA—one kitchen has handcrafted wood cabinets and an Aga (so much better than a Wolf stove, darling); another has flagstone floors and a winding stone stairway. Guests can hike the surrounding forests, visit 18th-century Holkham Hall, where Tom Coke lives, and bird-watch on the endless strand of Holkham's beaches 15 minutes west. Along with the restaurant, there are lounges and pub rooms with Labradors dozing on faded velvet couches—or guests snoozing over the Sunday papers.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Wasdale Head Inn
Wasdale Head
England CA20 1EX
Tel: 44 194 672 6229
wasdaleheadinn@msn.com
www.wasdale.com

The Wasdale Head, in the heart of the Western Lakes, is famed as the birthplace of British rock climbing. No wonder. It's surrounded by the tallest peaks in England and serves as a brilliant base for mountaineering as well as less-strenuous walking trips. There are 12 rooms, including a family suite and a ground-floor double with a four-poster bed, plus several self-catering apartments for longer stays. The dining room specializes in Herdwick mutton and lamb, and if you fancy a pint, they brew their own beer under the label Great Gable Brewing Company.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Weardowney Guesthouse
9 Ashbridge Street
North Marylebone
London
England NW8 8DH
Tel: 44 20 7725 9694
house@weardowney.com
www.weardowney.com

This guesthouse is something of a well-kept secret hidden away in trendy Marylebone, north of Oxford Street. It's the brainchild of Amy Wear and Gail Downey, former models turned knitwear designers who converted the spacious three-story Victorian townhouse above their boutique into a six-room hotel. Each comfy bedroom is individually designed in a bohemian take on Regency style. Four rooms have en suite baths; the other two share a bathroom on the landing, which keeps costs ridiculously cheap for this neighborhood ($144 en suite, $134 with shared bathroom). On your doorstep are Regent's Park, Lord's Cricket Ground, and Madame Tussauds, as well as many excellent boutiques. Guests can try the potluck (soup or stew), made nightly by Downey's wonderful housekeeper Titiek, and in the morning a full English or continental breakfast is served in the dining room. At street level, the Weardowney boutique is a trove of beautifully handcrafted knitwear and vintage clothing and shoes—a tempting place to spend the cash you've saved by staying here.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The Zetter
86–88 Clerkenwell Road
London
England
Tel: 44 207 324 4444
info@thezetter.com
www.thezetter.com

The giant red Z on the front of this hotel tips you off (as if you hadn't already been primed by the "aren't I gorgeous?" vibe of the entire neighborhood): The Zetter isn't the shy and retiring type. One of the converted warehouses indigenous to Clerkenwell, the place may read as nonchalant, but you know full well every inch was born in a sketchbook, mood board, or blueprint before the hotel opened in 2004. In fact, design darlings Precious McBane are behind the witty vintage look: dusty pink, turquoise, or hot orange-on-white color schemes in the 59 rooms, along with Louis seats with mock-70s floral upholstery and Knoll chairs in Eley Kishimoto fabrics. Rooftop studios earn technology brownie points for body-temperature–regulating Freshbeds. There are HansGrohe rain showers in the bathrooms and second-hand Penguin Classic paperbacks on the nightstands—plus hallway vending machines (think splits of Champagne, not Fritos) instead of minibars. The first floor is an all-day restaurant with walls of window, lots of achingly cool locals, and a vitrine of YBA works. If that doesn't appeal, the arrival of head chef Diego Jacquet in 2006—formerly of the Trafalgar's Rockwell Bar and Restaurant, El Bulli, and Aquavit—might just do it for you. Almost best of all, the rates are (for London) way low.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.