For most of us, this summer will largely be restricted to travelling around England for a 'staycation'. Of course, the romanticism of flying out abroad to unknown balmy climes still somewhat seems more appealing than relying on the erratic English weather, however, England may just surprise you this summer. The variety across the country is breath-taking once you begin to dig below the surface. Venture away from the traditional holidaying spots, and you soon find an overwhelming amount of boutique hotels that all offer chic, erudite surroundings for a unique ‘staycation’, that certainly rivals the reputation of the continent. As such here is a guide to some of the best kept secrets in the English hotelling industry.
The Artist Residence is a chain of stunning boutique hotels, with other spots in Brighton, Cornwall and Oxfordshire, and there is a distinct focus on an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings. The London flagship hotel is a well-respected establishment in the capital and with intricately decorated rooms, accompanied by tasteful artwork on the walls, the Artist Residence, Kensington serves as an ideal retreat from the bustle of London’s city centre. Moreover, with a small choice of just 10 rooms, the individuality of each bedroom is ensured and there is the chance to upgrade to one of their suites, which include super-king-sized beds, rainfall showers, free-standing baths and plenty of seating area. Its prime location in Pimlico is a perfect setting for a more relaxed stay amongst the ever-moving places in the city centre.
The Applegarth Villas are a hidden gem, and definitely worth the journey. It is not often you find boutique hotels that offer hot-tub suites, that also offer jaw-dropping views of the Cumbrian hills. Applegarth Villas, however, offer both in what serves as a exceptional example of a British boutique hotel. The villas are converted Arts and Crafts mansions from the 19th century and are architectural masterpieces in their own right, and the recent renovations has created an exceptional hotel experience. With 15 rooms, 7 of which are hot-tub suites, there is a stylish elegance about the décor, and the bathrooms are elegant, with no expense spared. One of the main attractions of the hotel is its location, and with miles of Cumbria countryside and cuisine to explore, the Applegarth Villas serves as a perfect base for a weekend getaway.
After being transformed from a pub into a stunning boutique hotel and restaurant, The Boathouse is a secret escape for those in the know. Situated next to the Ormesby Broad, The Boathouse makes for a tranquil retreat, with rooms offering views across the broads, as well as being intricately decorated with funky furnishings. There are also two suites which are expansive and furnished to the highest standards. The restaurant downstairs offers excellent dining options and there is also a chic bar that offers well-crafted drinks. The Boathouse is the perfect place to relax amongst Norfolk’s stunning countryside.
This list would not be complete with including the famous holiday hotspot of Cornwall. Penzance, while still well-known is not as overrun with tourists, as places such as Rock or Newquay can be, but it still offers a huge range to do and see. Without doubt, if a trip to Penzance is in the works, then make sure to book into the Artist Residence there. Similar to its Kensington cousin, the interiors of the rooms are stylishly designed, but cater for comfort too. The graceful town house that accommodates the twenty rooms is found on Chapel Street, which is an idyllic representation of the quirky charm of the streets of English seaside towns. For stays with larger groups of people, the hotel also offers a quaint 3-bedroom cottage that also has essential amenities such as a log burner and a fashionable copper roll top bath. Furthermore, the hotel offers a high-quality restaurant that serves breakfast, as well as fresh fish plates for both dinner and lunch.
Whilst a very small bolt hole on the South Kent coast, with only 4 bedrooms, the brilliant location on the coast of the English Garden is enviable. Each room has bare brick walls, with a romantic yet industrial feel to them. Decorated with trendy fabrics, each room is exclusive, and stylishly ornamented. Of course, there are contemporary wet rooms, which complement the overall warehouse-chic that Rocksalt Rooms aims to create. Each room has views across Folkstone Harbour and the prime coastal location offers a wealth of options for planning an itinerary. Each morning continental breakfast is delivered to your room in a hamper, and this offers the chance to have a lazy brunch, whilst taking in the view of the English coastline. Folkstone Harbour also has a wealth of outstanding seafood restaurants, as well as traditional cockle and whelk stalls around the harbour front.