About to book a hotel in the UK? Then take a look at the award-winners in Sawday’s new edition of Special Places to Stay British Hotels & Inns out on October 10.
The 17th edition presents the cream of the crop with more than 300 handpicked hotels and 40 new editions – from the wildly luxurious to wonderfully rustic.
With the arrival of the new book, Sawday’s say they like to throw a gong or two at some of the hotels, 15 very special places that typify their ethos.
Their hotel inspector journeyed from Penzance to Pitlochry and beyond, seeking out the most Special Places to Stay.
There are 15 winners across five categories: Hotels of the Year, Favourite Newcomers, Old Favourites, Nicely Priced and Fabulous Food.
Hotel of the Year (there are three winners):
Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Clearwell, Gloucestershire
A gorgeous small hotel, one of the best. It sits on the edge of the Forest of Dean in a tiny village. Step inside to find sparkling interiors, Colin and Hari have turned their realm into something very special indeed, bedrooms are divine and lovely local food waits downstairs.
From £100 per night.
Tiroran House, Isle of Mull, Argyll & Bute
There’s a house-party feel at this fine country house on the wild side of Mull. The setting is magnificent and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable island base, there are fires in the drawing rooms, games to be played, books to be read and airy bedrooms to sleep in. Afternoon tea is as good as the Ritz.
From £175 per night.
Plas Bodegroes, Pwllheli, Gwynedd
A glorious house, one of the loveliest places to stay in Wales. Outside, six acres of beautiful gardens and the windswept beaches of the Lleyn Peninsula beyond. Inside, a cool elegance roams freely, beautiful bedrooms and ambrosial food await.
From £140 per night.
Brocco on the Park, Sheffield, Yorkshire
Sheffield is a friendly city, an arty hub that’s full of surprises, a fact ably demonstrated by this stunning small hotel. Picasso once stayed here, though things have changed a little since; a recent refit has turned this into a small-scale pleasure dome. Downstairs, a Scandi feel in the café/kitchen, upstairs, bedrooms are divine.
From £75 per night.
The Pierhouse, Port Appin, Argyll & Bute
The position here is unbeatable. A small hotel on the shores of Loch Linnhe with glorious views and a sun trapping terrace to watch boats chug by. Inside, glass walls frame the view, there’s a smart bar Scandi-chic rooms and one of the best seafood restaurants on the west coast.
From £90 per night.
The Coach House at Middleton Lodge, Richmond, Yorkshire
You’ll think you’ve washed up at a beautiful country house in Tuscany or Provence. These gorgeous stone barns are home to one of the loveliest boutique hotels in the north. Lunch in the sunny courtyard sup cocktails in the smart bar before dinner in the raftered restaurant. Retire to lovely rooms, most have claw foot baths.
From £155 per night
Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel, Oswestry, Shropshire
In a blissful valley lost to the world, a small country house that sparkles on the side of a peaceful hill. This is one of those lovely places where guests return again and again. Outside, fields tumble down to a stream, daffodils erupt in spring and deckchairs in summer. Inside, lovely interiors are just the ticket, some rooms take dogs too and dinners delight.
From £120 per night.
The Old Rectory Hotel Exmoor, Barnstaple, Devon
A gorgeous small hotel in the hills above the Exmoor coast, a mini Gidleigh Park, charming from top to toe. Three acres of spectacular gardens wrap around you. Inside, Huw and Sam continue to lavish love in all the right places, the most recent addition being the beautiful orangery. Bedrooms are lovely and the restaurant truly excellent.
From £185 per night.
The Traddock, Settle, Yorkshire
A northern outpost of country-house charm, beautiful inside and out. Enter through a wonderful drawing room, crackling fire, the daily papers, cavernous sofas. Follow your nose and find polished wood in the dining room, panelled walls in the breakfast room. Bedrooms are just the ticket, some coolly contemporary, others deliciously traditional.
From £85 per night.
The Henley Hotel, Kingsbridge, Devon
A small house above the sea with fabulous views, super bedrooms and some of the loveliest food in Devon. Despite these credentials, it’s Martyn and Petra who shine most brightly, their kind, generous approach making this a memorable place to stay. Bedrooms are a steal and gorgeous Devon is all around.
From £120 per night.
Penbontbren, Llandysul, Ceredigion
You’re lost in lovely hills, yet only three miles from the sea. Not that you’re going to stray far. These gorgeous suites don’t just have wonderful prices, they’re heaped with comforts too, and Richard and Huw have thought it all through. Buy provisions from the farm or head out for fish & chips. A great place to unwind.
From £99 per night.
The Black Swan, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
A cool little inn lost in the middle of a pretty village that’s surrounded by blistering country. It’s all things to all men: a smart restaurant, a lively bar, a village sop, pretty bedrooms, fantastic for the money; they even hold a music festival here in September. Children and dogs are welcome. A very happy place. From £80 per night.
The Olive Branch, Oakham, Rutland
A lovely pub in a sleepy Rutland village. Inside, a warm, rustic chic hits the spot perfectly, but there’s more here than cool design. This is a place to come and eat great food, the lovely, local seasonal stuff that’s cooked with passion by Sean and his brigade, perhaps potted pork and stilton with apple jelly, haunch of venison and a boozy rhubarb trifle. Bedrooms in Beech House across the lane are gorgeous.
From £115 per night.
Read’s Restaurant with Rooms, Faversham, Kent
A gorgeous country-house restaurant with rooms. Read’s stands in five acres of grounds with a half-acre kitchen garden that supplies much for the table. Inside, you find warm elegance at every turn. As for the food, it’s some of the best in Kent: perhaps a hot soufflé of Montgomery Cheddar on a bed of smoked haddock, local venison with pickled pears, a chestnut and whisky parfait.
From £165 per night.
BridgeHouse Hotel, Beaminster, Dorset
Beaminster – or Emminster in Thomas Hardy’s Tess – sits in a lush Dorset valley. As for this lovely hotel, it’s a 13th-century priests house and comes with original trimmings. It’s intimate, friendly and deeply comfortable, with something beautiful at every turn. Beautiful lighting sets the mood for excellent food, perhaps Witchampton snails, an imperious steak and kidney pie, pear and rosemary tart tatin.
From £95 per night.
Sawday’s Special Places to Stay: British Bed & Breakfast is available from all good bookshops (RRP £15.99) or online directly from Sawday’s (£11.99+ P&P).