Start your hol­i­day early

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Explore -

Air­port ho­tels play an unglam­orous but vi­tal role in get­ting you to your morning flight with­out the stress of an early alarm call. But there is life be­yond the big chains; these ho­tels prove you can find charm within strik­ing dis­tance of check-in.

THE OLD HOUSE INN GATWICK

Three miles from the de­par­tures lounge, this at­mo­spheric ru­ral pub with rooms serves top-notch food; it’ll also pro­vide a break­fast ham­per if you have an early flight (from £90; the­old­hou­se­inn.co.uk).

HAMP­TON MANOR BIRM­ING­HAM

Have a Miche­lin-starred din­ner, then turn in for the night amid Wil­liam Mor­ris-in­spired dé­cor in a coun­try es­tate two miles from the ter­mi­nal (from £190; hamp­ton­manor.com).

DIDSBURY HOUSE MANCH­ESTER

Plush fab­rics and claw­foot bath­tubs are among the high­lights of the 27 rooms in this Vic­to­rian villa close to the air­port-handy sta­tion of East Didsbury (from £157; eclec­ti­cho­tels.co.uk).

DAKOTA HO­TEL ED­IN­BURGH

This darkly el­e­gant and strik­ingly con­tem­po­rar y place (its bar is pic­tured above) has rooms that sport the odd world map or chrome model air­plane, plus a com­pli­men­tar y shut­tle tak­ing 10–15 min­utes to reach the air­port (from £99; dako­ta­ho­tels.co.uk).

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