Put away that passport – the stress-free staycation is really where it’s at
whether you’re country casual or beachside boho, we’ve found a chic retreat in the UK to suit
ometimes, the best things in life are on your doorstep. That’s certainly true of the following hotels. More high-end Hamptons than low-end seaside pier, this chic clutch all possess a peculiarly British elegance, but with buckets (and spades) of savvy style. The Old Stocks Inn is bursting with Cotswold charm – watch out for those low beams! – yet it also rocks industrial lighting and a punchy palette. That’s before we even get round to the cocktails. Interiors magpies will love Ramsgate’s Albion House, which is dripping with heritage cool and fabulous authentic features. The Kedleston Country House offers rustic style with a contemporary twist and beds that are nothing short of epic. And dog-loving urbanites with a penchant for laid-back lounging and unshowy dining won’t be able to resist Cornwall’s The St Mawes Hotel, which is about as easy-going as it gets. Who needs the stress of long-haul travel when a stylish time can be had a short car or train hop away?
SThe Old Stocks Inn
The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire
The lowdown A 17th-century coaching inn reinvigorated with style. Best for Townies looking for a taste of country cool. This family-owned boutique hotel may be in postcard-perfect Stow-on-the-wold, in the heart of the Cotswolds, but twee it most certainly is not. Heritage features, such as original stone walls and exposed wood beams, have been meticulously restored, but these sit alongside stylish modern furniture, industrial lighting and a punchy colour scheme. The 16 rooms range from the small Cosy Rooms to the large, pet-friendly Garden Rooms. Navigating sloping floors or ducking under the occasional beam is all part of the inn’s charm. Gastronomers will also be pleased to know that food and drink is a highlight. The menu is classically British with a quirky touch, although we were so seduced by the cocktails – particularly the Razzberito, a sublime mix of fresh berries, mint and more – that we nearly missed dinner. This is one seriously gorgeous base from which to explore the charm and history of the Cotswolds – if you can tear yourself away from the bar, that is!
Book it Double rooms from £139, with breakfast (oldstocksinn.com).
The Kedleston Country House
The lowdown A Robert Adam-designed former Georgian inn, remodelled in modern rustic style.
Best for Gin lovers with a penchant for the great outdoors.
Built adjacent to the manicured grounds of the Kedleston estate – whose grand neo-classical Hall is run by the National Trust – this snug, boutique hotel (comprising just two suites and three bedrooms) is the ideal spot to explore the Peak District. Opened a year ago, The Kedleston Country House offers a fresh take on country living – we loved the nooks and crannies hidden around the bar, not to mention catching a few rays while enjoying afternoon tea in the light-filled Orangery. The rooms have been dressed by designer Vicky White, who’s given a modern spin to traditional looks with plumped-up chaises, button-upholstered benches and pencil post beds. The food is hearty Brit fare with extra-warming touches – think gin-cured salmon and ale-flavoured chicken. Oh, and there were dinky bottles of Kedleston No 7 gin, distilled exclusively for the hotel, waiting in our room when we arrived. Perfect for soaking up the surroundings… Book it Double rooms from £150, with breakfast and including Wi-fi (thekedleston.co.uk).
The lowdown A Regency townhouse overlooking the sea.
Best for Interiors magpies who fancy an alternative seaside retreat. Ramsgate might not feature high on your list of must-visit seaside towns, but the 14-room Albion House hotel is a very good reason to make the trip. Perched on the East cliff, from the moment you step into the yellow entrance hall of this 1791 Regency townhouse, you’re in interiors heaven. The look oozes heritage cool, with authentic period features, delightful antiques and epic fire surrounds. There are also some contemporary touches, such as statement beds and funky pendants. The light-filled Town Bar is the heart of the hotel, packed with hip locals keen to sample the simple but well-executed dishes while putting the world to rights. Visit The Snug for a quieter evening by an open fire on chilly nights. And if you venture into Ramsgate, head to the marina where retro shops and Scandi coffee houses are opening up. Or make a trip to Fontaine Decorative in Broadstairs, an antiques store owned by the hotel’s designers, which gives you the opportunity to take home a little slice of Albion House.
Book it Double rooms from £145, with breakfast (albion houseramsgate.co.uk).
The St Mawes Hotel
St Mawes, Cornwall
The lowdown A super-relaxed beachside retreat.
Best for Anyone in search of relaxed vibes and a wicked welcome. Working a coastal light look, the St Mawes hotel is the hip younger sister of the seaside grand dame the Idle Rocks, a short stroll away. Located right on the waterfront, with epic views, this bijou affair – there are just seven unshowy bedrooms – is quickly making a name for itself as a cool must-visit among savvy out-of-towners. And the locals are in on the act too – during our frequent visits to the buzzing ground-floor bar, we rubbed shoulders with the off-duty fishermen and growers who stock the kitchen, which made things feel properly real. Another bonus was the laid-back vibe in the upper Deck restaurant, where we munched on a goat’s cheese and artichoke pizza, followed by salted-caramel ice cream. It’s no secret that we’re dog mad, so the fact that this joint allows small (well-behaved) mutts in the bar and the Village Rooms pleased us no end. And with an intimate 25-seater cinema due to be unveiled in the autumn, we can’t wait to go back for more…
Book it Double rooms from £185, with breakfast (stmaweshotel.com).
CLOCKWISE FROM THIS PICTURE After a long day exploring, enjoy cocktail hour at The Old Stocks Inn’s bar; then rest up in House Room 12, accessed via its own private staircase
CLOCKWISE FROM THIS PICTURE The Chef’s table offers privacy in The Kedleston Country House’s dining room; velvet adds a plush touch to the Kedleston Suite; and there’s space to splash about in the Curzon bathroom
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT Vintage architectural prints adorn the walls of the Albion House; wake up to breakfast in sumptuous 600 thread count sheets; the Regency exterior; and the Town Bar.
CLOCKWISE FROM this PICTURE A spacious, family-friendly Falmouth room in the St Mawes hotel; a dreamy harbour view; homemade thirstquenchers; the laid-back upper Deck restaurant; and low-key coastal cool