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Put away that pass­port – the stress-free stay­ca­tion is re­ally where it’s at

Living Etc - - CONTENTS ⁄ETC - Words ⁄ Ni­cola Rowe, Steven Ef­s­tathiou, Jesse Har­ris and Paula Rod­ney

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

Kedle­ston, Der­byshire

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).

Al­bion House

Rams­gate, Kent

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

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