The Independent


Ianthe Butt and Shivani Ashoka check out the best British hotels for a Mother’s Day gift – from spas to foodie treats

- IB

Does anything beat a night in a good hotel? We don’t think so. With freshly ironed bed linen (imagine!), compliment­ary chocolates, and nothing to worry about except sheer relaxation, it’s the ultimate indulgence. Treating that somebody special to time away is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, making it an ideal gift for your mum this Mother’s Day.

We’ve scoured the best hotels across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to find places to kick back together and enjoy some quality time. Want to treat mum to a slap-up meal? In addition to Michelin-starred dining, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir has 32 individual­ly designed rooms to slope off to after feasting. Keen to work on your handicap? As well as award-winning spa facilities, Galgorm near Belfast is also home to a six-hole pitch and putt. Or if you’re simply seeking some R&R where you can catch up over a drink and a super view, we’ve found some of the best spots in Yorkshire, Pembrokesh­ire and the New Forest to make this Mother’s Day sensationa­l.

Best for a Roman spa experience: The Gainsborou­gh Bath Spa

Location: Bath

As famed for its pretty honey-hued Georgian buildings as the ancient thermal waters it was founded on, Bath makes for a brilliant wellness break. The place to bed down is the Gainsborou­gh Bath Spa, which has 99 bedrooms with restful monochrome palettes and is the only hotel with a spa directly fed by Bath’s mineral-rich spring water. A handful of spa bedrooms even have the thermal water piped straight into rolltop bathtubs.

The Spa Village’s centrepiec­e is a dramatic mosaic-tiled thermal pool surrounded by Romanesque columns. This, combined with two smaller soaking pools, an ice alcove and relaxation terrace, forms an invigorati­ng self-guided bathing circuit. Unknotting aromathera­py and Swedish essential oil massages are on offer in 10 treatment rooms, and the gym and compliment­ary weekend yoga classes will keep active types happy.

Best for swish surrounds: Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

Location: Knightsbri­dge

Sandwiched between Hyde Park and Knightsbri­dge’s fancy boutiques, with The Saatchi Gallery and Royal Court theatre on the doorstop, Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park pairs a brilliant location with slick service and wolf-whistle dining at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Bedrooms with gentle apple green, blush and peacock blue shades pay homage to the hotel’s Royal Park neighbour with leafy motifs, luxed up with onyx chandelier­s, record players, Diptyque toiletries and GHD hair straighten­ers. Top-level suites have terraces or balconies and personal butlers. Other highlights include spotting the Household Cavalry clipclop past the property in the mornings, and there’s a ritzy spa with a 17m pool, amethyst crystal steam room and mani pedis by nail guru Bastien Gonzalez. IB

Best for British quirk: Wildhive Callow Hall

Location: Derbyshire

Proving that you don’t have to be eye-wateringly expensive to do luxury, Callow Hall is a spoiling, sustainabl­y minded gateway to the rugged Peak District. Isabella Worsley has given interiors at this grand stone house a lift with liberal sweeps of colour – think red-and-white striped upholstery and gilt-edged mirrors by roaring fires. There’s also a clutch of Hives – luxed-up cabins – and two treehouses high in the woodland, with terraces filled with blackbird song. The candlelit Garden Room restaurant feels like a romantic indoor olive grove, and David Bukowicki’s seasonal, tasty dishes come served by cheery, unpretenti­ous staff. There’s also a dinky wellness centre for massages using heavenly 100 Acres oils, and facials using honey from onsite hives. IB

Best for a rural retreat: Lime Wood

Location: New Forest, Hampshire

Set in the New Forest National Park, where wild ponies meander through woodland and violet-tinged heather scrub, Lime Wood is perhaps the ultimate rural retreat. The 13thcentur­y lodge, transforme­d into a country house hotel with glorious grounds, has cosy lounges with roaring fires, an Italian restaurant helmed by Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, and 33 rooms with botanical artwork, antique furniture and bloomfesto­oned cushions.

Facilities at the calming, three-level Herb House spa include a 16m indoor lap pool (floor-to-ceiling glass windows mean front crawl comes with a side of forest views), two hydropools and 10 treatment rooms for unknotting massages – using seaweedinf­used VOYA or Bamford products – reflexolog­y sessions and OPI mani-pedis. Personal trainers are on hand in the Technogym to ramp up workout regimes, there are al-fresco pilates and yoga classes in the herb-filled rooftop garden, and delicious, healthy meals – think freshly pressed greens and ginger juices and nori rolls – at Raw and Cure restaurant. IB

Best for budget: The Royston

Location: Powys

We’d wager that this chic guesthouse in the lush Cambrian countrysid­e – about an hour’s drive from Shrewsbury – is enough to tempt even hardened city folk into lacing up their hiking boots. Near Snowdonia National Park and the Cardigan Bay coastline, most visitors plan to head out in search of the area’s impossibly pretty waterfalls and woodlands. But with mesmerisin­g views of Powys’s rolling hills, and lip-smackingly good flatbread pizzas (all food is prepared and served by owners, Rob and Clive, largely using ingredient­s grown onsite), many end up staying put in the lounge or alfresco at the fire-pit – setting the world to rights by way of the honesty bar. Not that we’re judging; between the original fireplaces, the antique furniture and the cosy linen in each of the seven bedrooms, even making it downstairs seems impressive. SA

Best for an ethical stay: Saorsa 1875

Location: Pitlochry

Although countless hotels ham up their sustainabl­e credos nowadays, few tend to deliver under the magnifying glass. However, this homely 11-key pad – which became the UK’s first vegan hotel when it opened in the Scottish Highlands in 2019 – comes out swinging. Not only does it exclusivel­y use crueltyfre­e suppliers – whether that’s the Glaswegian food co-op advocating for human rights or the property’s fairtrade textiles (not a hide of leather in sight) – but it also demonstrat­es a strong environmen­tal commitment, from powering the stoves using offcuts of the birch wood onsite to planting a tree in the UK’s most deforested areas for every meal served. Which brings us to the food: forget what you think you know about vegan restaurant­s or communal dining. This might just be the most exciting “plant-curious” cooking in the country. SA

Best for countrysid­e and coast: The Grove of Narberth

Location: Pembrokesh­ire

With views out to the Preseli Hills, this country house sits in gorgeous Pembrokesh­ire, just a few miles from the Pembrokesh­ire Coast National Park, which has high-drama coastline, 600 miles of trails, golden sandy beaches and quaint harbour villages. Interiors combine heritage features – ceramic fireplaces and grand hallways – with vintage Welsh lace and love spoons, and contempora­ry artwork by local talent. As well as 13 rooms in the main house, there’s also a stone-walled longhouse and a handful of cottages with oak-beamed loft rooms. Triple AA rosette The Fernery serves up modern Welsh cuisine with considerab­le flair – think delicate plates of homegrown vegetables and Black Bomber cheese and morel tart – while Artisan Rooms is more laidback and a perfect place to kick off your boots and enjoy a leisurely post-ramble bite to eat. IB

Best for golfers: Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort

Location: Ballymena, Country Antrim

Surrounded by 132 acres of parkland by the tranquil River Maine, 40 minutes from Belfast, the atmosphere at the 124room Galgorm is refreshing­ly relaxed and jolly (it has a 400strong gin library for one thing). Accommodat­ion ranges from business-style bedrooms to Scandi-style cottages and rustic log cabins. There’s a variety of restaurant­s, including laidback Italian joint Fratellli.

The property’s Spa Village is one of Europe’s largest thermal spas, and flashpoint­s include an outdoor infinity hydrothera­py pool, riverside hot tubs for leisurely soaks with a glass of fizz, an indoor pool, snow cabin, salt room, aroma grotto and herb caldarium. Massages use Aromathera­py Associates oil, and the Forest & Photo Therapy combines a massage with a no-touch Dermalux LED facial (where coloured lights are used to target concerns) and a mud mask. IB

Best for culinary escapades: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, A Belmond Hotel

Location: Oxfordshir­e

Offering a flourish of France in Oxfordshir­e, Le Manoir, helmed by culinary maestro Raymond Blanc, has long been a foodie pilgrimage site. At this honey-hued Cotswolds stone manor house surrounded by Provencal lavender and a herb-filled garden, guests dine on two-Michelin wizardry at the restaurant. Hand-dived scallops with caviar rub up against strawberri­es with sorrel sorbet, paired with Chateau d’Yquem vintages, and very polished service. Afterwards, retire to one of 32 bedrooms, with interiors inspired by Monsieur Blanc’s travels; some evoke Asia with dark timber and draped curtains, others feature Venetian masks. Inspired to ramp up your own skills? Join the cookery school or a gardening workshop. IB

Best for impressive grounds: Grantley Hall

Location: Yorkshire

This stately home exudes such a palpable sense of tranquilli­ty, your shoulders drop as soon as you walk through the door. Located on the banks of the River Skell, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, you’re surrounded by rolling heather-covered hills, acres of forested parkland and a pretty flowered stream – as well as the property’s pastoral showpiece, one of the country’s oldest Japanese gardens. Little wonder, then, that the hotel works hard to preserve the environmen­t and uplift the community around it; from BREEM-standard architectu­re to operating a distinctly luxurious outfit under strong ethical principles. SA

Best for a city pad: Artist Residence

Location: Bristol

The newest member of Britain’s most creative hotel group may well be its best. Credited with being one of the first hotels to showcase local artists, the five-strong Artist Residence group – which began when co-owner Justin Salisbury overhauled his family’s Brighton B&B – is also known for repurposin­g both furnishing­s and buildings to create lived-in interiors. It’s something that its Bristol outpost (a former boot factory and Georgian townhouse in Stokes Croft) does brilliantl­y; it’s an ode to the city’s community. Its artwork is by Bristolian­s – including internatio­nally acclaimed Rose Vickers, as well as members of staff – and the property’s approach throughout is almost entirely sustainabl­e, meaning the community is key to its progress, whether that’s a healthy and happy workforce or buying local. While each of the 23 bedrooms are unique in design, the “Lookout” is split-level and has a beautiful four-poster bed. You won’t want to miss the all-day cafe and bar, though; this is where the hotel’s “Best of Bristol” approach comes into its own – from musicians to craft gin. SA

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 ?? (Getty/iStock) ?? Take a break from the dai l y grind and pamper yourse l f and your mum
(Getty/iStock) Take a break from the dai l y grind and pamper yourse l f and your mum
 ?? (The Gainsborou­gh) ?? Direct access to Bath’s ancient springs
(The Gainsborou­gh) Direct access to Bath’s ancient springs
 ?? (Mandarin Orienta l Hyde Park, London) ?? You’ ll never want to leave the luxurious suites
(Mandarin Orienta l Hyde Park, London) You’ ll never want to leave the luxurious suites
 ?? (Ca ll ow Ha ll) ?? The Garden Room restaurant
(Ca ll ow Ha ll) The Garden Room restaurant
 ?? (Lime Wood) ?? Let your care smelt away
(Lime Wood) Let your care smelt away
 ?? (The Royston) ?? Located near Snowdonia Nationa l Park
(The Royston) Located near Snowdonia Nationa l Park
 ?? (Saorsa 1875) ?? The UK’s first 100 percent vegan hotel
(Saorsa 1875) The UK’s first 100 percent vegan hotel
 ?? (Owen Howe lls Photograph­y) ?? Take in the tranquil surroundin­gs
(Owen Howe lls Photograph­y) Take in the tranquil surroundin­gs
 ?? (Ga lg or mS pa& Golf Resort) ?? The Vitality pool
(Ga lg or mS pa& Golf Resort) The Vitality pool
 ?? (Belmond Hotel) ?? One of the suites at Le Manoir
(Belmond Hotel) One of the suites at Le Manoir
 ?? (Grant l ey Ha ll) ?? Spectacula­r lit up at night
(Grant l ey Ha ll) Spectacula­r lit up at night
 ?? (Artist Residence) ?? One of the first hotels to showcase local artists
(Artist Residence) One of the first hotels to showcase local artists

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