Post-lockdown hotel tribes: where to stay in England, whatever you're looking for

Post-lockdown hotel tribes: where to stay in England, whatever you’re looking for

The news of hotels reopening on May 17 (all being well) offers endless exciting opportunities for staycation planning, but knowing where to start for what you need can be complicated. Those who have been locked down with others may be craving solace in the form of spa hotels or city boltholes where you can blend into a sofa that isn’t your own. For couples that have been apart, May 17 will also spell the return of spending time together indoors, and even those who live together may well be keen to reignite the distant memory of something called ‘romance’, which involves things like wearing clothes that don’t have elasticated waistbands and sitting at a table facing each other to eat instead of staring at a screen.

Families cooped up for months on end will also be keen to enjoy quality time at weekends and in May half-term and beyond. Friends, meanwhile, should be able to stay together as per the rule of six or two-household limit initially, and of course without any restrictions at all after June 21. Let the good times roll, with hotels for each of these four groups to enjoy.

Alone time

The Standard, London

King’s Cross, London, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

The fun-loving Standard from across the pond finally has a home in London’s King’s Cross, and pre-pandemic it was one of the coolest spots in town (and ideal for a solo city break). While the ground-floor bar and terrace are great for groups of friends, the Seventies-style lounge is a wonderfully cosy-cool space to relax in, and shelves of books invite solitary reading time. Order a cocktail from Double Standard and settle in. The hotel offers two types of accommodation for single guests, though note that both are windowless: the very snug Singles – or, if you can’t deal with the lack of space, the Cosy Core rooms.


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From


£
167

per night

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The Scarlet

Mawgan Porth, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Experience a restorative coastal escape at this adults-only, eco-friendly retreat. Lashings of style and comfort are combined with breathtaking sea vistas, making for the ultimate relaxing stay. It’s romantic certainly, but the wellness focus and beach-side setting also makes it a solid choice for some quality time with number one, whether that’s spent hanging in a canvas meditation pod or enjoying a relaxing soak, perhaps in one of the two log-fired hot tubs on the cliff-top.


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The Rose

Deal, Kent, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A small seaside town can work really well for a weekend break by yourself. Think beach walks, fish and chips, reading in cosy pubs or cool wine bars and browsing antique shops. Enter Deal in Kent, and its chic seaside inn The Rose, which has eight stylish bedrooms and a restaurant serving modern-classic British fare. There’s plenty to look at, with gorgeous textiles and wallpapers from the likes of House of Hackney and Liberty, and larger rooms have freestanding bathtubs for essential solo soaking.


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From


£
130

per night

Rates provided by
Mr & Mrs Smith

Glass House, Detox & Wellness Retreat

Essex, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A slightly more severe spa option than the Scarlet, but if you want results from your time away, it may be for you. This purpose-built sanctuary in the Essex countryside claims to be the only detox, fitness and plant-based diet retreat in the UK. Its boutique size adds to the nurturing environment, particularly if you go alone. Minimalism is glammed up with sparkly Essex touches and colours, while facilities include an indoor swimming pool, eight treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt block sauna, cryotherapy chamber, fitness studio for boxing, fully equipped gym, yoga, Pilates and HIIT classes. Group activities might be guided walks, cooking demonstrations, motivational talks or gong baths.


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From


£
431

per night

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Lake Windermere, Lake District, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Gilpin Hotel is a stylish gateway to the Lakes. Book a spa suite, on the edge of the main hotel property; perfect for those who truly want to switch off in total privacy – and there are plenty of switches to help you do so, via your own hot tub, sauna and steam room for starters. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you wake up to views across the fells. Activities to enjoy together such as horse riding and mountain biking can also be organised on-site. Dine à deux at Michelin-starred HRiSHi or the more relaxed Gilpin Spice; the hotel has eschewed the classic Modern British or gastronomic tricks of other Lake District luxury hotels and brought in Asian and Indian themes with these restaurants.


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From


£
255

per night

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Heckfield Place

Hook, Hampshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Design-focused duos should head to Hampshire, where billionaire Gerald Chan’s luxury country house, surrounded by 400 acres of grounds, is something rather magical. There’s a sense of warmth, naturalness and flop-down homeliness that’s also artistic (fine 20th-century English pictures from Chan’s private collection); literary (a curated collection of books); earthy and artisanal (lime plaster walls in natural colours, linens, English oak floors, hand-crafted furniture, headboards and matting woven from sweet-smelling River Ouse rush). Guests can enjoy wild swimming in the lakes, and walking, running and cycling on tracks across the estate. Rooms are the sort you just don’t want to leave, with bespoke minibars and many charming, spoiling touches. Dining food is as natural, authentic and delicious as you would expect, and almost all of it from the biodynamic farm on the estate.


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From


£
1,000

per night

Rates provided by
Mr & Mrs Smith

At the Chapel

Somerset, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Another top design choice, this time in the happening arty Somerset town of Bruton, where ecclesiastical elegance meets boutique verve at this former 12th-century chapel. The heavy oak front door is always propped open, welcoming locals to the bakery, wine shop, light-filled restaurant or downstairs clubroom, which often holds private screenings or readings. All rooms are different but share features such as cowhide rugs, leather, and monastic-like, grey-marble bathrooms – all but two rooms have a freestanding oval-shaped tub for two. Guests receive chubby, still-warm croissants each morning in a paper bag hung on their doors; perfect for breakfast in bed.


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From


£
125

per night

The Pig on the Beach

Studland, Dorset, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

The Pig is one of the original boutique country-house hotels, and all its properties are prime for a romantic getaway, offering destination hyper-local restaurants, gorgeous gardens to stroll in, fires to cuddle up by and cosy rooms to luxuriate in. Try The Pig on the Beach in Dorset for the added element of glorious Jurassic Coast beauty on Studland Bay, high above the chalk cliffs, with spectacular views of the Old Harry Rocks formation. Outside, terrace turns to lawn until cliff-edge, with pigs and sheep ambling in their pens to one side and, on the other, the impressive walled kitchen garden. Lovely bathrooms feature large showers and pastel-coloured tiles; 14 rooms have freestanding tubs. Two thatched dovecotes near the kitchen garden, The Bothy and the two-storey Lookout, are romantic hideaways; in the grounds are Harry’s Hut and The Pig Hut for a fun glamping experience.


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From


£
299

per night

Rates provided by
Mr & Mrs Smith

The Newt in Somerset

Castle Cary, Somerset, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

The Newt is one of the most exceptional country house hotels Britain has seen; spend at least a weekend here if you can as there’s so much to enjoy. Interiors are from co-owner and former editor of Elle Decoration Karen Roos, and there is plenty to admire, especially the simplicity, from the rough-hewn walls of the natural, unadorned spa to the unfussy, almost Scandinavian style of the 23 bedrooms and bathrooms; a perfect juxtaposition of modern and old. The centrepiece is the egg-shaped Parabola walled garden, now planted with a comprehensive collection of 460 trained British apple trees, of 267 varieties, arranged in a Baroque-style maze. The hotel has a spa with sauna, salt steam room and beautiful pool leading to a heated outdoor hydrotherapy pool.


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From


£
383

per night

Rates provided by
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The Nare

Cornwall, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

This homely country house hotel by the sea is beloved by its loyal guests who come back year-in, year-out for its supreme location and superb staff; you may find yourself becoming one of them if this is your first staycation here. It’s the perfect place for a multi-generational holiday, too, if catching up with extended family is part of what you’re looking for. There’s enough to keep all ages entertained; don’t miss a day trip out on the hotel’s own motor launch, and for parents, a dip in the covered hot tub with views out to sea. The waters of Carne Bay are calm and safe for swimming, and there are facilities such as children’s eating times and menus. The hotel is also dog-friendly (from £16) and even has a menu for four-legged guests.


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From


£
299

per night

Another Place, The Lake

Ullswater, Lake District, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Another Place is aimed primarily at families and younger adults. The Cornwall original, Watergate Bay, is also brilliant, but for something a bit different try its Lake District property, on Ullswater. The showpiece 20-metre glass-fronted indoor pool has children’s swimming times, while parents will enjoy the Canadian outdoor hot tub, sauna and spa treatment rooms. Older children can enjoy watersports on the lake including stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking and wild swimming. Children’s meals are available, as well as family rooms and suites.


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From


£
190

per night

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Calcot & Spa

Tetbury, Cotswolds, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Calcot is a shining example of how luxury and family-friendliness need not be mutually exclusive. The hotel sits in its own 220 acres of rolling Cotswold countryside, and spa facilities are extensive, while interiors blend soothing contemporary looks with the appeal of a classic country house hotel – think cream furnishings, soft sofas and crackling fires. There is a good choice of family rooms – these have baby listening devices tuned into the reception desk so you can dine at ease. As well as the indoor kids’ section, there’s a pirate ship outdoor play area. In addition, there’s an Ofsted-registered crèche and indoor and outdoor play spaces.


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From


£
239

per night

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Chewton Glen Hotel

New Forest, Hampshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Another example of a country house hotel that gets it right for all ages. The spa has everything you need to relax in during some time sans enfants; while they are are in the impressive kids’ club perhaps, which organises activities such as nature scavenger hunts. There’s everything from tennis to duck-herding to enjoy together, and the relaxed Kitchen restaurant has a wood-fired pizza oven and a glass wall separating diners from the cookery school. The best accommodation for families is undoubtedly the 14 treehouse suites, which are wholly contemporary in style. Built atop stilts, they sit high in the tree canopy, with hardwood private decks, wood burning stoves and floor-to-ceiling windows.


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From


£
365

per night

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Woolley Grange

Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Like its sister members in the Luxury Family Hotels group, Woolley Grange is ideal for young children, with time in the on-site crèche included in room rates. The style of the rambling, multi-gabled mansion is of a lived-in, casual but comfy country retreat. Virtually no areas are out of bounds at any time for youngsters – though dinner in the main dining room is a civilised affair (with a full listening service available accordingly). In the spa, there is even a cot beside the pool, so parents can have a dip while keeping an eye on baby. An outdoor pool is heated in summer. In the spa, there is even a cot beside the pool, so parents can have a dip while keeping an eye on little ones.


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From


£
139

per night

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Birch

Hertfordshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

When Birch opened to much excitement (and against pandemic odds) in the summer of 2020, for 20- to 30-somethings in London it felt like everyone you knew was going there. Its approachable format and affordable rooms make it a hugely popular choice for groups of friends, with a raft of classes to try together or separately, from fitness to glassblowing. It’s stylish, naturally, but pared back, especially in rooms; simplicity and sustainability are key. There’s a co-working space, obviously, and a huge lawn with pop-up food and drink vans and yoga classes. A lido in a walled garden will open this year.


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From


£
150

per night

Locke at Broken Wharf

The City, London, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

For a London group getaway, any of the Locke hotels would suit. These ‘aparthotels’ like no others come with considered design and competitive prices. East London properties include a new opening in Dalston, but if you want something central, try Locke at Broken Wharf, located on the north bank of the Thames, overlooking some of London’s top sights. All 113 studios are done in a sagey mint, with accents of butterscotch (in the funky, custom-made cuboid sofas in the living area) and burnt orange. The kitchenettes are marble and birch ply, and full of Hay utensils. The all-day brunch spot, Deli Cat & Sons offers a tight edit of nicely done breakfast dishes, while later in the day, expect snacks such as burrata and taramasalata (a must-try), fresh cocktails and interesting wines.


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From


£
72

per night

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Soho Farmhouse

Chipping Norton, Cotswolds, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Here you get the aesthetics and feel of Soho House, but with the facilities of a resort. Cabins are ideal for sharing with friends, and offer rustic interiors with creature comforts: untreated floorboards, wood-burning stoves, huge beds, turntables with records, and well-stocked kitchens for the self-caterer. Highlights include the private decks complete with copper bathtubs, rocking chairs and waterfront views. The Cowshed spa features sauna, hammam, hot tubs and treatments, and there’s a luxurious cinema, cookery school and spacious gym and spin studio. Add to this an indoor and outdoor pool, boating lake, tennis courts, football pitch and horse riding.


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From


£
350

per night

The Ned

The City, London, England

7
Telegraph expert rating

Another strong capital choice is The Ned, the former Midland Bank turned millennial members club. Original features have been preserved: cue African malachite Art Deco pillars, polished walnut walls, Jazz Age crystal chandeliers and old banking counters reinvented as room dividers. The beautiful wellness centre has a swimming pool (open until late), hammam, sauna and steam room. For men there’s a barbershop, and other musts include the rooftop pool with views of St Paul’s and fitness centre with boxing gym and three Pilates studios. The open-plan ground floor, meanwhile, has seven restaurants, including popular Cecconi’s; after, roll upstairs to Seventies-style rooms that can sleep three.


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From


£
195

per night

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Retreat East

Hemingstone, Suffolk, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

If you’re seeking an affordable country-house spa hotel for friends, consider this. Accommodation in 16th-century barns varies in size from one-bedroom ‘dairy barns’ to a full-on four-bedroom farmhouse. You’ll find stylishly converted barns with beamed ceilings and freestanding bathtubs, walks you can take from your doorstep, a kitchen garden with superb seasonal ingredients, and a hot tub in a suntrap of a spot. At the centre is the Great Barn, a lofty sophisticated space with slate floors, exposed beams, floral arrangements, an eye-catching brick fireplace and comfy armchairs. You arrive here to check in and relax, and later for dinner. Tucked round the corner is a cheerful bar with pool table and board games. The spa has a sauna, steam room and two treatment rooms.


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From


£
195

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

Check with individual hotels regarding opening of facilities and postponement/cancellation policies before booking.