Let’s face it, going on holiday has become a lot less luxurious in recent years; being stripped and patted down, having your shoes searched and bag swabbed, all before even the faintest whiff of Champagne is hardly the most relaxing start to any getaway. That might go some way to explaining the dramatic rise of staycations over the last few years. It’s a question that has circulated The Essential Journal office all year: do we stay or do we go? Here then, are the 10 best spots locally and long-haul to help you make the decision…
DO YOU STAY?
Hotel Gotham, Manchester
Situated in the heart of midtown Manchester in one of the city’s grandest, listed buildings – a former bank premises at 100 King Street. Hotel Gotham has been fully refurbished as a luxury, five-star hotel comprising of 55 bedrooms and five Inner Sanctum Suites. Burnished metals, dark woods, rich leather and roll top bath-tubs will transport you back to the golden age of travel.
On the 6th floor you will find the Honey restaurant which takes its name from the symbol of Manchester: the bumble bee. Innovative dishes using local ingredients from North West producers are on the menu, all enjoyed with sensational views over the Manchester skyline from the restaurant’s lofty heights. The Brass Bar and Club on the top floor of Hotel Gotham draw inspiration from the building’s former use as a bank. On entry to the Club guests pass through two vault-like doors into a space with restored glazed tiles and green glass lamps. All guests staying at Hotel Gotham receive 24-hour membership of Brass Bar where food and dessert are served, as well as Champagne and cocktails, of course.
Prices start from around £150 per room per night.
The Lugger, Cornwall
Recently named ‘Best Seaside Hotel’ by the Sunday Times, the Lugger Hotel sits right on the water’s edge in the centre of this delightful village. Each of the 22 bedrooms are beautifully decorated and feature deluxe showers and fine linens. The Lugger’s two AA Rosette restaurant sources local, seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on local Cornish produce, particularly shellfish, lobster and crab. The hotels boutique spa also offers a tempting range of rejuvenating and relaxing spa therapies, made all the more therapeutic by the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore just beyond the comfort of your room.
For those who want a bit more space and freedom, the Hideaway is available. The lovely self-catered cottage is just across the slipway and was refurbished in 2014. Two double bedrooms, both en-suite, a separate living area with fully-fitted kitchen, dining and sitting area, and a private terrace are set over three floors. All the benefits of the hotel are just on your doorstep, too.
Prices start from approx. £100 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis.
Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, Cotswolds
Cotswold House is the gateway to discovering everything that is glorious about the Cotswolds region of England. At Cotswold House Hotel & Spa you can choose from a selection of bedrooms, all of which overlook the hotel gardens or the ancient high street of Chipping Campden.
If you’re looking for that extra special room the Hot Tub Cottage or Hot Tub Suite may be just what you are looking for. Both are unique rooms with their own private gardens and private hot tubs that can be used all year round. The Hot Tub Suite even boasts its own lounge and open fire.
The hotel’s restaurant and kitchen team take their inspiration from the generous local larder and source ingredients from passionate producers based nearby, from which they buy fantastic ingredients such as local cheeses, fresh breads and quality meats. While the award-winning spa is ideally located in a secluded spot at the top of the gardens. Decleor’s holistic treatments are famous worldwide.
Prices start from approx. £150 per room per night.
The Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire
The Chester Grosvenor Hotel celebrated 150 years of operations in 2015 and is a true Cheshire institution. The Grade II listed building offers 68 beautiful bedrooms and 12 suites, a luxurious spa and two restaurants, The Arkle, a popular bar and lounge, and the Michelin-starred Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor. Known as Cheshire’s fine dining restaurant, and named after its Executive Chef, Simon Radley offers contemporary dining in an atmosphere of chic sophistication in the very heart of Chester.
Afternoon tea is an institution at The Chester Grosvenor, and the extensive menu even includes a gents option that sees a Hendricks gin and tonic served with open pastrami sandwiches, pork and apple bakes, fresh fruit scones and so much more.
Prices start from approx. £150 per room per night.
Dorsett Shepherds Bush, London
Situated in a former 1920s cinema, this Grade II listed boutique hotel utilises modern architecture and elegant, glamorous interiors. Lacquered woods, polished metals and velvet feature throughout. Found in the heart of vibrant West London on Shepherds Bush Green, Dorsett Shepherds Bush boasts 317 Oriental-inspired bedrooms, all combining character, charm and wit.
The stylish hotel also offers a choice of two happening restaurants. Pictures is a brasserie-style eatery serving stylish European dishes, and Shikumen – a contemporary dim sum restaurant specialising in creative Asian cuisine. In the grand golden atrium you will find also Jin, a handsome hotel bar which serves traditional teas and speciality cocktails all day.
Prices start from approx. £140 per room per night.
OR DO YOU GO?
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Maldives
Barefoot luxury meets breathtaking style at the five-star Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. The award-winning retreat offers three different resort experiences spanning two islands. Guests can enjoy the quintessential Maldivian hideaway on tiny Rangali Island while also having access to the facilities of the larger and livelier main island which is linked to it by a 500m bridge. The third resort experience is at the Spa Retreat, an over-water destination spa that operates as a resort-within-a-resort.
For relaxation, guests can find bliss in the resort’s two spas, dine at the 12 restaurants and bars, and enjoy an extensive range of excursions like diving, watersports and snorkeling amongst the resort’s coral reef which is just steps from the beach. At Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, guests will experience a sense of style and luxury that connects with the charm of the Maldivian surroundings, in an open and inviting way, tailor-made for your enjoyment.
Prices start from approx. £600 per room per night.
Royal Palm Marrakech, Morocco
Royal Palm Marrakech simply takes luxury to another level. The six-star hotel features 134 exquisite suites and villas set within a vast estate lying at the foot of the Atlas mountain range, only a few kilometres from the mythical Red City. Manicured gardens set among ancient olive trees and a superb golf course dotted with sparkling lakes combine to create Royal Palm’s magnificent setting. The hotel’s unique design is largely inspired by the region’s historic Berber culture.
Royal Palm Marrakech is also the only hotel in Morocco to feature a Clarins spa. Built as a refuge for all senses, it is located right next to the comprehensive sports centre equipped with a 25-metre swimming pool. Gastronomy will certainly be another highlight of your stay at Royal Palm Marrakech. Three restaurants await your visit, whether you want to explore world cuisines, rediscover classics or sample local specialities.
Prices start from approx. £350 per room per night.
Yellow Zebra Safaris, Africa
Yellow Zebra Safaris is a luxury adventure travel company specialising in ‘Safari Africa’. Thanks to a well-researched team of experienced safari planners, professional safari guides and ex-camp managers, the company offer a level of knowledge to rival any specialist worldwide.
Covering East and Southern Africa’s finest ‘Big Five’ game viewing areas, this is a company dedicated to creating the very best tailor-made safaris for families, couples, groups and first-timers alike. If you want to witness the great wildebeest migration firsthand, see the flora and fauna of a country flowering during wet season, or take a guided walking tour of Tanzania and stay in your very own lodge in the bush, Yellow Zebra Safaris will show you the country like a local.
Prices and packages vary, contact Yellow Zebra Safaris for more
La Compagnie, New York
La Compagnie is a boutique airline offering regular business-class only flights. La Compagnie began operations between Paris and New York on 21 July 2014 and has been operating from London to New York since 24 April 2015.
The unique business-class model offering ultra-competitive rates was launched in October 2013 by Frantz Yvelin and Peter Luethi, based on the belief that business-class travel doesn’t need to be prohibitively expensive and that passengers should be able to travel in comfort and style. In creating La Compagnie, the entire team in France, the US and the UK have indeed succeeded in establishing an airline that is meeting the demands of today’s discerning travellers.
Flights from London to New York from just £1,000 return business class
Rome Cavalieri, Italy
Opened in 1963 as the very first Waldorf Astoria property in Europe, the Rome Cavalieri has since become a true Italian institution. Majestically set within 15 acres of private Mediterranean parkland overlooking the Eternal City, the hotel offers 345 spacious guestrooms and 25 luxuriously appointed suites; featuring the exclusive Imperial Club and Grand Spa facilities, with one indoor and three outdoor pools, as well as a choice of supreme dining options – including the three Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola.
Unique touches include the hotel’s opulent interior design and experiences ranging from the Very Important Pet programme to classical glradiator combat training, super-car driving and a private viewing of one of the most impressive private art collections in the world.
Prices start from approx. £150 per room per night.