The Westminster, London
A multi-million dollar conversion has turned a nondescript London hotel into an affordable, chic base for city visits. The lobby is dotted with contemporary artwork and the rooms are brightened by brightly colored armchairs and sumptuously comfortable beds. Bao Yum on the ground floor is ideal for a quick pre-theatre or post-shopping bite and serves everything from cheeseburger or curry cauliflower to custard baos, salads, soup and breakfast. The hotel is a minute’s walk from the Thames and nearby Pimlico Station offers quick Tube links to the West End.
Double from £190, hilton.com
The Old Course Hotel, St Andrews
Good news for golfers: this classic hotel has had a serious facelift during the lockdown. Even for non-golfers this is a gem of a place for a relaxing holiday (albeit an expensive one), with the only Kohler Waters Spa in the UK, glorious coastal walks along St Andrews West Sands Beach and horse riding, fishing and sand yachting all to be arranged by the hotel.
Double from £306 B&B, oldcoursehotel.co.uk
The Swan Hotel, Newby Bridge, Lake District
Idyllically situated at the top of Windermere, the Swan opened its brand new Holte spa last month, including the region’s first spa garden, a Finnish outdoor sauna, naturally filtered pools and the Soul café, which focuses on ethically sourced food. Days of hiking or sailing are rounded off with dinners in the cozy Swan Inn or the elegant brasserie.
Double from £102 B&B, swanenhotel.com
The Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton, near York
This much-loved village pub reinvented itself as one of the best places to stay in the area during lockdown, creating 12 rooms – four of the existing apartment above the bar and eight new rooms in contemporary timber-framed buildings, made from locally grown Douglas fir -spruce . The rooms are sleek, with rain showers, high thread count linens and all the trappings of a boutique hotel – plus a super hearty breakfast.
Doubles from £120 B&B, thealicehawthorn.com
Rutland Hall Hotel & Spa, Rutland
With a new name, a major facelift and a slick new vibe, the Rutland Hall Hotel & Spa (formerly Barnsdale Hall) is emerging from its transformation, with the spectacular Main Hall due to be completed soon. The accommodation is spread over 65 acres and ranges from self-contained apartments and lodges to hotel rooms, all on the banks of Rutland Water. The new Blossoms Restaurant offers some of the best restaurants in the region, and a new spa is also in the works. Dogs are welcome, children have their own dinner menu and tennis, crazy golf, squash and a swimming pool are all on site.
Double rooms from £109rutlandhall.co.uk
Fowey Hall, Cornwall
A family favorite on the coast, Fowey Hall has undergone a rolling program of works over the past year, with revamped gardens, the addition of an outdoor pool and 24 new bedrooms. Perfect for kids, there’s a recreation room with vintage-style arcade games, outdoor play areas, an indoor pool, and flexible meals.
Doubles from £185 B&B, foweyhallhotel.co.uk
White Hart Inn, Mersea Island, Essex
The White Hart will open in late spring and is currently undergoing a full refurbishment, with plans for six individually designed bedrooms, some with sea views. The restaurant will focus on local, seasonal ingredients with kid-friendly options and plenty of fish and seafood, while outside the Inn, Mersea offers beautiful beach walks, fantastic sailing and some of the best oysters in the country.
Doubles from £175 B&B, whitehartinnmersea.co.uk
The Grosvenor, Stockbridge, Hampshire
Situated on Stockbridge’s pretty high street, this Georgian hotel has undergone a change of ownership and serious refurbishment, with striking colors throughout, including a hot pink bar, alpine-themed alfresco dining room (La Hutte), a cottage and a loft room, and a beautifully restored walled garden with a large wooden deck and outdoor bar. Families are welcome, with adjoining rooms and cots, and spa treatments are available in the neatly converted treatment barn.
Doubles from £190 B&B, thegrosvenorstockbridge.com
Matfen Hall, Northumberland
Closed between November 2020 and May last year, Matfen Hall has reopened with its historic Great Hall, elegant bar and expansive grounds restored to their original beauty. New bedrooms have imperial beds, marble bathrooms and unfussy country decor. There’s a swimming pool and foodies will love three restaurants, including fine dining at the new Emerald restaurant and bistro classics served in the booths in Needham. Whichever you choose, an after-dinner drink in the gloriously grand 1832 bar is the only way to end the evening.
Double from £169 B&B; matfenhall.com
The Randolph, Oxford
The grande dame of Oxford got a much-needed facelift during lockdown, when US company Graduate Hotels stepped in with a palette of bold colours, vibrant wallpaper and an atmosphere that just keeps on the good side of fun. The cozy Morse Bar, with its polished wood paneling and bottle-green walls, is ideal for a pre-dinner cocktail in Alice – the hotel’s dining room – with rosy-pink sofas and glittering chandeliers. The location is unbeatable, breakfast is gluttonous and there is a delightful, old-fashioned hustle and bustle – proving that there is still plenty of life in the old girl.
Double from £166; graduatehotels.com