United Kingdom Travel Guide
A stop at the Abbey Hotel’s Allium Brasserie for dinner one night prompted us to pop in the next day for an impromptu tour of this three-star arty, contemporary hotel. What this fateful stop proved to us once and for all is that many three-stars in Bath have pretty much everything you need for a comfortable stay and don’t charge you an arm-and-leg for it. (See also our piece on The Queensberry Hotel as a case in point.)
The hotel has 60 rooms (when we walked through last fall, the rumor was that there were plans for expansion to 99) set in a row of three 270-year-old townhouses. Situated close to shopping, restaurants, the Roman Baths, the Thermae Bath and Spa and Bath Abbey, you’re in really good company location-wise.
All rooms are decorated in a bright and sunny modern style, with a hint of English garden design evident. Light oak furniture, houndstooth and plaid patterns on the beds and windows, and original artwork make up the décor. Rooms also carry bespoke Hypnos beds, iPads, free WiFi and REN toiletries.
Bathrooms are kinda plain Jane but they're in the process of being reno’ed and will be completed by November.
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The time is nigh: Soho Farmhouse is nearly upon us. We now have a website, new renderings, and a few more juicy details.
That’s the good news. The bad: Opening has been pushed back to August.
Progress, we called it, when The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone got its website back in March, about a year after we first walked down Seymour Street to take pictures of the third Zetter hotel. It had us hopeful for a Spring opening, but alas: it will be summer – perhaps August – before the hotel opens.
Renovation of the double Georgian townhouse is advancing, with the front façade free of scaffolding. The biggest change is visible from Quebec Mews behind the hotel (below).
The hotel will have 21 rooms, 2 studio suites, and that rooftop apartment with terrace and outdoor roll top bath. Rates will start from £258 ($405) a night, with entry-level rooms being described as “compact”. That’s maybe a little more than we were hoping for, but in line with those over in Clerkenwell. We’ll report back when we have more details on square footage, amenities, and the like.
[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]
The Queensberry Hotel is one of those small hotels made up of several townhouses – in this case, four Georgian ones – that is nicely designed in a contemporary way but with some little oddities added in that only seem to properly come from the British.
Things like having an elevator that jerks and hesitates like it’s not going to make it, and moves so slow you’ll probably beat it if you take the stairs. We used it as an opportunity to grab a few winks on the way up and down.
Then there’s the oddly placed monkey statue set on the modern bar.
And stairs that seem to come out of nowhere.
And the bulldog pillows.
The thoroughly surprising picturesque walled courtyard in the back.
The antique dresser that we could open to put our clothes in but then couldn’t get them back out.
And, finally, the best meal we had in Bath, hands-down.
All of this serves to create an oddly satisfying stay where you feel like you’re privy to a place whose eccentricities perhaps outweigh your own.
We certainly do have pics in the photo gallery!
Who doesn't heart Judy?
Eagle eyed readers may have noticed for some time that HotelChatter has a crush on Judy Murray. Judy – mother to Andy, Strictly Come Dancing champion (of our hearts) and ace tennis coach – we love you.
So we’re all aflutter at the news that Judy hosted a tennis camp for young players at Gleneagles earlier this month.
Of course, everyone else might be more aflutter at the hotel’s forthcoming Tennis Legends event – a doubles championship set played by Greg Rusedski, Pat Cash, Henri Leconte and Thomas Enqvist.
You know already that there are so many new hotels heading to Shoreditch, London’s hipster haven (or is that Dalston now?). Only a matter of time then before someone would try and capture that Shoreditch coolness and take it somewhere else: Stratford, for instance.
That is what a just-approved hotel scheme called The Penny Brook wants to achieve: bringing “a flavour of Shoreditch to Stratford” (Stratford East London, rather than Stratford-upon-Avon, btw). We don’t have to tell you what’s next in the press release: “We will seek to appeal to Millennials who embrace the ‘anti-brand’ experience”. Oh, those darn millennials.
It was all going so well for Hotel Gotham. Manchester’s newest hotel was looking good, garnering great reviews and generally making a splash – and then, a pesky a reality TV “celebrity” had to come along and spoil it.
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An all-party cocktail coalition
Royal Baby fever is over in the UK; it’s the General Election today, the most confusing and closely contested political battle in recent history. If you have any about being told how to vote (possibly more irritating: the “I don’t care who you vote for, just vote!!!” martyrs), we suggest you stay off Facebook today, and make instead for the Conrad London St James, where the Blue Boar bar (yes, the one that just gave champagne away in a fit of #royalbabyfever) is mixing up political cocktails all night long.
The Blue Boar is, of course, a popular bar with MPs, what with being right around the corner from the Houses of Parliament. Luckily, they’ll all be in their constituencies tonight, so it’s safe to go down for the election party.
It had to happen at some point. Having opened his much-anticipated Chiltern Firehouse in London, Andre Balazs seemed intent on keeping its website a blank landing page with a telephone number and email address; whether you wanted to have dinner or spend the night, calling or emailing and hoping to get a response was your only option, unless you had insider access. Even when we finally saw one of the suites, we had all of one photo that we could share from inside the Marylebone firehouse.
Not anymore. We’re not sure exactly when this happened, but there are now plenty of photos on the website, along with – wait for it – the ability to book a room. Yourself. Online. How novel! We suppose the desire/need to fill those rooms night after night, summer or winter, won out in the end.
Above a photo of the Loft Suite that we saw back in October last year, which we described as “Chateau Marmont, with a touch of vintage and a lived-in feel”. You can see the blue/grey banquets running along the wall and just a corner of the rust-colored, chintz-covered, fringe-bottomed armchairs we referred to.
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Could there be a more attractive phrase than “complimentary gin bar”? Possibly – but in lieu of “hunky private footman”, in-room gin bar will have to do.
The amenity is the idea of Flemings (no apostrophe), the redoubtable, family-owned Mayfair hotel that, until now, has paired super-stylish public areas with slightly less inspiring rooms. But that’s all set to change with a £14m refurbishment, designed to rejuvenate the 129 bedrooms and add a tea lounge, bar and restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef.
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It’s not enough to provide a decent hotel room these days; you’ve got to give an “experience” as well. Recently we’ve seen unforgettable service, a house jet instead of a house car and excursions from private dinners on the Ponte Vecchio to naming your own star.
Now it’s the Landmark London’s turn to take “experience” literally with five Landmark London Experiences.
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Forget free champagne; here’s the real corker of a way to celebrate a #royalbaby.
Just in time for the arrival of mini Middleton, the Goring – which is swiftly becoming Kate’s favorite hotel – has introduced some footmen. And not any old footmen, either; an entire fleet of footmen, dressed in scarlet tails and gold-edged waistcoats. Five footmen – one for each of the hotel’s suites. Their job? To minister to your every need and cater to your every whim.