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Looks like England's on a roll with these creatively re-purposed hotels. After news about the Admiralty Arch being turned into a 100-room hotel smack in the center of London, the Daily Mail is reporting that the Wood Norton house in Evesham, Worcestershire is getting another go around as a hotel.
A little background: the property, which was built in 1897, originally functioned as a hunting lodge for European royalty like Prince Philippe, Duke of Orleans. Then, in 1939, it was bought by the BBC, who used it as an emergency broadcasting center (or, we should say, centre) during World War II, and remained there for over 60 years (episodes of "Doctor Who" were filmed here).
But the BBC has finally moved out, and after a £4 million renovation, the Victorian house is set to reopen as a 50-room luxury hotel, complete with five suites, a farm-to-table restaurant, a swanky pewter bar, and sprawling grounds.
Though, unlike another English countryside manor we know, you won't find any treehouses here.
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And this one's a goodie. Described by the Daily Mail as an "eccentric businessman," UK-based Alfie Bubbles has purchased an old narrowboat and transformed it into a psychedelic, fully-functional 3-bedroom hotel that's inspired by, and remains faithful to, the Beatles' original yellow submarine.
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A new hotel in the UK has found a way to take all the interactive hotel tech stuff we've come to love (and expect), and use it for more kid-friendly purposes. So nevermind boring grown-up things like room service, e-concierges, and controlling the TV from your iPhone: the Wave Hotel in Bognor Regis is all about games, gadgetry, and fun.
Shaped like a cruise ship, and with plenty of ocean views, the 215-room Wave offers a Kindle library, a games room outfitted with iMacs, Wii consoles and PS3s, 3-D-augmented walls, iPod docking stations and individual TV screens at the foot of each bed.
Oh, and the WiFi is free.
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With just over 200 days left until the 2012 Olympics in London, preparations for the Games have officially shifted into hyperdrive. The city anticipates the arrival of 25,000 athletes and a flood of tourists, and local hotels are bracing themselves for the inundation.
But even hotels in surrounding cities are fretting over the Olympics, albeit for a different reason. Quieter counties that typically attract scenic scenery-seeking out-of-towners during summertime fear that seasonal regulars will be "put off" by the Games. No doubt they, much like native Londoners, will find themselves overcome by the urge to retreat in the face of buzzy tourists. (Watch out, they're armed with fanny packs.)
A derelict police station doesn't strike us as the most mood setting or lavish of atmospheres, but a Bristol, England-based hospitality group is hoping lend an upmarket touch to one such building in Wigan, located in Greater Manchester.
A local paper reports that the concrete complex, built in the 1970s and abandoned for about a decade, will soon be turned into a 60-bed hotel with the help of Sanguine Hospitality. Just how dire is the property? So frightful a sight that locals have nicknamed it the "Stazi" after the former East German state security headquarters.
A new five-star hotel will bring some friendly competition to the centuries-old Thermae Bath Spa, a naturally-occuring thermal spring which has been in use since the 8th century BC. The English city of Bath (named, appropriately, after its most distinctive feature) is planning a 98-room luxury spa hotel that will access the same hot springs as its world-famous neighbor, the Thermae Bath Spa.
According to This Is Bath, developers of this new property will drill a new borehole 75 meters below street level to access the base of Hetling Spring. Our only piece of advice: keep Steven Tyler away from the construction site; we know how he gets around slippery surfaces.
When was the last time you went camping? If you have to think about it, it's been too long. Which probably means you're a little rusty on the whole 'great outdoors' thing. To ease yourself back in, consider a night or two inside one of the Pop-Up Hotel's yurt-style rooms in Cornwall, England.
Rather than some other outlandish, gimmicky pop-ups we've seen in Europe, these are meant to be practical open-air retreats, modeled after the classic bell tent design. Of course, the alfresco high-life only gets you so far: once the bad weather hits (as it's prone to do in sunny England!), that sloping canvas roof might not look quite so appealing!
There’s nothing like another ashcloud on the horizon stamping on our flight prospects to get us thinking about a trip to Europe. Specifically, England. And this afternoon, specifically Devon.
Yes, we know Cornwall’s where it’s meant to be at for summer hols by the seaside, but an email plopped into our inbox today about The Cary Arms in Babbacombe, near Torquay, Devon, and the pictures of
a man in a wetsuit holding a glass of champagne those lovely rooms had us sold already.
The Cary Arms subtitles itself The Inn on the Beach, which is a pretty apposite name, from the pictures. It also labels itself the Riviera Reborn, to which we say, let's hope so. Because they aren't talking about the sexy French Riviera, they're talking about the South Devon Riviera, whic used to be popular before flying to the sun in Europe got popular. It was also where Fawlty Towers was set, so go figure.
Every so often we feature a hotel review from our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in.
The Four Seasons Hampshire is located about an hour outside of central London. If you are looking to experience London but also want to escape to the countryside for a day or two, the FS could be a good option.
No need to rent a car; trains from London Waterloo station take you to Fleet in about 40 minutes, add a 10-minute cab ride and you are there.
The property combines the original Georgian manor house with a few modern wings and offers enough activities to never leave the grounds for a few days (fishing, horse-riding, clay-pigeon shooting, crocket, tennis, biking, hiking, etc).
Behind this door lurks a house of horrors, if our reader is to be believed
Oh for those heady days of innocence. Because right now, we’re counting our lucky stars that the lack of said photos stopped us from booking a room, if the experience of one of our readers - and half of TripAdvisor - is anything to go by.
To recap, HotelChatter user Will Painter left us a detailed account of his stay at the Halcyon (we touched on it before but were too excited at getting a glimpse of the rooms to take it in properly). You can see the whole thing here, but here’s a precis. His verdict?
Spring is also going to be pretty much the perfect time to visit here
Here’s the latest – you can save 50 percent off rack rates for Easter if you book today. Just book a stay for between 1-18 April, and you get it for half price - meaning double rooms start at £140 (singles at £85).
At least we know what Bath looks like, even if we’re stumped as to the Halcyon itself
Well the opening of the Halcyon Hotel in Bath went to plan this weekend, if its blog is anything to be believed, but there still aren’t any photos doing the rounds to show us what the place looks like.
There’s one review on TripAdvisor, calling the hotel “beautiful”, the staff “very friendly” and the price “excellent”, but seeing as this is that person’s first review, we’re inclined to take it with a pinch of possible PR salt.