Hotel of the week

Luton Hoo

By Robyn Rosen, July 8, 2010

Other than the giveaway in its name and the occasional low-flying aeroplane, guests at the sumptuous Luton Hoo could be forgiven for being unaware of its proximity to Luton airport.

The peace, calm and luxury make the hotel feel like a rural idyll, yet it is just 30 minutes up the M1 from North London. A winding, gravel drive flanked by towering trees, brings you to the magnificent palladian Mansion House built by Robert Adam in 1767, its 1,000 acres of parkland containing gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.

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Ston Easton

By Anthea Gerrie, July 1, 2010

V The trouble with newish country house hotels is that, polished and swagged within an inch of their lives, they spoil us for the real thing. Like Ston Easton Park, a really grand old pile relatively recently converted to a hotel.            Being seriously old, it has a fascinating history — but age brings its problems. So I had to get over the fact Ston Easton has a shabby, discoloured façade compared to the splendid mansions of golden Bath stone a few miles away, and that my vast bedroom smelled faintly musty.

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Grand Hotel Vesuvio

By Anthea Gerrie, June 24, 2010

No-one does old-style glamour like the Italians, and it's particularly true in Naples, the very essence of old-style, baroque, schmaltzy Italy. So it's no surprise to find a wealth of recession-defying silk, marble and silver at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio overlooking Vesuvius, Sorrento and other heart-stopping delights of Naples Bay.

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Cape Grace

By Daralyn Danns, June 17, 2010

With its own quay at the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain as its backdrop and Robben Island across the water, the Cape Grace occupies one of the most magnificent locations in Cape Town and is just a short stroll from the smartest shops and restaurants.

A near faultless five-star hotel, with all the amenities to match - including huge rooms, flat-screen TV and free wi-fi - it is the friendly, professional staff who make the Cape Grace so special, seeming genuinely to care that your stay in the hotel and the city is perfect.

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Mandarin Oriental

By Anthea Gerrie, June 10, 2010

In a constantly-changing world, London's Mandarin Oriental reassures by appearing to be totally constant. This is, of course, an illusion - even the name of this august old lady of Knightsbridge has changed, and the restaurants and bars have been in constant flux in response to fashion. No more than you'd expect from a hotel with Madonna's seal of approval.

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Lancrigg

By Rachel Harris, June 3, 2010

Lake District hotelier Robert Whittington knew I was a kosher customer from the moment I booked - he knew from my Hendon postcode.

"It's Jewish guests who keep me in business," he said as we checked into the vegetarian hotel, just half a mile from Grasmere, and overlooking the Valley of Easedale.

It's not really suprising he has such a large kosher clientele - he was the only 100 per cent vegetarian hotel to be found via a Google search.

And after only a few hours at the hotel, set in 30 acres of gardens, it was clear it was more than just the food that made it so popular.

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Hotel of the week: Fairmont Mayakoba

By Anthea Gerrie, May 27, 2010

If anyone could bring a touch of class to an area whose reputation has been damaged by overbuilding and too many package tourists, it's Fairmont. The company which now owns the Savoy, and is overseeing a restoration to its art deco glory days, has shown, in its Mayakoba resort on Mexico's Caribbean coast, that it can also do eco resorts.

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Sofitel

By Anthea Gerrie, May 21, 2010

You don't expect an airport hotel to be glamorous, but that's the first word that comes to mind arriving at the Sofitel Gatwick. Blame it on the soaring atrium and impressive water feature which greet guests emerging from the tunnel which links this hotel (it looks like such an anonymous box from the outside), with the North Terminal.

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Feathers

By Anthea Gerrie, May 13, 2010

Of all the gin joints in all the world, you won't find one with more varieties of mother's ruin than The Feathers in Woodstock. But there are more reasons to visit this charming country inn than a quest for the ultimate G&T.

It may not be apparent at first glance why Gwyneth Paltrow and Johnny Depp have graced such an unassuming establishment. The tiny reception area is a lot less showy than that of the neighbouring Bear, and with its proximity to Blenheim Palace, Oxford and the Cotswolds, pretty Woodstock is positively spilling over with places to stay.

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Place At The Beach

By Anthea Gerrie, May 6, 2010

Unlike the Californians, who have honed coastal living to a fine art, we British are not great at seaside hotels. We do grand Victorian piles and grim corporate boxes, but hardly ever affordable, contemporary chic which salutes the sea.

So The Place at the Beach in East Sussex is a treasure - an award-winning seaside hotel which is smart yet unpretentious and welcomes families and dogs while still managing to convey a chilled adult vibe that weekending couples will enjoy.

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