Hotel of the week

Soho House

By Anthea Gerrie, August 4, 2010

With its lack of handsome lobby, uniformed flunkeys or even a sign over the door, Soho House is the antithesis of Berlin’s imposing five-star hotels. Yet it is a five-star animal, albeit of a different breed.

This is the latest enterprise of the media luvvies’ empire, now owned by Richard Caring, which started as a private club in London. Part of its appeal is that guests become members for the duration of their stay, admitted to the  fabulous 7th-floor bar, lounge and restaurant, and the rooftop pool and bar above.

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Royal Crescent

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

If Bath is, as many assert, a Regency theme park, the Royal Crescent Hotel is its best ride. And one you don't have to queue for if you are staying inside this magnificent row of five Grade I listed houses designed by John Wood the Younger. He is said to have dreamed up the lawn-fronted crescent, which so spectacularly overlooks the city, because its shape had symbolism relevant to his masonic lodge.

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Viura

By Jenni Frazer, July 22, 2010

Nobody, apparently, was more surprised than the villagers of Villabuena de Alava in Spain's Rioja winemaking region when an extraordinary building started taking shape right next door to their 17th-century church.

But oddly, the small but eclectic Hotel Viura, named for one of the important white wine grapes of the region, now blends into the landscape, despite its ultra-modern concrete cubist architecture.

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Fairmont St Andrews

By Daralyn Danns, July 15, 2010

Set in 520 acres of lush, secluded estate beside the rugged Fife coastline, the Fairmont St Andrews - just three miles from this week's British Open - captivates you from the moment your cab noses on to its long driveway.  

The exterior resembles an elegant French chateau, but as soon as you step inside, the tartan carpets, paintings and the warm hospitality remind you that you are in Scotland. The bright, airy glass-roofed atrium adds an American flavour, as befits a hotel bought by the up-scale North American chain Fairmont 10 years ago. 

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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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