Travel: Brochures of the week

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Upmarket hotels, anxious to attract wealthy travellers, are setting new standards in their brochure war. Claridge's, where foreign royals like to kip when they're in London, has produced a neat little number packed with black-and-white images of its staff stoking the fires and serving English tea, and coloured pictures that highlight the establishment's Art-Deco design. Then there are the shots of the restaurants, rooms and suites which, cunningly, are all free of guests, giving you the impression you'll be the only person staying there (and certainly the only one who matters) should you pitch up. Prices from pounds 245 to pounds 2,300 a night.

Hazlewood Castle, near Leeds, has also gone glossy for its brochure. Set in 77 acres of parkland and gardens, it's probably a magnificent place (it boasts a cookery school, fine food and a banqueting hall) but the brochure lets it down slightly. The pictures are too small and the text uninspiring - too much plodding history and the peculiar promise that "as a delightful memento of your visit you will receive an historic recipe, tried and tested by John and Matthew, using the flower after which your room was named". It's perhaps unfair, but in this market companies have to do better than this if they want to lure in those high-spenders who take partners to the country for weekends of passion, long walks, and attentive service. You can stay there for pounds 125 to pounds 330 a night.

High style is on offer at the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, newly revamped at a cost of pounds 3.5m by Cliveden. The hotel has a new restaurant and is building a spa due to open by next May. Rooms start at pounds 160. Elegantly designed, with fantastic photographs, the brochure makes you yearn for autumn nights and the chance to hole up in one of the Royal Crescent's rooms.

Claridge's: 0171-499 2210; Hazlewood Castle: 01937 530530; The Royal Crescent: 01225 823333.

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