Britain's sexiest hotels for Valentine’s Day

How interior designers are bringing va-va-voom to the country’s top hotels

Tired of playing the British prude, many of the country's top hotels have become brazenly sexy in their interior design. "Some blame the recession, some the increasing attractiveness of the British people, but whatever the cause, UK hotels are getting sexier," asserts Ben Cooper, Editorial Director of
Travel Intelligence. "It seems you can't enter a suite these days without being greeted by an 8ft four poster or a roll top bath. As avid fans of the weekend away, we wholeheartedly support this trend."

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Over in Hertfordshire, luxury hotel The Grove is now saucy enough to make the more coy blush. "Suite no 25 was designed to bring out the courtesan in anyone who stays there. It's quite 'boudoir' - but very grown up, with gorgeous antiques and a three-metre high bed," says Lucinda Buxton, hotel spokesperson who told me that the pale honey coloured walls is inspired by 1940s silk stockings.

"It is very tactile, with lots of silks and velvets, glass and crystal and the white ostrich feathers on the four-poster. It's incredibly private, even though it has fabulous views across the garden. The bathroom has a square glass bath-tub which was made to fit the space, and was designed so that the edge is actually the window sill, so that you can lean in the sill and look at the garden below and your loved one can see your bottom!"

Masterminded by Martin Hubert, Design Director of Fox Linton Associates, the suite, nicknamed "Seventh Heaven", features an antique 1930s bodysuit worn by both vixens Kylie and Madonna hangs in a wall cabinet.

Like The Grove, other country house hotels are re-thinking their marketing strategies; it's less about selling the rural setting, more about the sexy interior design. Windermere Studios in the Lake District is following this tactic.

"A picture-perfect rural setting belies this hotel’s luxe-contemporary interiors, all Philippe Starck furnishings, bathtubs big enough for two and a palette of platinum and mirrored surfaces." Cooper says of the retreat, "Basically Windermere Studios is made for the sexiest bath-times ever: there's mood lighting in them that can constantly change in rainbow hues."

Meanwhile, over in Wiltshire, Lucknam Park – where Meg Ryan and Mick Jagger have stayed (separately, I hasten to add) – is popular with the more romantic types. "The sexiest feature of Lucknam Park is our Juliet Suite on the first floor." Harry Murray, hotel veteran and MD of Lucknam Park informs me, "It has a four poster bed and French windows onto the Romeo and Juliet balcony overlooking the lavender garden."

Then there's the country’s biggest shower in the great Dom Perignon suite at Henley's Hotel du Vin. Made up of two 24-inch wide shower heads, it is known as the party shower – big enough for eight people; it's got waterproof iPod speakers.

"Hotel du Vin Henley pushes the boundaries in terms of sexiness but does not the rock the boat with being overtly so," Client Director of The Massey Partnership Julia Perowne informed me. "It is sophisticated, yet young; it’s naughty without being dirty."

London is typically flirtatious in its offering. The most popular bedroom at the Portobello Hotel is the Round Room, so called because of its eight-foot circular canopied bed which Robbie Williams (allegedly) tried to buy. Designer Julie Hodgess is responsible for the hotel's eccentric and seductive designs; she installed an Edwardian bathing machine next to the round bed. Across town at The Berkeley, guests can swoon by the rooftop swimming pool, which overlooks the nights of Knightsbridge and is open in the evening for a romantic dip.

"Another golden oldie," adds Cooper "is the Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton and its infamous Durex play room with a round bed, mirrored ceiling and adult toy menu."

It's official, Britain has shed its reserved facade to become shamelessly provocative in its hotel offering. And the best bit? No pink petals on your pillow.

Annie Deakin is Editor of furniture and interior design website mydeco.com.

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