The Big Six: Historic railway hotels
The best beds by the rails across Great Britain.
Saturday 16 October 2010
Turnberry Resort, Ayrshire
This may seem an incongruous railway retreat, given that the nearest station is 15 minutes' drive away. But Turnberry was built in 1906 by the Glasgow & South Western Railway as the Station Hotel on the Ayr to Girvan line. When it opened, it featured such luxuries as electric lighting and central heating. Despite the line closing, the hotel is still thriving. It is now the smart styling – and a plush spa – that attracts guests, including high-rolling golfers.
Turnberry Resort, Turnberry, Ayrshire, KA26 9LT (01655 331000; turnberryresort.co.uk). Doubles start at £157, including breakfast.
Midland Hotel, Morecambe
A swirl of art deco glamour on Morecambe's seafront, the Midland was built in 1933 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. After a short heyday, during which it welcomed the likes of Coco Chanel and Noël Coward, things went downhill when people started holidaying in sunnier climes and the building eventually became derelict.
Renovation began in 2003 and the hotel re-opened for business in chic four-star style two years ago with the addition of a spa.
Midland Hotel, Morecambe. Marine Rd West. (01524 424 000; elh.co.uk/hotels/midland/)
Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow
Glasgow's Grand Central was once among the city's most iconic hotels, made famous in 1927 when John Logie Baird transmitted the world's first long-distance TV pictures from it. After a renovation, the hotel re-opened this month. Rooms are comfortable, if corporate, but a champagne bar, deli and restaurant keep things glamorous.
Grand Central Hotel, 99 Gordon Street, Glasgow (0141 240 3700; principal-hayley.com). Doubles start at £75, with breakfast.
Andaz Liverpool Street, London
Until the Marriott opens at St Pancras next March, Andaz Liverpool Street is London's most high-profile railway hotel – and the most stylish. Catering for the business crowd and city-breakers, it is slick and contemporary. It has a champagne and seafood bar, sushi bar, brasserie and modern British restaurant.
Andaz, 40 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7QN (020 7961 1234; andaz.com). Doubles start at £195, including breakfast.
Formerly the Great Western Rail Hotel, the Malmaison was built in 1844 and is purported to be the oldest railway hotel still in existence (even if it did serve as office space for a time). Winston Churchill once stayed here but these days it attracts a glamorous, younger crowd with Malmaison's familiar formula of stylish rooms, unpretentious food and buzzy atmosphere. Trainspotters are welcome too – rail memorabilia decks the walls and there is a model railway in the brasserie.
Malmaison, Great Western House, 18-20 Station Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 1JX (0118 956 2300; malmaison.com). Doubles start £145, including breakfast.
Great Victoria, Bradford
The Victoria Hotel (the "Great" came much later) was built in 1867, with the aim of providing a suitable abode for visitors on business linked to the city's booming wool trade. It remains a fine example of Bradford's Victorian architecture. These days, its 70 stylish rooms – and a location beside the main train and bus stations — also attract tourists.
Great Victoria, Bridge Street, Bradford BD1 1JX (01274 728706; victoriabradford.co.uk). Doubles start at £63, including breakfast.
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