Five best Michelin starred UK hotels

Harriet O'Brien checks in at the top destinations in Britain for the epicurean set
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The Independent Travel

West Stoke House, West Sussex

In 2001, Rowland and Mary Leach bought this Georgian manor house by the South Downs and spent the next couple of years turning it into a gracious B+B. Then, four years ago, chef Darren Brown (previously with the Lanesborough Hotel) arrived and West Stoke House was billed as "a restaurant with rooms". Served in the splendid ballroom, his modern British cuisine – with a French accent – won a Michelin star earlier this year. The restaurant is open to non-guests – but they miss out on waking up to stunning views over rolling countryside and indulging in a hearty breakfast of local produce, including, whenever possible, eggs from West Stoke's own hens.

West Stoke House, West Stoke, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 9BN (01243 575 226; www.weststokehouse.co.uk). Doubles start at £130, including breakfast

Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Oxfordshire

While other world-class chefs open global outlets, Raymond Blanc (left) remains firmly focused on Le Manoir. It is his life's work. His passion and commitment have resulted in a glorious, iconic mix: a classic English country-house hotel with a gastronomic, modern French restaurant that for the last 22 years has been awarded two Michelin stars. He acquired the 15th-century manor house in 1984, his vision being to create a restaurant and hotel in harmony. The dreamy atmosphere is maintained by a hive of activity behind the scenes – new dishes, new cookery courses, refurbishments. While the restaurant is the highlight, the accommodation is supremely relaxing. Much of the inspiration for the 32 individually styled bedrooms comes from Blanc's travels: Lemongrass, for instance, has overtones of the Far East.

Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Great Milton, Oxford OX44 7PD (01844 278 881; www.manoir.com). Doubles start at £400, including breakfast

Plas Bodegroes, Gwynedd

An avenue of beech trees leads to this Georgian manor house on the Llyn Peninsula of north-west Wales. Chris and Gunna Chown have been running this rose-bedecked place as a restaurant with rooms since 1986. Accommodation is in 11 bedrooms that are spread between the main house and a coach house. Downstairs, Chris masterminds the restaurant, serving modern Welsh dishes with exotic twists – the likes of roast turbot with lime hollandaise or Welsh black beef ribeye with oxtail sauce. Having been awarded a Michelin star in 1991, they lost it for a period. After regaining it in 2001, it still remains.

Plas Bodegroes, Pwllheli, Gwynedd LL53 5TH (01758 612 363; www.bodegroes.co.uk). Doubles start at £110, including breakfast

Champany Inn, West Lothian

A rural hotel not far from Edinburgh, Champany Inn was acquired by Clive and Anne Davidson 25 years ago as a set of farmhouse buildings. Together, they established a restaurant specialising in beef and salmon, and subsequently added a Chop and Ale House, plus 16 bedrooms. This year, the restaurant's wide-ranging menu was awarded a first Michelin star. Accommodation, meanwhile, also has Scottish overtones, the bright, spacious rooms hung with curtains of hunting tartan. That may sound hangover-inducing, but the decor actually works well – the careful colour combinations create a pleasantly warm and soothing atmosphere. Thoughtful extras include complimentary drinks in rooms (in the form of wee drams of whisky and of gin).

Champany Inn, Linlithgow, West Lothian EH49 7LU (01506 834 532; www.champany.com). Doubles start at £135, including breakfast.

Marina Villa Hotel, Cornwall

Chef Nathan Outlaw had previously been awarded Michelin stars for the Black Pig in Rock and then St Ervan Manor near Padstow, before opening his eponymous restaurant at Marina Villa in Fowey nearly 18 months ago. This January he came up trumps again, when the hotel was awarded not just a first-time star, but a "rising two star" classification. His unfussy approach and passion for all things Cornish fit well with this relaxed, Georgian townhouse hotel, which has been run by co-owner James Coggan for the last eight years. Set right on the Fowey estuary, Marina Villa offers 18 bedrooms decorated with elegant restraint, some with antique French beds, others with private balconies and one beautifully arranged in a quiet garden cabin.

The Marina Villa Hotel, Esplanade, Fowey, Cornwall PL23 1HY (01726 833 315; www.themarinahotel.co.uk). Doubles start at £164, including breakfast

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