As you must already know, Babington is the big daddy, the P Diddy, of cool luxury. The beds couldn't be bigger, the sheets whiter, the clientele starrier. The food is robust, earthy, untricksy, and hasn't toured the world, as vegetables are grown in the walled garden. Scallops, aubergine and spiced yogurt, £9; halibut with peas and lettuce, £13, or Jerusalem artichoke risotto, £10. Only snag is that you have to be a member or a hotel resident to eat, and the rooms start at £195 for a double midweek.
Babington, near Frome, Somerset (01373 812266).
It's a bit rock'n'roll, this converted pub with five bedrooms, a couple of suites, an Anglo-French restaurant and a Thai brasserie. Despite the décor it's not that crazee; they take comfort and cooking seriously. The restaurant has a set lunch or dinner menu (not weekend dinners) for £10 for two courses, while the à la carte menu's attractions include twice-baked walnut and blue cheese soufflé, calf's liver or glazed pig's trotter. Rooms start at £80.
Stadhampton, Oxfordshire (01865 890714).
The Harbourmaster Hotel
A small and handsome hotel which opened this summer in a charming, brightly painted Welsh harbour village. The beautifully restored Georgian building has seven bedrooms all with views, a bar and brasserie-like restaurant, and better coffee than usual by the sea. Great seafood: lobster Thermidor, mackerel or sea trout; fine Welsh beef (fillet steak with Parmentier potatoes) and lamb (rack of with dauphinoise vegetables) and local cheese.
Pen Cei, Aberaevon, Ceredigion, West Wales (01545 570755).
This reborn Cornish hotel on the Roseland peninsula has dazzled visitors. It's the all-over tastefulness, gorgeous linen, thick towels, fabulous showers, and superb views that do it. The restaurant has an equally glorious outlook and thoughtfully cooked local produce: seared scallops with pea purée and red chilli; oven-baked monkfish with cumin and sauce verte, and blueberry shortbread. Cornish cheeses like Yarg make up the fourth course for £33 at dinner.
Portloe, Truro, Cornwall (01872 501322).
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