From two Scottish heritage properties-turned foodie retreats to a creative hotspot in east London and an arty crashpad in Bristol, here are the UK’s best new openings.
Killiecrankie House, Perthshire, Scotland
This heritage country house hotel – a grand whitewashed building dating from the 1840s – has been transformed by chef Tom Tsappis and sommelier wife Matilda (previously of Elia London supper club) into a five-bedroom, food-focused retreat. Tasting menu suppers which riff on contemporary and heritage Scottish dishes – from cock-a-leekie to madeleines with black pudding caramel – are served in a sultry navy-walled restaurant, with a heavy focus on local and foraged ingredients, and paired with clever drinks concoctions. Sip a salt smoke oak cocktail (Laphroaig scotch, seaweed bitters and maple syrup) by the fireplace in the drawing room, or head to the bar for a hefty dose of Moulin Rouge sass, and a dashing pair of feather-boa-look pink Murano Glass chandeliers.
Glamour levels remain high in bedrooms which have rich burgundy and indigo tones, roll-top tubs and wooden four-poster beds. Aside from exploring the surrounding woodlands, guests will find the Cairngorms National Park within easy reach, and both Edinburgh and Glasgow are just an hour and a half’s train ride away making it ideal for a twin or even three-stop adventure.
From £450 on a dinner and B&B basis for two (open Wednesday-Saturday only); killiecrankiehouse.com
The Dipping Lugger, Ullapool, Scotland
Another historic Scottish property with a fresh foodie focus has just opened its doors in Ullapool. Dating from 1789 and originally the parish manse (clergyman’s house), the former B&B has been restored by hospitality old hands Robert Hicks (who co-owns The Arch Inn) and Helen Chalmers. The views out to Loch Broom and the undulating Fannich mountains are as spectacular as Eve Cullen-Cornes’s decor, which pairs parquet flooring with tactile velvets, smooth marble tabletops and jewellery-box shades of inky blue and emerald green. Three bedrooms – which all have bathtubs – are tastefully kitted out with tartan blankets, Roberts radios and exuberant whale-adorned wallpaper.
Highland fare and local seafood dishes take pride of place at the restaurant – helmed by chef David Smith – with tasty multi-course meals presented on smart Highland Stone pottery. Afterwards, sample wee drams of gin – from the owners’ award-winning distillery – or make for the secret “sweet shop” lounge for a late-night nibble.
The hiking trails of the pretty north west Highlands are on the doorstep, and dolphin-spotting boat trips depart from Ullapool.
From £390 on a dinner and B&B basis for two (Thursday-Sunday only); thedippinglugger.co.uk
The Mansion at Coldeast, Hampshire
Levelling up its game this month is The Mansion at Coldeast, which backs on to leafy, lake-filled Holly Hill Woodland Park in Hampshire. The Victorian grand pile-turned-aparthotel has been revamped by the team behind the popular Becketts boutique hotel and restaurant in Southsea.
Thirty-three comfy and practical rooms – either studios or one-bedroom apartments – have a kitchen and living area and understated interiors with rich marmalade or gentle fern green colour palettes. A place of contrasts, there’s fusion fare – such as chickpea and herb hash – open sandwiches and cakes aplenty served at Beckett’s at the Mansion restaurant’s period-style dining rooms in the house, while outside the laid-back Cabin Lawn has a bar snacks menu, al-fresco seating and six igloo-style dining pods. Details of an Admiral’s Bar and Library Lounge are yet-to-be-revealed, and there are plans afoot for a kitchen garden in future.
Location-wise, Southhampton’s Westquay shops, Portsmouth’s historic dockyard, and the Southsea seafront are each only a 20-minute drive away.
From £90, room-only; coldeastmansion.co.uk
Set to tickle those with a penchant for digs with contemporary art is the long-awaited Artist Residence Bristol. Already renowned for their kooky properties in London, Brighton, Oxford and Cornwall, their latest outpost sees a derelict boot factory and Georgian townhouse in Portland Square converted into a 23-room hotel. True-to-its-roots features – cornicing, exposed brick walls with echoes of old graffiti – are seamlessly fused with daring contemporary art such as Dave Buonaguidi’s sparkly Party Like it’s 1999 piece, coated in pink diamond dust.
After days spent exploring the creative Stokes Croft neighbourhood or Cabot Circus, hunker down for orange and caramel-infused smoky martinis at the hotel’s Library Bar.
As for snoozing, uniquely decorated bedrooms are packed with pizzazz; a salmon-pink scallop-backed chair here, a peacock-fan-style headboard here. Bathrooms are stocked with Bramley toiletries and minibars with wine from Averys Bristol.
At present breakfast is a self-serve affair – featuring Hobbs House baked goodies and homemade granola – and only available for hotel guests, but a main cafe, kitchen and bar will open to the public in 2022.
From £125, room-only; artistresidence.co.uk/our-hotels/bristol
The Gantry, London
It’s been a bumper year for London hotel openings, with the arrival of NoMad London, Pan Pacific London, the Londoner and more. Latest to land is The Gantry, an independent design-led 291-room property in Stratford in a building with architecture inspired by NYC’s Flatiron Building. Part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the Gantry isn’t just aiming to attract overnighters, but is instead positioning itself as a creative, community hub. The ground floor houses the Stratford Grocer & Co, an artisan food market, café and deli stacked with local produce, while first-floor Union Social combines an open kitchen, dining area and cocktail bar with a wraparound terrace peppered with firepits.
Interiors – by the One Off – riff on Stratford’s historic links with the train building industry, and create a vibe that’s industrial yet welcoming, with Union Social’s space featuring dramatically lit navy pillars and appealing golden and crimson seating. Fifty per cent of all the property’s furniture is reclaimed, and the One Off repurposed recycled material to create statement design moments such as a leather feature wall behind the reception desk.
Cocktails – masterminded by award-winning mixologist Walter Pinus – are classics with a twist. Think thyme-infused palomas and salted caramel pina coladas. There’s a dedicated bar – Coupe – for all things sparkling.
Copper nightstands and antique travel chests lend bedrooms more than a touch of bygone locomotive charm, and a swish 18th-floor Skybar will open next spring.
From £139, room-only; thegantrylondon.com
Moxy Manchester City, Manchester
Hot on the heels of newbie boutique hotel Leven in the Village comes the 146-room Moxy Manchester City, arriving just in time for the city’s Christmas markets. Cutting a dash between Spinningfields and Deansgate in an 18th-century former hat factory, the hotel’s exteriors have been clad with perforated metal panels, which nod to the punch cards of Jacquard looms and the building’s textile heritage.
In line with the playful, fun-focused ethos of Marriott’s affordable-boutique Moxy brand, check-in takes place at the bar rather than at a desk and comes accompanied by a complimentary cocktail.
There’s a hip communal living room for co-workers to tap away at laptops in, alongside pals having catch ups, as well as a barista counter for caffeine pick-me-ups for those who’ve partied too hard the night prior, plus a 24/7 snack bar. Comfortable rooms pair platform beds with a walk-in shower, dinky work space and Netflix-enabled TVs, and are dog-friendly to boot.
Rooms from £tbc; moxymanchestercity.com
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies