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Best hotels in Surrey 2023: Where to stay for comfort and adventure

Whether you want to relax or enjoy fun days out, Surrey offers exceptional places to stay

Kathryn Liston
Tuesday 25 April 2023 09:52 BST
<p>You can even go trekking with llamas</p>

You can even go trekking with llamas

This southern county may not be on everyone’s radar for a short break, but there’s no shortage of boutique gems on offer in Surrey.

There’s everything on offer from 16th-century hunting lodges and luxury country house hotels to designer-led boltholes in stunningly beautiful countryside. From llama trekking and motor-racing to Michelin-star dining and safari-themed hotels, Surrey staycationers are spoilt for choice.

And it’s not just the stays that have us impressed. Just an hour or less by train or car from London, it makes for a brilliant countryside staycation. Firstly, it’s a hikers paradise – walkers can choose between a 4.5 mile trek around the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a six-mile jaunt through the Mole Gap Trail or take in the breathtaking views of the South Downs at Box Hill.

Of course, Surrey is also home to theme parks such as Thorpe Park, vineyards, first-class restaurants and much more. If that’s enough to convince you then you’ll want to get booked into one our top picks below.

Best boutique hotel: The Mitre

Neighbourhood: Hampton Court

The Mitre’s stylish bedrooms look out over Hampton Court Palace

Classic combines with cool at this stylish boutique hotel, which opened in 2020 in a 17th-century building opposite Hampton Court Palace. Stunning hand-painted de Gournay wallpaper, elegant tapestries and beautiful antiques adorn the public areas, while designer Nicola Harding has put her stamp on each of the individually designed bedrooms, with patterned wallpaper and painted panelling. Retro rears its head in the form of a funky jukebox in the intimate library – just the place for a nightcap from the decanters – and quirky artwork. Check out the Gwen Burns-illustrated map of the area in reception, while sipping a glass of chilled bubbly as you check in.

Best luxury hotel: Beaverbrook Main House

Neighbourhood: Leatherhead

Beaverbrook’s garden restaurant looks out over the surrounding natural landscape

The greats of high society have graced the neo-classical home of newspaper magnet Lord Beaverbrook, and the property is now a luxury country house hotel, where sumptuous suites, rare artworks and collectables offer grandeur and splendour. A huge Gerhard Richter tapestry greets you on arrival in the glass-domed lobby. Suites designed by Susie Atkinson are elegantly furnished, with some named after past guests, including James Bond author Ian Fleming and Winston Churchill. The roll top bath in the Elizabeth Taylor suite was once owned by ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev. The Gatsbyesque Art Deco bar is perfect for a cocktail before a sumptuous dinner in the Japanese grill. Service, as you might imagine at this price tag, is impeccable throughout.

Price: From £625

Book now

Best hotel for motor racing fans: Brooklands Hotel & Spa

Neighbourhood: Weybridge

Get a slice of luxury at Brooklands Hotel

You won’t get any closer to motor-racing action than this contemporary glass-fronted hotel built on the Soloman Straight of the historic Brooklands racing circuit, the world’s first. Warm up in the outdoor hot tub and watch skid-pan thrills from instructors putting cars through their paces on the Mercedes Benz World circuit – or why not go a step further and book a driving experience yourself? The motoring theme extends inside, with a fusion of quirky, car-themed sculptures, artworks and accessories – not to mention headlight lampshades. Natty Art Deco design celebrates the circuit’s 1920s heyday, while executive-style bedrooms feature panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. A luxury spa is ideal for a relaxing pit-stop.

Best hotel for activities: Foxhills Country Club & Resort

Neighbourhood: Ottershaw

You can dress up or down at this swanky country club. Sports gear is the order by day, whether that be on the two championship golf courses, 11 tennis courts or in the yoga pavilion, fitness classes and five pools – including an outdoor option heated to a toasty 29C. The family-focused Pavilion, which opened in 2021, offers soft and outdoor play areas, a role-play high street, games room and classes for all ages. There’s a luxury spa and Zen garden – take a dip in the naturally self-cleaning pool, which is ice-cold but refreshing. Don your glad rags for a sumptuous dinner in the two AA-rosette Fox Dining Rooms.

Best hotel for couples: Langshott Manor

Neighbourhood: Horley

Cosy up by the fireplace in this Tudor-style hotel

It may be close to Gatwick airport but this timber-framed Elizabethan manor house, tucked away in three acres of tranquil gardens, is perfect for a cosy weekend à deux. Decorative fireplaces, beamed ceilings, creaking floorboards, Gothic doorways and four-poster beds set the Tudor tone. Opt for a room with over-water balcony in the Moat Mews and bask in tranquility and seclusion. Rooms in the 16th-century house ooze character, vintage furniture blending with contemporary fittings and pops of colour.

Beautiful gardens with manicured Elizabethan box hedges, ornamental urns and duck pond (once a moat) provide the perfect setting for afternoon tea in summer – warmed scones from the oven are as yummy as they sound. Food in the stylish three AA-rosette Mulberry brasserie is top notch (as is the service) – cue fondants, veloutés and truffle galore.

Best spa hotel: Pennyhill Park

Neighbourhood: Bagshot

Stay at Pennyhill Park for an 18th-century experience

A huge award-winning spa is the centrepiece of this sprawling luxury hotel set in 120 acres of parkland. Take a dip in the tranquil Ballroom pool with its ornate Roman columns, underwater music and fibre optic lighting and enjoy a glass of bubbles while bathing in bubbles in the hot outdoor hydrotherapy pool – it’s all part of the silver service you’ll enjoy here. Pop in and out of the thermal rooms and ice igloo to detox and rejuvenate. The menu of pampering treatments and energising fitness classes on offer is exhaustive.

The 123 bedrooms (26 of them in the 18th-century house) are elegantly styled, with vintage furniture. It’s worth splashing the cash on the tasting menu in the intimate one Michelin-starred Latymer restaurant, where head chef Steve Smith’s innovative dishes are exquisitely executed.

Best hotel for animal encounters: Chessington Safari Hotel

Neighbourhood: Chessington

Your kids will absolutely love all this hotel has on offer

If you can’t afford to take the family on safari, staying here is the next best thing. Watch giraffes, ostriches and zebras roam in the Wanyama Reserve from panoramic windows in the restaurant, plus there are treetop monkey adventure and feeding experiences (these cost extra).

It’s worth booking into a tiger, penguin, giraffe and zebra-themed room for the total experience. They’re creatively decorated, with explorer’s equipment woven into the carpets, paw prints on walls, fun interactive games, giant soft toys and loo flushes that either tweet like a bird or roar. A Rangers club (at weekends/school holidays), family discos and indoor pool will keep the whole family amused, plus there are rides, a sealife centre and wildlife shows for all ages in the theme park next door.

Best hotel for llama trekking: Merry Harriers

Neighbourhood: Hambledon

Go llama trekking at the Merry Harriers

Meet Chocolate, Marty and Julio, three of this 16th-century country pub’s 12 resident llamas. They’re on hand to take you on a leisurely stroll through the Surrey Hills and a picnic at a scenic viewpoint. It’s an incredibly relaxing way to spend the morning. The pub’s four stylish bedrooms above the bar come with timber-framed walls, oak beams and contemporary furnishings, plus there are six garden rooms. Five shepherd’s huts come with luxury touches such as underfloor heating and wood burning stoves. The bar is cosy, with a crackling fire in winter, and the restaurant serves pub grub – there’s a dog menu too.

Price: From: £145

Book now

Neighbourhood: Runnymede

Relax by the pool

This 1970s four-star hotel on the banks of the River Thames, close to the Runnymede Memorials, is the perfect place for messing about on the river. The hotel has self-drive boats for hire or you can relax in the outdoor hot tub and watch cruisers queue to go through the lock. Children are spoilt for choice, with food to feed the ducks, playgrounds, playroom, games consoles and indoor and outdoor pools. Spacious family, dog-friendly duplexes and bedrooms are decked out in contemporary blues, greys and river pictures to reflect the location. The array of food in the buzzy Leftbank restaurant with open kitchen is vast and delicious.

Best hotel for grandeur: Great Fosters

Neighbourhood: Egham

This grand hotel is full of art and history

This characterful 16th-century royal hunting lodge oozes history, with Flemish tapestries, gilt furnishings and ornate Arts and Crafts gardens. In the summer, you can make the most of warmer evenings with meals on the terrace or patio, and take a dip in the Art Deco heated outdoor pool. Winter evenings can be spent enjoying a nightcap or two in front of the Jacobean fireplace in the cosy lounge. Great Fosters is dog-friendly and will spoil your pup just as much as you – they’ll be treated to a bed, two bowls and dog teats in the room and there is ample space to go for walks in Great Fosters’ sprawling gardens.

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