From a hotly anticipated city outpost from a Scottish grande dame, to a Miami-feel five-star seaside affair in Dorset, here are six of the UK’s best new check-ins to check out.
Gleneagles Townhouse, Edinburgh
When it comes to Scottish grande dames, none are grander than Perthshire’s Gleneagles. Now, the brand’s much-anticipated city debut, Gleneagles Townhouse, has touched down, adding a flourish of golden-age glamour to Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square.
The former Bank of Scotland HQ has been revamped by Ennismore Design Studio into a 33-room hotel and members’ club, centred around stop-you-in-your-tracks restaurant, The Spence. Worth donning your glad rags for, it’s an elegant space with marble columns, gilded touches, and an Art Deco-style bar under a wow factor glass dome. Here, Chef Jonny Wright’s brasserie-style dishes showcase “Scotland’s natural larder” produce – think sika deer haunch with asparagus, morel penne, and wild mushroom tart with goats curd.
For fine whiskies and flutes of champagne, there’s rooftop bar Lamplighters (for members and residents only) and wellness facilities – including a cryotherapy chamber and infra red sauna – will arrive soon.
On-point bedrooms are rich in Georgian touches, fusing canopied beds in corals, fern greens and pastel yellows with antique rugs and wooden floors. The best have St Andrew Square views and freestanding tubs, while attic-style Nook rooms are delightfully cosy.
From £495, room only; gleneagles.com/townhouse
Marine Troon, Troon
Another Scottish escape, which is set to have golf enthusiasts’ hearts aflutter, is Marine Troon. The 19th-century brick countryside pile in Ayrshire, and former Marine Hotel, has views out to the frequent host of The Open, Royal Troon course, and 89 rooms sporting a fresh new look after a makeover by golf destination-led Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts.
Decor riffs not only on Troon’s golfing links, but also its seaside locale, brought to life in bedrooms with woven seagrass chandeliers, seersucker chairs and oceanic toile wallpaper, maritime artwork and thistle-adorned bathroom mirrors.
The lobby has a clubhouse feel, with navy velvet, cognac leathers and rustic wood, and there’s also a spa with indoor heated pool, squash court and seaweed-infused Ishga treatments, including a “golfer’s deep tissue massage” to tackle any post-round aches.
The Rabbit restaurant, helmed by Masterchef The Professionals winner Derek Johnstone, has views out to the Isle of Arran, and hyper-seasonal fare – including fish of the day from Troon Harbour – while The Seal bar offers lighter bites, and glasses of malt whiskies from the just across the water Isle of Arran distillery.
From £159, room only; marineandlawn.com/marinetroon
The Nici, Bournemouth
Shaking up the sleepy Bournemouth seaside is The Nici, the first of a new five-star resort brand from Nicolas Roach, behind Harbour Hotels. A cool £25m investment has seen the landmark Savoy Hotel (a seaside old-timer, no relation to the London digs), moments from West Cliff’s golden sands, metamorphose into a tropical Miami-feel fiesta which puts guests into holiday mode from the get-go.
The South Beach-inspired restaurant is all subtropical sass, and nails seafood, salad and sushi suppers as well as it does laid-back family lunches (an old-school pinball machine and foosball table keeps kids happy).
As well as a funky bar with palm tree sculptures and a golden disco ball, there are 73 bedrooms with bottle green and sunshine orange accents popping against all-white backdrops, mid-century modern style furnishings, cream boucle chairs and in-room drinks trolleys stocked with complimentary rum.
Those on the first floor have the largest terraces, ideal for sunbasks, while ground-floor garden suites have outdoor hot tubs. While it’s easy to keep busy with garden yoga sessions, a kids’ games room, and bikes, paddleboards and kayaks available to borrow, the retro kidney shaped pool, ringed by gauzy-draped cabanas, is a lovely place to linger. Swimming options will ramp up in 2023 with a 30m outdoor infinity pool, and a spa, fitness centre and rooftop bar and restaurant are in the works.
From £175, B&B; thenici.com
The White Hart Inn, Mersea Island, Essex
Those after an island escape minus flying faff should cast their eyes to Essex, where 20 minutes’ drive from Colchester station, over a causeway which disappears at high tide, sits Mersea Island. Here, Piers Baker, behind the popular Sun Inn in Dedham, has completely reimagined the shut for a decade White Hart Inn. Taking the reins of an unfinished revamp, a smart clapboard-fronted new build now sits five minutes from shell-strewn, shingly Monkey Beach.
A suntrap outdoor area lined with parasols in beach ball hues leads into a light-filled restaurant with floral-backed chairs and booths, and a bar lined with decanters from nearby charity shops. While the setting is seaside-relaxed, food is all finesse and flavour; terrine served in delicate fried cubes, roasted tomato soup laced with fregola and rouille, clever courgette flower and cashew tacos and fresh Mersea Oysters for fans of a good shuck. Already jam-packed with locals enjoying post-work drinks – whose only gripe seems to be that pints are slightly dearer than elsewhere in Mersea – it’s brought a welcome rush of energy to the area.
Upstairs are six comfortable bedrooms with bold touches, foliage-print headboards, curtains adorned with swallows and waves, and bathrooms with glass bottles of Bramley Toiletries. During a stay, potter past houseboats at the shore and visit the Mersea Museum to discover a hotchpotch of island heritage, including locally-found mammoth vertebrae and Bronze Age timber tracking.
From £150, B&B; whitehartinnmersea.co.uk
The White Horse, Boughton-under-Blean
While Boughton-under-Blean might not spring to mind immediately for a Kentish getaway, this pretty village sits a 20-minute drive from seaside favourite Whitstable, market town Faversham and the city of Canterbury. Just opened is boutique hotel The White Horse, a revamped 16th-century pub with 13 rooms, offering the alluring prospect of an away from the crowds place to bed down close to Kent’s holiday hotspots.
While it’s the first hotel foray for Natalie and Andrew Hennessy, the pair have heaps of hospitality expertise, as proprietors of Whitstable’s much-loved east Kent pub, and Natalie is a talented chef who honed her craft at The Dorchester and Sydney’s Rockpool. The couple are natural hosts, who’ve put their own, contemporary stamp on the inn while retaining heritage aspects.
In the dining room, original timber beams rub up against contemporary artwork featuring bees by local artist John Wiltshire. Food is a triumph; think avocado tostadas and beetroot and goat’s cheese “non” ravioli, alongside chocolate bronut with vanilla bean ice cream.
Sitting upstairs, a handful of attractive bedrooms are decked out in soft greens and greys, with life drawings by Wiltshire hung on the walls. Each has its charm; pick number six for atmospheric low ceilings, or the Nightingale Suite for Jacquard fabric-inspired wallpaper and a separate lounge. The Nest treatment room, offering facials and massages, will open this summer, and packages including art classes with Wiltshire are on the cards.
The only opening misstep? The bathrooms’ mini plastic toiletry bottles, but refillable options are being investigated.
From £130, room only; thewhitehorseboughton.com
The Georgian, Coppa Club, Haslemere
Following successful hotels in Streatley-on-Thames and Sonning, and a stable of restaurants, Coppa Club has opened on Haslemere High Street, where bunting-lined mock Tudor-style houses rub up against indie cafes.
A formerly rather unloved Grade II-listed property has been transformed into a far more welcoming spot. At its heart is a flooded-with-light dining space, all swishing fronds, “bonbon” pendant lanterns, cobalt blue banquettes and wooden tables – a portion of which are set under a retractable roof to capitalise on sunny days. A strip of crimson-topped seats lines the bar, a popular spot for after-work amaretto sours, and there’s a small garden with deck chairs and three glass-domed dining pods. Highlights on the Brit-Mediterranean menu include feather-light zucchini fritti, and broccoli drizzled with tahini and hazelnuts, alongside classic burgers, steaks and sourdough pizza. A slender front lounge draws in local co-workers, who caffeinate and do calls from comfy armchairs, by flickering electric fires.
As for snoozing, there are 13 unfussy, comfortable bedrooms with powder grey and green palettes, floral artwork and rainforest showers. It’s a good choice for walkers – some of Surrey’s most stunning walks, including the Devil’s Punch Bowl and Winkworth Arboretum, are close by – and those heading to Goodwood too.
From £90, B&B; coppaclub.co.uk/the-georgian
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