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Places to slumber

Here are some gorgeous and cosy places to stay – all beds tested by willing travel-weary bodies. Generally we try and stay at small boutique places which come from personal recommendation, or from Mr & Mrs Smith or other boutique hotel web-guides. Most of the hotels below are of the more unusual, individual, eclectic variety but there are a few biggies that might have crept in.


Hazlitt’s, London Gorgeous early eighteenth century historical houses turned hotel in Soho. We stayed in the Baron Willoughby suite, with carved oak bed, original fireplace, heavy silk curtains and a ‘late Victorian bathing machine’.

The Rookery, London Also owned by Hazlitt’s, this is another beautiful period hotel in Clerkenwell, with wood pannelling, stone flag flooring, antique furniture. It’s tiny and cosy and sexy. We stayed here on my birthday, after J had cooked me hamburgers with pink champagne at his flat – we took a rickshaw in rain to the Rook’s Nest – a two-storey penthouse with a 40ft spire. Wow. You could see St Paul’s reflected in the windows of the skyrises surrounding us.

Blakes, London We stayed here after a phenomenal meal in their restaurant downstairs – all red and black and Chinese decor. The room was equally sumptious, cosy and secret and hidden.

The Residence, Bath This is a real gem, in a large Georgian house next to Victoria Park, with only 9 rooms. There’s a library, games room, steam and sauna and an Italianate garden with trampoline. The laid-back bar is fitted with brushed aluminium Kitchen Rose cabinets. We stayed in the spacious Queen’s room, with White Company linen and full-sized fridge.

Babington House, Somerset Soho House’s country outpost. Cowshed, two pools, beautiful Walled Garden and plush comfort in the 32 rooms. Set in 18 acres this is a real retreat – but you can also get raucous in the games room and bar and no-one will bat an eyelid. Rather too many posh Notting Hillites but you can’t go wrong here – it’s all soft comfort and open fires. It’s like eating shepherd’s pie and drinking a glass of warming, mugger red wine. Which you can do here, over the Sunday papers. We’ve stayed in a couple of rooms in the Coach House and the huge Playroom, with sweeping views of the lake.

Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford Raymond Blanc’s award-winning 2-star restuarant is the main deal here, with a stay in one of their 32 rooms a just dessert if you can’t manage to roll home. After 15 courses or so, we couldn’t quite manage that. We stayed in the Citronelle junior suite, which was bright and yellow and sunshiney. As a whole this place is divine, with secret gardens and lichen-covered sculptures of frolicking maidens in the lakes, a huge herb and vegetable garden and beautiful sculptures hidden in corners. On a summer’s day, a long lunch here would be gorgeous. I think we had dinner though, which was sublime – come with hunger and thirst!

The Witchery, Edinburgh Theatrical, camp, gothic, operatic, dark and fantastical are some of the adjectives used to describe the Witchery experience – all of which apply, but it’s far more than gimicry. There is something special about this place – our room had a carved oak antique four-poster bed, tapestries and armour hanging in the entrance hall, a silk and broacde Ottoman with remote-controlled TV and DVD player hidden behind, luxurious silks and velvets, and the bathroom was the grandest I have ever seen. I think it was called the Armoury suite, but there are 7 rooms altogether, each different and each the most romantic, sumptious and decadent you could hope to find. We read stories to each other in the huge bateau bath, with heated marble flooring and wooden panels on the walls.

Prestonfield, Edinburgh Also owned by the Witchery’s James Thompson, Prestonfield is equally decadent, opulent and romantic. Set in grounds where peacocks roam,

Tigerlilly, Edinburgh

Hotel du Vin, Glasgow

Hope Street Hotel, Liverpool

Hotel Felix, Cambridge



Hotel des Academie et des Arts, Paris

Hotel Daniel, Paris

Posthoorn, Monickendam, Holland

College Hotel, Amsterdam

Portrait Suites, Rome

The Eden, Rome

Hotel Accademia, Verona

San Domenico Palace, Taormina, Sicily

Villa Ducale, Taormina, Sicily

Fortaleza do Guincho, Cascais, Portugal

Hotel Britannia, Lisbon, Portugal

The Ice Hotel, Sweden

Alchymist Hotel, Prague


North America

Soho House, New York

60 Thompson, New York

Hotel on Rivington, New York

Grammercy Park Hotel, New York

The Greenwich, New York

Crosby Street Hotel, New York

The White House, Napa Valley, California

Hotel Triton, San Francisco


South America

Faena Hotel & Universe, Buenos Aires

Los Notros, Calafate, Argentina

Explora, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Hotel Fundador, Santiago, Chile

Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro



Laluna, Granada

Strawberry Hill, Jamaica

Los Frailes, Havana

Paradisus, Varadero, Cuba

The Bristol, Panama City

Los Mandarinos, El Valle de Anton, Panama

Coral Lodge, San Blas, Panama


North Africa

Riad Farnatchi, Marrakesh

La Gazelle D’Or, Taroudant, Morrocco


East Africa

Swahili House, Stone Town, Zanzibar

Fundu Lagoon,Pemba Island, Zanzibar

Kilindi Lodge, Zanzibar


Southern Africa


Asia/Middle East

A’Jia Hotel, Istanbul

Swissotel Grand Efes, Izmir, Turkey

(?) Antalya, Turkey

Die Wassermuhle, Fethiye, Turkey

Olympos Lodge, Cirali, Turkey

Mansouriya Palace Hotel, Aleppo, Syria

Beit al Mamlouka, Damascus, Syria


South East Asia

Shangri-La, nr Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Sabah, Borneo

Sukau River Lodge, Sabah, Borneo

Lankayan Island, Sulu Sea, Malaysia

The Datai, Langkawi, Malaysia



The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai

The Peninsula, Beijing

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

One Comment Post a comment
  1. super

    March 1, 2010

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