The Best Hotels of Britain and Ireland

Forty years ago, a post in the Observer by literary representative Hilary Rubinstein gave birth to The Good Hotel Guide. Clients responded with such excitement to his request recommendations which the very first variant had over 300 entries. Ever since that time, the hospitality industry has gone through radical shift. The term “boutique” was unidentified, resort food was generally dire, gastro pubs unheard of, kids and dogs undesirable and the net a mystery known only to a couple of boffins

What produces a fantastic resort? The 7 resorts and B&B therefore I’ve chosen to observe the manual’s 40th anniversary isn’t only outstanding; they’ve set the rate for a brand new generation of hoteliers. They vary from budget to pricier, but all stand out for their personality and charm. They’re all areas I’d really like to return to.

Old-world allure

Burgh Island, Bigbury-on-Sea, Devon

Should you fancy a swim, there’s a remarkable all-natural rock pool in the side of the resort

For absolute Romanticism, this sets a high quality and just individuals with a heart of steel can withstand. I certainly could not, though I neglected to place on the essential black tie for supper. Deborah Clark and Anthony Orchard’s art deco extravaganza is berthed to be an ocean liner on a tidal island off the Devon coast. It’s entertained such guests as Edward VIII and Nancy Cunard. A sea whale ferries traffic there throughout the waves. Cocktails are served under a glass ceiling at the pub, a formal dinner is held at the ballroom, with a live band two nights weekly. It is possible to opt for a pint in the 14th-century Pilchard Inn and also remain in the Beach House, where Agatha Christie wrote two of her whodunnits. Should you fancy a swim, then there is an incredible all-natural rock pool in the face of the resort.

Great value

The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, Highland

Jean Urquhart’s resort, café-bar, music place and bookshop occupies a streak of whitewashed cottages at a fishing village on Loch Broom, heated by the North Atlantic Drift along with also a spirit of joie de vivre. There’s a good deal to be said for the easy life. The company grew from a café opened in the 1970s from Jean’s late husband, actor Robert Urquhart, as a place where musicians can sing for their dinner. Effie, the supervisor, along with her locally recruited employees are friendly and bantering, the air is bohemian. Rooms are simple and comfortable, fitted with coastal furniture, and provided with books and radio. When funds are tight, then you can rough it with a bunk from the Clubhouse for #24 and eat at a budget cost from the all-day menu.

The unique B&B

The Old Railway Station, Petworth, Sussex

This B&B eings my every bell and whistle. Owners Gudmund Olafsson and Catherine Stormont spent seven years fitting one of Britain’s most amazing railway stations. Constructed in 1892, for the Prince of Wales to go to Goodwood, the channel dropped under Beeching’s axe in 1966, but the guest now is hauled to a more elegant era. Check in at the parcels workplace and ascend a spiral stairs into your own bedroom, or sleeping in Pullman carriages with Edwardian fittings. The carriages are amazingly comfy. Breakfast is served at the station waiting area, which is elegantly furnished with leather armchairs round an open flame, or about the channel platform. This is pure pleasure to get a transportation nut like me, however, the Old Testament Station isn’t only for anoraks. Anyone who’s in any way nostalgic for the past can’t fail to be charmed by being transported back in time into some much milder age.

Urban escape

Artist Home, Pimlico, London

Charlotte and Justin Salisbury have struck the resort scene just like a rocket with four buzzy resorts in London, Brighton, Penzance and Oxfordshire. Their London hotel, located five minutes from Victoria Station, in a place of white stucco terraces and garden squares, is as eloquent and welcoming as its bright white and red awning. It’s interior design is oozing personality by the bucketful using a shrewd mixture of market finds, original artwork and recycled industrial materials. A number of those 10 bedrooms are small, but all have aircon, bespoke and classic coastal furnishings, a Roberts radio, unique style to allow you to grin, a completely stocked mini-fridge, frequently a espresso machine and, possibly, a rain shower or roll-top bathroom. Locals heap in for Sunday brunch or for cocktails at the cellar pub below a ceiling of tin tiles. Should you fancy a game of ping-pong there is a desk at the Club Room? It is a superbly casual place to stay.

Family worth

Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, County Cork

This is one of just four resorts that have experienced an entrance in each edition of this manual — a remarkable accomplishment. Hotels run by exactly the exact same family for generations are somewhat odd and Ballymaloe places a high standard. I particularly like its uncommercial soul. What other hotel could have a neighbourhood artist blocking a bedroom corridor for a complete weekend since he finished a mural? It’s more than half of a century because Myrtle and Ivan Allen opened a small restaurant within their Georgian property. The business has burgeoned but conventional values still prevail. Public rooms are full of blossoms from the garden; bedrooms vary in the cosy into the airy and light. Chef Jason Fahey uses locally sourced produce, vegetables, fruit and herbs in the walled garden and house farm, and fresh fish delivered daily, in such dishes as escalope of John Dory, backyard herb enjoy and pack choi. The resort’s cookery school brings budding chefs from around Europe. Unsurprisingly the food is outstanding.

Classic nation house

Hambleton Hall, Hambleton, Rutland

All three Rooms have lake and mountain views, in addition to fresh flowers, homemade biscuits and novels

If you would like to be cosseted and pampered, this is the place I’d head for over all others. Tim and Stefa Hart altered this Victorian searching box, which was constructed for a wealthy brewer, right into a classy resort 40 decades back. It runs as easily as a Rolls-Royce, by the attentive but discreet service into the Michelin-starred cooking. Aaron Patterson, head chef here since 1992, works with neighbourhood and home-grown create, providing a contemporary twist into the classics in such dishes like lamb, piperade and skillet. The interior style ambiance is one of controlled luxury, with designer interiors by Nina Campbell and from Mrs Hart herself, together with comfy lounges, open fires, paintings and antiques. The well-tended landscaped gardens are bordered by the glistening expanse of Rutland Water. Noël Coward arrived here for home parties in the 1920s. It is still a chunk for anybody who’d love to be indulged. An excellent illustration of how luxurious ought to be accomplished.

Trend setter

The Pig, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Robin Hutson co-founded the Hotel du Vin series, the model boutique resort He offered for #66m. He then worked his magic with star hangout Lime Wood. And today, together with his litter of five Pig hotels, He’s setting the trend however again in Re-imagining the state house hotel. Hutson makes hospitality seem simple, but the key of his success is that his fierce attention to detail together with a Reputable eye and fantastic taste. This original Pig, a former Georgian shooting Lodge from the New Forest, has open fires, oil paintings, books and board games. I adore its relaxed, rustic, family-friendly atmosphere. Hutson cares about Great Food that he rightly says must be in the center of any resort. The Conservatory restaurant showcases yummy meals from local providers, too as make from the kitchen garden and also the neighbourhood smokehouse.