With the coldest weather of the year still yet to come, plan a winter getaway in one of the UK’s cosiest hotels.
Whether you’re looking to book a last-minute Christmas getaway or planning a staycation in 2022, at this time of year many of us are wanting the luxury of a hotel combined with all the home comforts. I’ve scoured the country for the cosiest hotels — here are five I recommend for a winter escape.
Kinloch Lodge Hotel, Skye, Scotland
Skye’s historic Kinloch Lodge Hotel — set on the shores of Loch na Dal, with the Cuillin mountains in the distance — was built as a farmhouse and then converted into a shooting lodge for the Macdonalds of Skye in the 18th century. Today, Isabella Macdonald is at the helm, welcoming guests to her ancestral family home — the perfect place to spend the day exploring Scotland’s natural beauty. You can spend the day with Mitchell Partridge, the hotel’s ghillie, for foraging, fly fishing, deer-stalking and cooking over an open fire in the woods. In the evening, retreat home to sit by an open fire and sip Scotch whisky. The restaurant menu focuses on seasonality, with many ingredients grown in the hotel’s new polytunnels, and a wine list highlighting biodynamic and organic vintages. Some of the most extraordinary rooms are the suites that look out over Loch na Dal, with king-sized beds and roll-top baths.
Penally Abbey Hotel, Pembrokeshire, Wales
With views across Carmarthen Bay to Caldey Island, this Georgian-gothic hotel has a dozen individually designed guest rooms. They feature a cottagecore aesthetic, which includes headboards emblazoned with birds, nautical fabrics and eclectic wallpaper. The hotel is well-placed for winter walks, with Tenby Harbour a leisurely 25-minute walk away and the Pembrokeshire Coast Path just 10 minutes away. Upon your return to the hotel, sink into an armchair by the fire, sip a creative concoction in the cosy cocktail bar or enjoy afternoon tea in the candlelit Rhosyn Restaurant, where dinner is made using locally sourced produce.
Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, West Sussex
This hotel was built in the 1930s using 13th-century materials. Today, many of the original thatched roofs remain. Here, the cosy comforts of a cottage combine with the elegant indulgence of a modern-day hotel — the spa and swimming pool are housed in a homely, oak-framed building, and for breakfast, porridge is served with a splash of brandy. Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa is just moments from Climping Beach, with Arundel Castle and the Cathedral city of Chichester close by too. End the day in four-poster bed after relaxing in a roll-top bath.
The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa, Suffolk
With sung nooks to relax into amid centuries-old oak beams and six crackling log fires to choose from, The Swan has cosiness in spades. You can enjoy a tipple or two in the Airmen’s Bar, with its open fire set among Second World War memorabilia relating to the US servicemen once stationed nearby, or dine by candlelight in the Gallery Restaurant under the vaulted, beamed ceiling. Look out at the gardens from your room’s mullioned windows before sleeping under original oak beams, or book the Churchyard Suite and enjoy a mix of modern luxury and medieval style.
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The Harrison Chambers of Distinction, Belfast
A self-proclaimed ‘bohemian bolthole’, The Harrison Chambers of Distinction hotel is housed within restored merchants’ residences dating from 1879. Owner Melanie Harrison has artfully woven past and present together throughout the hotel to celebrate the city’s history, with each room individually designed around famous people with connections to Belfast, such as author C S Lewis. Guests will find huge bay windows, antique furniture and freestanding bathtubs — but despite the historical themes throughout, a modern, raffish aesthetic prevails, created with unusual pieces collected by Melanie over many years. Here, cosiness combines with her eccentric style making your time at the hotel an experience in itself.
Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Set in 240 acres, this hotel offers outdoor dining even in the dead of winter, thanks to private domes with individually controlled heating. In the daytime, look out across the estate and its highland cows, while at night gaze upwards at the stars. Inside, guests will find the 800-year-old Cave Bar. Originally a larder and storeroom, it now serves up cocktails and 120 whiskies. Throughout the hotel are open fires, including in the cosy drawing room. Plus, there’s the option to sleep in the Manor House, Stables or Estate Rooms, which exude traditional country style with a contemporary touch.
Chain Locker, Falmouth
Perched on Falmouth’s famous quayside, the Chain Locker pub with rooms is believed to be one of the area’s oldest buildings. Built in the 16th century, it’s been beautifully restored to reflect its historic roots, and provides waterside views from the pub’s cantilevered balconies. The Chain Locker offers six cosy yet contemporary rooms, each creating a homely, welcoming atmosphere with quirky vintage furnishings and earthy colours. Downstairs, there’s a bar and dining area overlooking the harbourside with a roaring wood burner to shield you from the cold.
Lord Crewe Arms, Northumberland
Hidden away in the honey-stone village of Blanchland, on the southernmost tip of Northumberland beneath the fells of the Pennine Moors, the Lord Crewe Arms is the perfect spot from which to explore the countryside around. Walk the moors, cast a line, set sail, cycle through the scenery or venture further afield and ramble upon Roman ruins and discover mystical castles. With a legacy dating back to 1165, The Lord Crewe Arms began its life as a guesthouse to Blanchland Abbey. Today, it maintains much of its medieval magic with original stone walls, ogee-arched windows and roaring fires lit in stone chimneypieces — perfect to snuggle up in front of on a cold evening. The hotel’s rooms (named ‘cosy’, ‘canny’ and ‘champion) feature tartan blankets and roll-top bathtubs, while the suites have crackling log fires.
The Machrie, Isle of Islay, Scotland
Overlooking Islay’s longest beach, stretching seven miles (pictured above), The Machrie offers an idyllic setting for crisp, winter walks along the coast and inland around this Scottish island. There are plenty of wintery adventures on the hotel’s doorstep, from bike excursions and hiking to cove kayaking and fly fishing. In the hotel, indulge in a hearty yet refined menu, created by new head chef Iain Nicholson and warm up next to wood-burning fires, or visit the screening room for an evening of film classics in a cosy, cinematic environment. Islay has long been a favourite destination for whisky enthusiasts, thanks to the nine distilleries on the island. Over the winter months, guests can take part in tours and tastings, or enjoy a dram from the comfort of the Machrie’s Stag Lounge or 18 Restaurant & Bar. Bedrooms are designed in a Scandinavian style with large windows overlooking the grounds, or you can book into one of the new private lodges a stone’s throw from the main building.
Brimstone Hotel, the Lake District
Set in tranquil Langdale Valley, this hotel is ideal for those looking for a cosy, wellness hideaway. All guests have complimentary spa access throughout their visit, along with free top-of-the-range Arc’teryx outdoor kit hire from the Boot Room, so they can hit the fells by day and the spa by night. As well as wood-burning stoves to snuggle up next to, guests can also enjoy different types of bathing experiences throughout the hotel — not just in the spa and pool but in the comfort of their own suite.
The Angel Hotel, Monmouthshire, Wales
Located in the Wye Valley on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Angel Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore quaint Welsh villages like Symonds Yat, or the more lively towns of Monmouth and Abergavenny. A former coaching inn famed for award-winning afternoon and high teas, it also offers guests the chance to enjoy a mulled wine and mince pie next to an open fire. As well as the cosy hotel rooms, guests can book themselves into a self-catering cottage on the grounds with their very own fireplace.
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The Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Tucked into the heart of the rolling Pembrokeshire countryside with views of the Preseli Hills, The Grove of Narberth has rooms that have recently been refurbished by designer Martin Hulbert. Visitors will find exposed beams, vintage fireplaces and deep, cast-iron baths. The hotel is surrounded by gardens, meadows and trees, located just a few miles from the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park and its sandy beaches, coastal paths and harbourside villages. Chef Douglas Balish, at the hotel’s Fernery restaurant, draws on Pembrokeshire’s rich larder — and the kitchen gardens — and has seen his work rewarded with three AA rosettes.
The Bradley Hare, Wiltshire
Opened in June 2021, on the Duke of Somerset’s estate in the beautiful village of Maiden Bradley, this pub-hotel was designed by James Thurstan Waterworth, the former European design director of Soho House. Each bedroom is unique and features 18th– and 19th-century furniture and freestanding baths. The pub offers dishes using the best local and seasonal produce and year-round al fresco dining in glorious private gardens, surrounded by fresh fruit and vegetable patches.
Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland
Outside, expect fairytale turrets and 110-acre grounds boasting gardens and woodland; inside, guests will find grand interiors and period furnishings to a classic, regal theme, made cosy thanks to four-poster beds and fireplaces in the drawing rooms, library and bedrooms. Perfect for a romantic night of stargazing, the hotel is situated beside the local Galloway Forest Park and is one of the only four Dark Skies Parks in Europe. You can experience the same expansive skies from the comfort of the castle’s Victorian Walled Garden, with telescopes on hand as well as a local astronomer to guide guests through the millions of constellations. Blankets and a special Glenapp ‘tiddly’ hot chocolate will keep guests warm. On clear nights, they might be able to spot the Milky Way or, if they’re very lucky, even the Northern Lights.