With many people opting for foreign climes, or heading to the British coast, the city can be less crowded than normal, leaning to a more relaxing break. Plus, there are some great bargains to be had, especially on luxury hotels, so this could be a great time to indulge yourself at one of the UK’s finest city hotels, at a price that is right for you. With this in mind, here is a selection of luxury hotels in popular UK cities, all of which have great deals over the late summer.
THE BALMORAL HOTEL, EDINBURGH
The Balmoral is located next to Edinburgh’s main Waverley railway station, at the eastern end of Princes Street, and a short walk from the National Gallery and shopping areas. Built as a railway hotel, it has accommodated film stars, royalty and prime minsters. In 1997 it was bought by Sir Rocco Forte as the first hotel in the Rocco Forte Collection and completely refurbished by his sister, the designer Olga Polizzi. Original features include ornate plasterwork in the reception, an elegant well staircase and the dome-ceilinged Palm Court tearoom and bar in the centre of the hotel.
DRAKES HOTEL, BRIGHTON
Only 10 minutes’ walk to the Royal Pavilion and The Lanes, and Brighton Pier; the beach and Brighton Wheel are diagonally opposite the hotel. This hotel oozes style and while remaining sympathetic to its Georgian footprint, there are attractive Poirot touches to the rooms: elegantly curved ocean-liner styled walls and rippled stucco, blond-wood panelling and fabulous on-trend bed throws. Drakes has 20 rooms and even the smallest come superbly styled with curved walls, blond-wood panelling, chic armchairs and comfortable queen size V-spring beds.
GRAY’S COURT, YORK
Flanked by York Minster to one side and a delightful acre of mature garden on the other, Gray’s Court enjoys one of the finest locations you’ll find anywhere. There is a palpable sense of history in the wood-paneled long gallery where Kings have dined and in the grand formal rooms; other features include a collection of rare Gyles painted glass, leaded windows, thick wooden doors and limestone fireplaces. Expect quality carpets and wallpapers and period furniture in the bedrooms – as well as Clarins toiletries in the modern en-suite bathrooms.
OLD PARSONAGE HOTEL, OXFORD
A path leads from the church towards the centre of town and is lined by proper old pubs and Oxford colleges with their emerald green quads accessed by tiny wooden doors. The Old Parsonage has one of the most successful ground floor public areas of any small hotel (its drawback being that to access the bedrooms you have to walk through the dining room). Through a pretty courtyard with large umbrellas for summer dining, and the original front door believed to date from 1660, you reach the reception hall, with original stone hearth and crackling fire. Then comes the bar and raised restaurant, lined by owner Jeremy Mogford’s eclectic collection of English portraits.
HOTEL DU VIN AT ONE DEVONSHIRE GARDENS, GLASGOW
Located on a tree-lined avenue a few minutes walk from the Botanic Gardens. An inviting warren of corridors and wooden staircases with superb stained glass windows leading to opulent rooms and suites. The impression is of a grand country house in the highlands with quality furniture and discreet lighting, exuding an air of studied calm and comfort. There are 49 spacious rooms and suites in nine categories, every one individually designed and decorated in deep, rich tones with original Victorian features and luxurious modern fittings.
THE BATH PRIORY, BATH
Located in an upmarket residential area in western Bath, the late-Georgian, Bath stone mansion, and sweeping lawns, giant cedar trees and heated outdoor swimming pool in the three acres of gardens to the rear, deliver country-house style in spades. As does the hotel’s plush lounges, with their ticking clocks, real fires and large-scale colonial-era, militaristic and sporting paintings. The 33 rooms very much continue the traditional country-house hotel look.
KING STREET TOWN HOUSE, MANCHESTER
Tucked away on the city centre’s quiet Booth Street, it’s just a short walk from the hotel to the city’s main shopping areas, Manchester Art Gallery and the bars and restaurants of Spinningfields. The antithesis to a chain hotel, visiting King Street Townhouse is like staying with a rich friend who has extremely good taste. The infinity spa-pool on the seventh floor is the jewel in this hotel’s crown. The 40 rooms and suites are done out in muted blues, greens, greys and browns, with walk-in monsoon showers and free-standing baths in Cosy rooms and above. www.eclectichotels.co.uk/king-street-townhouse
THE TOWN HOUSE, DURHAM
On one of the city’s older streets, lined with a handsome mix of 18th- and 19th-century houses, only the glossy, black-and-gold railings give a clue that something a little-less-ordinary might lie behind the smart, Georgian, brick exterior. Dark and rich in golds, amethysts and reds, and thick with velvet, glittering chandeliers and gilt-framed mirrors, it cries out ‘French boudoir’. The small restaurant, heavy with tassled velvet chairs, leopard-print carpet and faux-plasterwork and frescoed ceiling, serves a modern British menu that’s hearty rather than fancy.