Make an occasion of Christmas present-buying this year with a night away at a super stylish hotel. Our top three are in small cities full of character and charm for the most relaxing of stays. Take a dip in thermal water pools in Bath, enjoy William & Mary-style architecture with private walled gardens in York, or view an extensive art collection and Georgian townhouse elegance in Dublin. Festive shopping trips have never been such a pleasure!
The Gainsborough, Bath
Set in two listed buildings in the heart of this World Heritage Site, this recently opened hotel is within a stone’s throw of the Roman Baths. A short stroll towards Bath Abbey takes you to the bustling Christmas Market (daily until 13 December) where you can warm up with mulled wine and find artisan gifts for friends. Or head to the Milsom Quarter for shops among Georgian streets and charming courtyards. Kick back after a busy day’s shopping and enjoy a pampering spa treatment or a soak in the hotel’s thermal water pools. In the evening, treat yourself to delicious Michelin-star food and winter cocktails, then take the easy walk back to your luxurious room for a peaceful night’s sleep. From £310 for a double room with breakfast.
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
This elegant townhouse (pictured) has a relaxed vibe and nothing is too much trouble for the friendly staff. It’s on the doorstep of shops and galleries with lovely green spaces nearby. Designer stores are just around the corner on South Anne Street and Grafton Street, while Powerscourt Townhouse on South William Street offers independent shops selling beautiful art, crafts and interiors goodies. Take a break for coffee (and more shopping perhaps?) at the colourful Avoca café on Suffolk Street. Return to your hotel for an art-themed tea and a tour of the hotel’s magnificent art collection. Choose from garden rooms in a courtyard to spacious suites towards the magnificent front hall. From €275 for a double room, including breakfast.
Middlethorpe Hall, York
If you love to shop, but prefer to be a little further from the bustling streets by night, then Middlethorpe Hall, a William & Mary country house hotel, can’t be beaten. Owned by the National Trust, it’s a great base for visiting the Yorkshire Dales, too. A festive feel can be found in the characterful shops along The Shambles, made all the more inviting by strings of twinkly lights glowing from timber-framed buildings. Dart down the side streets to find more independent gems. Then head back to your heritage hotel where traditional-style rooms, period features and magnificent gardens set the tone in this stately Downton Abbey-esque property. Dining here is a lovely experience, too, with drinks before dinner in the most splendid drawing room, followed by a tempting menu of modern English food. From £199 for a double room, including breakfast.
Do you have a favourite festive hotel? We would love to hear more about it…
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