One is a former 18th-century barn while one is connected to Percy Bysshe Shelley.
With borders opening up again after a long break, it feels like a brand new world out there. If you’re planning a trip back the UK or London and want lodgings that aren’t the same big brand, here are four boutique hotels to pick through.
Berkshire, United Kingdom
55 rooms from £184 per night including breakfast
This April, The Retreat Elcot Park will open as the sister property to The Mitre Hampton Court. The 55-room Grade II-listed 18th-century property is located between Hungerford and Newbury and enjoys a storied past—once being the childhood home of the great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s mother.
Interior designers Taylor and Turner strike a delicate balance, nodding to the hotel’s history and location yet bringing the playfulness that The Signet Collection brand is known for, creating a refined retreat for guests of all ages. There’s a strong design ethos with vibrant color, pattern, and touches of antique and Art Deco furnishings.
The Retreat spans three floors, each with a theme, and rooms named after champion racehorses, famous jockeys, local points of interest, or nods to British country pursuits such as shooting, fishing, hunting and racing. The three Signature Suites, The Sutton, Bushby Bacon (a family suite), and the Percey Shelley, are named after the hotel’s previous inhabitants.
The Retreat will open with a Whiskey room, two private dining spaces and two restaurants: Yü, a Pan-Asian restaurant and 1772, an all-day-dining Brasserie. A third eatery, The Orangery, will open in Q4 2022. The hotel’s ground floor spa will boast an impressive Health Club, including hydrotherapy pools, three treatment rooms, a steam room and sauna, gym, spin studio and a relaxation area.
32 rooms from £159 per night including breakfast
Built in 1817, Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa is a honey-stoned Georgian manor that seamlessly blends period detailing and modern-day comfort. The hotel is set in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside in 36 acres of grounds and forest.
The very definition of ‘home away from home’, the 32-room property invites you to rolltop baths, sink-into-sofas and wraparound views in each individually designed bedroom. It also features an extensive wellness centre and boutique Halcyon Spa. Guests can stay active in any of the two swimming pools, fitness centre, or outdoor tennis court.
Alternatively, they can choose to unwind with a full menu of luxurious treatments, enjoy the Thermal Suite, sauna and monsoon shower experiences or the Rasul Mud Therapy Room in Halcyon spa. Halcyon Spa holds a unique water supply extracted from deep underground, filtered through limestone and natural activated carbon.
The hotel’s restaurant is a light-filled contemporary space, serving up locally sourced food with traditional flavours of guinea fowl, venison and wild vegetables. The cuisine can also be enjoyed in the private dining domes set under the garden trees. Guests are also welcome to dine with their pooches in the lounge, which offers a more relaxed menu, or on the terrace. Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa shares the same ownership as SLH property, Homewood, in Bath.
88 rooms from £267 per night including breakfast
Urban living meets lush greenery with the opening of Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Maurits at the Park. Launching this Autumn, the new hotel takes prime position in the Oosterpark in bustling Amsterdam-East, next to the Tropenmuseum and within walking distance of Artis Zoo.
It’s the seventh outpost from the Pillows Hotels brand, and guests can expect five-star luxury within what was formerly a university building which was constructed in 1908. Architect Uri Gilad (Office Winhov) and interior architect Paul Linse (Studio Linse) have created a soft and serene atmosphere, honouring the charm of the building and the local environment.
The hotel has been seamlessly added to the park, accessible to hotel guests, local residents and passers-by. It features 88 luxurious rooms and suites, each decorated with individually selected art. It also has a gym and three lounges, ideal for private dining and events.
Other public spaces include the fine dining Felix Restaurant, formerly located in Cultuurhuis Felix Meritis on Keizersgracht. It has now been relocated to the hotel, bringing its rising star chef, Floris van Straalen and sommelier Saskia Smeenk.
Fitz’s Bar is an intimate space with a Cuban vibe to enjoy drinks and light bites, and Spring Café Brasserie offers cocktails and an all-day dining menu on the large outdoor terrace merging with the Oosterpark, where guests can also enjoy a view of the open aviary with birds freely flying in and out. Finally, the Rooftop bar has the most magnificent view over the Oosterpark.
12 rooms from £167 per night including breakfast
The 12-room, adults-only hotel is a former 18th-century farm and seaweed barn which opened last July. The property underwent a meticulous restoration, maintaining its traditional features while upcycling its old furniture and wooden window frames and sills.
All rooms and suites are light-filled and understated featuring sustainable furnishings such as CocoMat mattresses and Texel-wool pillows. Guests can even enjoy in-room massages courtesy of the hotel’s resident masseuses. There are plenty of local attractions and activities, including foraging fields, horseback riding and surfing.
The Michelin Guild Nl—Restaurant Kook Atelier—delivers a “served by nature” philosophy embracing a Nordic culinary ethos where everything is bred, foraged, and preserved. Op Oost even retains its own farmer and sources plenty from the beautiful edimental gardens on its grounds. The result is a deliciously light and fresh meat-free menu where breakfast is vegetarian-only.
Deservingly Green Key Gold certified, Op Oost is an elegant eco-conscious bolthole honoring the Waddon Sea island where it sits.