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Hot Hotels: 7 Places To Book This Bank Holiday

May could be described as the best month of the year. Temperatures rising, pale blooms turning to lush green and the general mood is on the up… not to mention the short work weeks thanks to two Bank Holidays.

And how best to spend three leisurely days not too far from the capital? Well, we’ve picked the 7 of the finest places to stay for an upcoming long weekend getaway, close enough and far enough, so you don’t have to.

Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, England

Proudly flaunting the moniker of ‘coolest hotel in the Cotswolds’, Soho Farmhouse comprises a countryside hotel with lakeside cabins, four restaurants, outdoor pool and a fabulous spa.

Adored by celebrities (no doubt you’ll spot a famous face), this rural outlet of the Soho House chain’s hugely successful franchise offers something completely different. A fabulous mix of American country club and English farmhouse, with a smattering of Canadian log cabin chic, Soho Farmhouse guarantees a stylish stay.

Set in 100 acres, you can be driven or cycle around the site, or trudge around in your own cow-print wellies that are gifted for the duration of your stay. Beside the pool is an excellent spa with jacuzzi tubs and a hammam, and indulge in British, Japanese and European cuisines in the exceptional restaurants (one of which is complete with a deli-style shop). 

Designed with hedonists in mind, there’s even a pub on site where live music is played. And all of this just an hour and a half from London? Sounds like the recipe to a resplendent weekend.

The Pig on the Beach, Dorset, England

The drive round the narrow, country lane bend that leads to the sudden view of this sunshine yellow manor house is one that will likely take your breath away. Like a fairytale castle in miniature, with turrets and lattice windows, The Pig on the Beach is quite something to behold, and totally unexpected in its quaint village surroundings in rural Dorset. 

With 23 higgeldy-piggeldy rooms dotted throughout the manor – including one in the garden’s converted, thatch-roofed dovecote – rolling lawns that lead right onto the beach, a kitchen garden complete with pretty greenhouses and a fabulously rustic spa set in fisherman’s huts, this hotel is quite unlike any other.

The hotel’s restaurant serves up British cuisine in what they call a ‘simple’ way, but what we call beautifully artistic, using produce from their garden, or otherwise strictly from maximum 25 miles away. The acclaimed menu features pheasant breast with bacon, roast swede, crispy kale and grape sauce; or delight in their mussels served with homemade tagliatelle, garlic and Dorset nectar cider.

Little Beach House, Barcelona

Soho House’s ocean outposts are spreading… Just like LA’s Little Beach House in Malibu, Barcelona has its own second beachside little sister hotel, 20km from the city. Little Beach House Barcelona has just 17 rooms (if you can secure a summer booking that is). Set in a 1950s former hotel in the sleepy village of Garraf, the members’ club-meets-hotel has retained the original green and white colourway. Sitting next to iconic beach huts, it’s like a scene from a retro postcard – but with all the familiar Soho House comforts and gloss (don’t miss the fried baby squid with a bottle of Lady A rosé).

Making the most of the Med beachfront location, almost every space, bedroom and slouchy chair in Little Beach House boasts ‘that’ ocean view. Think al fresco everything – restaurant with open air terrace, rooftop complete with cocktail bar and deckchairs, outdoor Cowshed spa featuring Instagrammable tub, and a row of grab-them-if-you-can sun loungers. If the sun is shining, this Mediterranean beach bolthole is made for bank holiday weekenders.

Grays Court, York, England

Dating from the 11th century and located right by the city’s opulent Minster, Gray’s Court is unmatched in York for an atmospheric stay. It’s elegant, quintessentially British and its restaurant is one of the finest in the city.

The grand house is furnished exactly as it should be, filled with beautiful English and French antiques and tapestries that slot into place perfectly between flagstone floors and oak-panelled walls. The rooms are plush and stocked with Jo Malone toiletries, and four-legged friends are just as welcome.

With just 11 bedrooms, privacy and quiet are the order of the day here, despite its city centre location. There’s a well-stocked library that invites a calming few hours lost in a book, or head straight out to enjoy the delights of this ancient city, with all the landmarks practically on the doorstep. Don’t miss The Shambles, the crooked laneways replete with quirky boutiques that gave JK Rowling inspiration for Diagon Alley.

Hotel Van Cleef, Bruges, Belgium

When visiting the fairytale city of Bruges, the absolute finest retreat can only be found at Hotel Van Cleef. Set within a canal-side neoclassical mansion, but renovated throughout with a contemporary twist, there really is nowhere else quite like it in Bruges.

The house still retains much of its stately grandeur despite being brought firmly into the 21st century. Its impressive lobby is the old coach entrance and the vast communal spaces are decorated in elegant and comfortable country-house style, brought to life with strikingly colourful modern art. Most of the rooms have plush fabric supplied by Missoni, or the grandest rooms are decorated in Hermès.

There’s also a sumptuous bar where the walls, floors and bar itself are lashed with green malachite. A unique place to imbibe before seeing the city’s romantic lights reflected in canalways at night.

This truly is the sweetest spot in the world’s home of chocolate.

Conservatorium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This impressive former bank building has had a thorough makeover by Italian architect Piero Lissoni that beautifully reflects the hotel’s surroundings. Its set in between the cultural district of world-class museums on one side, and luxury shopping avenues to the other.

The bedrooms combine clean lines, walls of glass and muted lighting, starkly contrasting to the building’s exterior, with huge bathrooms that are practically an extension of the exceptional spa downstairs. There’s even a pool where fruit and tea is served just beside, and a ‘human library’ of knowledgeable staff eager to show you how to spend a weekend in this iconic city.

Pray for good weather this Bank Holiday weekend, as the hotel brasserie’s outdoor terrace is an unrivalled space to dine, especially since the menu centres around health food items with European influences, or indulge in the upstairs restaurant’s distinctly Sino-Japanese theme.

For a unique, contemporary and totally unforgettable stay in Amsterdam, look no further than the Conservatorium.

Hôtel des Grands Boulevards, Paris, France

How to choose a hotel in Paris for a Bank Holiday break? The City of Light brims with exceptional choices, but ours is in the heart of Paris’ theatreland. Hôtel des Grands Boulevards – its name a nod to the famous remodelling of the city in the 1800s to one of unparalleled grandeur – sets the tone for a memorable getaway in the world’s most beautiful city.

The building itself dates from the French Revolution and is glamorously bought up to date as an art hotel, peppered with quirky pieces. The bedrooms are decorated in a variety of romantic, pastel hues – something that a modern Marie Antoinette might choose herself – and the sublime restaurant conjures up a menu of delectable French-Italian cooking to be enjoyed in the landscaped and light-filled courtyard.

But the best part is the rooftop bar. Ironically called ‘The Shed’ this ploofy-cushioned space is a hidden Eden is the very heart of the city, that allows for gorgeous views over the renowned skyline with wine in hand.

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