Archive for the 'New UK Boltholes' Category


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April 18, 2010

Natural Retreats, Yorkshire Dales

What’s it like?

A cluster of 18 timber-framed cocoons of warmth and sanctity on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Natural Retreats is the perfect place to indulge in some carbon-neutral comfort. As the name suggests, the lodges have a clear ecological conscience and, with their solar-glazing walls and grass roofs, evaporate miragelike into the woodland, A wood-burning fire built into the exposed Yorkshire-stone wall sits in each, while the snuggly sofas are of the come-take-the-weight-off-those-feet variety. You’ll find a hamper of organic morsels in the kitchen -fresh bread, free-range eggs, apples and Wensleydale – and a bottle of white in the fridge. Once you’ve unpacked and located your slippers, slide open the glass doors and drink in the views across the Swale Valley.

And the food?

Each lodge has its own kitchen with the full kit and caboodle. If you’re not in the mood to cook, FIGS Catering (01609 882143, www.figscatering.co.uk) will rustle up a beef Wellington for you, or you could drive 10 minutes down the road to the local – the Bridge Inn at Grinton (01748 884224, www.bridgeinn-grinton. co.uk) – for a deliciously hearty Grinton lamb and barley casserole. Day trips nearby? Wake on Saturday morning and hike some of the famous Coast-to-Coast path. Then spend an evening at the Georgian Theatre Royal (01748 825252, www.georgiantheatre royal.co.uk; £5), in Richmond, part-1788 living museum, part contemporary arts space.

How much?

From £360 for two nights (sleeps six; 0161 242 2970, www.naturalretreats.com).

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Author: admin
April 18, 2010

Boundary, London EC1

What’s it like?

Conran’s latest London outpost is a detour from his usual clean lines and safe colour schemes, possibly to match its leftfield location. Here, on a corner plot in London’s East End, each room is inspired by a creative movement: Eileen Gray, Bauhaus, Eames. The last is littered with the design duo’s iconic chairs. In another, there’s a literary slant: rows of bottle-green Dickens novels, Japanese comics featuring rats (not one for bedtime) and the Adventurous Lover (one definitely for bedtime). Zinc balcony walls are topped with startlingly red geraniums and chairs to match, while a light bulb adorned with angel wings looks ready to fly off the bookshelf. It might sound pretentious but modern comforts are not compromised, and beds are wrapped in silvery-grey throws, with green velvet headboards, while bathrooms are warm underfoot. All in all, snug and cosy.

And the food?

Pick a floor and a flavour: the basement is fine dining (Chateaubriand); ground is Brit-nostalgia (kedgeree); the rooftop has a Mediterranean grill serving lobster with a portion of Gherkin, Canary Wharf and Shoreditch Church views on the side. Day trips nearby? Your room keycard comes with a nifty mini map of London: art-lovers should scribble a route to White Cube gallery in Hoxton Square (free); shoppers to Spitaifields Market; and late-night drinkers can sup a cocktail while attending the Jonny Woo dance class at the new Book Club on Leonard St.

How much?

Weekend doubles from £184, B&B (020 7729 1051, www.theboundary.co.uk).

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Author: admin
April 18, 2010

The White House, Devon

What’s it like?

White and bright as John, Lenhon’s piano room, this Georgian bolthole, tucked away in the tiny south Devon village of Chillington, is tricky to find -.but therein lies its Gharm. It’s a stylish hideaway for A-listers oh the run and lovers looking for a naughty break. The decor is a triumph of crisp modernity, with brushstrokes of quirky vintage glam, an underlay of cosy comfort and friendly service thrown in. Beds are big, beautiful, hand-carved – and ripe for romping in. Lose yourself in the one in Room 5, bathe in the low-slung bath or sashay your way: down the catwalk shower (it’s three metres long), Emerge for afternoon tea (free), while house kitten Percy plays by the log fire. Feeling comfy? Course you are.

And the food?

‘Devonshire doorstep fresh’ is chef Ally’s motto, which means local, seasonal produce served with verve. Try the ‘Smokey platter’ of Gressingham duck breast, Manuka smoked trout and smoked salmon, or the lobster Caesar salad. Eat anywhere you choose, or with elegant locals in the restaurant, admiring the garden views.

Day trips nearby?

A half-hour amble down Devon lanes will take you to the beaehi Better still, book: a chauffeur-driven local tour vyith Tony-(01548: 858877; from £140 per car carrying six): try chi-chi Salcombe, Art Deco Burgh island via the causeway, or wine tastings in Devonshire vineyards.

How much?

Doubles from £180, B&B (01548 580505, www.whitehousedevon.com).

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Author: admin
April 18, 2010

The Scarlet, Cornwall

What’s it like?

The nature-themed sculptures dotting this place – spot the figure made out of bark in the restaurant – are the only clue to The Scarlet’s eco-credentials. First and foremost, it’s a decadent retreat, opened last summer, near Newquay. Seaside panoramas beam in through huge windows, while the spa specialises in heavenly Ayurvedic massages. But unlike many so-called ‘eco’ hotels, this one is the real deal: the chlorine-free outdoor pool is cleansed by reeds; the roof has been planted with sea thrift flowers (for insulation and to attract wildlife); and the under-floor heating – sourced from a biomass boiler – is powered by waste wood chippings. The best aspect has to be the sunset view from the two wood-fired hot tubs overlooking the beach.

And the food?

With its curved wooden booths and ruby-red cushions, you’ll feel at home in the restaurant whether you’re wearing slippers or sequins. Grilled plaice with onion and orange confiture might be followed by warm prune cake with bergamot cream. The hotel doesn’t allow children under 16, so you’ll get to eat in peace. Day trips nearby? Sheltered Mawgan Porth Bay is a short totter down the hill. It’s a fine surfing beach and doesn’t suffer anywhere near the crowds of nearby Watergate Bay. The Scarlet shares a surf school with its sister hotel, The Bedruthan Steps, up the hiil (private two-hour lessons from £65; board and wetsuit hire costs £13 for a half day).

How much?

Doubles from £180, B&B (01637 861800, www. scarlethotel.co.uk).

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Author: admin
April 18, 2010

Hurst House on the Marsh, South Wales

What’s it like?

The painstaking refurbishment of this 1790s farmhouse in rural Laugharne started in 2006, and wasn’t fully complete until last summer. But as they say, good things come to those who wait. The mezzanine suites in the old barn have been kitted out with spiral staircases, red pony-skin armchairs and free-standing tubs. There’s a little spa and a pool, while design features such as 300-year-old milk wheels propped up in the courtyard remind you of the farmhouse’s former life. There are exotic touches elsewhere, such as the giant Moroccan wooden door that leads into the restaurant, where perfect poached eggs are served to couples in linen shirts and Sunday morning chinos.

And the food?

The glass-fronted restaurant looks out over dry-stone walls and butterflies flitting between beetroots and shallots in the vegetable garden; the chef (pinched from Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons) serves roast Welsh lamb with confit potatoes, and mandarin creme briilee. Day trips nearby? Laugharne is Dylan Thomas country. Venture down the steep stone steps to the Boathouse (01994 427420, www.dylanthomasboathouse. com; £3.75), where he wrote Under Milk Wood. There’s a little wooden canoe in the parlour that he brought back from America for his son, and a stirring view from his writing shed – across the Taf Estuary to the Gower Peninsula. The tearoom serves great homemade bam brith (fruit loaf).

How much?

Doubles from £265, B&B (01994 427417, www.hurst-house.co.uk).

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