20 of the best new UK hotels and hostels for 2018
The Fleece Hotel, Richmond, North Yorkshire
Doubles from £150 B&B
With its baronial flourishes and turrets, the red-brick Fleece (pictured above) has been a fixture in this market town since 1897. After a period of decline, the hotel closed in the early 2000s but will reopen in spring with a bold new look. The new owners have spent three years renovating the listed building to create a boutique hotel, restaurant and cafe-bar. Guests are promised “deeply comfortable beds and high-spec bathrooms” and imaginatively prepared, locally-sourced food in the restaurant.
The Bay Tree, Broadstairs, Kent
Doubles from £59 B&B
Opened December 2017
Margate is seaside Marmite – visitors either love or hate its blend of chi chi regeneration and edgy decrepitude – but neighbouring Broadstairs remains valiantly and gloriously uncool. Take the town’s newest hotel, the Bay Tree, on chalk cliffs overlooking Stone Bay, and recently reopened after a £1m year-long refurbishment. There are no gimmicks, no themed rooms, no cleverly named cocktails or artfully distressed furniture – just 10 great-value, smart bedrooms, a cosy library bar and an all-day restaurant. Eight of the 10 rooms have sea views but, for a breath of bracing sea air, book room five, which also has its own balcony.
New Road Hotel, Whitechapel, London
Doubles from £169 B&B
Opens Late February
There can’t be a warehouse left in Shoreditch which hasn’t been converted into a hotel, apartment block or nightclub, so developers are having to look further east. Whitechapel is the location for this hip hangout, a former textile factory with exposed brick, huge windows, Hypnos beds and a loft suite with hot tub. There’ll be a Marco Pierre White chophouse, a gym, and lots of space for socialising.
Longstone Lodge, Isles of Scilly
Dorm bed/double room £24/£60
There are few budget stays in the Scillies, so this stylish hostel is a welcome development. The owners of the Longstone Cafe on the main isle of St Mary’s are adding Longstone Lodge, with a mixture of en suite bedrooms and dorms. The five-star Snowdonia hostel Plas Curig has apparently provided the inspiration for the design, so expect this place to be a cut above standard bunkhouse accommodation. There’ll be a communal kitchen and lounge, laundry and garden. Outside there are communal gardens and a children’s play area and It’s a short stroll to the cafe for home-cooked Cornish and Scillian produce.
Artist Residence, Bristol
Doubles from £120 B&B
Artist Residence has bohemian hotels from Penzance to Brighton. In Bristol, a four-storey Grade I-listed Georgian factory building between the centre and hip Stokes Croft will house a restaurant, bar and coffee shop, plus a basement club with local artists, musicians and DJs.
Hotel Indigo, Cardiff
Doubles from £66 room-only
Opened November 2017
This hotel may be part of a major chain (InterContinental) but the brand prides itself on local theming. The latest opening wears its Welshness not just on its sleeve, but on its carpets, walls, headboards and toiletries. The Made in Wales rooms are filled with Welsh craftsmanship, from Melin Tregwynt rugs to sheepskin footstools. Industry-themed rooms pay homage to Welsh mining and steel heritage, with black-and-white photographs, coal scuttle waste bins and miners’ lamps, while Music rooms celebrate heroes from Tom Jones to the Stereophonics. The icing on this very Welsh cake is the rooftop Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, with its skyline views.
Cow Hollow Hotel, Manchester
Doubles from £120 B&B
Opened 25 January
With its thriving indie boutiques, bars and galleries, the Northern Quarter is Manchester’s most exciting neighbourhood. And the newest addition to the city’s hotel scene is in one of its handsomely restored red-brick warehouses. The bedrooms nod to the building’s Victorian heritage (oak beams, marble fireplaces and original textile factory doors), while showcasing work by Mancunian artists. Netflix access in bedrooms, Ren toiletries, and a complimentary prosecco hour each evening provide the finishing touches.
Earby Friends of Nature House, Earby, Lancashire
Dorm beds £18/child £12
This small hostel (one twin, three dorms), in an old cottage near the Pennine Way, was in jeopardy last year when the YHA decided it was no longer viable. But it will reopen in spring as an independent hostel, managed by the Friends of Nature, one of Europe’s oldest environmental groups. There are new toilets and showers, and a revamped self-catering kitchen and dining area. The hostel has a grant to develop its beautiful gardens, complete with stream and waterfall, as a wildlife sanctuary. Earby is well-placed for the Pennine Way, Sustrans cycling routes (the Pennine Bridle Way, Lancashire Cycle Way), the Forest of Bowland and the surrounding Pendle area. The hostel is open between spring and October, and for sole use year-round.
Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, Highlands
Dorm bed/double room From £14/£39
Opens Early summer
Sleeps 72 beds
This friendly, affordable base for hill-walkers and climbers wanting to tackle Ben Nevis opened in 1933, and was a bit tired. It closed for a revamp and will reopen in time for summer, adding private en-suite rooms (all with mountain views), a new living space with log-burner and a communal kitchen (food is also available), drying room, laundry and bike storage. But it’s what’s outside the door that puts this hostel in a league of its own: Ben Nevis, the Great Glen Way, a world-class mountain bike course and some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes.
Seven Hotel, Southend, Essex
Doubles from £112 room-only
Opens Early February
The seaside town of Southend-on-Sea gets its first luxury boutique hotel with the opening of the Seven Hotel on Clifton Terrace, in a modern building overlooking the sea front and Cliff Gardens. There’s a slick, contemporary feel throughout, with plenty of metallic surfaces, polished brass and marble, and huge floor-to-ceiling windows which make the most of the views of Southend Pier. Bedrooms are furnished in soothing tones of sea-green and grey-blue to reflect the muted colours of the Thames estuary. On the ground floor is the Aurum restaurant (opened earlier this month), where chef Simon Webb specialises in modern British cuisine, with an emphasis on Essex suppliers and produce (expect local cockles and seaweed on the menu, with main courses from £18). The adjacent bar stocks more than 30 varieties of gin, and snacks including local Colchester native oysters at £2.50 each.
The Globe, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
Doubles from £110 B&B
Since Stephen and Antonia Bournes bought this Georgian coaching inn four years ago, they’ve refurbished the bar and restaurant, opened a roof terrace and are adding 11 bedrooms in the coach house. Three of these will be dog-friendly, three apart-hotel style with kitchenette, and a selection easy-access and for families.The Globe overlooks an expansive green surrounded by Georgian buildings and is a short walk from the town quay. Just over a mile away are the golden sands of Wells beach, where guests can book exclusive access to a beach hut.
Hotel du Vin, Stratford-upon-Avon
Doubles from £99 room-only
Under new owners, the boutique chain is going strong, with two openings this year, in Shakespeare’s home town and in Bristol. A Georgian building, once the registry office, will be a 46-bedroom hotel with the signature French bistro and extensive wine cellar. The Royal Shakespeare Company theatres and Shakespeare’s birthplace are within walking distance.
Dorm bed/double room £25/£40
The YHA’s popular hostel on Bathwick Hill, between the city centre and the university, is to reopen after a £2.5m revamp. The Italianate Georgian mansion, which is built from local Bath stone and set in extensive gardens, has undergone a complete overhaul. Additions include a new reception and cafe-bar, cycle store, guest laundry and five new en suite rooms in the main building. Original features such as the wrought-iron staircase, Roman-style carvings and sparkling chandeliers, have been retained. In March, work will begin on the building of a new annexe which will bring the hostel’s total number of beds to 133 when the annexe opens in September. The new bedrooms will all be en suite, to cater for the YHA’s burgeoning couples and family market.
The Ginger Peanut, Bampton, Devon
Doubles from £75 room-only
Opened December 2017
This restaurant-with-rooms opened in the village of Bampton, near Tiverton in rural mid-Devon, at the beginning of December but is already starting to make a name for itself. Chef Peter Mundy is at the helm in the intimate dining room, serving well-executed locally sourced dishes such as seafood chowder, roast duck breast with fennel, and rhubarb crème brûlée. There are five simple, but comfortable twin or double en suite bedrooms to choose from, and a pantry where guests can help themselves to tea, coffee and homemade biscuits. Breakfast isn’t included but £10 a head gets you a full cooked breakfast at the Ginger Peanut dining room or a local cafe. Bampton is a short drive from the pretty village of Huntsham, and Huntsham Court stately home. The wide open spaces of Exmoor national park are about 11 miles away, and the restaurant will provide packed lunches.
The Fife Arms Braemar, Aberdeenshire
Prices to be confirmed
Opens This summer
The empire of art-world power couple Iwan and Manuela Worth stretches from New York to Bruton in Somerset, home to the Hauser & Wirth gallery. This summer they’re venturing into hotels, with the Fife Arms in Braemar. The former hunting lodge will reopen as a hotel with a restaurant celebrating Scottish produce, a cocktail bar and a spa.Interiors are by Russell Sage Studio, whose projects include the Savoy Grill, and Zetter Townhouse, and will stay true to the building’s Victorian heritage. There will be a liberal smattering of world-class art, including work commissioned for the hotel.
The White Horse, Dorking, Surrey
Doubles from £105 B&B
Opened December 2017
Charles Dickens is said to have stayed at the White Horse while writing The Pickwick Papers. It’s doubtful whether he’d recognise this place after its £4m makeover, though. The inn reopened this month with 16 new bedrooms and a complete renovation of the downstairs bar and restaurant. The hotel has its own deli, stocking Surrey produce, freshly baked sourdough bread and the hotel’s own sausages. Attractions nearby include the Denbies Wine Estate, and National Trust properties Polesden Lacey and Box Hill.
The 1823 Spinning Block Hotel, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Doubles from £75 room-only
This is the latest in a series of developments that have turned the Holmes textile mill into a gastronomic hub. Businesses so far include Bowland Brewery and Beer Hall – with the longest bar in Britain – the Bowland Food Hall, a cafe and a gelateria. Expected to be fully open by Easter, the hotel is “opulent industrial” in style, and a bistro specialising in seafood and grills will add to Clitheroe’s foodie scene. A pool, spa and gym are also planned.
George Best Hotel, Belfast
Doubles from £99 B&B
Following the success of Hotel Football in Manchester and the Shankly Hotel in Liverpool, Belfast is planning its own football-themed hotel, celebrating its most famous son. The George Best Hotel will be operated by Signature Living Group (also behind the Shankly, which also has plans for a Liverpool hotel themed on Everton legend Dixie Dean), with memorabilia donated by the Best family, including a signed shirt and his silver Northern Ireland cap. The hotel will be on the site of the former Scottish Mutual building, with a bar, restaurant and George Best Museum.
• Website tbc
Kettner’s Townhouse, Soho, London
Doubles from £170 room-only
Opened 16 January
Kettner’s has been a Soho institution since it opened in 1867, as London’s first French restaurant, hosting everyone from King Edward VII – who courted mistress Lillie Langtry here – to Oscar Wilde and Robert De Niro. After a two-year closure, it has reopened as a hotel, restaurant and champagne bar, under the Soho House banner. The group has put its distinctive stamp on the Romilly Street building, while retaining original features such as the mosaic floor in the champagne bar and the mirrors in the dining room. Bedrooms channel “French boudoir”, with chandeliers, floral wallpaper and iron bedsteads. Rooms range from “tiny” to an opulent panelled suite.
The Cow, Dalbury Lees, Derbyshire
Doubles from £130 room-only
Opened December 2017
This pub near Derby has seen something of a reinvention, opening just before Christmas as a “boutique country inn” with 12 bedrooms and a cosy bar/restaurant with wood-burners and exposed beams. It plans to be the first of a “pedigree herd” of Cow hotels and inns. The bedrooms are in pale neutrals, with smart TVs, coffee machines and Molton Brown toiletries.
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