Our best boltholes for a pampering break
11 October 2018
We all need a break from time to time so why not indulge yourself with a stay at one of these fabulous country pubs with rooms all of which offer a little extra pampering. Pack your boots, enjoy a bracing winter walk, then book a relaxing in-room treatment or make good use of the local Spa deals, before hunkering down by the fire with your favourite tipple.
A peaceful retreat close to Alderley Edge (walking) and Manchester, this boutique bistro-style inn has been revamped in rustic French style, with a red & black tiled floor, old French shutters, leather banquettes, a retro wood burning stove and an eclectic mix of café-style tables. Expect a totally cool & relaxed vibe, a Mediterranean inspired menu and six very special bedrooms – book one with an open fire for a very cosy time. Enjoy the Roebuck Inn walk or jog and then take advantage of the special deal with the Cheshire Health Club & Spa.
Set on the banks of the river Hodder, amid the wild and breathtaking beauty of the Trough of Bowland, this ancient hostelry oozes warmth, personality and a pleasing quirkiness – in fact the whole place is wonderfully relaxed, laid-back and mildly eccentric, with a lived-in country-house feel. The views across the river valley and surrounding moorland are spectacular from almost every room all of which ooze comfort and good taste, with luxurious fabrics, antique furnishings, fine old prints and paintings, fat lamps, sofas and wing chairs, plus traditional mattresses on tester or four-poster beds. If you’re not feeling pampered enough, seven rooms also have peat fires to make those winter evenings a little more cosy, while the big bathrooms boast incredible Victorian bathing machines, and in-room holistic beauty and massage treatments can be arranged.
This old coaching inn thrives as a cracking community hub, a dining destination and as a quirky and fun place to stay. Be wowed by the eclectic design and décor as there’s much to catch the eye, look out for the bowler hat lampshades, the floor-to-ceiling stack of books, the 30’s-style suitcases and safari chairs, the stuffed squirrel on a rocking chair, and the witty anecdotes on the walls – very quirky and utterly charming in every way. The eleven rustic-chic rooms are hugely individual and have been designed to wow and to make you smile. Out back and set in a whimsical, flower-festooned garden with a giant fire pit are three truly unique shingle-clad lodges – book one and then unwind and de-stress with relaxing in-room treatments from Shhh Therapy. Qualified therapists provide bespoke body massages, Ko bi do facials using natural organic products, and a full spa-style treatment.
The whitewashed and wisteria-clad White Horse dates from 1768 and its rural position beneath the South Downs between Chichester and Petersfield makes it the perfect place for foodies and wine lovers to be fed and watered, as well as a base for exploring Chichester and the glorious downland landscape on the doorstep. Traditional charm vies with contemporary rustic-chic throughout and there are 15 quirky bedrooms. For that extra special countryside indulgence, book either of the two Stag rooms featuring private patios with large hot tubs. Body & head massages can be arranged in the rooms, plus a discount is available at the Goodwood Hotel & Spa if you are staying at The White Horse.
A casual offshoot of swanky Barnsley House across the road, this self-proclaimed ‘village pub’ in picture-postcard Barnsley certainly lives up to its name. Stone floors, rustic timbers and earthy colours set the tone, and open fires blaze away merrily in the bar. Meanwhile, the menu offers a kindly mix of well-executed pub classics plus a few more perky ideas – all based on local and seasonal produce where possible. Smart bedrooms are a cut above the pub norm and prettily decorated in boutique style – think colourful cushions and throws, antique mirrors and lamps as well as exposed beams and cream-painted walls – so why not book the Stay and Spa package – stay at the Village Pub and take advantage of the spa facilities at Barnsley House.
Stunning rooms ooze style and comfort at this impressive yet informal Townhouse conversion where the atmosphere is relaxed and informal throughout. The chilled hub of the place is the cocktail bar-cum-lounge, which is open all day and has direct access to an amazing summer terrace – a crowd pleasing all day menu completes the pleasing picture. Now your visit to the Northgate can be that extra bit more blissful as they are offering guests a 25% discount at SK Clinic & Spa as well as three luxurious spa packages.
You can only be impressed by this cosy, creeper-covered Cotswold inn that cuts a dash with the smart, country-style good looks of the bar and dining areas matched by 14 glamorous bedrooms. Posh bathrooms feature roll-top baths or trendy modern showers and all are stocked with handmade toiletries. With well-chosen artworks, leather armchairs and open fireplaces, the Wheatsheaf is the kind of place you can squirrel yourself away and spend all day – there’s even a treatment room on-site offering holistic Swedish massage, waxes, manicures and make-up lessons, if you really want to be pampered, and room service during restaurant hours.
A slick seaside inn with stunning saltmarsh views, decked in nude pine, seaside stripes and boaty nicknacks, all sprinkled with the tang of salty sea air – a wilderness of saltmarshes stretches from the back door to the shore. The front bar keeps it real with woodburner and bar billiards, while further back, the sunset-soaked conservatory restaurant serves a very grown-up menu stuffed with impeccably sourced fish and game. There are 15 shipshape bedrooms to tumble into when you’re done. Book the ‘Room at the Top’, a split-level space high in the eaves, with French windows, a panoramic balcony and a telescope for gazing out piratically to sea and watching the winter geese flock. Pamper yourself with an in-room facial, aromatherapy or a ‘Russian honey massage’, and order room service following an invigorating coast path ramble.
Perched on the rocks right beside the sea in beautiful Babbacombe, the Cary Arms & Spa is a soul-soothing hideaway. The ‘Inn on the Beach’ dates back to 1662 and while it still retains plenty of old-world charm, it’s certainly been brought fully into the 21st century under the ownership of Peter and Lana de Savary. With eight double rooms and two suites in the main inn, to the six stylish “beach huts” and two large suites perched just above the water, plus five holiday cottages, budget permitting you’re spoilt for choice at The Cary Arms. Book your stay then relax in the state-of-the-art glass faceted sea-facing Cary Spa, replete with waterfall hydrotherapy pool, exotic experience shower, 3 treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and gym. The spa sunbathing terrace has spectacular views out to sea and is decorated with exclusive American Art illustrations from Peter de Savary’s private collection.
A stylish bolthole in the heart of Rye, at its own heart, the George Tap, a classic pub complete with heavy ships timbers forming ceiling beams and a roaring winter fire. The atmospheric bar leads on to a contemporary and very casual George Grill where fresh, locally sourced meat and Rye Bay seafood are cooked on the wood-charcoal grill in the open-to-view kitchen. Excellent breakfasts and afternoon teas are further pluses. Urban cool bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, from intimate standard rooms to lavish junior suites, and while beds may be either antique or modern, they are all made up with Italian Frette linen sheets. Tivoli clock radios, walk-in showers (if it’s not a roll top bath) and Ren smellies are all standard issue. Unwind and distress with an in-room massage, reflexology treatment, or a facial with highly qualified therapist Sophie Kingsley.
The long, whitewashed inn, now quietly bypassed by the A66, stands tucked away in a beautiful North Lakes location where the surrounding woodland and glorious Lakeland fells provide an atmospheric backdrop to this grand old coaching inn. It’s the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the 500-year-old building that makes a memorable first impression – period charm abounds – there are country-house style bedrooms, roaring fires, parquet flooring covered with rugs and great modern British cooking – if you can bring yourself to leave, The Pheasant has a special arrangement with Armathwaite Hall, a nearby hotel with a gym, swimming pool and 10 treatment rooms.
A country pub reinvented for the 21st century, its chill-out atmosphere and easy-going service working well with the slightly wonky period charm of the 18th-century building and gloriously rural location on the edge of the Fonthill Estate. On wintry nights the place exudes a dark, burnished warmth, thanks to soft lights and log fires, balmier days draw you into the garden, where hammocks, rugs and shady trees encourage you to while away the long daylight hours. Rooms upstairs are simple, yet unmistakably modern, and are handsomely kitted out and feature a raft of cossetting extras. In the heart of the estate, with views across lake and parkland, are two stunning lodges, each with sitting rooms with wood-burning stoves, and bed and bath on mezzanine level for soaking up the view – utter bliss. Angela (Aromatherapy) and Anouchka (Theravada Thai massage) can provide relaxing, pampering in-room massages.
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