Now, more than ever before, is the time to think about staycations. Lucky for us, there is something of a hotel boom this year, after a slow start. Exciting openings range from the most popular new opening in Cornwall for years, to a former hosting house of King Charles II. Not all of the below have confirmed reopening dates, but we will update this page as and when we get new information. Read on for all the most exciting hotel openings across our fair isle in 2020 and 2021.
The Mitre, Hampton Court
This Grade II-listed boutique hotel set on the banks of the River Thames by Hampton Court Palace dates back to 1665 and was originally used as ancillary accommodation for guests of King Charles II. It includes 36 guest rooms (designed by Nicola Harding, who designed much of Beaverbrook), a 60-cover riverside restaurant and terrace, a 70-cover brasserie and a bar helmed by Ronnie Kimbugwe, former sous chef of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's. Some of the rooms will have private terraces with hot tubs overlooking the Thames; others will have private courtyards and firepits. For fun? Look no futher than the world’s first Whispering Angel ‘River Shack’, a private jetty and their own riverboat, plus a vintage air stream called Polly.
The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall
Take a historic house on a lovely rural plot of land, plant an extensive kitchen garden to supply the restaurant with hyper-local ingredients, and doll up the already rustic interiors with antique furniture and pretty patterns. That’s what foodie staycation experts The Pig have done up and down the country, and their latest offspring is no different. The location is the dramatic Grade II-listed Harlyn House on the north Cornish coastline, with easy access to some of Cornwall’s best beaches and a 10-minute drive from foodie hotspot Padstow. Rooms are found in the main house and the stables outside, plus there's four sumptuous shepherd’s huts near the kitchen garden. It's here where much of the menu will be sourced, though the chefs will be also making use of local suppliers for top-notch seafood, cheeses and English wines.
Opened July 2020; thepighotel.com/at-harlyn-bay
‘The new city escape’ is how Birch defines itself. At its core sits an 18th-century mansion house, set in 55 aces of nature in Hertfordshire – but that’s where tradition ends. This is a country house hotel for modern times – more co-working spaces, art installations and the vibe of a festival, less swags, tails and cloches. If it sounds like an Ace hotel in the country then it’s no coincidence – one of the co-founders was the former managing director of the Ace Hotel London. Robin Gill, of The Dairy in London, will oversee the two restaurants, The Zebra Riding Club and all-day diner Valeries, both supplied by his first kitchen garden and bakery. Activities will include workshops (currently available are pottery, sourdough-making and glass-blowing); yoga, spinning and meditation; a screening room; and a music room with karaoke. A 25-metre heated lido in the walled garden will open later in the year.
The Bath Arms at Longleat, Wiltshire
This village pub, owned by Lord Bath and close to Longleat House and its safari park, has recently been taken over by seasoned hoteliers who also own the popular weekend break properties of The Talbot Inn in Mells, The Beckford Arms at Fonthill and the Lord Poulett Arms in Hinton St George. The pub has an oak stool-lined bar stocked with local ales, a restaurant across several separate rooms and a sun-filled garden with a marquee on the terrace. Rooms are fresh, simple and very well-priced – think pretty, shell pink walls and soft grey roman blinds, and perhaps an Indian four-poster bed and a free-standing tub in the marble-lined bathroom.
Opened August 2020; batharmsinn.com
• Read the full review: The Bath Arms at Longleat
The Star Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex
Olga Polizzi’s micro-group of hotels has just become a trio: The Star Inn in Alfriston, hidden in a Saxon village in the South Downs National Park, will join her highly acclaimed Endsleigh in Devon and Tresanton in Cornwall. The medieval inn, which was once a pilgrim’s sanctuary and then a smuggler’s hangout of choice, has a place close to the Polizzi family’s heart: it was also once owned by Lord Forte, Olga’s father. Expect top-class interiors which do away with the usual British hotel tropes.
Clifftops, Portland, Dorset
These lodges go beyond your usual clifftop accommodation. All five of them, designed by Morrow + Lorraine Architects, are carved into Portland’s stone cliffs, on the edge of Pennsylvania Castle Estate, so much a part of the Jurassic Coast’s shoreline that you’ll find fossilised creatures from the sea in the rough-hewn walls. Interiors vary but expect a low-key, Scandi-inspired look, with emphasis on natural materials. They can be booked as self-catering hideaways but also offer a b&b options.
Opening September 2020; thepennestate.co.uk/clifftops
Buxton Crescent Hotel, Peak District
The spa town of Buxton will once again be celebrating its golden age with the arrival of a new hotel, Buxton Crescent. It will open in one of the country’s most significant Georgian buildings, and celebrate the 19th-century pasttime of 'taking the waters'. The hotel will be home to four pools – a thermal pool, a refurbished Victorian pool (which will have Buxton mineral-rich water flowing into it), a relaxation pool in a dark room and an indoor-outdoor rooftop pool. Spa treatments, held in rooms which feature original stained-glass windows, include the likes of mud wraps and mineral baths. The 81-room hotel will be managed by Ensana, a health spa brand from Europe – this will mark its first property in the UK. Doubles from £125.
Bike & Boot, Scarborough
This new boutique hotel near Scarborough Beach defines itself as a 'leisure hotel for the 21st century' – so expect brightly designed bedrooms and public areas, plus a roster of fun activities on the schedule, including surfing, biking and walking. There's even an area designed to wash your boots, store your boards and wash off your dogs (it's pooch-friendly, naturally). Apres-activity features include a film club, board games aplenty and the Bareca restaurant, which will serve pizza, pasta and grilled meat.
NoMad London, Covent Garden
The unrelentingly cool NoMad brand is coming to Covent Garden. The fourth opening for the American group (and its first foray outside of the US) will transform what was The Bow Street Magistrates' Court. New York-based design firm Roman and Williams (also responsible for the look of Ace and Freehand hotels) are in charge of the 91-room hotel’s interiors. Distinctive extras will include an art programme celebrating the influence of post-war American art and European avant-garde, and a Mexican-inspired restaurant with a curated, agave-based spirits program.
Opening December 2020; thenomadhotel.com
The Falcon, Northamptonshire
A newly restored property by Lord and Lady Northampton, which is located within the 11,000-acre Castle Ashby estate, the ancestral home of the 7th Marquess of Northampton. Its spring opening was delayed to autumn owing to the pandemic, but it will be worth the wait. Its been conceived as a place of rest and contemplation in a place of abundant nature, owing to Lady Northampton’s professional experience as a psychotherapist, counsellor and yoga teacher. So guests can expect a break from the stresses of daily life: yoga, foraging, guided walks and wild swimming. This same principle translates to the muted, but comfortable, 22 bedrooms. Eyas restaurant will draw on the local larder, and source from local farmers, gamekeepers and nurseries.
The foodie pocket of South Oxfordshire welcomes Crockers, a new restaurant with rooms. The diminutive, Grade II listed converted townhouses belie what’s on offer inside: two 16-seater chef’s tables, which turn out, respectively, British classics (by Michelin-starred Dean Westcar) and south-east Asian treats by Iain Dixon. They also have a custom-made robatayaki charcoal grill, overseen by chef Tom Westerland (Wales’ National Chef of the Year), serving burgers, chateaubriand and ‘Kentucky fried octopus’. Cocktails come from Ryan Osnowski, formerly of Michelin-starred Hinds in nearby Bray. Once suitably stuffed and watered, you can roll upstairs to four-poster beds and free-standing tubs.
Grosvenor Arms, Stockbridge
A longstanding prominent address on Stockbridge High Street: The Grosvenor was opened as a hotel in 1822 by Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster. It later became the Ascot of its day when the racing set came to Stockbridge in June each year to watch the races. Now, it’s been restored to its former glory: 32 cosy, floral-tinged bedrooms, six of which open out onto their tranquil walled garden, a bar and oak-panelled dining room turning out local ingredients such as River Test trout. Its famed port-cochere still remains. The hotel can set up fishing, pheasant and partridge shooting, and days out at local horse-racing events.
Nobu Hotel London Portman Square
London welcomes its second Nobu Hotel this year (the first is in Shoreditch) – unsurprising for the ever-growing hotel group that also counts openings in Warsaw, Palo Alto, Chicago, Riyadh and Marrakech in the next year. The Portman Square property will, like the other outposts, take its aesthetic inspiration from Japan – think tatami mats and Buro (patchwork) – overseen by David Collins studio. Expect Nobu classics at the restaurant – Nobu Berkeley Street, resident of Marylebone for 15 years, will move to its new site here – plus there’s an outdoor terrace for summer.
The King’s Arms, Dorchester, Dorset
This has been touted as ‘one to watch’ in west Dorset for four years, ever since The Stay Original Company purchased it, with the promise of a £5million renovation sweeping out the dreary, dated interiors and replacing them with the on-trend but delicate styling found in their other properties (such as Timbrell’s Yard in Wiltshire and The White Hart in Somerset). The King’s Arms already possesses the heritage, having seen three centuries of royalty, rockstars and starring roles in at least two Thomas Hardy tales, but new are 20 modern rooms (14 more to come next year), a fun ground-floor bar and a restaurant presided over by ex-River Cottage chef Tom Blake.
Bermonds Locke, London
Bermondsey is the latest recipient of a Locke Hotel, the trendy hotels group changing the way we think about aparthotels – and their latest arrival comes at a time when the hospitality industry is thinking more than ever before about future-proofing. Much like its other outposts, Bermonds Locke, will have studio rooms complete with kitchenettes and living areas, a co-working space, restaurants and bar. Public areas continue the brand’s now-signature industrial look, while bedrooms – designed by the people behind the much-Instagrammed Butcher’s Daughter restaurant in LA – are done in a colour scheme of blue, beige and saturated pink.
The George, Cheltenham
The Lucky Onion hospitality group – which counts weekend favourites The Wheatsheaf Inn in the Cotswolds and No 131 in Cheltenham in its portfolio – are launching Cult, a new hotel group, this summer. Their first, in Cheltenham, will have 46 bedrooms across five refurbished Regency townhouses (ornate panelling and sweeping staircases are updated with bold colours and modern furniture), located round the corner from Cheltenham Ladies’ College. As a new concept conceived in a post-Covid-19 era, many of the features will suit the new landscape of holidays: so automated, contactless check-in and a well-stocked pantry. Rates are ‘cost-conscious’ – from £90-£130 – and so will appeal to the next generation of weekend breakers. More hotels across the UK will follow.
The Mayfair Townhouse, London
The people behind Iconic Luxury Hotels – which count Cliveden, Chewton Glen and The Lygon Arms in their current collection – will debut a property in London across seven listed townhouses in Mayfair which overlook Green Park. The design will reference Oscar Wilde – Half Moon Street, where the hotel is located, was the setting for The Importance of Being Earnest – with English eccentricities woven with the house’s Georgian spirit. Expect 172 rooms, two penthouse suits and the Dandy Bar, which offers Wilde’s champagne of choice.
Hotel Indigo Bath
Old meets new at the new Hotel Indigo Bath. The InterContinental’s young and relatively affordable offshoot (rooms here start from £149) has just opened in a honey-coloured, Grade I-listed Georgian terrace, typical of the area, following a multi-million pound refurbishment. Expect 166 guest rooms which reflect the history of Bath, with interior features including dove blue velvet headboards, pops of pattern and roll-top baths. Mike Robinson – co-owner of the only Michelin-starred London pub, the Harwood Arms in Fulham – is in charge of the restaurant (think bistro-style dishes such as rich meat and fish), and there’s a south-facing terrace, the best place for a Somerset cider. The hotel also has No 5 Pierrepont St, a private house on site, part of a ever-growing trend in the world of hotels.
Beaverbrook Chelsea, London
Fun, fancy and fashionable country house hotel Beaverbrook in Surrey is coming to Sloane Street, following a £25million refurbishment of two Georgian townhouses. The interior design will be courtesy of Nicola Harding – who’s responsible for the look of Beaverbrook, The Rose in Deal and The (aforementioned) Mitre in Hampton Court – so expect a modern, feminine and exciting update on the traditional across the 14 bedrooms, which will be named after celebrated London theatres. There will also be a 60-cover Japanese restaurant whose design will be inspired by 19th-century artist Hoksuai – a surefire, serene stop-off point for all the visitors to nearby Hermès, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
The Londoner, Leicester Square
A blockbuster new opening is coming to Leicester Square. The 16-storey, 350-room Londoner may name-check the capital but this ambitious project has a decidedly New York feel with architects Woods Bagot, who were also responsible for the Big Apple's sky-high Manhatta restaurant, at the helm. Inside, the contemporary aesthetic will come from Yabu Pushelberg, the designers behind the Four Seasons in downtown Manhattan. Among the six food and drink outlets will be a ground-floor gastropub with alfresco dining and a Japanese-inspired lounge bar with a rooftop terrace and fire pit. Other facilities include two Odeon Luxe cinemas, a swimming pool, spa, gym and hair/nail salon.
Fairmont Windsor Park
A multi-million pound redevelopment is on the go to bring to Fairmont Windsor Park to fruition later in 2020, replacing Savill Court Hotel and Spa. A clear draw will be the sprawling spa (a whopping 2,500 square metres), with indoor and outdoor pools, treatment rooms, a salt room, hamman and Japanese foot spa, as well as the countryside location (complete with courtyard and fire pit). A tea lounge, champagne bar, gin bar, and fine dining restaurant complete the picture.
Artist Residence Bristol
Up until now, Bristol’s bohemian spirit has not been successfully captured by any of its city-centre hotels. The latest masterstroke in the Artist Residence oeuvre will no doubt fill that void with a cool and creative boutique spot in a former boot factory, worthy of a weekend lingering in galleries, vinyl shops and independent cafés. It’s the fifth property from the group, which grew from humble beginnings when co-founder Justin dropped out of university to help run the family b&b and sent out an ad asking local artists to decorate rooms in exchange for a bed. Art is still at the centre of the design in this latest addition, with colourful prints a focal point in each of the 23 rooms. Roberts radios, freestanding roll-top baths and original features all add to the retro-meets-industrial vibe. The most special spot to lay your head is set to be The Lookout, with a spiral staircase that leads up to your very own roof terrace.
The Grand Hotel Birmingham
The Grand Hotel first opened in 1879, and in its first century of life it welcomed high-profile guests such as Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and King George XI into its opulent arms. The 21st century has not been its friend though, with the hotel falling into a less-than-polished state and having been closed for more than a decade. This summer, a multi-million pound renovation hopes to change that. Expect a mix of French Renaissance, Victorian and Art Deco features throughout communal spaces, with a historic ballroom for lavish parties and events. Renderings of rooms show a more modern aesthetic at play. There will also be two bars for cocktails in opulent surrounds, a restaurant, and a sunken rooftop garden terrace that will surely come into the spotlight on summer days.
Graduate Hotels have made their mark in the United States by setting up in prime college towns with stylish bedrooms that evoke the sort of nostalgic charm that’s possible to feel warm and fuzzy about even if the titular town was never your alma mater. This, on the edge of the River Cam and close to Cambridge campus, is their first to land in the UK, with an Oxford iteration to follow (of course). It aims to reflect the city itself, swapping all-American retro vibes for historic collegiate-inspired style. We’re thinking that might materialise as lots of exposed wood, theatrical fabrics, moody lighting and and curios and artworks relating to the university's history and alumni. A restaurant, café, gym and swimming pool will all be added boons.
The Harper, Norfolk
Bespoke glass features throughout The Harper reflect its history as a glass blowing factory many moons ago, but it’s the multitude of spaces with life being breathed into them that will really catch guests' attention. There’s Stanley’s, the restaurant, where north Norfolk’s natural larder is set to come into the spotlight; The Harper for dining with a more casual atmosphere; Ivy, the living area, with a wood-burner, cosy corners and wine fridges; games room The Den for Monopoly marathons; outdoor space The Yard for sundowners; and outdoor kitchen The Shack. There’s also a bijou spa with indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room and two treatment rooms. Four-poster beds will call you to sleep, but not before a fresh house cocktail from the mini-fridge.
Contributions by Emma Beaumont, Fiona Duncan, Lizzie Frainier, Tom Mulvihill and Benjamin Parker