If you’re looking to recharge your batteries, or just treat yourself to something special, check out our round up of unique luxury breaks in the UK. We’ve selected five fabulous destinations, each with something a little different, from a hidden spa in the Welsh mountains; a golfer’s paradise in Northern Ireland; top of the range horse riding on Dartmoor and cookery lessons with Britain’s top chefs in the New Forest. What do they all have in common? Amazing experiences, with lashings of luxury. . .
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa – The Secret Hotel Spa in the Forests of Snowdonia
Almost hidden like a fairytale castle, only the chimney tops of Bodysgallen Hall can be seen above the treetops of the breathtaking countryside around Llundudno in north Wales. A 5 star hotel owned by the National Trust, Bodysgallen Hall is wonderfully private and dates back to the 13th century.
Surrounded by 200 acres of parkland and beautiful formal walled gardens, this is a wonderfully decadent place to really get away from it all. And even more so, when you discover the hidden gem of this gorgeous hotel:
- Darphin spa complete with swimming pool: it’s not surprising Bodysgallen Hall was voted one of the UK’s Top 10 Spa Hotels by The Times last year.
For the full luxury experience, we recommend booking one of the four suites (all kitted out in country house style with antiques, including four poster beds and Floris toiletries) and opting for the Twilight Spa experience: a one hour full body massage or aromatherapy massage followed by canapés and Champagne and gourmet dinner in the award-winning restaurant.
Travel – Bodysgallen is around 1.5 hours drive from Manchester Airport or around 3.5 hours by train from London Euston.
Rates – From around £220 per room per night, special rates available for midweek and seasonal breaks.
Lough Erne Resort Golf Heaven in Northern Ireland
Home to not one, but two, Championship golf courses, including The Faldo Course, Lough Erne Resort offers the ultimate 36 hole golf experience. Set on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking the Fermanagh Lakelands, the 5 star hotel features 120 rooms from traditional suites to lodges, all styled with great panache and plenty of luxurious touches, particularly in the lavish Lakeview Rooms, which include Irish linen on the beds, freestanding baths and rain showers, plus, as you’d expect, waterside views of Castle Hume Lough.
Wining and dining is a real treat here, with a wide choice from a formal tasting menu in the Catalina Restaurant to a relaxed plate of oysters and the perfectly poured pint of Guinness in the Loughside Bar & Grill. Whatever you have in mind, kick off with drinks at the glamorous Blaney Bar, complete with baby grand piano and outdoor terrace.
St Angelo Airport is only minutes away and available for private aircraft arrivals and departures. Dublin International and Belfast City airports are both around a 2 hour drive, and a chauffeur driven limousine transfer can be arranged. There are five heli pads or for sheer style arrive by seaplane on the lough itself!
Rates – Double rooms from around £180 per night.
Big Husky Lodge – Cool, Alpine-Style Comfort in the Scottish Highlands
For something a little bit different, but still with that all important luxury hallmark, may we introduce Big Husky Lodge. Bringing touches of the Alps and Aspen to the Cairngorms, this is self catering, but with a very upmarket twist.A huge log cabin built in the style of a luxury ski lodge, sleeping 23 in the heart of Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, you’ll be in the great outdoors, with skiing in season and hiking on your doorstep, but with three wood-burning stoves, a Scandinavian sauna, huge outdoor hot tub and double whirlpool bath, you’re hardly going to be roughing it. Along with the Sonos fast streaming music system and a private chef can be arranged if you want a break from cooking and a full concierge service organising activities from whisky tours to fly fishing is also on offer.
Big Husky Lodge is close to Aviemore, Scotland’s main mountain resort which is accessed via the A9. Aberdeen is the nearest airport, but luxury transfers can also be arranged from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
Rates From £3,500 per week.
Gidleigh Park Hotel -Horseback Safari and Gourmet Indulgence in Devon
One for the equestrians among you – stay at the renowned Gidleigh Park Hotel and enjoy a luxury break on horseback organised by the superb Liberty Trails.
A Tudor manor on Dartmoor with Michelin starred restaurant will be your home for a few days, while you combine horsemanship and gastronomy – a unique package designed for horse lovers who also appreciate the good things in life. Whether you like to gallop all day or explore beautiful Dartmoor at your own pace, your horse and itinerary will be selected especially for you. At the end of each day’s ride, you’ll be taken back to your lavish 5 star quarters at Gidleigh Park and enjoy a different dining experience every night.
Exeter Airport is just 30 miles from the hotel – why not hire a classic sports car to arrive in style (bearing in mind those country lanes are narrow).
Rate – POA
Lime Wood Hotel – The Crème de la Crème of Cookery Schools
Uber-chic Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire’s New Forest National Park boasts an impressively star studded list of tutors at the cookery school attached, with the team headed up by Angela Hartnett, one time protogée of Gordon Ramsay and now a massively successful chef and restauranteur in her own right. Learn to prepare lobster and make exquisite ravioli, then polish off a delicious dinner (cooked by a professional chef this time) in the super stylish restaurant that imaginatively fuses Italian and British cooking.
The hotel is in a wonderfully secluded yet accessible location and describes itself as “laidback luxury at its best”. We thoroughly agree, with all 31 bedrooms individually designed and each one utterly fabulous – some with an in-room pantry (though you’re unlikely to be peckish) and others with free standing baths and open fires.
Lime Wood is 1.5 miles from the town of Lyndhurst; 1.5 hours drive from central London and around half an hour from Southampton and Bournemouth airports.
Abigail Stubbs | Features Editor