8 min read, B2B, opinion

The best hotels in Britain; meet our 2015 award winners

14th October 2015
The best hotels in Britain; meet our 2015 award winners

Sawday’s brand spanking new edition of Special Places to Stay British Hotels & Inns is in bookshops now! The 17th edition presents the cream of the crop with over 300 handpicked hotels and 40 new editions; from the wildly luxurious to wonderfully rustic.

With the arrival of the new book, we like to throw a gong or two at some of our hotels, 15 very special places that typify the Sawday’s ethos. Cue fanfare, announcing the winners of Sawday’s British Hotel Awards. Our very own hotel inspector has journeyed from Penzance to Pitlochry and beyond, seeking out the most Special Places to Stay. It has been a tough call, but here are the 15 winners across five categories: Hotels of the Year, Favourite Newcomers, Old Favourites, Nicely Priced and Fabulous Food.

View the full British Hotels collection here.


Hotel of the Year

We love small, intimate hotels and inns where the art of hospitality is practiced with flair – these three wonders of our world have mastered that art in spades:

Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Clearwell, Gloucestershire

unknownA gorgeous small hotel, one of the best. It sits on the edge of the Forest of Dean in a tiny village. Step inside to find sparkling interiors, Colin and Hari have turned their realm into something very special indeed, bedrooms are divine and lovely local food waits downstairs.


Tiroran House, Isle of Mull, Argyll & Bute

There’s a house-party feel at this fine country house on the wild side of Mull. The setting is magnificent and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable island base, there are fires in the drawing rooms, games to be played, books to be read and airy bedrooms to sleep in. Afternoon tea is as good as the Ritz.


Plas Bodegroes, Pwllheli, Gwynedd

hotelwistmayA glorious house, one of the loveliest places to stay in Wales. Outside, six acres of beautiful gardens and the windswept beaches of the Lleyn Peninsula beyond. Inside, a cool elegance roams freely, beautiful bedrooms and ambrosial food await.


Favourite Newcomers

New hotels are hard to find in tough economic times, but that hasn’t stopped creative owners bursting onto the scene with beautiful new places that delight us:


Brocco on the Park, Sheffield, Yorkshire

Sheffield is a friendly city, an arty hub that’s full of surprises, a fact ably demonstrated by this stunning small hotel. Picasso once stayed here, though things have changed a little since; a recent refit has turned this into a small-scale pleasure dome. Downstairs, a Scandi feel in the café/kitchen, upstairs, bedrooms are divine.


The Pierhouse, Port Appin, Argyll & Bute

pierhouseThe position here is unbeatable. A small hotel on the shores of Loch Linnhe with glorious views and a sun trapping terrace to watch boats chug by. Inside, glass walls frame the view, there’s a smart bar Scandi-chic rooms and one of the best seafood restaurants on the west coast.


The Coach House at Middleton Lodge, Richmond, Yorkshire

coach-house-exterior-brett-harkness-photographyYou’ll think you’ve washed up at a beautiful country house in Tuscany or Provence. These gorgeous stone barns are home to one of the loveliest boutique hotels in the north. Lunch in the sunny courtyard sup cocktails in the smart bar before dinner in the raftered restaurant. Retire to lovely rooms, most have claw foot baths.


Old Favourites

Like a good red wine, some hotels get better with age – these places have a clear instinct for great hospitality and have
been delighting guests for years:


Pen-y-Dyffryn Country Hotel, Oswestry, Shropshire

In a blissful valley lost to the world, a small country house that sparkles on the side of a peaceful hill. This is one of those lovely places where guests return again and again. Outside, fields tumble down to a stream, daffodils erupt in spring and deckchairs in summer. Inside, lovely interiors are just the ticket, some rooms take dogs too and dinners delight.


The Old Rectory Hotel Exmoor, Barnstaple, Devon

A gorgeous small hotel in the hills above the Exmoor coast, a mini Gidleigh Park, charming from top to toe. Three acres of spectacular gardens wrap around you. Inside, Huw and Sam continue to lavish love in all the right places, the most recent addition being the beautiful orangery. Bedrooms are lovely and the restaurant truly excellent.


The Traddock, Settle, Yorkshire

cropped-hotelA northern outpost of country-house charm, beautiful inside and out. Enter through a wonderful drawing room, crackling fire, the daily papers, cavernous sofas. Follow your nose and find polished wood in the dining room, panelled walls in the breakfast room. Bedrooms are just the ticket, some coolly contemporary, others deliciously traditional.


Nicely Priced

There’s nothing like washing up at a lovely small hotel and finding it has a lovely small price, too – here are three that do that with ease:


The Henley Hotel, Kingsbridge, Devon

imageA small house above the sea with fabulous views, super bedrooms and some of the loveliest food in Devon. Despite these credentials, it’s Martyn and Petra who shine most brightly, their kind, generous approach making this a memorable place to stay. Bedrooms are a steal and gorgeous Devon is all around.


Penbontbren, Llandysul, Ceredigion

pl101295-1340286160You’re lost in lovely hills, yet only three miles from the sea. Not that you’re going to stray far. These gorgeous suites don’t just have wonderful prices, they’re heaped with comforts too, and Richard and Huw have thought it all through. Buy provisions from the farm or head out for fish & chips. A great place to unwind.


The Black Swan, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

room-15-newA cool little inn lost in the middle of a pretty village that’s surrounded by blistering country. It’s all things to all men: a smart restaurant, a lively bar, a village sop, pretty bedrooms, fantastic for the money; they even hold a music festival here in September. Children and dogs are welcome. A very happy place.


Fabulous Food

From hot kitchens come small miracles to delight our tastebuds – here are three places where your pleasure receptors will delight in ambrosial food:


The Olive Branch, Oakham, Rutlandpub2256a

A lovely pub in a sleepy Rutland village. Inside, a warm, rustic chic hits the spot perfectly, but there’s more here than cool design. This is a place to come and eat great food, the lovely, local seasonal stuff that’s cooked with passion by Sean and his brigade, perhaps potted pork and stilton with apple jelly, haunch of venison and a boozy rhubarb trifle. Bedrooms in Beech House across the lane are gorgeous.


Read’s Restaurant with Rooms, Faversham, Kent

reads-exteriors-001A gorgeous country-house restaurant with rooms. Read’s stands in five acres of grounds with a half-acre kitchen garden that supplies much for the table. Inside, you find warm elegance at every turn. As for the food, it’s some of the best in Kent: perhaps a hot soufflé of Montgomery Cheddar on a bed of smoked haddock, local venison with pickled pears, a chestnut and whisky parfait.


BridgeHouse Hotel, Beaminster, Dorset

Beaminster – or Emminster in Thomas Hardy’s Tess – sits in a lush Dorset valley. As for this lovely hotel, it’s a 13th-century priests house and comes with original trimmings. It’s intimate, friendly and deeply comfortable, with something beautiful at every turn. Beautiful lighting sets the mood for excellent food, perhaps Witchampton snails, an imperious steak and kidney pie, pear and rosemary tart tatin.



Sawday’s Special Places to Stay: British Hotels & Inns is available from all good bookshops (RRP £15.99) or online directly from Sawday’s (£11.99+ P&P).
For more information on the book or any of the places featured visit www.sawdays.co.uk.

You Might Also Like