The Good Hotel Guide 2016: Great Britain and Ireland

We reveal the ten top hotels in the UK as chosen by The Good Hotel Guide.

The Good Hotel Guide 2016: Great Britain and Ireland, published today (5 October 2015), celebrates the best of Britain’s booming hotel industry.

Co-edited by Adam Raphael and Desmond Balmer, the Guide is an unbiased selection of the best hotels, inns and B&Bs with personality and character across the UK and Ireland.  This year’s 2016 Guide features 419 main entries, 16 Editor’s Choice categories and 429 hotels in the Shortlist section.

Hotels are chosen on merit and the entries are rewritten each year. Readers’ reports are scrutinised, and inspectors’ reports are based on anonymous visits the cost of which are born by the Guide, so reviews are never swayed by special treatment.

Each year ten César awards are presented to the Guide’s most celebrated hoteliers. Named after César Ritz, these are as the Oscars of the hotel industry.

Good Hotel Guide’s winners for 2016

London Hotel of the Year

Artist Residence, Pimlico – With a refreshingly quirky style and helpful young team, the Artist Residence is a stylishly restored former pub with an eclectic mix of retro fittings.  Located in a quiet enclave of Pimlico, yet within walking distance of Tate Britain, rooms are well-designed with excellent lighting, Egyptian cotton bed linen, powerful rainfall showers and bespoke furniture. The hotel’s Cambridge Street Café is open throughout the day and serves wholesome and fresh seasonal produce.

Country House Hotel of the Year

Hotel Endsleigh, Milton Abbot, Devon – Hotel Endsleigh is a Grade I listed former hunting lodge which has been restored with panache by well-known hotelier Olga Polizzi. Set on a beautiful 100-acre estate on the banks of the River Tamar, this Devonshire bolthole has fairytale follies, waterfalls, woodland and grottos. The 17 individually designed bedrooms are immaculate, and come with hand-painted wallpapers, rolltop baths and cosy quilts; some have a wood burning fireplace.  The elegant panelled dining room serves delicious, hearty fare and has recently welcomed the Italian chef Jose Graziosi.

Inn of the Year

The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland, County Durham – The Lord Crewe Arms is a 900-year-old restored inn on the North Pennine Moors.  The carefully renovated contemporary-style property still retains its historic priest’s hole and medieval hand-painted stained glass.  Bedrooms are located in The Angel, immediately opposite the inn, and in converted miners’ cottages facing the village square.  With beautiful views of the surrounding moors, The Bishop’s Dining Room serves simple and unfussy British cuisine.

Newcomer of the Year

The Coach House at Middleton Lodge, Richmond, North Yorkshire – New to the Guide, The Coach House at Middleton Lodge is an immaculate Georgian conversion set on a large estate overlooking the Vale of Mowbray.  With exemplary attention to detail, bedrooms are located in the honey-stone mansion, with many characterful features such as original beams and wooden shutters coupled with modern touches such as white tiles and rustic wooden floors with underfloor heating.  The double height restaurant serves a subtle Mediterranean menu using produce from Yorkshire’s local larder.

Walking Hotel of the Year

Hazel Bank, Rosthwaite, Cumbria – Small yet perfectly formed, with just seven bedrooms, Hazel Bank returns to the Guide this year, under the expert ownership of the MacRae family. Set in a beautiful Lake District valley, it is run by three generations of the family who ensure that it runs like clockwork.  The hotel offers a popular four-course set dinner with canapés, and a top-notch Cumbrian breakfast with all the trimmings.

Eccentric Hotel of the Year

Zanzibar International Hotel, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex – Talking showers, themed bedrooms and quirky furniture entertain visitors to the intriguing Zanzibar InternationalHotel. Large bay windows provide sweeping views of the seafront, and the popular Pier Nine restaurant serves unpretentious meals.  During the summer months, alfresco dining is available in the candlelit garden.

Family Hotel of the Year

Augill Castle, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria – There is something for everyone at Wendy and Simon Bennett’s turreted Gothic castle in a remote corner of Cumbria.  Augill Castle in the Eden Valley has extensive grounds with treehouses, a playground, croquet, tennis and walking trails across the Pennines. Indoors are dressing-up boxes, cookery classes and a 12-seat cinema.  Despite the grand surroundings, guests can relax and enjoy an informal atmosphere, and can choose to dine at the large communal table in front of the fire.

Romantic Hotel of the Year

The Pig on the Beach, Studland, Dorset – With its winning shabby chic formula, The Pig on the Beach is perched on a beautiful stretch of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Much of the restaurant’s bounty is picked by the chef from the hotel’s kitchen garden, and all of the food served is sourced within a 25-mile radius. The rambling 18th-century building has several public rooms with squashy sofas and seascapes, and the 23 bedrooms are spread between the main house and various dovecotes and shepherds’ huts in the grounds.

Scottish Hotel of the Year

Kilmichael Country House, Brodick, Isle of Arran, North Ayrshire – Known for the attentive personal service by owners Geoffrey Botterill and Anthony Butterworth, Kilmichael Country House is the oldest house on the Isle.  There are seven bedrooms, some with a four-poster bed. The food is of the highest quality, with herbs, fruit and vegetables grown in the hotel’s potager, and bread, jam, marmalade, ice cream and sorbets made on the premises.

Welsh Hotel of the Year

The Grove, Narberth, Pembrokeshire – Expertly run by proprietors Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar, The Grove, Narberth is a striking early 18th-century mansion set in 26 acres of landscaped gardens.  Approached by a tree-lined drive, the hotel has spectacular views of the Preseli hills.  The sumptuous guest rooms come with deep mattresses, top-notch bed linen, cast iron baths, underfloor heating and local artwork.  The stylish restaurant specialises in locally sourced modern British cuisine, complemented by an award-winning wine list.

About César Awards

The César awards, the much-coveted Editor’s Choice section highlights the top ten hotels in 16 designated categories – Discoveries, Value, Family-friendly, Seaside, Country House, Boutique, Gourmet, Gastropubs, Dog-friendly, Walking, Weddings, Gardens, Spas, Romantic, Bed & Breakfastand Rooms with a View. There are a further five online-only hotel categories: Golf, Fishing, Historic, Green and Honeymoons.

The Guide has 419 main entries featuring hotels that are considered to be the best of their type in Great Britain and Ireland.  Hotels do not pay to be included; the editors select entries on merit alone, based on up-to-date visits by inspectors and reports from well-informed readers, which are monitored by the editorial team.

Hotels are listed alphabetically with a full review, a photograph and contact details. A Shortlist section with an additional 429 establishments includes untested new entries of a noteworthy standard, often in parts of the country where there is limited choice.

Discount vouchers worth a total of £150 are included in each copy of The Good Hotel Guide. They enable a 25% saving off the normal B&B price at participating hotels.

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