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Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100: 21 – 50 hotels

28 July 2016 by
Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100: 21 – 50 hotels

The inaugural Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100 list was unveiled last week by The Caterer and Sky. Rosalind Mullen profiles the full collection, including the winning hotel, which has been at the top of its game for 50 years

Iconic country house hotel Chewton Glen has been named as the best in the country by the UK's leading hoteliers. The five-red-AA-star, 70-bedroom property on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire was voted number one on the Hoteliers' Hotels Top 100 list. Compiled by the UK's leading hoteliers and verified by some of the nation's pre-eminent hotel experts, including hotel journalist Fiona Duncan, Giovanna Grossi and fellow AA hotel inspectors, and senior editors at The Caterer, the list was revealed last week at a glittering reception at London's Ham Yard hotel, which itself was ranked number 15.

In addition to the Top 100 list, six category winners were also announced. Chewton Glen added to its overall Hoteliers' Hotels title by also winning the Countryside Hotel of the Year and Spa Hotel of the Year categories.

The award for Food Hotel of the Year went to Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, which was placed second on the overall list, while the family-owned Goring, third on the list, was named City Centre Hotel of the Year.

Meanwhile, Foxhill Manor (number 17) in Broadway, Worcestershire, and Calcot Manor (number 20) in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, carried off the titles of Boutique Hotel of the Year and Family Hotel of the Year respectively.

Contributors included past Hoteliers of the Year, and Catey and Hotel Catey winners, as well as members of organisations such as Pride of Britain Hotels, Relais & Châteaux and the Master Innholders, and included respected operators such as Robin Hutson, chairman and chief executive of Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels; Thomas Kochs, managing director of the Café Royal; and Philip Newman-Hall, former managing director of Le Manoir. Hoteliers were not permitted to vote for their own hotel or one within their group.

Amanda Afiya, editor of The Caterer, said "Hoteliers know their industry, its pitfalls and opportunities best, so who better to ask when compiling a list of the top hotels in the UK? We're lucky to have so many wonderful hotels across the UK and we're excited to be launching this list. There are, of course, many ways of ranking and evaluating hotels, but there's nothing quite as special as peer group recognition."

From our sponsor
At Sky we pride ourselves on offering exclusive and engaging content alongside innovative technology to ensure that hotels can provide their guests with the very best in-room experience. This prestigious list of the UK's best and finest hotels recognises all of the hard work that goes in to ensure every guest has a perfect stay.

We would like to congratulate all of the operators that have been included in this most definitive list of the UK's greatest hotels, as selected by the industry's leading professionals.

Below is the list from 21 - 50

21. Whatley Manor
Malmesbury, Wiltshire
www.whatleymanor.com
Number of bedrooms 23
AA rating Five red stars
Owner Alix and Christian Landolt
Rooms start at £311

This 19th-century house and estate became a hotel in 1987. It caught the imagination of guests Marco and Alix Landolt and when it came up for sale in 2000 they acquired and restored it, taking the Grade-II listed property back to its former glory. This included transforming the 12 acres of land into 26 gardens, many based on original plans dating back to the 1920s.

Sue Williams, currently general manager of Cliveden (10), will be take over the reins of the property in September.

22. The Langham, London
London W1
www.langhamhotels.com
Number of bedrooms 380
AA rating Five stars
Owner and operator Langham Hospitality Group
Rooms start at £308

This grande dame has been a favourite of kings, politicians, writers and, more recently, Lady Gaga. Last year the hotel celebrated its 150-year anniversary with a multimillion pound refurbishment. This included the Palm Court, famous for its afternoon tea, the award-winning Artesian Bar and the Roux at the Landau restaurant, both of which were designed by David Collins in 2007.
It also saw the opening of the Regent Wing, with 40 additional grand executive guestrooms and suites, the launch of the Langham Club Lounge and the decadent six-bedroom Sterling Suite.
In the past year, the hotel has stepped up its relationship with Albert Roux and his son, Michel Roux Jr. Since 2010, the duo have overseen the hotel's two-AA rosette Roux at the Landau. This arrangement now extends across the hotel's food and beverage portfolio, including the Palm Court, the 14 banqueting and private-dining rooms, the ballroom, the Courtyard marquee and room service.

23. Gidleigh Park
hagford, Devon
www.gidleigh.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 24
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator Andrew Brownsword Hotels
Rooms start at £242

The restaurant continues to be a powerful draw to this quintessentially English country-house hotel in Dartmoor. Last year, the hotel's two-Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines moved on after 21 years to be succeeded by Michael Wignall, previously at Michael Wignall at the Latymer at Pennyhill Park (37).

As for the rest of the hotel, it attracts descriptions by reviewers such as "indulgent luxury" and "luxurious but understated". The Harden's 2016 survey result goes so far as to quote: "I don't think as a package it can be bettered in the UK".

The 107-acre gardens include a newly created kitchen garden and there is also a Peter Alliss-designed 18-hole golf course, putting green and croquet lawn.

24. Brown's hotel
London W1
www.roccofortehotels.com
Number of bedrooms 117
AA rating Five red star
Owner and operator The Rocco Forte Collection
Rooms start at £369

This swish Mayfair hotel flies the flag for British values. The English Tea Room has become a sought-after venue for afternoon tea, while the elegant yet informal Hix Mayfair restaurant serves popular British dishes. Indeed, even the walls are lined with works by leading British artists and it is believed to be the inspiration for Agatha Christie's At Bertram's Hotel.

Opened in 1837, it is one of London's most established luxury hotels, celebrating 175 years in 2012. Rocco Forte Hotels took over in 2003 and the bedrooms were subsequently given a contemporary makeover by designer Olga Polizzi. Stuart Johnson, the 2012 Hotelier of the Year, has been at the helm as general manager since then.

Facilities include a spa, gym, six meetings rooms and the Donovan cocktail bar.

25. Hotel Endsleigh
Milton Abbot, Devon
www.hotelendsleigh.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 18
Owner and operator Olga and Alex Polizzi
Rooms start at £209

Designer Olga Polizzi - famous for designing her brother's Rocco Forte Hotels' properties - bought this Grade-I listed house on the edge of Dartmoor in 2005. It was initially managed by her daughter, Alex, best known for her TV appearances as The Hotel Inspector.

Set in 100 acres, with gardens, follies and grottos created in the 19th-century by Humphry Repton, tradition meets contemporary comfort throughout the hotel. The restaurant, for instance, uses Devon produce to create Italian dishes and afternoon tea is served in the beautiful library.

As Alex said in an interview with Condé Naste Johansens, she wants guests to: "sit with their feet up with a book by a fire and feel as if they own a country house without any of the hassle".

26. The London Edition
London W1
www.editionhotels.com
Number of bedrooms 173
AA rating Five stars
Owner Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
Operator Marriott International
Rooms start at £260

The London Edition arrived on the scene in 2013, costing £33m and launching a new-generation luxury hotel concept in the UK. The brand was created by Ian Schrager (founder of Morgans Hotel Group and Studio 54), working with Marriott International, and is part of a growing international brand, Edition Hotels, which now numbers four worldwide.

This city-slick, uber-cool hotel in the heart of Fitzrovia combines innovative design and cutting-edge dining and entertainment with personal, friendly, modern service. Bedrooms and suites have wood floors and panelling and are described as having a "cabin-like feel akin to that of a private yacht".

Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton oversees the restaurant, Berners Tavern, serving up seasonal, contemporary British cuisine. Guests can also order bespoke specialty cocktails in the Lobby and Punch Room bars - where there is also a billiards table.

27. The Berkeley
London SW1
www.the-berkeley.com
Number of bedrooms 210
AA rating Five red stars
Owner Constellation Hotels, owned by Qatar Holding
Operator Maybourne Hotel Group
Rooms start at £368

Starting life off as a 1700s coffee house just off Piccadilly, the Berkeley has been a stylish hotel for more than 100 years. Now in Knightsbridge, following a relocation in 1972, it keeps its equally iconic sisters Claridge's (4) and the Connaught (12) on their toes. Not least with its dining options.

Culinary legend Pierre Koffmann oversees the informal French Brasserie, although he has just announced his departure from the Berkeley having been associated with the hotel since 1998. Meanwhile, a more formal culinary offer is available courtesy of Marcus Wareing's two-Michelin-starred Marcus restaurant.

The hotel is also renowned for its fashionista themed PrÁªt-Á -Portea afternoon teas served in the newly launched Collins Room (formerly the Caramel Room), the newly refurbished Blue Bar and the new Berkeley Bar. Other facilities include a gym, a health spa and a roof-top pool.

Never content to rest on its laurels, the newly launched entrance to the hotel - designed by architect Sir Richard Rogers - provides a strong architectural statement featuring glass, steel and carbon-fibre beams with glazed pavilions flanking the main door.

Despite attracting A-lister guests, Mr & Mrs Smith describes it as one of the capital's most child-friendly hotels.

28. Ace Hotel London
Shoreditch
London E1
www.acehotel.com
Number of bedrooms 258
Owner Limulus venture capital company
Operator Ace Hotel Group
Rooms start at £165

This gritty, super-hip hotel concept reached Blighty in 2013 and its award-winning design immediately targeted the creative, musical, arty crowd.

The first Ace was opened by the late Alex Calderwood in 1999 in Seattle and has subsequently spread across the US to the likes of LA, Portland and New Orleans. The formula is to transform an old or industrial building in an emerging location, although the vibrant Shoreditch Ace is in fact a makeover of a bland Crowne Plaza.

Despite the hard-edged chic, this is a luxurious boutique hotel providing friendly but solid service. In-keeping with the vibe, the Gallery Bar is a cool place to hang out during the day, but turns into a party place in the evenings. Pablo Flack and David Waddington of Bistrotheque run the English modernist brasserie, Hoi Polloi.

29. Four Seasons London at Park Lane
London W1
www.fourseasons.com
Number of bedrooms 193
AA rating Five red stars
Owner Premier Group
Operator Four Seasons Hotels
Rooms start at £189

This elegant group hotel reopened in January 2011 following a two-year, £12m refurbishment that saw rooms reconfigured, public areas revamped, and a rooftop extension added with new spa facilities.

The hotel's room count was reduced to 193, with an entire floor dedicated to suites, of which there are now 46 (up from 20) with either one, two or three-bedrooms. A new dining concept, Amaranto, was also unveiled.

Serving an Italian menu, it consists of three flow-through spaces that allow guests to choose when and where they want to dine.

Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) has just awarded the hotel Five Stars, its highest designation, for the fourth consecutive year. The Spa at Four Seasons also scooped Five Stars, making it the only hotel in the city with 10 FTG stars.

30. Hartwell House
Near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
www.hartwell-house.com
Number of bedrooms 46
AA rating Four red stars
Owner National Trust
Operator Historic House Hotels
Rooms start at £132

Hartwell House is a 17th-century stately home restored by Historic House Hotels in the 1980s. Set in 90 acres of parkland, it has been leased from the National Trust since 2008.

This is a hotel that has retained its traditional look and vibe. The rooms are furnished with antiques, and hung with fine paintings. Some 30 of the bedrooms and suites are in the house, with the rest in converted coach house Hartwell Court and the Old Rectory.

Accolades include being five-times winner of the Certificate Of Excellence - Tripadvisor Hall of Fame 2015 and the AA Notable Wine Award 2016.

31. The Devonshire Arms
Bolton Abbey Estate, Skipton,
Yorkshire
www.thedevonshirearms.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 40
AA rating Four red stars
Owner
Duke and Duchess of Devonshire
Operator Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants
Rooms start at £195

In recent decades, not one but two duchesses have had a hand in refurbishing this country-house hotel. In 1981, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire gave the former 17th-century hunting lodge a major overhaul, added a bedroom and brought art from the Devonshire seat, Chatsworth. The hotel, which sits in 30,000 acres, was given a further refurbishment in 2009 by the current duchess.

It's this personal touch by its aristocratic owners that sets the Devonshire Arms apart. As well as the spa, the hotel offers a restaurant, brasserie, cocktail bar and facilities for weddings, meetings, outdoor pursuits such as tennis, and two helipads.

It is part of a mini chain of hotels, inns and restaurants owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire on the Bolton Abbey Estate, Yorkshire, and Chatsworth Estate, Derbyshire.

32. Town Hall Hotel
London E2
www.townhallhotel.com
Number of bedrooms 98
AA rating Five star
Owner Loh Lik Peng
Operator Unlisted Collection
Rooms start at £148

Singaporean entrepreneur Loh Lik Peng had enough vision to see that this east-end corner of London would one day become a magnet for trend-setters and creatives. In 2010, he unveiled his £20m conversion of Bethnal Green's town hall into an edgy, high-design hotel just as regeneration was rippling beyond Shoreditch and Hoxton.

When I first walked into the building, my jaw hit the floor," Loh told the Financial Times. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,"

The spacious hotel apartments combine the amenities and luxuries of a luxury hotel with the space and style of a designer apartment, complete with kitchens.

The restaurant attracts a well-heeled clientele to support its glamorous De Montfort suite - a bedroom with dining for up to 20 - and its Typing Room restaurant's £75-per-head tasting menu.

The hotel also has the more affordable Corner Room restaurant, a swimming pool and fitness equipment.

33. The Scarlet Hotel
Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
www.scarlethotel.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 37
AA rating Four stars
Owners Debbie Wakefield, Emma Stratton and Rebecca Whittington
Operator Red Hotels
Rooms start at £274

This stylish, contemporary cliff-top hotel is the child-free sibling to the equally trendy Bedruthan. It is also eco-friendly, managing to combine a sustainable policy with a remit to rejuvenate and pamper its guests.

The restaurant menu offers locally sourced produce cooked in a modern European style. The bedrooms are categorised in five types: just right, generous, unique, spacious and indulgent. There's an Ayurvedic spa, an indoor swimming pool and a yoga and meditation room.

Mr & Mrs Smith sums it up: "Luxurious but laid-back, the Scarlet hotel has heart; it's eco-friendly through and through and equally true to its roots; decorated with paintings by local artists. Lashings of glass maximise this Cornwall hotel's cliff-top setting and sea-and-sand views, keeping the outdoors in, and every room comes with its own balcony or outdoor 'pod'."

34. Dukes London
London SW1
www.dukeshotel.com
Number of bedrooms 101
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator Seven Tides
Rooms start at £265

This elegant Mayfair hotel is more than 100 years old and scooped World's Leading Classic Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2015. Its townhouse style is understated, with smart, well-equipped bedrooms and public areas, including the Penthouse Suite, which has views over Green Park.

The three-AA-rosette restaurant, Thirty Six, is overseen by chef Nigel Mendham. There's also a gym, marble steam room and Dukes cocktail bar, famous for being a regular haunt of James Bond author Ian Fleming and serving martinis.

Seven Tides owns and operates Dukes, which was run by CampbellGray Hotels until 2010. The company is opening Dukes Dubai later this year.

35. South Place Hotel
London EC2
southplacehotel.com Number of rooms 80
Owner and operator D&D London
Rooms start at £259

South Place, which launched in 2012, was the first purpose-built hotel to open in the City in 100 years. It is also the first hotel project to come from restaurant company D&D London.

This luxury hotel has been singled out for its art and design. The four bars, five private dining rooms and two restaurants are all iconic Conran, in-line with the D&D brand. A youthful vibe is created by the staff, who are well-dressed and don't fuss with formalities.

Attractions include the Angler rooftop seafood restaurant, which has a Michelin star, and a trendy private members' club, Le Chiffre, where guests can play pool and fussball. There's also a spa offering the usual treatments, a steam room, sauna, and a large gym.

A review in The Telegraph states: "Best of all, there's always something happening. The ground floor bar and grill (3 South Place) hosts DJs at the weekend and stays busy until late, while the first floor is often given over to special events."

36. Hotel 41
London SW1
www.41hotel.com
Number of bedrooms 30
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Rooms start at £330

This intimate hideaway is reckoned to be the smallest five-star hotel in London. Well, it may be small, but it doesn't skimp on comfort. There is a 24-hour personal butler service, while staff outnumber guests two to one.
Bedrooms have an extensive selection of toiletries, writing materials and Sky boxes to allow for a wide choice of viewing material.

Indeed, Hotel 41, which opened in 2000, has been listed in the Top 25 Hotels in five categories by TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards 2016. And it seems it deserves it. Caroline McGuire, who reviewed the hotel in the Daily Mail, wrote: "I can honestly say that it lived up to every five star comment on Trip Advisor - the levels of customer service left me staggered more than a few times."

Guests benefit from round-the-clock dining in either the fine-dining Library restaurant or the adjacent and more casual Bbar, as well as complimentary treats in the residents-only executive lounge. It is noted for its chic black and white design, enriched by rich mahogany and exquisite furnishings.

Unusually, the hotel is situated on the fifth floor of its big sister, Rubens at the Palace hotel, which is also part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.

37. Pennyhill Park
Bagshot, Surrey
www.pennyhillpark.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 123
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator Exclusive Hotels and Venues
Rooms start at £249

This stylish country-house hotel, set in 120 acres of grounds, offers impressive leisure facilities, including a jogging trail and a golf course, but it's best-known for its state-of-the-art spa. Accounting for 25% of business, it boasts extras such as a thermal sequencing experience, ozone-treated swimming and hydrotherapy pools and a dazzling array of therapies and treatments.

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that the hotel is also the official team hotel and training base for members of the England Rugby Team, who stay there in the lead up to and during their Six Nations Rugby International matches at Twickenham.

Built in the 19th century as a grand private house, the property became a hotel in 1972, joining Exclusive Hotels in 1982, since when it has been substantially extended. The stylish bedrooms are individually designed with impressive bathrooms - one even has a horizontal shower.

38. Rockliffe Hall
Hurworth, near Darlington, County Durham
www.rockliffehall.com
Number of bedrooms 61
AA rating Five red stars
Owner Steve Gibson
Operator Rockliffe Hall
Rooms start at £260

This privately-owned hotel, spa and golf resort opened in 2009 after a £50m development. The 18th-century country hall, which was refurbished after standing empty for several years, features a 50,000 sq ft spa, incorporating one of the largest hydrotherapy pools in the UK.

Dining options include the three-rosette the Orangery in the old hall, the Brasserie and the Clubhouse. The luxurious, contemporary bedrooms are in the old hall, while there is additional accommodation in the New Hall and Tiplady Lodge, apartments in Armstrong House and three self-catering houses.

The big pull for the 375-acre estate by the banks of the River Tees is the state-of-the-art five-bubble spa and championship 18-hole golf course.

39. Ynyshir Hall
Eglwys Fach, Machynlleth, Powys
www.ynishirhall.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 10
AA rating Four red stars
Owner John and Jenny Talbot
Operator Ynyshir Hall
Rooms start at £215

Ynyshir Hall is entering a new era, having recently been sold by Rob Reen following the death of his wife Joan in February 2016. The Reens originally opened the hotel - located within a 16th-century property set within 14 acres of grounds - in 1989. They sold it in 2006 before buying it back in 2012 after new owner, Von Essen, went into administration.

The interiors continue to feature the original artwork of Reen, a one-time art teacher, who uses the surrounding landscape as his inspiration. Gareth Ward heads the Michelin-starred restaurant, using local produce such as Welsh Wagyu beef.

Once owned by Queen Victoria, the hotel has reached its well-regarded status today through the passion of Rob and Joan, who was named Relais & ChÁ¢teaux Woman of the Year in 2015. A memorial dedicated to Joan will be unveiled at the hotel later this year.

40. Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
London SW1
www.mandarinoriental.com
Number of bedrooms 189
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
Rooms start at £420

Part of the international group of deluxe hotels, this iconic venue is a popular destination for high-fliers and celebrities. There is a butler on every floor and the sumptuous bedrooms, many with park views, have the finest Irish linens and a menu for its goose-down pillows.

There are also two heavyweight dining options - the two-AA-rosette Bar Boulud from New York-based Daniel Boulud offering a contemporary French bistro menu; and two-Michelin-starred Dinner by food alchemist Heston Blumenthal, where the British dishes are based on recipes that date back as far as the 14th century, but with a twist.

The Mandarin Bar serves light snacks and cocktails and other facilities include a spa, swimming pool, meeting rooms and gilded ballroom for up to 650 guests. Guests apparently need permission from the Queen to use the Royal Entrance.

41. Coworth Park
Ascot, Berkshire
www.dorchestercollection.com
Number of bedrooms 70
AA rating Five stars
Owners Brunei Investment Agency
Operator Dorchester Collection
Rooms start at £305

Set in 240 acres of beautiful parkland, Coworth Park is the unstuffy sister to the Dorchester (5) in London.

Although it is an ideal getaway for adults, children are well cared for, too, with a kids' concierge to arrange activities. The hotel has a strong green policy, so local suppliers are a priority in the two-AA-rosette fine-dining restaurant in the main Georgian house and in the casual dining the Barn restaurant, located in a converted stable block. Former Roux scholar Adam Smith has just been appointed executive chef.

As well as the ubiquitous gym, tennis court, spa and swimming pool, there is also a polo equestrian centre, archery, laser clay pigeon shooting, falconry and duck herding on offer.

42. Barnsley House
Barnsley, Gloucestershire
www.barnsleyhouse.com
Number of bedrooms 18
AA rating Four red stars
Owner and operator The Calcot Collection
Rooms start at £200

This is a quintessential Cotswold country house set in gardens created by award-winning designer Rosemary Verey. The hotel was bought out of administration in 2009 by the Calcot Collection, which also runs Calcot Manor (20).

Children under 14 are not encouraged at this romantic retreat. Bedrooms are individually designed to be cosy but light and contemporary, include a Sky box with a choice of more than 300 channels, and there are two-storey suites and a private garden retreat with an open fire.

Mr & Mrs Smith say: "The owners have been on a mission to chuck out the chintz, but have done so with the utmost respect for original features."

Diners have the option of the Potager restaurant, which serves fresh, local produce and vegetables picked from the kitchen garden, or the nearby Village Pub, serving delicious food and ales with open fires and comfy seating. There is also a spa with a hydrotherapy pool.

43. Salcombe Harbour Hotel
Salcombe, South Devon
www.salcombe-harbour-hotel.co.uk
Number of bedrooms 50
AA rating Four stars
Owner Nicolas James Group
Operator Harbour Hotels
Rooms start at £215

This modern-looking hotel came under new ownership in 2013. Harbour Hotels invested £4m into the property to turn it into a chic seaside place to stay. Last year, James Ashton in the London Evening Standard's ES magazine said: "Since reopening after major renovations, under new ownership it has quickly become a go-to for foodies and spa-lovers hanging out at its private poolside cabanas."

Slap-bang on the estuary, many bedrooms have balconies overlooking the stunning views. They also come with luxurious extras, such as complimentary decanters of gin and sherry, touchscreen tablets and "balcony baskets" with a pair of binoculars and throws.

Chef Alex Aitken oversees the stylish Jetty restaurant, which makes the most of seafood. As well as the spa and pool, there is a function room and cinema. The company offers nearby self-catering villas and owns a further eight hotels, with more under way in Bristol, Southampton and Salcombe.

44. The Lanesborough
London SW1
www.lanesborough.com
Number of bedrooms 93
AA rating Five red stars
OwnerAbu Dhabi Investment Authority
Operator Oetker Collection
Rooms start at £490

One of the capital's swankiest hotels unveiled its £60m-plus facelift in July 2015. The 19-month refurbishment saw designer Alberto Pinto take the Grade-II listed building back to its shell and then meticulously restore its regency splendour.

There is a serious level of guest-pampering, including a 24-hour butler service. Dining options include Céleste, which serves gourmet cuisine from executive chef Florian Favario, and overseen by Éric Fréchon of the three-Michelin-starred Bristol hotel in Paris. There is also a spa and fitness studio as well as grand function suites.

The hotel has received multiple awards, which this year include receiving five stars from Forbes Travel Guide. Oetker Collection has operated the hotel since its reopening, marking its first foray into the UK for the management company which has nine luxury hotels worldwide.

45. Northcote
Langho, Lancashire
www.northcote.com
Number of bedrooms 26
AA rating Four red stars
Owners Richard and Lynda Matthewman, Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft
Operators Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft
Rooms start at £220

The bedrooms are certainly beautifully designed, but Northcote is more about the food than the rooms. High-profile chef-patron Nigel Haworth and managing director Craig Bancroft acquired a stake in the business in 1986 and bought it outright in 1989. They sold a majority share-holding in the hotel in 2012 to Richard and Lynda Matthewman, which has enabled a £7m expansion and refurbishment of the property.

From the beginning, Haworth has been raising the bar for cuisine across the north of England. In 1996, he won a Michelin star for his traditional Lancashire recipes and has retained it ever since. Foodies can eat in the restaurant or choose to book the chef's table, which doubles up as a cookery school.

Together with wine expert Bancroft, who has built up an award-winning cellar, they have put this small hotel in the Ribble Valley on the map, winning the Special Award at the 2009 Cateys.

46. Bodysgallen Hall
Llandudno
www.bodysgallen.com
Number of bedrooms 31
AA rating Four red stars
Owner National Trust
Operator Historic House Hotels
Rooms start at £230

Languishing in 200 acres of parkland, with views of Snowdonia, this 17th-century Grade-I listed country-house hotel had been owned by just one family until 1969 when it became a guest house.

It opened in its present form between 1981-83 after Historic House Hotels (HHH) bought and refurbished the property. In 2008, HHH, which also owns Hartwell House and Middlethorpe Hall hotels, became part of the National Trust.

This is a traditional, beautiful, antiques-filled country house hotel. There are 15 bedrooms and suites in the main house and 16 cottage suites in the grounds. A big draw is that guests can eat in the only three-AA-rosette restaurant in Llandudno, although there is also a casual bistro in a former coach house.

In an added coup, the chic spa, which has an indoor pool and gym, was this year named one of the UK's 20 best spa hotels by The Times.

47. Hotel Café Royal
London W1
www.hotelcaferoyal.com
Number of bedrooms 160
AA rating Five stars
Owner and operator The Set Hotels
Rooms start at £377

Café Royal started life as a restaurant and bar in 1865 and has been a fashionable haunt for writers, royalty and - more recently - rock stars since the original owners Daniel and Celestine Nicols opened it.

In its more recent history, the Crown Estate leased the property to the Set Hotels group. The Israeli-based company closed it in 2008 for a radical £200m restoration by David Chipperfield Architects. It reopened in 2012 with 160 contemporary bedrooms, including 54 suites and seven signature suites.

In-keeping with the venue's legacy, there is a dazzling array of restaurants and bars. These include the Café at Café Royal, which is the first dessert restaurant in London and is overseen by executive pastry chef Sarah Barber.

Among the other options are the opulent gilded Oscar Wilde bar - formerly the Grill Room - the Ten Room for all-day dining and the Green Bar - Botanicals & Tonics, all overseen by chef de cuisine, Armand Sablon. There is also a members' club, aimed at bringing together writers, artists and creatives once again, and a glamorous underground spa with a pool, gym and treatments.

48. The Beaumont
London W1
www.thebeaumont.com
Number of bedrooms 73
AA rating Five stars
Owner and operatorCorbin & King
Rooms start at
£392

Opening two years ago, this relatively new addition to the London five-star scene is the first hotel from legendary restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King.

The bedrooms in the 1926 building are art deco in style and although they vary in size, the AA Guide describes them as "deeply comfortable, with marble bathrooms and up-to-the-minute technology". The sumptuous décor continues into the public areas, which include the two-AA-rosette Colony Grill Room restaurant, American bar and residents' club lounge.

A unique aspect of the hotel is ROOM, which was commissioned from the Turner Prize-winning British sculptor Antony Gormley. This cuboid sculpture made of stainless steel and fumed oak is described by the hotel as looking "like a crouching figure, perched on part of the original building, but inside it is an unusual suite of rooms. Sculpture you can sleep in".

The Beaumont also has a small spa, meeting room, gym and hair salon.

49. The Savoy
London W1
www.fairmont.com
Number of bedrooms 268
AA rating Five red stars
Owner Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Lloyds Banking Group
Operator Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (owned by AccorHotels)
Rooms start at £416

The Savoy has been at the forefront of the London hotel scene since it opened in 1889 and its glamorous image has been nurtured by a series of hotel operators.

Most recently, in 2007, the hotel underwent a three-year £220m refurbishment, reopening in 2010, with much of its art deco and Edwardian heritage kept intact.

Fine dining has been an integral part of this formal hotel from the start, when world-renowned chef Auguste Escoffier set an unprecedented standard. Today Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill offers informal dining, while Gordon Ramsay's Savoy Grill offers a classic British Grill with a French touch. The legendary American Bar, along with the newer Beaufort Bar, are favourite meeting points for cocktails.

50. The Milestone Hotel
London W8
www.milestonehotel.com
Number of bedrooms 62
AA rating Five red stars
Owner and operator The Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Rooms start at £260

This boutique town house hotel is a mere sashay from Kensington Palace.

The 56 bedrooms are individually themed with antiques and artwork and come with extras such as fruit, cookies, chocolates, complimentary newspapers, the next day's weather forecast and up-to-the-minute technology. In addition, there are six apartments.

Public areas include the Park Lounge where afternoon tea is served, the split-level Stables Bar, a conservatory, the two-AA-rosette Cheneston's restaurant and a fully equipped, gym, resistance pool and spa treatment room.

This year, it has been voted into the Top 25 hotels in six categories in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Award, and awarded four stars by Forbes Travel Guide.

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