Were you meant to be in Majorca right about now? Was your Vegas escape a write-off? Whatever the foreign escapades you had in mind for this year were, it’s certain the pandemic has complicated things. Still, Britons stuck at home this year can at least pretend they’ve made it further afield by visiting cleverly conceived British hotels that draw inspiration from our favourite foreign destinations. You might be confined to our closed-off island for now, but bunking down in these great British boltholes will at least provide a reminder of the wonders that will await when we can again explore the whole wide world.
The Prince Akatoki, London
The Prince Akatoki – the Japanese brand Prince Hotels’ first European property – is tastefully imbued with representations of the Far East nation that extend from the decorative to the experiential. From corridor carpets threaded with cherry blossom to the bedrooms’ Japanese tea sets and yukuta (robes likened to casual kimonos), there are ample interesting details which every guest can admire. True Japanophiles, meanwhile, can engage further by sampling rare Japanese whiskies at handsome The Malt Lounge; undertaking a masterclass in ikebana flower arranging; or learning to make sushi properly with the chefs at restaurant TOKii.
Read the full review: Prince Akatoki
Le Monde, Edinburgh
Schepping from one of Le Monde’s 18 bedrooms to another is the closest you’re likely to get to a round-the-world trip these days: each one is named after and conveys a different international city. Casablanca is a warm, earth-toned suite embellished with Moroccan furniture and decorative panelling. Spend the night in Los Angeles, where portraits of Tinseltown stars hang from the walls, and you’ll slumber by your very own Hollywood sign. Other rooms draw inspiration from the likes of Reykjavik and Berlin.
The Brooklyn, Manchester
The DNA and dynamism of Brooklyn is so comprehensively integrated into this hotel that they even named the place after New York City’s famed hipster borough. While some of those nods will fly over most guests’ heads – what do you mean you hadn’t realised Runyon’s Restaurant was named after Prohibition-era newspaperman Damon Runyon? – most visitors will appreciate cute touches such as staff uniforms inspired by Thirties to Fifties New York; screenings of 1940s American films and hefty American breakfasts featuring chunky bagels and stacks of pancakes.
Read the full review: Hotel Brooklyn
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
As “maitre de maison”, French chef Raymond Blanc’s “passion permeates through our hotel” says Belmond. In practice, that means French flair and flourishes are found everywhere, from France-inspired bedrooms that resemble a decadent boudoir, grand chateau or provincial retreat, to an orchard housing 600 heritage fruit trees from Blanc’s home region of Franche-Comte. If you can ignore the food and excellent French wines for a moment, note the art in dining room La Bourgogne too. The original works by Margaret Loxton depict traditional scenes of life in Burgundy.
Read the full review: Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
Baglioni Hotel London
The sole British outpost from Italy’s Baglioni Hotels & Resorts, this Kensington property is committed to showcasing Italian style before guests even step through the door – airport transfers are by the hotel’s top-of-the-range Maserati. In situ, design aficionados will appreciate features including Murano glass chandeliers and Italian-made armchairs, while everyone will be able to enjoy the quality on offer at Italian restaurant Brunello, which is inspired by Milanese trattorias of the 1950s.
Read the full review: Baglioni London
Rhinefield House Hotel, the New Forest
At first glance another imposing English stately home turned grand hotel, Rhinefield House’s Gothic and Tudor grandeur gives way to Moorish majesty within its Alhambra Room, a jewel-encrusted replica of Granada’s Alhambra Palace commissioned as a gift for her husband by original lady of the house Mabel Walker-Munro. Then his smoking room and today available for hire as a private-dining venue, this gilded treasure chest is awash with intricate detail. Over afternoon tea or dinner, look out for its onyx pillars from Persia, hand-cut wall tiles and the subtle religious inscriptions laced on beaten copper walls.
Read the full review: Rhinefield House Hotel
Port Lympne Hotel & Reserve, Kent
Kent’s climate may differ from that of the continent’s savannahs, but Port Lympne’s 600-acre grounds do teem with 900 or so animals (across 75 species) more commonly seen throughout Africa. On safaris through the grounds, guests might encounter free-roaming zebra, wildebeest, Rothschild giraffes and black rhino. Creature comforts are done differently in terms of accommodation too, with Manhattan loft-style Lion Lodges set within a lion habitat and timber-clad camping pods encased by forest.
Read the full review: Port Lympne
Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, London
Indian hospitality group Taj Hotels’ UK flagship, Taj 51 Buckingham Gate integrates the lustre of India throughout the property. Take its afternoon tea, featuring salty caramel lassi, chicken tikka with spiced paneer bhurjee puffs, and scones served with mango compote. Michelin-starred for 13 years straight, Quilon serves authentic south-west coastal Indian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood. Indian influences extend to the inventory, with the hotel’s best abode the colourful Cinema Suite. A tribute to India’s thriving film industry, it is decorated with rare Bollywood film prints, portraits of adored actors and antique embroidered Indian lamps.
Read the full review: Taj 51 Buckingham Gate
Hotel Portmeirion, Wales
Facing the Dwyryd Estuary in Snowdonia, from a certain vantage point the Hotel Portmeirion couldn’t be more Welsh. Pan out, however, and you’ll find that this 14-bedroom property is enveloped by one of the country’s most curious tourist attractions: Portmeirion, a striking Italianate village on its own private peninsula. Originally an early Victorian villa that was converted into a hotel, the listed property is itself low on authentic Italian features, but the colourful buildings around it could have come straight from a Portofino picture book – Portmeirion’s designer used the Italian Riviera fishing village as inspiration for this little Welsh wonder.
Read the full review: Hotel Portmeirion
Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London
Within the Shard skyscraper and encased by floor-to-ceiling windows, London’s Shangri-La Hotel is undeniably a showcase for the capital, but its new Escapism Inspiration package aims to transport guests to holiday destinations a touch further flung. In collaboration with proposal and wedding planners The Proposers, the hotel can transform its bedrooms and suites into representations of glamorous getaways the world over. An approximation of Paris, for example, might see a candlelit carpet of rose petals lead to a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Of course, a suitably evocative soundtrack and appropriate snacks and drinks are provided to set the mood further still.
Read the full review: Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard