UK lockdown partially ends: eight of the best luxury experiences now available
Why not treat yourself to one of these indulgent experiences?
While the hospitality industry may not return to full capacity until May, some of the UK’s most glamorous spaces have flexed their creative muscles to give us that longed-for luxury hit from Monday 12 April. Here, Lysanne Currie rounds up eight we’re itching to visit, all of which are open now.
AL FRESCO DINING IN CHELSEA
Hans’ Bar & Grill at 11 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London
Situated in one of the swankiest hotels in the heart of old Chelsea, Hans’ Bar & Grill all-day dining restaurant is an al fresco affair – the restaurant terrace faces the picturesque Pavilion Road, the celebrated village neighbourhood located off a bustling Sloane Square, populated by artisanal shops and food suppliers (and where the likes of Prada, Chanel, Tiffany’s, and Hermes are but a stone’s throw away).
Chocoholics should note the restaurant is named after Hans Sloane, the man famous for bringing cocoa to Britain – and appropriately, the menu features a selection of scrumptious chocolate desserts.
GORGEOUS GEORGIAN STYLE
The Gainsborough Bath Spa Presents The Townhouse Experience
Fancy a dip? You couldn’t do better than immersing yourself in the thermal waters of the historic Cross Bath. Located in Bath Street, in Bath (the clue’s very much in the name) this historic bathing pool was once a sacred site where Celts revered the Goddess Sulis, and is famed for its supposed healing powers.
It’s now available for private use for those checking into the luxurious Gainsborough Townhouse, two minutes’ walk from the five-star Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel, in the centre of the city. With its fabulous Roman columns, serene surroundings and natural light streaming in from the glass roof atrium, the Cross Bath is the perfect way to wash those lockdown stresses away.
BUCOLIC BEAUTY BY THE THAMES
Spring Cottage, Cliveden House, Berkshire
Guaranteed to blow away post-lockdown cobwebs, this is a historic, three-bedroom cottage located on the banks of the Thames amid gorgeous English countryside. Part of the Cliveden House Hotel (where Meghan Markle stayed the night before her wedding), it’s a private, cosy affair, and famously the place in which Kenneth Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willows in 1908. It’s easy to imagine yourself drifting down the river on a boat with Mole and Ratty as sweet breezes play in the air, to an accompaniment of birdsong.
The Astor Grill, Cliveden House, Berkshire
Cliveden House itself was once a jumping social hub at which everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw wined and dined. Situated at the former stable block where Lord Astor once housed his horses is Astor Grill, the perfect place for laid-back al fresco dining.
Offering up a blend of British and American fare, the menu includes such mouthwatering delights as Chili & Lime Crushed Avocado with Poached Duck, Miso & Sesame Glazed Pumpkin, with Asian Slaw, and the eponymous Astor Burger, with Smoked Cheddar and Bacon.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
Amid the treetops above a valley on the edge of the New Forest National Park lies one of the most unique hotel experiences in the British Isles. Chewton Glen, in the heart of Hampshire, has transformed its 14 luxury, secluded Treehouse Suites into dreamy self-catering spaces for the ultimate country escape.
These breathtakingly beautiful suites, hovering some 35 feet above ground, have large outside terraces, hot tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows affording spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. However, those wishing to play Tarzan and Jane won’t have to catch their own food: dishes, including cheese soufflé and picnic hampers with foraged jams and honey are brought directly to the treehouse doors.
The Lygon Arms, Gloucestershire
They call the fare at the Lygon Bar & Grill “a celebration of all things Cotswold” and the seasonal menu - curated by Head Chef Ales Maurer, who’s formed connections with local suppliers, farmers and artisans - uses local ingredients, from the North Cotswold ale battered cod and chips, to the Cotswolds white chicken, with wild mushrooms and tarragon jus. And you’ll be able to enjoy it in the serene outdoor courtyard which transports you back in time to its incarnation as 15th century coaching inn. It’s just as welcome a refuge today.
A HEAVENLY SPA
Rockliffe Hall, Durham
A 20-metre long swimming pool, a spacious Hydro pool, and an Infrared Room are just some of the relaxing delights awaiting guests at the Rockliffe Hall Spa, in County Durham. Now that spa days are open again, let the skilled therapists work on everything from pressure points to breath work; treatments include massages, manicures, scrubs and wraps. There’s a heavenly Spa Garden too, offering hydrotherapy massage amid the divine 365-acre estate. Alternatively, just lounging around on heated tile loungers or relaxing day beds is equally valid.
A ROYAL RIVERSIDE RETREAT
The Mitre, Hampton Court
Sitting on the banks of the Thames, The Mitre was originally commissioned in 1665 by Charles II, who needed to house the overspill of courtiers who couldn’t fit into Hampton Court Palace across the road. (Must have been a lot of courtiers.) Then, as now, this stunningly renovated riverside retreat with its outdoor kitchen and Parisian-style furniture makes the perfect location to enjoy a crisp, cold glass of pale pink nectar from its Whispering Angel outdoor bar before heading for a spot of long awaited al fresco dining.