ccording to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the earliest date from which hotels can open for overnight stays in England is 17 May, meaning hotel trips could be back on the cards.
This, and the news that mixing, with continued social distancing, subject to the rule of six or two-household limit will also be possible from the same date, means that hotels are gearing up to open their doors again, providing lockdown restrictions continue to ease. Given the ever-changing situation, it’s worth checking the hotel’s policy on cancellations (due to a change in government guidance, or personal Covid-related circumstances) as most are offering rebooking or refund options.
The good news is there are plenty of exciting new properties to choose from. Here are nine of the best…
The Harper, Langham, Norfolk
This boutique newbie in a quaint village a short drive from the unspoilt beaches of Norfolk’s Champagne Coast, slated for a 17 May opening, ticks off both countryside and coast. A glass factory reimagined as a 32-room hotel, the hotel has artfully designed rooms that channel modern rural with oak flooring, cube-look four poster beds, eco-friendly Buffy bedding and cocktails in the mini bar.
As well as an indoor pool, sauna, steam room and two treatment rooms, hangout spots include laid-back lounge area Ivy’s – which has comfy sofas, Enomatic wine fridges and a flickering wood-burning stove – and a Den area with pool table and film projector. Stanley’s restaurant will offer “fine dining without the frippery”, while BBQ feasts will be served at outdoor joint The Yard. Guests can borrow a bike from the hotel’s fleet to explore, or walk one of the “Harper Hikes” – routes which combine pastoral scenery with the best pub stop-offs.
Rooms from £175 including minibar and B&B
Also set to open on 17 May is The Double Red Duke, a 17th-century coaching inn with 19 cheery rooms. Transformed by hospitality whizzes Georgie and Sam Pearman, it’s the latest addition to the Country Creatures portfolio (which includes The Chequers in Churchill and The Swan in Ascott-under-Wychwood) and is set to be another Cotswolds charmer.
Cosy and contemporary, the hotel has a warren of lounges with log fires and deep leather arm chairs that rub up against bedrooms with original ceiling beams, Roberts radios and one-off furniture ferreted out at flea markets. At The Dining Room, a meaty menu masterminded by Hawksmoor founder Richard Turner, Sam Pearman and Head Chef Richard Sandiford will centre on open-fire cooking, and diners can expect the likes of milk and honey lamb chops with Spenwood slaw and serious Sunday lunches served with duck fat potatoes, signature Bloody Marys, and sticky toffee pud for afters.
Rooms from £120, B&B
The Bodmin Jail Hotel, Cornwall
Fresh from a £60m investment, this former jail at the edge of Bodmin Moor, which dates back to 1779, has been converted into a four-star, 70-room hotel set to open on 17 May. History buffs will be fascinated by its past, having served as a debtors’ prison, and it housed the Crown Jewels in its time.
After standing derelict for some 100 years, the hotel has cells-turned-bedrooms that combine original doors and weathered stone walls with swish bedding and walk-in showers or luxe freestanding bathtubs. Dining options will include gothic-feel Chapel Restaurant, the more relaxed Jolly Hangman Tavern and The Chapel Bar, which will have an 100-strong gin list. The wilds of the moor, pretty fishing port Padstow and plenty of beaches are close by, plus the brand new, immersive Bodmin Jail Experience is just next door.
Rooms from £150, B&B
For its first outpost outside the USA, NoMad has transformed the storied, grade-II-listed Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station in London’s West End into a 91-room hotel, which will open on 25 May. Known for their fashionable New York LA and Las Vegas properties, NoMad have collaborated with NYC-based interiors gurus Roman and Williams to create high drama, elegant design.
Rooms have hardwood floors, gilded touches and marble mosaic tiled bathrooms, and the largest have clawfoot tubs. Nomad Restaurant and Bar, housed in a three-storey, glass-ceilinged atrium with intricate topiary, will have a romantic garden feel, while Side Hustle will be more of a casual pub (with a killer selection of agave-based spirits), and subterranean bar Common Decency will serve craft cocktails by renowned mixologist Leo Robitschek.
Rooms from £455, room-only
Selina Camden, London
For a more affordable London crashpad, flashpacker favourite Selina is poised to open in Camden, London, on 17 May. Just opposite legendary gig venue The Roundhouse, 30 suites ranging from micro rooms through to four-person family digs and spacious lofts, will have funky, bohemian design by Ieva Bartkeviciute.
Jazzy geometric wallpaper, fringed carpets and lampshades, and corridors with music-themed artwork riff on Camden’s musical heritage and vibrant street art. There’s also an onsite movie room, basement bar and guests can bring well-behaved pets along too. The property’s vegan restaurant Powerplant, offering plant-based dishes including pan fried dumplings with miso glazed aubergine and tofu and avocado poke bowls, hopes to open on 12 April for kerbside dining.
Rooms £119, room only
Adding a hit of arty pizazz to Blackpool’s famed seafront from 17 May, each of the 18 rooms at this classic Victorian hotel has been transformed by a specially commissioned artist. It’s a riot of mirrors, funfair-inspired signage and heady imagination: guests can slumber in the likes of a playful installation by Mark McClure – made from touch-sensitive light panels inspired by Blackpool’s rollercoasters and illuminations; snooze surrounded by Jez Dolan’s artwork – themed around queerness and sexuality; or fall asleep to a hypnotic soundscape imagined by dancer Louise Ahl. There’s also a cafe and cocktail bar, live performance art space and the hotel’s profits will be reinvested into local arts projects.
Rooms from £129 a night, room only
Another new arty abode, which is hoping to open on 21 June, is the fifth opening from Artist Residence in Bristol’s Portland Square. Taking over an old boot factory and Georgian townhouse, the latest from hit hoteliers Justin and Charlotte Salisbury stays true to quirky form with 23 unique bedrooms, including a spectacular two-floor Lookout in the eaves with its own terrace.
Each contains handpicked furniture, reclaimed materials and impressive art by the likes of Bristolian artist Rose Vickers; alongside pieces by Andy Doig and Pure Evil. Coffee and cocktails will be served in an industrial-look Clubhouse space which has a lounge, basement bar and terrace garden. Creative hub Stokes Croft and Cabot Circus’ shops are a five minute walk away.
Rooms from £120, room-only
Another hot West Country opening set to hit central Bath come 1 June is this boutique hotel with 14 rooms centred around a courtyard. The brainchild of first-time hoteliers Esther Newman and Ed Haskins, the hotel has bedrooms with calm colour palettes, natural fibres, Lewis & Wood wallpapers, cushions and throws by Bath-based Katherine Fraser and furniture made in sustainably sourced hardwoods by Scumble Goosie.
All have Nespresso machines, rainfall showers, king-size beds and REN toiletries, and about half the rooms are family-friendly, with space to request a cot or child’s bed. There will be a laid-back lounge for coffees by day and glasses of wine by night. Breakfast hampers packed with Hobbs House pastries, homemade granola and freshly-squeezed orange juice will be delivered to guests’ rooms each morning or can be enjoyed downstairs, at a pre-booked table.
Rooms from £95 including breakfast hamper
The Star, Alfriston
The Star marks the first joint venture between mother-daughter duo Olga – behind much-loved boltholes Hotel Endsleigh and Hotel Tresanton – and Alex Polizzi, TV’s Hotel Inspector. A true family affair, The Star is a Grade II-listed 15th-century inn in pretty medieval village Alfriston – not far from Lewes in Sussex – which was once owned by Olga’s father, Lord Forte.
After a sensitive renovation, the 30-room property will mix original features with Olga’s heavyweight design know-how: think interiors with a mish-mash of local antiques, Richard Smith wallpaper, vibrant colour pops and Julian Chichester furniture. Relaxed all-day dining at the Inn, under oak beams by an open fire, and a main courtyard restaurant will be overseen by Head Chef Tim Kensett (ex-The Fife Arms).
Rooms from £190, B&B; book from April