England and Wales offer visitors many choices in luxury-standard accommodations. Ancestral castles and vintage homes are grand hotels, and modern hotels incorporate every comfort and convenience. There are sophisticated city jewels, as well as exclusive country retreats designed to restore the spirit. Yet English and Welsh hospitality does not forget that even in the most elegant setting, simple pleasures matter.
Claridge's, London, England
Claridge’s is at the heart of London’s fashionable Mayfair district. This five-star hotel has over 100 years of history as the home away from home of distinguished guests. Mayfair’s designer stores, art galleries and museums, Green Park and Hyde Park are area attractions. The hotel’s Art Deco décor originated in the 1920s. Individual designer rooms and suites offer every luxury, including en-suite marble bathrooms. Suites have one or two bedrooms, butler service and many amenities. Reservations are essential for dining at Gordon Ramsay’s at Claridge’s or for wine dinners. Afternoon tea is a pleasurable highlight at Claridge’s. It’s a very English tradition of pastries, finger sandwiches, savories, scones, Devonshire clotted cream and teas.
The Castle at Taunton, Somerset, England
The Castle at Taunton in Somerset offers a fine balance of luxury and comfort in individually decorated rooms and suites with thoughtful amenities, like home-made butter cookies. The Garden Rooms overlook the 12th-century castle keep and moat. The Penthouse Suite at the top has its own kitchen and is ideal for private dinner parties. The Castle Restaurant’s extensive seafood and game menu is locally sourced, including specially grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. Drop by the Castle Bow bar for cocktails, coffee, light lunch or cream tea. The BRAZZ Brasserie-Bar-Café’s informal menu includes fish cakes and local beer.
The St. David's Hotel & Spa, Cardiff, Wales
Rooms and suites at the five-star St. David’s Hotel & Spa overlook scenic Cardiff Bay. Interconnecting Deluxe Master Suites occupy the top three floors. Floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies grace the junior suites. Local produce features in all St. David’s menus. The Tides Grill offers steaks and ocean specialties served with your choice of wines. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner plus the view at The Tides Grill. The Tides Terrace is an inviting place for afternoon tea, with scones, fresh cream and sandwiches. Al fresco dining is an option. At The Marine Spa, Pamper Days are all-day spa packages that include a gym workout, a dip in the pool and a three-course lunch, plus selected pampering treatments.
Ynyshir Hall, Powys, Wales
England’s Queen Victoria once owned serene Ynyshir Hall, a luxury-standard hotel set in 14 acres of gardens in Powys, the largest county in Wales. Ynyshir Hall’s nine distinctive rooms reflect the styles of famous artists, blending contemporary and traditional furnishings and rich colors. The Monet Garden Suite, for example, looks out over the gardens through a conservatory sitting room decorated in dark blues and gold. The cream marble bathroom accommodates a large bathtub for luxurious soaking. In the Matisse Suite, fuschia pink and soft jade green are the predominant colors, and even the bathroom features pale pink marble. Fine dining at the restaurant spotlights a wide array of local lobster, crab, shrimp and wild salmon, venison and wild game, as well as the specialty, Welsh Muntain Lamb. Ynyshir Hall is available for exclusive use.
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