The best antiques-filled British hotels
We all know the holy grail of blending antiques with mod-cons at home, but hoteliers are getting savvy to this too. We book a stay at five eclectic places whose interiors are on point...
Artist Residence, Brighton, Bristol, London, Cornwall & Oxfordshire
Having already created a small dynasty of cosy boutique hotels (Brighton, London, Oxfordshire and Penzance) the latest location on the Artist Residence hit list is Bristol, with a brand new artisan escape due to open later on this year. The walls in every AR property are a talking point, and brand founders Justin and Charlotte Salisbury begin each project by collaborating with their favourite local and national artists, to create unique artworks for each space. They’re equally drawn to period properties, so create interiors that are sensitive to the building’s history, while still feeling welcoming and homely.
After ‘accidentally stumbling into hospitality’, the pair do things a little differently from larger hotel chains, and each venue is filled with unexpected surprises, whether that’s vintage headboards, antique signage, antler chandeliers, reclaimed flooring or quirky industrial furniture.
While prices vary from place to place, small rooms start from around £90 a night. We particularly love the decor in AR Brighton, the first acquisition and Justin’s erstwhile family B&B. Now extending across two Regency townhouses, the 24-bedroom space echoes the town’s creative, bohemian nature, with each room having large, expressive paintings, and furniture that spans the eras. Downstairs is chic too, with a buzzing restaurant and a trendy cocktail bar. artistresidence.co.uk
The Rectory Hotel, Wiltshire
Nestled in the heart of the Cotswolds in Crudwell, not far from Malmesbury, this former rectory to All Saints’ Church is classic to its core. The 15 spacious bedrooms in the main house (which previously housed the rector’s family of 14 children) are a study in soothing simplicity. As is the luxurious on-site cottage – with a further three bedrooms and self-catering facilities, it’s the ideal escape for families, plus, it’s right next to the inviting outdoor pool.
Each of the rooms in the main house is different, painted in soothing shades of sage and cream. Furnished with traditional George III furniture and contemporary artworks, they’re quite the space to unwind. And that’s not to mention the sweeping views through sash windows towards the town or countryside, or the ultra-swish en suite bathrooms, all of which offer deliciously botanical Bramley bath products. Prices start from £120 per night.
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Bedrooms aside, it’s the atmosphere of this hotel that’s really special – the breakfast set up in the elegant glasshouse sees scrubbed farmhouse tables piled high with wicker baskets of croissants, fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice, all the while offering breathtaking views towards the neatly pruned garden. For dinner, take your pick of hearty classics such as cod with potted shrimp butter and loin of fallow deer – delicious. therectoryhotel.com
The Talbot Malton, North Yorkshire
You may be familiar with Georgie and Sam Pearman from the famed Lucky Onion group of hotels and restaurants, including The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, and Cheltenham’s No. 131. With some of Britain’s most desirable boltholes already under their belts, and keen for new challenges, Georgie and Sam left the Lucky Onion in 2017, and set to work renovating The Talbot (part of their new hotel group Country Creatures), a 17th-century coaching inn in the foodie hotspot of Malton, North Yorkshire. Close to the Moors, and half an hour away from York, there’s plenty to explore in the local area.
The Talbot foundations date back to Roman times, while the cellars are replete with ancient windows, archways and mysterious blocked off alleys. It’s these historical roots that Georgie and Sam drew upon when designing the interiors, which are filled with traditional, rustic antiques. The restaurant is painted in rich, inky hues with mismatched tables and chairs, while the bar sports a quirky selection of antique taxidermy across the back wall. The 26 bedrooms take on a slightly different vibe – painted old furniture in shades of pink and green meet chintzy four-poster beds and sisal flooring – an Instagrammer’s delight. Prices start from £112 per night. talbotmalton.co.uk
Wolterton Park, Norfolk
A palatial, Grecian gem in the north Norfolk countryside, Wolterton Hall was built by Horatio Walpole – the brother of Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole – in 1727. The Hall quickly became a fashionable escape for Horatio’s friends and family – including his nephew, the writer Horace Walpole, who designed and built gothic triumph Strawberry Hill.
The estate was bought in 2016 by design duo Peter Sheppard and Keith Day who, with their shared passion for period properties and antiques, sought to restore the estate to its former glory so that guests could enjoy the blissful buildings and grounds. Visitors currently have the choice of four unique spaces – The East Wing of Wolterton Hall (from £2,589 for a three-night stay) houses 14 guests in seven bedrooms. With sweeping views out towards the lake, this part of the main house is decorated in traditional Regency style with antique furniture, rugs and Old Master paintings. For a more contemporary stay, the 18th-century Steward’s House (from £515 for three nights) is a comfortable, relaxed space that sleeps six, and is filled with antiques. There’s also the elegant Garden House (from £550 for three nights) that sleeps six and offers unrivalled views of the walled garden. Lastly, couples can choose The Treasury – a cosy nook that once housed Lord Walpole’s accounts and cash (from £376 for three nights). woltertonpark.co.uk
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