Pack your things – The Good Hotel Guide has revealed its 47th annual list of 12 César winners
Swish staycations await. The Good Hotel Guide has just revealed the winners of its 12 César Awards.
This year’s César winners include a historic capital city hotel with a resident cat, a former harbourmaster’s house in Wales, a glassworks-turned-boutique hotel in Norfolk, a Grade II Jacobean manor house in Kent that boasts fireplace panelling from Windsor Castle plus a spectacularly secluded Scottish stay with direct footpath access to its own private cove (and the hotel itself provided inspiration for The 39 Steps).
A working farm in Ireland, a pub in England’s smallest county and properties in Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) and a National Park also made the coveted 12.
The 12 latest Césars (which are named after the famous Swiss hotelier César Ritz) are given to the hotels, inns and B&Bs considered outstanding in their particular category – resulting in a “must go” list of places to stay for those planning weekend breaks and holidays in Great Britain and Ireland.
For those not familiar with the awards, The Good Hotel Guide has been going strong for 45 years and is the only truly independent hotel guide in the United Kingdom – properties can’t purchase their way into print and their inspectors cannot accept free hospitality in return for coverage.
The latest version of The Good Hotel Guide: Great Britain & Ireland is now available to view online, featuring more than 700 hotels to lust over, including 73 new entries.
Best country hotel: The Retreat at Elcot Park, Newbury, Berkshire
A fraction of the price of many traditional country-house hotels, The Retreat at Elcot Park offers bedrooms with a modern English feel, a pool, a spa and an overall relaxed, fun air. Yu, the pan-Asian restaurant is not to be missed.
Best city hotel: The Rookery, Clerkenwell, London
Spot Bagheera the cat snoozing by the fire and enjoy rooms with mahogany panelling in this homage to yesteryear that’s hidden down a narrow lane near Smithfield market. Expect modern touches too, such as 24-hour room service.
Best B&B: Dorset House, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Lyn and Jason Martin describe their B&B as ‘breakfast with rooms’ and given the morning menu (think honey-baked figs with rose-scented ricotta) it’s obvious why at this Georgian house with smart and uncluttered rooms.
Best pub with rooms: The Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire
On the River Hodder, in the Forest of Bowland, this manor house comes with flagged floors, open fires, impressive food from chef Jamie Cadman and a cheery welcome from third-generation members of the Bowman family.
Best Hotel in the South of England: Boys Hall, Willesborough, Kent
Kirstie and Brad Lomas opened the doors of this 17th-century manor and Grade II listed building in 2023, where the bedrooms are better than in many top hotels. Food is a highlight, with traditional dishes served differently.
Best Hotel in the South West of England: Plumber Manor, Dorset
A country-house hotel with a heart, Plumber Manor is run by the Prideaux-Brunes, who treat their guests as family. Richard and his wife Alison host, while brother Brian cooks. Traditional interiors are filled with antiques and artwork.
Best Hotel East Anglia: The Harper, Langham, Norfolk
Former home of Langham Glass, The Harper has glass animals in reception and stained-glass windows in public rooms. Relaxed and refined, it has artfully mismatched furniture, rustic-chic bedrooms and complimentary cocktails.
Best Hotel Midlands: The Olive Branch & Beech House, Clipsham, Rutland
A trio of farm labourers’ cottages house a gastro pub, a shop and a wine store. Rooms are over the road in Beech House and are food-themed. Choose Berry for its gardens and autumnal colours or Double Cream for its antique bed.
Best Hotel in the North of England: Hazel Bank, Borrowdale. Cumbria
Fantastic food, good wine, stylish bedrooms and Lake District walks from the doorstep mean Hazel Bank ticks all the right boxes for a country-house hotel. Bedrooms have views across the valleys and the fells, with Scafell Pike in sight.
Best Hotel in Scotland: Knockinaam, Portpatrick, Dumfries & Galloway
Enjoying a knock-out position on a private cove where the road ends and the Irish Sea begins, Knockinaam charms guests with its unstuffy, relaxed air. The views are superb and the food is a daily changing menu of local specialities.
Best Hotel in Wales: Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron
Named after different historic sailing ships, the maritime-themed rooms in the former harbourmaster’s house all have sea views; the top-floor suite is particularly sought after. There are plenty of local specialities in the restaurant.
Best Hotel in Ireland: Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, County Cork
Foodies flock to this legendary hotel set on a 300-acre working farm, which comes with a cookery school, café and shop. Opened 60 years ago by the late Myrtle Allen, it is still family-run today.