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Make up for lost time with a visit to some of the UK’s most exciting hotel openings.
By Kim Ayling | August 12 2021
With the UK government finally relaxing travel restrictions, fully vaxxed US visitors are finally able to enter the country for a long-awaited vacation without the need to quarantine on arrival. To celebrate, we’re sharing the best new UK hotels that have opened since the country closed its doors.
Despite the UK’s struggle with Covid-19 and the several national lockdowns implemented as a result, its hospitality scene sprung back remarkably well with a host of new restaurants, bars and hotels cropping up across London and beyond in order to cater for the growing demand from domestic ‘staycations’. After all, they do say that crisis breeds innovation.
To ensure your first visit back to our friends over the Atlantic is as ahead of the trend as ever, see our guide to the best new UK hotels that you have to visit.
Having opened in December 2020, the Mayfair Townhouse is aiming to deliver a new level of vibrant style to one of London’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Thanks to design house Goddard Littlefair, what was previously a lifeless Hilton has been transformed into a quirky yet tasteful celebration of the dandy.
Mayfair Townhouse occupies an impressive 15 of the iconic houses on Half Moon Street – not that you’d be able to tell from the hotel’s unassuming exterior. Inside, the 172 guestrooms are artfully spread throughout the conjoining townhouses, giving the impression of a snaking rabbit’s warren. A theatrical bar with all-day dining and a bespoke cocktail menu complete the offering.
Having caused a stir in the US since its first opening in NYC in 2012, cult hotel brand NoMad has branched out with its first UK hotel. NoMad London finally opened its doors in May 2021 and has quickly become a go-to for discerning travelers looking for a chic city break.
Occupying a former courthouse (that saw the likes of Oscar Wilde, Emmeline Pankhurst and the infamous Kray twins stand trial) in the bustling Covent Garden, the hotel is brimming with history. New York-based design studio Roman and Williams has captured the building’s storied past, while simultaneously elevating it to match the impeccable NoMad standards. Rooms are chic and comfortable, even by London standards, but it is the glass-roofed three-story atrium of the main restaurant that is the real highlight.
Journey along the River Thames just a few miles west of central London and you’ll stumble across the Mitre Hampton Court, a sumptuous boutique hotel that feels a world away from the bustle of the capital. As seems to be the trend with all of the best UK hotels, showcasing the building’s history takes center stage at The Mitre, whose building dates back to 1665 and once played host to guests of King Charles II. Rumor has it there are even secret tunnels into the neighboring Hampton Court Palace.
The hotel’s artfully designed top suite is named after one of the British monarchy’s most infamous members, Henry VIII, with the décor just as bold as the man himself. On the dining front, The Mitre has a casual bar and an inviting brasserie-style restaurant, as well an alfresco terrace on the banks of the Thames.
With Covid-19 making crowds less than desirable, more and more travelers are seeking space and seclusion. If you count yourself as one of the latter, look no further than the Ardfin Estate for your first post-pandemic trip to the UK.
Located on the impossibly beautiful Isle of Jura on Scotland’s west coast, the 12,00–acre Ardfin Estate is home to a splendid hotel with 13 guest rooms, a ten-room historic house available for exclusive hire only, and a Bob Harrison-designed golf course which is quickly garnering a reputation as one of the best in the world.
The entire estate has been lovingly restored over the course of ten years to showcase its long history as well as celebrate the raw wilderness of Jura, putting it straight to the top of our must-visit list.
Having first opened in the blissfully Covid-19 free summer of 2019, The Newt in Somerset’s first few years admittedly hasn’t been plain sailing. But having emerged from the UK’s many lockdowns unscathed, the super-luxe countryside hotel has now opened a brand-new offshoot in the estate’s old dairy.
The Farmhouse at The Newt retains all the rustic charm of the original hotel with exposed wooden beams, roaring fires and cozy nooks aplenty. As with the main house, each of the 17 new rooms has been individually designed with a focus on British materials and craft. As well as access to the rest of the sprawling estate (which includes woodlands, a treetop walkway, a bee museum and a farm shop), guests can enjoy the barn’s indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, snug, bar and games room.
While The Beaumont isn’t strictly new, its comprehensive refurbishment that took place over the past eighteen months warrants its spot on our round-up of the best new hotels in the UK. The hotel has benefitted from a redesign of the majority of its public spaces at the hands of New York designer, Thierry Despont, with the addition of some completely new areas. Described as a ‘gentle evolution’ rather than a complete overhaul, the new-look Beaumont oozes both comfort and sophistication.
The hotel’s rooms have also received some attention in the revamp. The all-new Mayfair Suite takes inspiration from the hotel’s Art Deco style, with a warm color scheme and custom-made furniture throughout. The new suite also boasts a large sitting area ideal for a workcation to suit the needs of the post-pandemic traveler.
Fonab Castle Hotel and Spa is another destination that despite not being brand spanking new, has taken advantage of lockdown-induced closures to undergo a serious multi-million-dollar refurb. The redesign extended across much of the hotel’s communal areas: the reception has been extended and redesigned, a double story extension has been added to the brasserie restaurant, and the lounge space has benefitted from a brand-new balcony, elevating this Scottish loch-side hotel to unrecognizable levels of luxury.
Elsewhere in the hotel, the Castle Penthouse has had a full redesign, while the three AA Rosette-winning Sandeman’s Restaurant has benefitted from the creative eye of the hotel owners with an all-new color scheme. The adjoining spa is now in the final stages of a refurb with a brand new gym and treatment rooms in progress.