In and out: Relaxers and explorers alike, there’s a hotel for you
There are two types of people in this world. Those that like to hunker down on a sun lounger for two weeks with nothing but a good book and a breakfast buffet to navigate and those that draw up a minute by minute itinerary the second the flight confirmation email comes through.
We’re not here to pass judgment on how you like to holiday, however, which is why we’ve rounded up six destinations to suit everyone’s needs. So, should you stay, or should you go?
WORLD OF WELLNESS – Wellness & Wellbeing at Puente Romano, Marbella
What immediately strikes you as you take a casual stroll around the luxurious Puento Romano mini-village is that you never have to leave. Had we had our way, we’d still be there. By day, you can take in the outdoor pools or one of the finest spas we’ve enjoyed, where giant white slabs provide a footpath that’s otherwise submerged underwater. Sounds luxurious? Oh, it is. Or you can realise just how hard tennis is as you ‘enjoy’ a lesson at the sports club. The food provided the most pleasant surprise. Yes, there’s a Nobu, but the man-of-the-match champagne went to the Sea Grill, where the fish was so lip-smackingly fresh, you practically got the bends. However, Puente Romano should come with a warning: upon landing in London, you will have to return to normal life.
GREEN GETAWAY – Aqua Sana, various
We enjoyed the leafy Nottingham site, which is as close to the Ewok village from Return of the Jedi as you’ll ever find. Treetop sauna? Yes please. Spanning two floors, you’ll never want to leave; given there are designated sleep pods, you can actually stay longer than at most spas (where it can feel like you’re being ushered towards the exit once your treatment is up). We tied it to a stay at Centre Parcs Sherwood for maximum alone time.
FIT FOR A QUEEN – Amberley Castle, Arundel
The sort of place to take a partner, and never leave the grounds. The food and 12th century dining room will have you asking why on earth you’d want to venture to anywhere else, while the 18-hole putting green is a hoot regardless of ability. With tennis courts and a croquet lawn, Amberley is perfect for the warmer months, while 12-
acres of picturesque gardens are perfect for a postprandial stroll. And, yes, you should hold hands.
GREAT OUTDOORS – Gliffaes Hotel, Brecon Beacons, Wales
Yes, there’s plenty to do within the hotel grounds, especially if you’re keen to try fishing. However, with the Welsh wonder that is the Brecon Beacons on your doorstep, you’d be a gosh-darn fool to not go off exploring. There’s hiking, horse-trekking, water sports and all the other things you’ve previously promised to do again, but never quite got round to.
NATURE CALLS – Woodman’s Hut, Nethy Bridge, Scotland
Enjoy the freeform fun of Cub or Brownie camp, minus rain seeping into your tent. That’s because you stay in a beautiful eco-cabin, your base camp for exploring the natural beauty of Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Given how blissfully alone you feel, this makes for a picturesque spot to meditate, while there’s no better way to drift off to sleep thanks to the stargazer window.
A TRUE ORIGINAL – Brown’s, London
If you’re going to stay in London, do it in style at the iconic Brown’s, the oldest hotel in the city. Situated in magical Mayfair, the location is perfect for a walk to Theatreland and beyond. We went to super-cool Kiln in Soho for Thai food, with the balmy London air making for a dreamy stroll back. Brown’s also specialises in wellness – we were put through our paces by the in-house personal trainer (our hand is still throbbing from one mid-work-out high-five), while the treatments on offer will salve any spiritual wounds. We opted for the Ayurvedic massage (£100 for 50 minutes), which helped relieve stress and tension. And do take a moment to soak in Brown’s; much like Gareth Southgate’s waistcoat, it’s smart, traditional-yet-modern and makes you surprisingly proud to be English.