by Stella Magazine writers, The Telegraph, February 15, 2019
These hotels are close to all the retail action – but perfect for post-spree relaxation.
The Balmoral, Edinburgh
Best for… all-out grandeur
The low-down: From its kilted doormen to its heather tartan upholstery, this landmark hotel is a love letter to Scotland. For shoppers, it’s as central as they come – a three-minute walk from Jenners (the Harrods of Scotland) and four minutes from Harvey Nichols. Take high tea at the Palm Court, complete with striking Venetian chandelier and a harpist. If you’ve room for more, book a table at Brasserie Prince for French bistro dishes paired with Scottish produce.
Out and about: The hotel is a five-minute walk from the Scottish National Gallery, where art lovers will enjoy seeking out Henry Raeburn’s delightful Skating Minister. Energetic holidaymakers should hike up Calton Hill for panoramic views of the city’s glorious gothic architecture.
Stella loves: The cosy Scotch Bar, with more than 500 varieties of malt, served by whisky ambassadors who know their Glenfiddich from their Glenmorangie.
From £550 a night for a castle-view room, b&b; 0131 556 2414, roccofortehotels.com
Read the full hotel review: The Balmoral
The Lion at Wendlebury, Oxfordshire
Best for... rural charm
The low-down: Just two miles from Bicester Village, this is a base for serious luxury shoppers. After hitting the plastic hard, head back to tranquil Wendlebury to recharge. The 18th-century Lion pub features 13 stylish rooms with Nespresso machines and Feather & Black beds. Dogs are welcome (they each cost an extra £20 a night). Doggy treats, water bowls and blankets are provided.
Out and about: Bicester Village is right there, obviously. But also make time to visit Sir Winston Churchill's birthplace and ancestral home, Blenheim Palace, which is a 20-minute drive away.
Stella loves: The homemade shortbread on arrival. And the pub’s locally-sourced seasonal menu.
From £130 a night, b&b. Saturday night bookings require a two-night stay; thelionwendlebury.co.uk
Read the full hotel review: The Lion at Wendlebury
The Kensington, London
Photo by The Milestone Hotel & Residences
Best for… a high-glam hideaway
The low-down: Tucked away in the chic borough from which it takes its name, the hotel is a short stroll from Knightsbridge (designer hotspot) and the King’s Road (affordable-yet-classy high street), but is just far enough away to be an oasis of peace. Rooms are unabashedly luxe (think purple marble bathrooms with Aromatherapy Associates products), while also eclectic, colourful, comfy – and far from stuffy. Congratulate yourself on a day well shopped with an expertly-mixed cocktail in the ultra-sexy, oak-panelled K Bar.
Out and about: As well as all the nearby shops (from Harrods to Peter Jones to every high street chain you could hope for), there’s plenty of culture. ‘Museum Mile’ is just around the corner, including the Natural History Museum, the V&A and the Science Museum, while the Royal Albert Hall is just up the road. As, of course, is the ‘urban lung’ of Hyde Park. Travelling with children? The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is a favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Stella loves: The television concealed within a gilt-framed mirror in the super-luxurious Kensington Suite.
From £255 a night, room only; doylecollection.com/kensington
Read the full hotel review: The Kensington
The Queensberry, Bath
Best for… foodies with flair
The low-down: Four Georgian town houses make up this recently revamped boutique hotel, which has 29 rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant, the Olive Tree, in the basement. Rooms come with White Company goodies, fluffy robes and televisions. After a hard day hitting the shops, head to the hotel’s Old Q Bar for a pick-me-up. Try the delicious Marquis of Queensberry cocktail, named after the property’s first owner and made with Domaine Reviseur cognac, triple sec, fresh orange juice and a dash of galliano.
Out and about: There's plenty to do for literature lovers – this is Jane Austen county after all. Also visit Bath Abbey which towers majestically over the equally must-see Roman Baths – follow an audio guide around the preserved remains and learn about life in Roman Britain before popping into Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House for a traditional Bath bun.
Stella loves: Valet parking for all hotel guests – a godsend on the busy roads of Bath.
From £100 a night, room only; thequeensberry.co.uk
Read the full hotel review: The Queensberry Hotel