The Good Hotel Guide 2021: Great Britain & Ireland is the leading independent UK hotel guide, established in 1978, and will launch its 44th edition on Monday 5th October 2020.
Co-edited by Adam and Caroline Raphael, together with former travel editor and former assistant travel editor of The Times, Jane Knight and Kate Quill, the 2021 edition features 750 hotels, inns, B&Bs and guesthouses, with over 400 main entries. The 2021 Guide features a range of properties that is deliberately eclectic, with 37 new main entries and a shortlist section with 51 new entries.
10 César awards are presented each year to a selection of hotels which have demonstrated consistent excellence in their field. Named after César Ritz, these are known as the Oscars of the hotel industry. This year, they feature a restaurant in a converted barn near Stratford-upon-Avon with rooms from just £120, an eco-friendly Welsh hotel that doesn’t stint on design, and a charming 400-year-old farmhouse on Little Sark, reached by horse and cart. The Good Hotel Guide’s 10 César winners for 2021 are:
Newcomer of the year: Baraset Barn, Alveston, Warwickshire
Located close to Stratford-upon-Avon, this ‘foodie heaven’ in a smart converted barn has much charm, with high-beamed ceilings, flagstone floors and superb menus. Bedrooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of a pretty meadow and guests can borrow the hotel’s bikes and cycle into Stratford-upon-Avon.
Country House Hotel of the year: The Grasmere Hotel, Grasmere, Cumbria
Walks from the doorstep, views of Helm Crag, crackling log fires and a riverside location make this Victorian country house hotel in one of Cumbria’s prettiest villages a popular spot. Bedrooms are immaculate and menus are highly commended, with locally-sourced meat and delicious homemade bread. The hearty breakfasts include kippers, smoked haddock and salmon.
Seaside Hotel of the year: The Scarlet, Mawgan Pawth, Cornwall
This eco-friendly Cornish bolthole for adults is perfectly located overlooking the beach and ocean. There is an Ayurvedic-inspired spa and cedar hot tubs on the cliff top outdoor terrace and each bedroom has a private courtyard, or a balcony with sea views. In the restaurant, the freshly prepared dishes include glazed native beef with crispy oyster and lemon tart with strawberry sorbet.
Island Hotel of the year: La Sablonnerie, Little Sark, Channel Islands
Reached by horse-drawn carriage on the car-free island of Little Sark, Elizabeth Perrée’s 400-year-old farmhouse is a charming one-off. Dine on locally caught seafood dishes such as roasted sea scallops with garlic butter and lobster thermidor, explore sandy coves such as Grand Grève and swim in the island’s tidal pools.
Romantic Hotel of the year: Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Devon
In a secluded valley beneath Dartmoor’s wild tors, this family-run Jacobean manor house has plenty of character. There are stucco ceilings, antique-filled rooms, ornate fireplaces, and a medieval dovecote in the grounds. Bedrooms are plush and cosy and romantic dinners are served in the wood-panelled dining room.
B&B of the year: Swan House, Hastings, East Sussex
This historic yet hip half-timbered house in Hastings oozes character. The delightful hosts have made it a cosy and welcoming space with a beamed lounge/breakfast room, an inglenook fireplace and a courtyard garden close to an ancient church. Guests sleep well in the comfortable bedrooms with crisp linen, soft towels and whimsical touches.
Inn of the year: The Angel Inn, Hetton, Yorkshire
With spectacular views and an impressive Michelin-starred restaurant, The Angel Inn is a landmark place to stay within the Yorkshire Dales. There are relaxed yet smart interiors and rustic-chic bedrooms, some with roll-top bath. The food is magnificent; locally sourced but globally inspired, with dishes such as Yorkshire salt-aged duck with pumpkin, soy, black bean and miso. There are also vegetarian tasting menus and a children’s menu.
Green Hotel of the year: Coes Faen, Barmouth, Gwynedd, Wales
Biomass heating and roofs insulated with sheep’s wool are just some of the green initiatives at this adults-only luxury lodge on the edge of Snowdonia. The entrance hall boasts a glass staircase built into the hillside and one of the bedroom suites is reached via an ancient tunnel. About 80% of the produce is sourced within a 25-mile radius.
Irish Hotel of the year: Roundwood House, Mountrath, County Laois
Located midway between Dublin and Limerick, this 18th century Irish country house has glorious views from its tall sash windows. With true Irish hospitality, owners Hannah and Paddy Flynn offer friendly service and top-notch seasonal food – sometimes accompanied by a song from chef Paddy.
Scottish Restaurant-with-rooms of the year: The Peat Inn, Cupar, Fife
Delicious cuisine is on the menu at Michelin-starred chef/patron Geoffrey Smeddle’s former coaching inn, also home to eight cosy suites. Menus range from three-course lunches to six-course tasting menus and may include dishes such as salad of Selina Cairns’ soft goats curd and breast of Goosenargh duck.
In addition to the ten César winners, the 2021 Editor’s Choice section highlights the top 10 hotels in 20 categories: Foodie, Romantic, Seaside, Spas, Restaurants-with-rooms, Dog-friendly, Country House, Gardens, Rooms with a View, B&Bs, Value, Pubs-with-rooms, Family, Walking, Quirky, Eco-friendly, Historic, Weddings, Fishing and Golfing. Hotels with disabled facilities, and those with swimming or tennis facilities, are also listed separately.
This year’s Country House Editor’s Choices include The Newt in Somerset, with its grand Georgian architecture and Gravetye Manor, an exquisite Elizabethan manor in West Sussex. Both hotels, deservedly, also feature in the Gardens category.
The Seaside Editor’s Choice selection includes family-run The Nare, in Cornwall’s Roseland Peninsula; St Aidan Hotel and Bistro in Seahouses, Northumberland, and Rathmullan House in Ireland’s County Donegal.
The Editor’s Choice for Spas includes Wiltshire’s Whatley Manor, Seaham Hall in County Durham and Hartwell House near Aylesbury, Bucks.
Editor’s Choice B&Bs include Old Whyly in East Hoathly, Sussex and The Dulaig in Scotland’s Cairngorms.
Dog-friendly Editor’s Choice hotels include Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire, The Rose & Crown in Romaldkirk, County Durham and The Master Builders in Beaulieu, Hampshire.
Finally, the Good Hotel Guide’s Shortlist complements the main section and features interesting new entrants and properties of a notable standard, often in areas where there is a more limited choice. Some former main entries are included in this section, too, particularly if there has been little feedback from readers over the past year.