Britain’s coolest hotel hot tubs

28 Aug 2014, by Travelwrap Guest

According to a recent survey, one in 10 households in the UK now has an outside hot tub. Whatever the truth in that, it’s certainly the case that an increasing number of hotels are offering guests the chance to sip champagne in a relaxing tub of warm bubbles. Not just in summer, but year round, and under the stars as well as during the day. Here are five of our favourites:

Calcot Manor, Tetbury, Gloucestershire

When Calcot Manor opened in 2003 it was its courtyard hot tub, set in chic green slate and perfumed by wood smoke from a blazing fire, that attracted the most publicity. Hot tubs might have been standard in Alpine hotels, but they were virtually unheard of in the UK back then. Calcot has many other fine qualities, but we think the hot tub remains its pièce de résistance. Further information, www.calcotmanor.co.uk

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

This hip, ‘eco’ boutique hotel has not one but two log-fired hot tubs perched on a cliff top, overlooking the sea. If that’s not luxurious enough, book the hotel’s Essence of the Scarlet spa treatment: a good soak in the tub accompanied by a glass of champagne, followed by a rhassoul bathing ritual in the spa. We feel relaxed just thinking about it. Further information, www.scarlethotel.co.uk

Gilpin Lodge, Lake Windermere, Lake District

This lovely family-run lakeside hotel has six garden suites with cedar wood hot tubs, as well as a separate Lake House where in theory the hot tub is shared by up to six couples, though in practice, guests rarely use it all at the same time. Overlooking the lake and surrounded by woodland, these hot tubs certainly have some of the best locations in the country. www.thegilpin.co.uk

Bermondsey Square Hotel

Hot tubs are more common in country hotels than city ones for obvious reasons, but this 80-room boutique hotel on Bermondsey Square does have a tub on the terrace of one of its loft suites. The suite is called Lucy (after the Beatles song), the tub is big enough for eight – and the views are stunning. www.bermondseysquarehotel.co.uk

Linthwaite Hotel, Lake Windermere, Lake District

Only one room has a hot tub at this 30-room hotel, which, like Gilpin Lodge overlooks Lake Windermere. Not surprisingly it gets booked up quickly. Set on a romantic private veranda, it has fabulous views across the lake to the Coniston fells. The perfect place to watch the sun go down, champagne flute in hand, naturally. Further information, www.linthwaite.com

Five of the best device cases

25 Aug 2014, by Travelwrap Guest

It’s only when I’m travelling – in and out of hotels, on and off planes – that I drop my laptop, or step on my iPhone (been there, done both). So finding cases for my electronic devices that are both stylish and good quality have become rather an obsession. Here are my current favourites, all from British companies. Now, if I could only find a case that would stop me from leaving my iPhone in a taxi or my laptop on a plane…

Laptop sleeve

Laptop bags have their uses but I prefer to travel with a simple sleeve that slips into my carry-on bag and can be whipped out at airport security. Something like this padded one by Knomo, £45, is ideal (the mini iPad case, top, is also by Knomo). Since you usually have to take your laptop out of the sleeve to go through the x-ray machines, I prefer a sleeve with a zip or popper fastenings. And yes, this design does come in black, but I know I’m far less likely to leave this neon beauty in the seat pocket. www.knomobags.com

5S iPhone case

This is my new iPhone case in olive green PU leather, £24.95, from a company called Pipetto. I love it because it protects the whole phone and I can flip it open with one hand, rather than having to extract the phone from a pouch, which, in my experience, is the precise moment a phone will leap from your fingers and dash itself against the pavement. Pipeto offers other seriously stylish cases, including snakeskin, patent and quilted waxed cotton, in a selection of great colours. And yes, black, too, if you must. www.pipetto.co.uk

iPad case

If you’re going to watch movies on your iPad, you need a case with a stand. This one in navy printed calf leather by Smythson, £395, is among the most gorgeous I’ve seen. On the other hand, if you can do without the stand, Smythson’s nude sleeve with a white bombeé leather stripe, £67.50, is highly desirable. Or try Aspinall of London which has leather iPad cases in gorgeous contrasting colours, from £250. www.smythson.com; www.aspinalloflondon.com

Kindle pouch


I’ve experimented with fabric covers, but leather offers more protection. I like these English leather envelope-style pouches in pretty jewel colours with suede lining, £123, from Pickett. You can also use them for an iPad. www.pickett.co.uk

Mini iPad case

Bukcase is a recent discovery. It sells a range of iPad cases and leather sleeves, all made in England by skilled artisans. Its mini iPad cover featured here, £35, has a birch ply interior which makes it look like a book when it’s closed, plus a secure lock system which holds the device firmly in place. It has a stand and can be monogrammed or printed with a short personal message. I love it. www.bukcase.com

Rooms with a Tower view

21 Aug 2014, by Travelwrap Guest

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the Tower of London’s evolving installation marking the start of the First World War. Since the first poppies were planted in early August, a tide of crimson has been steadily creeping across the moat. By September 11, 888,246 ceramic flowers – each one representing a British fatality during the war – will encircle the castle. I’ve visited twice in recent weeks, and standing on the public walkway overlooking the moat, I’ve thought about the 1,600 City workers who enlisted on this very spot. Only 50 of them survived the war.

Mindful of the sacrifice these men made, one of the Tower’s neighbours has pledged to do its bit, too. Until November 11, Cheval Three Quays will be donating the profits from one of its luxury serviced apartments (apartment 7P, to be precise) to the service charities benefiting from the poppies installation. For guests it’s a win-win situation: stay at one of the capital’s finest riverside developments, and support a worthy cause at the same time.

Admittedly, I’ve never noticed Cheval Three Quays before I visited earlier this week, though it really is just steps from the Tower, right next to the Tower Millennium Pier. Turns out it only opened in March – an opening that was delayed when archaeologists discovered a Roman wall and a dry dock beneath the building. Given the property’s historic location, it was always going to be a difficult build – its exterior walls, for example, had to match exactly the stone on the Tower’s reveals. But it was worth the wait: these contemporary studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses have some of the best views in London. From the penthouse apartments you can see virtually every iconic building in London, from the Shard and the Walkie-Talkie building to the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.

And 7P? It’s a lovely one-bedroom apartment with wall-to-ceiling windows and a modest balcony overlooking the Tower of London and the river (binoculars are provided – not that you’ll need them). There’s a welcome basket packed with British products, including shortbread and jam from the Tower of London Gift Shop, and Arran Aromatics products from Scotland in the bathroom. Oh and the bed has a bespoke mattress, exclusive to Cheval, so you will sleep rather better than the Tower’s ‘guests’ ever did. Like all of the apartments at Cheval Three Quays, 7P has a well-equipped kitchen and though there are no restaurants or coffee shops on site (yet), there are plenty within a stone’s throw. Not that you will want to spend much time away from 7P…

When the Tower of London holds its centenary ceremony on September 11, the exterior of Cheval Three Quays will be bathed in red light as a mark of respect. I plan to be back to see it.

7P costs from £291 per night. Further information, www.chevalresidences.com.

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Welcome to Eat, Sleep & Simply Be…our little blog that does what is says on the tin. Alongside myself, our selected guest bloggers from the Luxury Travel Industry will be posting their thoughts as to some of the loveliest places to eat in, sleep in… & sometimes to simply be. Our thoughts will always be our own but at times with a sense of mischief and slight irreverence. Follow us and just see where in the world it leads.
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