Your staycation bucket list just got a little longer.
The 2022 winners of the Top 50 Boutique Hotels awards were unveiled in a ceremony in Maidenhead this week, with leading industry experts, hoteliers, travel writers and influencers teaming up to decide on the ‘most desirable, independent places to stay’ in the UK. Topping the podium is Lime Wood Hotel, a ‘secluded hideaway’ in the New Forest, Hampshire, that ‘features cosy eaves rooms as well as indulgent forest lodges’. Second place goes to The Newt in Somerset while Hampshire’s ‘elegant’ Heckfield Place scoops the bronze medal.
Other gongs handed out in the awards include the Food and Beverage award, which goes to Somerset’s Number One Bruton; the Most Unique Experience prize, which has been handed to Gilpin Hotel & Lake House in Cumbria; and the Best Service award, which has been snapped up by Sussex’s Gravetye Manor. Scroll down for the full list…
1. Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire
The Top 50 Boutique Hotels in the UK for 2022 have been unveiled, with Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire, pictured, claiming the top spot
‘Lime Wood truly is a hotel to behold,’ Top 50 Boutique Hotels declares of the gold-medal-winning property, which lies outside the little village of Lyndhurst in the New Forest.
When they unlock the door to their room, guests can expect ‘quirky surprises’ such as a freestanding bathtub tucked by a bay window or a wood-burning stove. All 33 guestrooms are ‘relaxing and plush’, with many offering views of the ‘dramatic’ landscapes that surround the property – ‘meadows, grasslands, gnarly trees and pure unadulterated nature’.
Other perks of the property include the Herb House Spa – complete with a swish swimming pool – a bar that serves raw and cured foods, and the hotel’s restaurant, which plates up locally sourced and seasonal Italian dishes. ‘Truly, the Lime Wood is a hotel that offers it all in buckets and spades and well worth several visits throughout the year,’ says Top 50 Boutique Hotels.
At the time of writing, a room at Lime Wood is priced from £435 per night.
2. The Newt, Somerset
Second-place The Newt, pictured, is set on a Somerset estate that’s home to ‘resplendent gardens’ and an ‘enchanting woodland’
Set just outside the town of Bruton, this boutique hotel is ‘nestled in the grounds of an alluring working estate that is home to acres of resplendent gardens, enchanting woodland and traditional cider orchards’, according to Top 50 Boutique Hotels.
The main hotel is housed in the 17th-century Hadspen House, but there are also ‘stunning’ farmyard and farmhouse guest rooms on the estate to choose from.
Once you’ve checked in, you can spend your time floating in the indoor-outdoor pool, enjoying cider tastings in the hotel’s cellar, and dining in the Botanical Rooms restaurant, where Head Chef Ben Champkin ‘prepares feasts made using vegetables from the estate, cuts of meat from the drying room and day boat fish caught from the Dorset coast’.
At the time of writing, a room at The Newt is priced from £520 per night.
3. Heckfield Place, Hampshire
Heckfield Place, pictured, is described as an ‘effortlessly warm and welcoming’ hotel by Top 50 Boutique Hotels
Top 50 Boutique Hotels hails this ‘handsome’ property as the ‘epitome of Georgian elegance’. Located less than 20 minutes from Reading, the ‘effortlessly warm and welcoming’ 18th-century property sits on a sprawling estate of ‘ancient heather, woodlands and meadows’.
Within the hotel’s walled gardens, which are filled with wisteria, lavender and fragrant English roses, you’ll find the Glass House, a space where guests can ‘dine and drink in the centre of the estate’s beauty’.
Top 50 Boutique Hotels notes that wine aficionados will be drawn to the hotel’s 280-bin cellar – Heckfield’s resident sommelier can guide guests through wine tastings.
At the time of writing, a room at Heckfield Place is priced from £450 per night.
4. The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
Guest rooms at The Pig at Bridge Place in Kent have been caringly restored and there are ‘endless nooks and crannies’ throughout the property
You’ll discover this ‘red-bricked beauty’ – one of eight Pig hotels – just outside the historic city of Canterbury. ‘The intriguing old building has seen it all through its many years of existence, and over the past four decades has played host to some wild parties and bands including Led Zeppelin in the 1970s,’ Top 50 Boutique Hotels reveals.
Guest rooms have been caringly restored and there are ‘huge warming fireplaces’ and ‘endless nooks and crannies’ throughout the property. Adventurous guests can check into one of the Kentish Hop Pickers’ Huts, a series of cabins on stilts that have been made using reclaimed materials and feature cosy wood-burning stoves.
Make sure to stay for dinner – meals are prepared using ingredients from the garden, Top 50 Boutique Hotels notes.
At the time of writing, a room at The Pig at Bridge Place is priced from £385 per night.
5. Lympstone Manor, Devon
The decor in Lympstone Manor’s guest rooms is inspired by the birds you might see in the skies above the nearby Exe estuary
Celebrity chef Michael Caines MBE is behind this hotel, which overlooks the Exe estuary and Devon’s Jurassic Coast.
Naturally, food is a big part of a stay at the Grade II-listed Georgian country house. Book a table at its Michelin-starred restaurant, where meals are ‘sophisticated, well-balanced and boldly flavoured’, according to the Michelin Guide. Work off the tasting menu the next morning with a swim in the hotel’s heated pool or a rally on the championship tennis court.
Top 50 Boutique Hotels reveals that guests can choose from 21 rooms and suites with decor ‘inspired by the birds you might see in the skies above the [Exe] estuary’ or from six dog-friendly shepherd huts in the surrounding woodland.
At the time of writing, a room at Lympstone Manor is priced from £409 per night.
6. Grantley Hall, Yorkshire
Discover Michelin-starred dining and an English Heritage-listed Japanese garden at Yorkshire’s Grantley Hall
Praised by Top 50 Boutique Hotels as a ‘hidden jewel’ in the Yorkshire Dales, the 17th-century Grantley Hall features 47 ‘crisp, clean and well-imagined’ guest rooms.
Wander through the English Heritage-listed Japanese garden, which dates to 1910, go for a dip in the indoor swimming pool, or dress up for a cocktail at the ‘ultra-glam’ late-night Champagne den Valeria’s bar.
Michelin-starred dining awaits too – Shaun Rankin’s Grantley Hall restaurant ‘offers diners a Yorkshire eating experience of the highest degree’, according to Top 50 Boutique Hotels.
At the time of writing, a room at Grantley Hall is priced from £468 per night.
7. Artist Residence London, London
Artist Residence in London’s Pimlico offers 10 artwork-filled guest rooms spread across three floors
‘Quirky but welcoming, the Artist Residence in London’s Pimlico offers a new take on the traditional boutique hotel, promising to wow on every visit.’
So declares Top 50 Boutique Hotels of this creative property, which offers 10 artwork-filled guest rooms spread across three floors. It recommends dining at the ‘buzzing’ Artist Residence’s Clubhouse, where breakfast, brunch, coffee and cocktails are accompanied by a friendly atmosphere.
At the time of writing, a room at Artist Residence London is priced from £273 per night.
8. Idle Rocks, Cornwall
Idle Rocks (pictured) has been part of the community in the Cornish village of St Mawes since 1913
Perched in the Cornish seaside village of St Mawes, this hotel ‘offers unrivalled coastal scenery’, according to Top 50 Boutique Hotels.
‘Idle Rocks itself has been part of the St Mawes community since 1913 when it was built on the site of a former bakery,’ it explains.
It was acquired by new owners in 2010 and underwent a refurbishment, and today it features 19 guest rooms, a ‘hidden’ cinema, spa treatment rooms, and a restaurant that dishes up freshly caught local seafood and produce sourced from the region’s farmers.
At the time of writing, a room at Idle Rocks is priced from £266 per night.
9. Thyme, Cotswolds
Top 50 Boutique Hotels describes Thyme in the Cotswolds as a ‘very special place to eat, drink and sleep in’
This ‘quintessentially English’ bolthole is a restored Cotswold manor and farm with an array of botanically-themed guest rooms dotted across the houses, cottages and buildings that make up the estate.
Stay for dinner at The Ox Barn restaurant, a space that was once home to the oxen that ploughed the fields of the farm, and you’ll be treated to ‘simple, elegant dishes’ crafted from local produce.
Top 50 Boutique Hotels’ verdict? Thyme is a ‘very special place to eat, drink and sleep in’.
At the time of writing, a room at Thyme is priced from £374 per night.
10. Padstow Townhouse, Cornwall
Guests staying at Padstow Townhouse can enjoy a midnight snack from the hotel’s fully stocked ‘kitchen pantry’
The second property owned by a celebrity chef to make it into the top 10, this 18th-century townhouse hotel in the Cornish town of Padstow is the brainchild of kitchen mastermind Paul Ainsworth.
Unsurprisingly, food is the underlying theme here. ‘Each of the suites is named after a classic dessert or sweet treat, including Rhubarb & Custard, Toffee Apple and Honeycomb,’ says Top 50 Boutique Hotels, which describes the hotel as a ‘sumptuous place to stay’.
Guest rooms are stocked with a breakfast hamper for two and the Padstow Townhouse has its very own ‘kitchen pantry’ – its shelves stacked with homemade cake, cheeseboards, wines and spirits – that’s open to all throughout their stay.
At the time of writing, a room at Padstow Townhouse is priced from £375 per night.