Hampton Manor is a family run passion-driven hotel situated in the heart of England. This historic Manor built in 1855 is set in a 45-acre estate in the West midlands and recently launched as a design-centered restaurant with rooms.
The former estate of Sir Robert Peel, Hampton Manor launched in 2010 and celebrates the best in British craftsmanship while paying homage to the building’s 19th century history and has since won a pride of awards.
Arriving on a train from London to Hampton in Arden, I made my way on foot to the hotel. As soon as I stepped into the grand foyer, I instantly felt at home, almost as if I was stepping into my own manor, a feeling that the team hope to inspire via marriage of a homegrown ethos and the spirit of family and community.
Hampton Manor is a perfectly welcoming hotel, boasting a team of staff who are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. After check-in I was shown to a comfortable space in the foyer while I waited for a cool drink. Built in the time of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, great attention, creativity and care has been poured into the design of the hotel. There is a serene creative ambience and a nod to Mid-Century Modern design.
The Rooms at Hampton Manor
Steeped in history, the team has looked to the Manor’s past to design the 15 Arts and Crafts inspired bedrooms named after someone who once owned the estate, from queens to musicians including Robert Peel, Ardene and Lord Mowbray. The rooms have been individually designed to reflect the hotel’s ongoing love affair with Morris and his nature-inspired patterns, brought to life in Morris & Co. wallpapers and fabrics. Innovative touches such as ladder bookshelves, commissioned furnishings and accessories from handpicked artists and makers, provide a unique identity for each room. The feature rooms all have big baths and separate showers.
Upon entering my room, George Fentham, I was greeted with a sumptuous lounge space and large bay window that overlooked the gardens, a huge bed to sink into and a large airy bathroom - perfect for endless hours of pampering. The extra touches in the bedroom were very welcoming, from the warm homemade cookies, fresh Has Bean coffee to grind and 100 Acres Apothecary toiletries, sourced locally.
Dine in Michelin-starred Peel’s
Peel's Restaurant won its first Michelin Star in October 2016 and it has also received its fourth AA-Rosette under current Head Chef Rob Palmer who sources the best seasonal, British produce and cooks it using modern techniques, putting the Manor on the map of Britain’s leading culinary hotels.
The collective feeling of the Manor is realised in the restaurant; at its centre a new oak dining table by revered local carpenter William Self, surrounded by dining tables, allowing parties to share a space yet maintain privacy in this comfortable wood panelled dining room.
Dinner begins with pre-dinner drinks served by the Makers Table or outside overlooking the hotel’s grounds. Both spaces are warmly informal and invite you to meet fellow diners or interact with the team and find out about the locally sourced sprits and wines.
Peel’s offers four or seven course tasting menus with each dish focused on just three main ingredients, giving them an honest simplicity. After an aperitif in the garden, I took my place in the comfortable dining room and enjoyed the seven course-tasting menu, each paired with a wine flight. The most memorable being the Duck Liver with Blackcurrant and Brioche, served with a Ramoro, Pinot Grigio Italy, an orange wine that ignited the flavours of the fruit and blurs the boundary between white and red, a truly adventurous taste. While the Smoked Eel with Kohlrabi and Samphire deals a fresh smokiness, perfectly teamed with the Kisi Amber, Pheasants Tears, Georgia - a smokey, mineral wine from Georgia that perfectly marries the smokiness of the course. A pairing that may just bring tears of joy for some. Two delectable sweet dishes rounded up the seven courses. I enjoyed the Raspberry with Skyr and Elderflower teamed with Antica Formula, Carpano - sweet vermouth and the Chocolate with Sherry and Vanilla teamed with Banyuls, France. An exceptional dining experience sealed by the knowledgeable and agreeable team and the head sommelier.
Guests looking for an extra special stay can experience The Tasting Room - the most sought after house in the table where in the comfort of a private dining room guests can be at the heart of the action while they watch the chefs at work.
The hotel also serves a fresh continental breakfast with warm dishes to order on request. I was shown to a seat in the gorgeous wooded panel dining room and tucked into a selection of cold fruits, yoghurt and ordered the classic cooked salmon and Eggs Benedict.
The wine and cocktails
The wine and Champagne list boasts natural, organic, and biodynamic wines and 25 Champagnes, 15 of those vintage, carefully selected by our Sommelier and Wine Director. Most of the wines on offer are made by small independent winemakers of England and Wales who know that healthy grapes make delicious wine.
The creative drinks team led by Luik have created a fresh and fun cocktail menu that contextualises the Manor and its love affair with William Morris. It’s not a secret, it is painted all over the walls, while the cocktail list celebrates his life’s poems and prints through the complete art of cocktail making. Dabble in a pre-dinner cocktail The Red House a marital mix of rhubarb gin ginger hibiscus and lime or the Icelandic Saga - a smokey concoction of Icelandic vodka, Reyna, smoke, or great, herbs from the garden and saffron.
Afternoon tea for foodies
The Manor offers afternoon tea but not as you know it - it's an afternoon tea fit for foodies. Hosted in the Parlour, Head Chef Rob has imagined his tasting menus for the afternoon; ‘Crab, XO Sauce’ and ‘Middle Pork, Black Pudding’ make way for ‘Chocolate, Sherry’ and ‘Parsnip, Whisky Raisin, Arlette’.
Hampton Manor invites guests to unwind with a selection of aromatherapy massages, facials and reflexology treatments at the Pamper Rooms, perfectly situated a short walk from the hotel and nestled in woodland.
Explore the estate
Wander Down to the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden. First completed in 1891, this charming plot will soon become home to Peel’s Restaurant’s seasonal friends: beetroot, carrot, asparagus and tomato. Herbs are developed to garnish Loic’s cocktail creations, and hives erected to house the Manor’s honey bees. If it’s a little windy and wet outdoors, the hotel provides wellington boots & umbrellas.
Hampton Manor invites you to ‘share, taste and storytell’ , of which you will be sure to do at this fabulous hotel.
Rooms priced from £150 per night / £180 with breakfast. Tasting menus are priced as 4 courses (£75) and 7 courses (£95) available with wine flights also available at respectively £55 and £75 (Tuesday to Saturday 6:30pm - 9pm).
Hampton Manor is easy to reach from London. London Midland trains serve Hampton-in-Arden in 2 hours and then it is a 10-minute walk from the station. From Birmingham it is a 12-minute train journey.
A summary of our stay at Hampton Manor
Oh winter, you soul-destroying beast of a season. When storms are raging outside there’s really only one thing to do. Well actually there’s two; jet off to the Caribbean and wave goody to a soggy English winter or - if, like me, your budget won’t permit the former - hibernate. While I love getting cosy at home as much as the next person, nothing beats an indulgent night at a hotel, closing the world out, battening down the hatches, calling up room service and having a bit of a pamper. I think I might have just found the perfect London hotel in which to do just that…
Nestled in the heart of Belgravia, amid sweeping terraces and stucco mansions, The Hari relaunched at the end of August (you may remember its former incarnation as Belgraves). Despite its slick and modern design it manages to feel welcomingly cosy the moment you step through the door, with a lobby littered with enticing sofas and a glass fireplace. With 85 rooms this independent hotel feels compact and refined, despite taking up most of a city block.
The Rooms at The Hari
After a stressful week at work, checking in on a Friday evening was a dream come true. I headed straight upstairs to the room, the utterly dreamy King Studio Suite; from the moment we met, it was love. From the perfectly sized curl-up-with-a-book velvet sofa, which fit snugly into the bay window, to the Nespresso machine ready for the morning, the pile of glossy magazines begging to be read and the fresh robes and slippers laid out for us, it was a room that screamed hibernation in every one of its 44 square metres.
The bar at The Hari
We did, however, first manage to nip down to the bar for a cocktail or two; I heartily recommend The Lady Is Not For Turning, with Bulleit bourbon, rosemary, lime juice and egg white. No big, brash, ballsy hotel bar here - the vibe is relaxed, refined, refreshing - think armchairs and sofas, bookshelves around every corner and soft lighting. Everything about this place screams chill time. We settled in one of the velvet-lined booths next to the bar and savoured our drinks, accompanied by some rather tasty onion rings and crispy squid before heading back upstairs to make the most of the night of R&R, though there’s also a rather lovely looking garden terrace open should a nightcap under the stars be more your thing.
I always find it’s the little touches that truly make an experience and The Hari was no exception; bikes are available for guests who want to explore the local area, each room comes with a pre-programmed mobile device, packed with things to do, places to see and local recommendations and in an adorable finishing touch, a lucky penny was left on the bed. Everything about the rooms and the hotel’s offering has been well thought through to ensure a truly memorable experience.
For me, it was the bathroom that sealed the deal. Coming from a rented flat with a slightly minging tub, the sheer indulgence of having a bubble bath in a spacious marble tub, set in a bay window overlooking the rooftops of Belgravia was worth its weight in gold; what a showstopper of a tub. Bubble bath complete, robe on, Veuve Cliquot popped, I settled down to watch Graham Norton with a face mask on - even though the rain was lashing at the windows, such a star of a suite made the outside world disappear.
Of course, no hotel stay is complete without breakfast and if there’s the option for breakfast in bed, who am I to resist? We ordered the night before, hung it on the door and hey presto - at 9.30 there was a knock at the door with a tray of eggs, coffee and juice (though I must say I was tempted by the peanut butter and jelly French toast with strawberries and cream…). Nothing beats a lazy breakfast with a spot of Saturday Kitchen - the absolutely perfect start to the weekend.
London has a lot of hotels, granted, but few have what The Hari does; it really does feel like a home from home. Quiet, elegant and polished, it’s almost anonymous - in a good way - a far cry from some of what this city has to offer. If you’re in for a cosy winter night somewhere, make it the top of your list.
The Hari London
20 Chesham Place
There are some London hotels that are lovely. There are some London hotels that are really rather special. And there are some London hotels that simply transport you to a bygone era of refinery seldom seen in this day and age. King's Cross's Great Northern Hotel most certainly falls into the latter of those camps.
Tacked on to King's Cross station, one would be forgiven for thinking that a train station hotel would be a fairly simplistic stopover venue, but you couldn't be more wrong. From the moment you step through its doors you're whisked into a subtle, sultry world of refined luxury, a throwback to the golden age of steam, yet you’re mere seconds from the hustle of one of London's most thriving areas and just 25 metres from the Eurostar terminal.
This exquisitely designed space was first opened in 1854, designed by Victorian master builder Lewis Cubitt but has been lovingly refurbished of the finest luxury boutique hotel spaces in London. With a building so rich in history, it would have been a travesty not to restore it to its former splendour. It’s one of those spaces that makes you want to don a flowing gown and race down the staircase, a la Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face.
The rooms at the Great Northern Hotel
The 91 rooms within the hotel fall into three categories. The Couchette rooms are small but perfectly formed; an homage to the classic continental railway sleeper, featuring a Hypnos double bed within a leather-clad banquette, high ceilings, flooded with natural light and with cleverly designed bespoke bathrooms.
The Wainscot Rooms, located in the hotel’s eaves, feature striking decor with clubby dark American walnut panelling and rich shades of plum; the perfect cosy retreat for a romantic city weekend. Lastly, the Cubitt Rooms, named after the hotel’s master builder, offer views of King’s Cross through tall sash windows, king-size beds and bright bathrooms - eight of which feature a standalone roll top bathtub.
Dining at the Great Northern Hotel
Indulgent food and drink is at the heart of the hotel. Each floor boasts a help-yourself pantry with teas and coffees, cake, fruit and Tunnock’s caramel wafers - the perfect plunder for a midnight snack (or a raid in the morning en-route to work…ahem), though not that you’d need one after supper at Plum + Spilt Milk. A restaurant that’s long been on my radar, this is definitely one dining room that you ought to make a date with. Like stepping into to a classic dining car of the Flying Scotsman, Plum + Spilt Milk’s interior of cosy booths, floor to ceiling windows and gold accents oozes sophistication and charm.
Michelin star-winning chef Mark Sergeant’s menu is based on seasonal British ingredients, including beef from Mey Selections, part of the prestigious North Highland initiative launched by HRH Prince Charles, produced using traditional methods on family farms and crofts.
The menu is a smorgasbord of simple yet creative recipes, featuring sublime dishes such as steamed Wye Valley asparagus with poached Loch Duart salmon and wild garlic mayonnaise or Dressed Portland crab to start, Orkney scallops with roasted cauliflower, samphire and sherry vinegar caramel, grilled Cornish lamb chop and pressed shoulder, served with wild garlic and spring greens and Paddock Farm Tamworth pork belly with braised celery, baby turnips and mustard sauce. Simple, classic, wholesome dishes with standout flavours that have you begging for more. Leave room for pudding though; the signature Plum + Spilt Milk is a classic, but I can heartily recommend the iced peanut and salted caramel mousse, which was truly special.
The bar at the Great Northern Hotel
With a roll top bath and an entertainment package including 96 TV channels and 70 classic and new movie releases, one would be forgiven for retiring after supper for a night in one’s chambers (which, accompanied by a good book, I most certainly did), but night owls may be enticed down to the bar on the ground floor, a buzzing hive of activity with an unrivalled cocktail menu.
Despite being situated smack bang in the centre of one of London’s busiest areas, a night of slumber at the Great Northern Hotel was pleasantly peaceful and uninterrupted. Breakfast was certainly a highlight of our stay; for the health-conscious, the menu includes dishes such as quinoa and pumpkin seed granola with yoghurt, apples and golden raisins. If, like me, you feel that life is too short, there are also treats including smoked haddock kedgeree and brioche eggy bread with bananas, pecans, and salted caramel sauce to tickle your tastebuds. Do it; you won’t regret it.
We’ve all heard about places in the world which have been victims of their own success - over development, pollution and pickpockets are just some of the things that seem to come hand in hand with popularity. When I was younger, it wouldn’t have been enough to put me off, but with age has come discernment, and probably more than a healthy dose of jadedness. Was Rome always this oppressively crowded? Was there ever a time when people could actually just admire a monument without having to whisk out a selfie stick (and in doing so, take out the eyes of any hapless bystanders)? Was the food on offer near the larger attractions always so overpriced - and so average?
Rome was the first European city I ever explored, and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever regard it as anything other than alluring and magical. I still want to see everything there -The Pantheon, The Colosseum, La Bocca della Verità - as much as I wanted to the first time around. But I don’t want to do it non-stop from morning until night - I want to relax on my travels! And the problem with many of the hotels in the centre of Rome is that they don’t really offer much of a respite or any sense of place - call me demanding but I still want to feel like I’m in Rome, even when I’m not marvelling at an ancient monument.
So, the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria resort, is nothing short of a revelation - what it lacks in absolute centrality it makes up for - decadently - in amenities and view. Set high upon one of Rome’s Seven Hills, the city is laid out before you in a jumble of rooftops, domes and spires, with St Peter’s and the Vittorio Emanuele II monument clearly discernible. And, for when you’re ready to head back out and face the madding crowds again, the hotel runs a complimentary shuttle bus with regular service to and from the city centre.
Activities at Rome Cavalieri
Art is unquestionably a huge part of what draws people to Rome; there are incomparable masterpieces housed here. But neither can it be denied that their appeal palls somewhat when you’re caught in shuffling tides of people blocking your view as they angle iPhones and selfie-sticks (are they even seeing the painting?!). Staying at the Cavalieri, however, makes you feel like you’re staying in a gallery, albeit a languidly-paced and tour-group-free one, with a collection of over 1,000 pieces spanning centuries, from the Beauvais tapestries in the lobby, to original Warhols in the penthouse and a series of works from 18th century Italian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, you can either browse completely on your own or plug in to an iPod tour. Alternatively, the hotel’s resident Art Historian can take you through the collection.
The Spa & Pools
The Cavalieri has a magnificently luxurious spa, offering a range of wellness and relaxation treatments so blissfully efficacious that you’ll feel as if you’re hundreds of, rather than four, miles removed from tourist throngs. There’s also a state of the art gym with high-tech workout equipment, and a variety of classes for those who prefer to exercise with guidance. But for me, when the temperatures are searing outside, there’s no better place to be than beside one of the hotel’s four swimming pools. Forget sitting bolt upright at an outdoor table of a bustling cafe to get your people watching fix - here, between refreshing dips, you can recline on a sun lounger and observe from behind your sunglasses - all while being served snacks and cocktails by smilingly attentive staff.
Where to eat
A trip to Italy requires sampling some of the culinary delights for which the country is famed but, as is often the case in such enduringly popular destinations, there’s a lot of sub-standard (yet overpriced) food to be found. Even if this weren’t the case, the Cavalieri offers plenty of incentive to dine at L’Uliveto restaurant, where the focus is on authentic flavours and seasonal produce, with a range of fish, meats, pastas and risottos on the menu.
For getting a more authentic feel of how and where locals eat, book with The Roman Food Tour, who will take you on a walking tour to some of the best salumerias, pasticcerias, markets and pizzerias in a residential neighbourhood, offering you the chance to not only stuff yourself silly, but to do so on quality food about which you’ll learn loads in the process. Dietary requirements? Just let them know in advance.
As a gluten-avoider, I thought I’d be glumly sipping a coffee at the pasticceria but our guide had me covered; likewise at Bonci Pizzarium, where creations by Gabriele Bonci - otherwise known as ‘the Michelangelo of Pizza’ - creates his masterpieces with the finest and freshest ingredients (never more than three per topping; any more will destroy the balance of flavours of colours) to be sold ‘al taglio’ (by the slice).
Another unforgettable dining experience awaits you back at the hotel, which is home to La Pergola, Rome’s only Michelin three-star establishment. Book well in advance if you want to dine here: not only will your senses be dazzled by the view over the city, but by the culinary creations of head chef Heinz Beck, whose attention to detail in the presentation of ingredients and combination of flavours falls nothing short of genius. The wine list is tome-like, but head sommelier Marco Reitano is both charming and informative.
Choices abound even for those eschewing alcohol: there’s a water menu with H2O from around the globe, complete with information about the properties of each. Some salt with your meal? Allow the waiter to talk you through the rainbow of choices on his tray - there’s Hawaiian Black, Australian Pink or Peruvian Blue, to name just a few. And in a final magic twist, you’ll discover that you’re not, as you thought you were, far too stuffed to take another mouthful but that you can, in fact, find room for one (or some) of the chocolates and truffles that appear on your table in a tall, silver many-drawered chest.
Rome if you want to - but I can’t imagine doing it any way better than this.
Our arrival at Cocos Hotel
When I first arrived at Cocos Hotel, I was so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the property and its jaw-dropping location, I nearly wept. Cocos Hotel is the stuff that honeymoons and envy-inducing Instagram pics are made of.
As we strolled through the grounds, we had all we could do to control our giddiness, trying to convince everyone that we always stayed at places this amazing (we don’t), so as not to look uncool in front of fellow guests. Settling in with a piña colada in one hand and an Antigua guide book in the other, I was in pure Heaven.
Cocos Hotel is comprised of 30 cottages perched on the hillside, providing startling views of the ridiculously turquoise waters below, set off by the striking sugar-fine white sand. It’s hard not to fall in love with this property and to fall in love all over again with your partner for taking you to such an amazing destination!
The cottages at Cocos Hotel
The cottages have rustic chic decor, think dark wood floors and 4-poster beds bedecked with mosquito netting. The decor is very similar to that of its sister hotel, Keyonna Beach, for those who may be familiar with the property. All cottages have an outdoor shower, private deck and striking views of the Caribbean. There are also cottages with a private plunge pool for those who wish to truly indulge.
The rooms at Cocos Hotel
Our room (number 26) boasted an amazing view of Jolly Harbour Beach, which could be viewed from our outdoor shower (see above) or our large private deck (complete with a hammock and chairs). It was amazing showering each day looking out to the sea as we scrubbed in the sun! I would have stayed in the shower all day if it didn't mean missing out on precious beach time!
The pool at Cocos Hotel
Cocos Hotel has a small, palm tree fringed pool set in beautifully manicured grounds. Next to the pool, guests can make use of the beachside bar, which serves complimentary cocktails, chilled drinks and small snacks (fruit and biscuits).
Jolly Harbour Beach
The beaches near Cocos Hotel
Straddled between the impossibly beautiful Jolly Harbour Beach and Valley Church Beach, Cocos Hotel is perfectly situated for sun worshipping, water sports and any other beach activity you desire.
Jolly Harbour Beach (the larger of the two beaches), boasts an expanse of bright white sand. The busier of the two beaches, here you’ll find a variety of beach-side restaurants and resorts as well as vendors selling tourist souvenirs (think sarongs and tee shirts). Cocos Hotel provides its guests with complimentary (and comfortable) beach loungers that are perfect for relaxing on as you top up your tan.
Valley Church Beach, the smaller of the two, is a crescent shaped beach, which is quieter than Jolly Harbour Beach. Here you’ll find two beach bars, including the well know The Nest, should you want a cool, refreshing tropical cocktail to sip while you relax in the sun.
Valley Church Beach
Dining at Cocos Hotel
Cocos Hotel operates on an all-inclusive basis, but instead of a buffet menu, they offer an la carte menu with table service. The restaurant provides a contemporary mix of international cuisine, sourcing locally grown vegetables from nearby farmers and freshly caught fish from local fishermen.
All meals are served in the gorgeous, informal multi-tiered open restaurant, which is set on a cliff, affording guests with amazing views. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, guests have several items to choose from, which means there is typically something for everyone to enjoy, however, if you’re a fussy eater or if you suffer from allergies, inform the staff at the time of booking.
The restaurant at Cocos Hotel
Meal options at Cocos Hotel
Breakfast is varied and includes everything from Jack Johnson’s favourite banana pancakes to a traditional English breakfast or scrambled eggs with salmon. You can also order a side of plantain, should you be feeling especially Caribbean!
For lunch you can order everything from sandwiches to fish or salads, depending on what’s on offer for the daily specials. I enjoyed the grilled tuna and the triple decker club, both of which were fab.
During our stay we experienced the BBQ Night, which featured Jerk Chicken, ribs and fish, corn on the cob (which had a lovely honey flavour), Greek salad, and black bean soup (which was a bit salty and not my favourite item, but at least I tried something new).
Beer, Wine & Spirits : The bar offers complimentary red and white wine as well as a wide range of international and Caribbean spirits and beers and daily cocktail specials.There is a also a selection of vintage wines and champagne available at an additional charge.
Entertainment : The hotel offers live music twice per week at dinner time. During our stay they had a man playing the steel drums, which made our time there all the more memorable.
Overall, we had an amazing time indulging in lazy days with nothing on our agenda but sun, sea and sand. So, if you're looking for ridiculously beautiful views and exceptionally friendly service during your next escape to Antigua, Cocos Hotel can't be beat.
Prices start from $519 per night. All prices are based on double occupancy and include all meals and alcoholic beverages per night. For further details on the property or for a breakdown of what's included in the all-inclusive package, visit www.cocoshotel.com.
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Top tips for your visit at Cocos Hotel, Antigua
A summary of our experience at Cocos Hotel, Antigua
Settle in with a rum punch…
Upon our arrival at Keyonna Beach Hotel, we were presented with a glass of tropical rum punch to sip while we completed our check in forms - the perfect tonic to help ease us into the island spirit.
Once we were checked in, the friendly hotel porter showed us to our cottage (number 27), which consisted of a large room with a 4-poster bed (adorned with mosquito netting), a small desk, a large dresser, two night stands, a bathroom with his and her sinks and a toilet, and an outdoor shower.
Our cottage also had a small wooden deck with an outdoor sofa and chairs, which was ideal for enjoying our morning coffee, while gazing at the sea.
The perfect place for an intimate escape, Keyonna Beach Hotel offers a selection of 24 rooms and cottages including, Beach Front Cottages with Plunge Pools, which come with their own privately assigned Bali beds and beach loungers, Cottages with Sea Views, or Beach House Rooms, which are located in the main building (positioned either with a view of the beach and sea or directly overlooking the beach). There is also a small but perfectly formed communal pool for all guests to use, which is set back away from the beach.
The accommodation – Rustic, beach-side rooms and cottages designed for relaxation
The accommodations at Keyonna Beach Hotel have a weathered, rustic charm to them (think dark brown painted floors and furnishings and simple, no frills décor). All rooms and cottages are only a short stroll away from the shimmering Caribbean Sea.
Regardless of what property you choose, you’ll enjoy ideally positioned verandas with stunning views of the beach and sea, four-poster king size beds, air-conditioning, a shower (an indoor shower for the Beach House Rooms or outdoor showers for either of the cottage options), free Wi-Fi, an in-room mini fridge (stocked daily with local beers, soft drinks and water) and tea and coffee making facilities. To ensure your focus is solely on your companion during your stay, you won’t find a TV in your room, leaving you with more time to cuddle!
We loved showering in the great outdoors, as we felt it really helped to create a ‘castaway’ feel.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry about snakes joining you for a shower (something that we’ve been warned of during our travels in Thailand), so you can relax and enjoy the view of the sun or the stars, whatever time of the day!
Dining at Keyonna Beach
One of our favourite experiences during our stay was indulging in the fresh, wonderfully prepared cuisine at The Beach House Restaurant. We consider ourselves to be foodies and we couldn't fault the quality or the preparation of every dish we enjoyed during our stay.
Unlike many all-inclusive resorts, Keyonna Beach Hotel doesn’t offer a buffet service, but instead provides an a la carte menu with table service.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, guests will find several meal options to choose from. We were able to find something that we liked at every meal, however, picky guests or those with allergies may find the menu a bit limiting, so if you have any concerns, we recommend mentioning this at the time of booking.
All meals are served at the on-site beach-side restaurant, which boasts a fabulous multi-tiered, wooden terrace, which facilitates open-air dining beneath a canopy of seaside grape trees. During each meal we marvelled at the joy of beach-side dining. There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to the waves lapping at the beach as you indulge in sensational cuisine!
Fitness at Keyonna Beach Hotel
Keyonna Beach Hotel offers free yoga sessions for its guests two times per week.Our class was led by Charlotte, a lovely English girl who worked with each participant individually to ensure that we worked within our own fitness abilities to avoid injury.
After the session, we definitely felt more relaxed (and limber), which was definitely a great way to start the day and feel a bit smug for ticking the 'fitness box' for the day!
Activities at Keyonna Beach Hotel
Live entertainment is available two nights per week, however, we didn’t experience this during our stay. Other activities such as snorkelling, zip-lining, kayaking and other outdoor pursuits can be booked at reception for an additional fee.
We'll be back!
Overall, we had an amazing time at Keyonna Beach and would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a peaceful holiday in Antigua.
Prices start from US$288 (£187) per night for a Beach House Room; a Cottage from US$356 (£231), or Beachfront Plunge Pool Cottage US$488 (£317). All prices are based on double occupancy and include all meals and alcoholic beverages per night.
For further details on the property or for a breakdown of what's included in the all-inclusive package, visit www.keyonnabeach.com.
Top tips for your stay at Keyonna Beach...
Book in a yoga session with Charlotte, the yoga instructor
She’s a lovely English woman who’s skilled at working with people of varying abilities from beginners to more advanced yogis. To book, simply provide your name and room number at reception and they’ll sort the rest. The yoga sessions are held on the platform near the beach and mats are provided for all participants.
While crickets provide an air of exoticism to the overall experience by reminding you that you’re in a tropical destination, they can be a bit noisy for light sleepers.
Watch out for hungry mosquitoes
As we learned the hard way, the mosquito netting isn’t just an exotic style feature. The pesky mosquitoes will nibble away at you while you’re sleeping if you don’t take precautions to use bug spray and keep the netting closed.
To help keep mosquitoes at bay, Keyonna Beach Hotel fumigates twice per week, so don’ t be alarmed if you see a man roaming the beach with a large plume of smoke trailing behind him!
Most suited for: Couples seeking a chilled out holiday; this isn’t the place for adventure seekers or those looking for a party atmosphere
Best bits: The peaceful, beachside location with comfy Bali beds and the beachside restaurant and bar with its stunning views of the azure sea, can’t be beat. The slow pace of Keyonna Beach Hotel helps you to feel immediately relaxed, meaning that jet lag will soon be a thing of the past. It’s amazing what a golden beach and turquoise waters can do to soothe the soul.
Worst bits: Patchy Wi-Fi and pesky mosquitos (to be fair, we experienced both of these issues all over the island at various properties, so these issues aren’t unique to Keyonna Beach Hotel)
Our experience overall
The property: ★★★★
Food and drink: ★★★★★
Staff attentiveness/friendliness: ★★★★★
During this trip I was hosted by the lovely team at Keyonna Beach Hotel. All words and opinions are my own.
Beautiful isolation in the heart of the Lake District...
The hauntingly beautiful surroundings of the Haweswater Reserve, a protected area of dramatic fells, rivers and woodland, is the perfect tonic for city slickers looking to escape the rat race to indulge in the peace and tranquility of nature in all its glory.
As there is nothing more frustrating than getting stuck in London traffic in the pursuit of a countryside escape, my friend and I caught the train from London to Penrith, the gateway to the Northern Lakes, and home to the Penrith Castle ruins (where my husband proposed to me during my last trip to the Lake District nearly four years ago).
Along the way, we came across the Llama Karma Kafe, and its takeaway arm, the Deli-Llama. This cute Peruvian themed cafe, sells a variety of interesting gifts and even has a llama in the back garden (as you do). It's a great place for families to stop off at to stretch the legs on a long journey as it has a nice garden with unique seating (see pics below). Llama lovers can also enjoy on and off-site llama treks via their sister company, Lakeland Llama Treks.
When we pulled up in front of the beautiful stone clad building covered in striking bright red ivy, I was blown away by the hotel's location perched on the edge of the Haweswater reservoir. The construction of the Haweswater reservoir started in 1929, amid great controversy from locals who were up in arms about the decision as the valley at the time was populated by farming villages, which would be flooded to make way for its construction. Today, the reservoir provides water for one in four homes in the Northwest.
As a gift to the local community, the hotel was built in 1935. Many of the furnishings in the hotel are a nod to the era, with 1930s touches to be found in the dining room, lounge and bedrooms.
Enjoy an invigorating walk in spectacular surroundings...
After we checked in with the friendly and laid-back staff and dropped our bags off in our room, we decided to explore the local area and take in the stunning landscapes. The area is extremely popular with outdoorsy types who love to go on long hill walks, so we thought we'd give it our best go.
There is something quite grounding about walking in the vastness of nature with nothing other than your thoughts to keep you company as you reflect on how stunning nature can be.
After stopping to take about 100 photos, we made our way to the base of the hills, but being I wasn't very fit and didn't fancy walking back to the hotel in the blackness of night, we decided to skip the more challenging hill walk in favour of a lazy evening at the hotel.
Unwind in the lounge...
After we enjoyed a glass of wine in the lounge, we headed into the dining room for our dinner. As the hotel was only at about a third of its capacity during our stay, there was only one other couple sharing the dining room with us, making it unusually peaceful.
The front lounge with its roaring fire and large French doors looking onto the reservoir, is the perfect place to relax. Oversized leather sofas and plump arm chairs make for a very cosy environment and are perfect for sinking into while you enjoy a well earned tipple after a long walk in the fresh air.
At first glance, the disjointed menu didn't look very promising - many of the items seemed more akin to pub lunch offerings (e.g. Cajun chicken sandwich, fish and chips, burgers, Ploughman's etc.).
However, after perusing the menu for some time, there appeared to be some standout dishes on offer including the ribeye steak, the Cumbrian pork served with black pudding and dauphinoise potatoes and the risotto of the day.
The wine list is quite limited and the food pairings recommendations list that they give you with the wine is a bit naff, but that being said, the presentation of the food was superb and the the quality was also fantastic, which quickly dispelled any doubts we'd initially had.
During our visit we also had the pleasure of meeting Head Chef Phil Clarke, who was genuinely lovely and takes great pride in his food. He informed us that many of the dinner menu options were dictated by the hill walkers who make up the majority of the hotel's business, so it will be interesting to see how the menu evolves over the next year.
After our lush breakfast, we took a few moments to relax in the private garden before our departure. If we had more time at the hotel, we definitely would have spent a couple of hours in the garden simply reading a book or enjoying a coffee, as it was so magical.
All in all, it was a truly wonderful stay and I would heartily recommend The Haweswater Hotel to anyone in desperate need of a bit of peace and relaxation.
- Book Lakeview Loft Room 1 or Lakeview Loft Room 2 - They have been recently refurbished and have views of the Haweswater reservoir and garden
- Ask the staff for a walking map, which has details on local walks (from basic to more challenging, depending on your fitness levels)
- Bring your hiking shoes - the terrain can be challenging
- Pack a windbreaker - the weather can be quite changeable
- Bring a satnav if you're hiring a car; the property can be difficult to find if you aren't familiar with the local area
How to book:
Phone: 01931 713232
From £155 (for a loft room).
Penrith, CA10 2RP
*During this trip I was hosted by the lovely team at The Haweswater Hotel. All words and opinions are my own.
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