Country house hotel breaks are a completely different kettle of fish compared to those taken at hotel chains. Of course some people love their favourite hotel chain – their Comfort Inn, Ibis or Jurys Inn – and they love the fact that they know exactly what to expect when they check in, regardless of the city they are visiting. There are the boxy rooms that all look identical, the professional staff, the satisfactory meals and lots of other guests who quietly go about their own business.
Staying at a hotel chain can frankly feel a little on the bland side – service can be efficient but you don’t really feel that you are bonding with the staff or other guests. You may feel you are on a conveyor belt at the breakfast buffet – waiting patiently in line to get your hands on some cornflakes or queuing up silently with dozens of others for your overcooked scrambled eggs.
And this is where country house hotel breaks trump hotel chains each and every time. They provide a charm and intimacy that is impossible to create in a large hotel with its hundreds of identical rooms and numerous guests, many of whom are there just for business and are too busy checking their iPhone to strike up conversation with others.
Here’s what we consider to be the 10 undeniable charms of country house hotel breaks:
1.Small and Intimate
Country house hotels have far fewer bedrooms than hotel chains simply because they were originally fine houses rather than purpose-build hotels. This means there are always going to be fewer guests staying at any one time, enabling the staff to provide very attentive and thoughtful service – they know where you’ve come from and why you’re staying – so they can easily help you get the very best out of your break.
Most country house hotels have an interesting history behind them. They may be centuries old and be associated with a famous historical figure. The original owners were probably wealthy families who used their country house as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Find out a little more during your stay, and you’ll be fascinated with what you learn.
3.Not Perfectly Formed
Due to their age and even with the renovations over the years, country house hotels have an undeniable charm due to the original parts of the building – perhaps a cosy reception area with original timber, or a slightly wobbly thatched roof on a converted cottage.
Each country house hotel has its own unique features – and that alone makes it stand out from slightly impersonal hotel chains.
4.Location, location, location
If you book a country house hotel break you’ll be guaranteed a stay in a great, rural location. Country houses were built in the countryside, with generous gardens. A holiday in a country house hotel will feel like a true get-away-from-it-all break – ideal to help you recharge your batteries.
5.A Base for Exploration
If you prefer a go-getting type of holiday rather than a relaxing retreat, country house hotel holidays are still for you! Due to their location, you’ll find a host of activities right on the doorstep – from simply exploring the countryside, to biking trails, fishing, walking, bird watching or golf. It’s safe to say that whatever type of outdoor activity you enjoy, your countryside hotel won’t be too far from it.
And if you’re more of an indoors type, check out what is available in the nearby town and go visit that museum, art gallery or shopping centre – then blissfully return to your country house hotel for some serious relaxation.
6.Rooms with Character
Remember the faceless rooms of the hotel chains? You won’t find any such thing on country house hotel breaks! The building was created to be a home – not a hotel – and consequently the rooms tend to be of different sizes and of different shapes.
You may find you’re staying in what was the Master’s main bedroom – now tastefully converted to a 4 poster bed suite. Or perhaps you’ll opt for a smaller room which was originally the nursery – now offering a spacious double bed and all the mod cons you’d expect in any hotel room.
The beauty of country house hotels is that they have been specifically renovated to create charming and individual rooms – each with its own character. Many of the hotels give a specific theme to each room – often inspired by the nearby countryside or the history of the house – and decorate them accordingly.
7.Rooms with a View
How many times have you checked into a large hotel, whipped back the curtains and found that your room looks directly on to an office block, a brick wall or the rubbish collection area at the rear of the hotel?
In a country house hotel, rooms have a great view! After all the building is surrounded by gardens and natural countryside. Nothing nicer than opening the curtains in the morning and watching the sun dapple across the vibrant flowers, the green, green grass, the swaying trees, and the trickling stream or lively river.
The communal areas of a country house hotel – such as the lounge, the library, the bar – will be as charming in appearance as the rest of the building. You may find a place to read your book on a comfy sofa near a roaring log fire – and not many modern hotels offer that nice little touch.
In fact the country house hotel owners tend to ensure the communal areas have whatever you need to keep you happy. They often provide a wide selection of books in the library for you to read to your heart’s content. The lounge is likely to be well stocked with board games and cards for some after-dinner fun.
And because so much attention is given to these small details, the communal areas of a country house hotel are really used by the guests – giving you an opportunity to chat and make new acquaintances during your stay.
9.Exceptionally Attentive Staff
Bear in mind that a country house hotel is normally run by the family which own it – and the staff they have handpicked for their efficiency and friendliness. They all genuinely want you to enjoy your stay and will do everything in their power to make this happen.
Consider this the icing on the cake – not only are you staying in a charming location, but the staff will always go the extra mile to make your stay extra special.
Undeniably the food is often the main reason for choosing country house hotel breaks. The restaurants can really make these types of hotel stand out – often with Michelin Stars or with an owner who has a background of this type of award.
Exceptional meals make the stay that much more special – many of the raw ingredients will have been grown in the hotel’s own grounds, cooked with love and care, and composed into an wonderful dish with a great attention to detail.
Unlike larger hotels, you’ll find no dismal breakfast buffet here! Instead breakfast is one of the highlights of a Country House Hotel break, with your dish cooked fresh to order – and also cooked to perfection.
If you’re planning your next holiday, and have yet to discover the charms of country house hotel breaks, perhaps it’s time to consider this option. With all of their undeniable charms, country house hotels provide the perfect break for all!