With their high ceilings, ornate cornices and elegant gilding, Georgian townhouses have unique charm. We pick five of the best places to stay around Britain
The west London district of Knightsbridge is the perfect setting for a grandiloquent British city break. The Egerton House Hotel fills two redbrick houses that were converted into a hotel in the late 19th century. Before this, occupants of the houses included the royal librarian Benjamin Jutsham and the Countess Berchtold, wife of one of the richest men in the Hapsburg Empire.
With a shell fit for such luminaries, the interior is fittingly elegant now too with a golden dining room, chandeliers and huge drapery throughout. And given the world-class Victoria and Albert Museum is just around the corner, the hotel’s suitably stylish V&A Suite pays tribute with a drinks trolley filled with cut-glass decanters, and ornate scarlet wallpaper that looks as if it was selected directly from the museum’s archives.
Much of the appeal of townhouse hotels is their discreet nature, packing in all the comfort of purpose-built lodgings behind a smart, unassuming façade. Typifying this perfectly, The Bonham sits on a quiet residential street to the west of Edinburgh city centre, away from the hustle and bustle of the Royal Mile. Only a logo on the bay window indicates that a sophisticated hotel exists inside.
Bold contemporary paintings and photographs grace the walls, rather aptly given that the hotel backs onto Belford Road – home of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. The restaurant’s Boozy Snoozy three-course lunches with wine are infamous across the city, attracting hotel guests and locals alike.
Just a minute from the bustle of South Kensington’s museums and eateries, Sumner Place’s Number Sixteen provides an oasis of style and charm for the weary traveller.
The two drawing rooms are a riot of colour, all butterfly prints and statement chairs, while the suitably tangerine-hued Orangery dining room opens out onto an intimate paved garden in which indulgent afternoon teas are served against a backdrop of trees.
The 41 bedrooms are individually decorated in a modern English style, those deep townhouse windows keeping things bright and airy.
Situated in the charming market town of Shipston-on-Stour and just a few miles from both the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon- Avon, this Georgian inn underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2016. The results are both tasteful and impressive, from the reclaimed oak floors and exposed stonewalls downstairs to the roll-top baths in many of the 15 en-suite rooms.
The award-winning bar is a lively affair, thanks to regular live music nights, while The Pantry restaurant prides itself on locally sourced ingredients – the “within five miles” full English breakfast complete with eggs and meat from nearby manor farms.
Great Pulteney Street is one of the grandest Georgian thoroughfares in Britain. Henrietta Pulteney, the 1st Countess of Bath, signed the leases to build this wide row of golden, neoclassical townhouses in 1788, connecting the Holburne Museum and Sydney Gardens (a favourite of Jane Austen) with the city of Bath, via the Robert Adam-designed Pulteney Bridge.
By the 1930s, number 15 had become part of the roaringly glamorous Carfax Hotel, and later operated as a Salvation Army temperance hotel. Since reopening in 2016, No. 15 Great Pulteney has embraced its history via the elegant cocktail bar and “Henrietta” suites, while nodding to the 21st century via contemporary art murals.
This article is in the October/November 2017 issue of Discover Britain