Well what a year 2019 was! The end of a decade and the start of another. I travelled to some amazing destinations in 2019, some I had planned and others I had no idea I’d have the opportunity to visit. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given this year. I have taken 27 flights, been on two cruises, and spent time at many amazing hotels both in the UK, in Europe and beyond. Here is my guide to my favourite hotels of 2019.
The Painswick The Cotswolds UK
Another Friday means another weekend break, and this time I headed back to one of my favourite places in the UK, The Cotswolds. This time however I was staying at The Painswick in the south of the region for a night away with one of my friends Anastazja. You could argue that every inch of idyllic England is wrapped up in the Cotswolds with the region running through five counties and countless towns and villages. The Cotswolds is the most beautiful place I know with rolling hills, ancient woodlands, houses oozing with history, world renowned arboretums and villages built upon honey colored stone of course…
The Painswick was the ideal location for our girls weekend away, situated in a handsome, 18th-century house with a restaurant and 16 stylish bedrooms. Formerly the oddly garish Cotswold 88 hotel, it was acquired by the Calcot Manor group who have given it a wonderful makeover, injecting panache for this former local historical manor. This is the perfect place for getting putting on your formal dresses, enjoying a candlelit dinner or heading out for a country stroll along the winding Cotswold streets.
From the moment we checked in, we were blown away by this magnificent building and the exterior is just the beginning. Inside there is witty artwork, striking prints, coffered ceilings, wooden flooring, velvet chairs and a comforting feeling throughout. I have previously stayed at their sister property Barnsley House around 30 minutes away, and it led with a similar décor.
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Fushifaru The Maldives
Heaven really is a place on earth, and you can find it in The Maldives. On my recent visit to The Maldives I stayed at the wonderfully laid-back resort Fushifaru. Located on the quiet Lhaviyani Atoll, Fushifaru is a bohemian paradise, which merges traditional Maldivian design with modern technology and luxury brands, and my recommendation on where to stay in The Maldives.
The brand new private island is where to stay in The Maldives. Of course Maldives accommodation is easy to come by these days, but choosing where to stay in The Maldives can prove difficult as you need to really focus on those personalised experiences when booking a Maldives holiday. It is of course possible to book a Maldives all-inclusive holiday and be done with it, but I much prefer the more authentic stays where you can choose what you eat, what you do and how much of the resort is based around traditional values.
The paradise island of Fushifaru is so small as soon as you arrive, you can kick off your shoes and walk around the entire island in a little over 15 minutes. The design is kept simple, but has clearly been thought about and their branding is perfectly executed but their iconic aqua blue dotted all across the resort.
The resort is based upon a Maldivian village, with coconut palms and sandy paths leading to peaked-roofed villas and common areas, with the heart of the island in the middle and the sandy paths leading out to their amazing white beach.
Fushifaru is one of the smaller island resorts you can find it The Maldives, but offers punch when it comes to hospitality, variety of cuisine and intimate backdrops. This unique and friendly resort is exactly what we need on our recently Maldives holiday and I am so glad we got to experience a smaller island, and one with its own sandbank too… The perfect Maldives vacation!
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Aphrodite Hills Cyprus
Nestled on the south coast of the wonderful island of Cyprus, Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus is the perfect place to spend a holiday with your loved ones. Overlooking the mediterranean sea, Aphrodite Hills is an award-winning 5-star resort with breathtaking views across the countryside and their iconic Championship PGA Golf Course. The resort is also only around the corner from the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, as well as ideally located to Paphos, Coral Bay and beyond.
The idyllic resort offers its guests a diverse and varied range of experiences, dining options and first-class facilities, including state-of-the-art villas, fine dining, luxury spa and entertainment. On a trip to Aphrodites Hills you can opt for an array of accommodation options, including apartments, hotel rooms, private villas and both short and long term options. We stayed at one of the resorts ‘Elite’ villas, located on the eastern plateau of the resort, overlooking the Golf Course and it was the most beautiful home for the week, which sleeps six people comfortably and has its own private pool. It had the most incredible views of the Cypriot countryside and the sparkling ocean….
If you’re looking for the WOW factor I’d definitely recommend getting an ‘Elite’ villa when staying at Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus. We were so pleased with our villa from the moment we arrived and walked through the door. The property offers a high-level of luxury, alongside providing a great space for families or groups of friends, the perfect base for a week exploring Cyprus. All elite villas come with their own private pool, and can host between 4-10 people.
Our villa was the perfect base for our week in Cyprus, offering the perfect mix of practicality and luxury. The villa was located on the eastern plateau of the resort, overlooking the canyon and the golf course, as well as other magnificent villas. And the villa slept six adults, and we had Arabella on a z-bed in our master bedroom on the top floor.
The grand entrance opens into a hallway with steps leading down to the cool, marble floored living area, which is stylishly furnished with a plush sofa and leather armchairs facing the feature stone wall and flat screen TV and DVD. The dining area features a grand square dining table with leather dining chairs and leads through to the contemporary kitchen. Fully fitted and with granite worktops and splash backs, all modern conveniences are provided including stainless steel dishwasher, electric oven with hob and microwave.
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Royal Lancaster London UK
A contemporary, stylish hotel next to Hyde Park and walking distance to Paddington station, Bayswater and Marble Arch, the Royal Lancaster London has Hyde Park as it’s main attraction with many of the bedrooms looking over the park’s lime and silver maple trees, and you can nibble on homemade bircher muesli while enjoying views of the Italian Gardens from your breakfast table. The convenience of Lancaster Gate is often underappreciated – with Oxford Street is a 15-minute walk away and Paddington Station a 20-minute amble.
Step through the revolving doors into a stunning gold and white marble lobby featuring a spectacular 21ft Nordmann Fir Christmas tree, alongside elegant decorations throughout the hotel, which will be unveiled on the morning of 1 December 2019.
With rooms starting at £259 per night, the Winter Wonderland package enables you to experience a luxurious stay with guaranteed early check-in at midday and late check-out at 3pm, a delicious buffet breakfast, a surprise festive gift on arrival, and fluffy Paddington Bear for the little ones. The package is available from 21 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. For the ultimate family getaway, the interconnecting rooms are perfect for a spacious stay. Enjoy 50% off the second bedroom when booked at the same time.
The hotel’s convenient location just above Lancaster Gate Tube Station will whisk you to the sparkling lights of Oxford and Bond Street. After a day of shopping for Christmas presents, head back to the hotel for some delicious food. Relax in the elegant Park Restaurant, which overlooks Hyde Park and the Italian Gardens and enjoy a Festive Afternoon Tea with delicious sandwiches, warm bakes scones, and deliciously sweet cakes and delights. Priced at £39 per person, or £45-£49 per person including a glass of Champagne or Rosé Champagne.
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Cave Hotel Cappadocia Turkey
One of the most special things about Cappadocia is the unique experience of staying in a cave hotel.
Allowing three days on your Turkey itinerary should provide enough time to visit the major tourist attractions in the area. That said, if your holiday experiences are all about laid-back and chilling, you can always add a few extra days to your Cappadocia tour packages.
Gazing across the lunar landscape of Cappadocia, you could be forgiven for thinking it is a region devoid of any human life – far from it. There are a number of towns and villages built into, and under, the rockwork. The town of Göreme, famous for its underground dwellings and cave hotels, is also ideally situated for visiting other sites and attractions, but you can also choose to stay in Urgup, Uchisar, Avanos, or Ortahisar when planning your Cappadocia itinerary. All are within a short drive of each other.
A popular option in Cappadocia tour packages, is to book into one of the many cave hotels. Don’t worry, you won’t be stuck between a rock and a hard place in the cave hotels in Cappadocia. The amenities offered by many cave hotels match those of quality four and five star hotels around the world.
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Hotel Basel Switzerland
For our trip to Basel we decided to stay at the wonderfully traditional and modern Hotel Basel. The urban 4-star Hotel Basel boasts 73 bedrooms, including an array of suites, which were freshly renovated in 2018 and is situated in the heart of Basel’s old town on Spalenberg, one of the most beautiful and popular streets in the city.
Surrounded by historical buildings and romantic little streets above Marktplatz and the City Hall, the hotel is just a few steps away from other places of interest, the theatre, museums and a host of shops. Only a few steps away from the town hall and many sights and museums, this hotel offers a quiet location in the centre of the picturesque old town of Basel.
The hotel boasts an amazing location making it perfect for business travellers and families alike. The nearby market square (Marktplatz) provides easy access to the city’s public transport network. You can also enjoy the famous Swiss cuisine in the Brasserie, the Boulevard outdoor restaurant (open in summer), or the Sperber Bar.
Our bedroom was a standard sized room, with double bed, ensuite bathroom, stylish storage spaces, and desk. The room was the perfect size, with all the mod cons you could need for a weekend in Basel.
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Sky Princess – Princess Cruises
In October I headed on another amazing trip with the team at Princess Cruises for the launch of their brand new ship Sky Princess. I went on a trip last year through Italy, Spain and France, and ever since that trip I’ve caught the cruise fever. I loved waking up every morning in a different destination, with all the food, drink and entertainment onboard the ship – what more could you ask for? So when Princess Cruises invited me back for another adventure and to be one of the first people ever to set foot on their brand new Sky Princess cruise ship, I said yes!
For this inaugural Sky Princess cruise, we flew in to Trieste in Italy, before heading out of port on a five day cruise around the Mediterranean stopping at both Kotor in Montenegro and Athens in Greece. The launch of Sky Princess cruise ship was amazing with a launch party in the evening of our first day, lots of dancing and celebrating for both passengers and staff.
We had two days at sea too, which meant we could really explore this amazing ship, from top to bottom, exploring the various restaurants, cafes and bars onboard, go and see a show or two at the theatre, head for a game of basketball on top deck, and even getting a massage in the middle of the ocean.
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The Bedruthan Hotel Newquay UK
During our adventure on the Cornish coast, we stayed at two hotels, one close to the seaside town of Falmouth and another hotel close to Newquay called Bedruthan Hotel & Spa. If you are looking for some where to stay in Cornwall, then this hotel offers location, facilities and great Cornish cuisine all within the confinement of the hotel.
Only a five minute drive away from Newquay airport, the hotel is perfectly located for those coming by car and air. It’s incredibly accessible for a weekend break from London, with it being 45 minutes away from Gatwick airport.
The hotel is also located right on the beach, with only a short walk to the sands and sea. You can take a short walk through the hotel’s direct access to Mawgan Porth beach, which is popular with surfers in the summer, and only a five minute drive away is the famous Bedruthan Steps and coastal trail.
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Chalet Hotel Alba
A ski holiday is one of my favourite types of holiday; the mountain air, the adrenaline, and the crisp white snow beneath your feet. At the start of January I headed for a weekend break skiing in Méribel and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I spent four days in this magical place with fellow bloggers Sabrina from Clutch and Carry On and Macca from An Adventurous World.
Chalet Hotel Alba is in a prime location situated just above the heart of Méribel’s resort centre. It’s right on the edge of the slopes and with the main Doron piste just 20 metres across the street, and a ski bridge to bring you back to the ski room door, the setting is every skier’s dream. The hotel, which is in the style of the traditional Meribel chalet overlooks famous Rond Point and has direct access on to the slopes. Chalet Hotel Alba has a lounge and bar area downstairs next to reception, with a restaurant to the right. In the lounge there are lots of places to relax, and my favourite was in front of the open fire! To complete the whole package, there’s a wellness area on the lower ground floor, exclusive to guests, with a sauna, steam room and hot tub, giving you a perfect place to unwind after a day on the slopes and ease those muscles!
From the Doron blue piste outside the hotel, skiers can quickly reach the resort centre and main lifts, giving plenty of options for exploring all of the Three Valleys. Or start your skiing day from the Adret chairlift, just below the Rond Point. Returning to the Alba is just as easy. From the resort centre the Rhodos 1 gondola brings you straight back to the Rond Point, or if you’ve been out on the Saulire side of the Three Valleys take the Marmotte and Doron slopes to get back. If your aim is to hit the slopes with maximum ease, you will love the set up here, as equipment hire for our guests is available from beneath the Chalet Hotel so getting kitted out for the slopes is also really convenient.
The hotel sleeps 66 guests, so it’s intimate at the same time as having a hotel feel – offering you a more personalised service throughout your stay, with all the added luxuries of a piste-side hotel. My bedroom was lovely, traditional with the wooded effect throughout and two single beds, a separate toilet and bathroom ensuite. I also had the added bonus of a balcony which was wonderful in the morning, as the sun rose above the mountains!
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25Hours Hotel Langstrasse Switzerland
On a recent trip to Switzerland, we didn’t want to miss it’s biggest city, Zurich but with so many amazing places to stay in the city, we knew choosing where to stay in Zurich was going to be tough. However, it didn’t take us long to find the perfect place to stay in Zurich whilst we were here called 25hours Hotel Langstrasse – and what a hotel it was!
Brightly colored, fun and with a great atmosphere, this hotel wa exactly what we needed after a relaxing 24 hours at the thermalbad. Inspired by the contrasts between banking and the red-light district, between art and capitalism, the designer Werner Aisslinger and his team see the 25hours Hotel Zurich Langstrasse created a self-contained microcosm. Regularly changing resident artists ensure a steady flow of creative input.
When you walk in you are surrounded by quirky interior and welcoming staff to help you.’25 hours’ a day. There is a shop in reception and round the corner is a bar with outdoor seating, where we enjoyed a beer later that afternoon. At the heart of the 25hours Hotel Langstrasse is the ground floor, home to the Cinchona Bar and NENI.
When you walk in you are surrounded by quirky interior and welcoming staff to help you.’25 hours’ a day. There is a shop in reception and round the corner is a bar with outdoor seating, where we enjoyed a beer later that afternoon. At the hotel there are 170 rooms which are all comfortable sanctuaries with design elements inspired by themes from the red light district, the bourgeoisie, or the world’s penthouses.
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Reethi Faru Resort The Maldives
After three gruelling flights from London Heathrow we finally hopped onto a speed boat at Dharavandhoo Island and hurtled towards our Maldives accommodation, the beautiful Reethi Faru Resort. Due to our flight arriving in to Male mid-afternoon, we ended up arriving at the resort after sunset. From the moment we stepped onto the jetty, all we could hear was the sound of the waves and our guides friendly voice, as they welcomed us to the resort with fresh coconut water. We knew we had chosen the right Maldives Accommodation for our dream trip.
Situated in the Raa Atoll, the magical Maldives Accommodation of Reethi Faru boasts a beautifully set 600-meter island fortified by the impressive coral reef that circles the surrounding beaches. A larger resort in The Maldives, they offer guests a choice of over 150 rooms, with many located on the beach or over the water.
Reethi Faru is a one of a kind resort, located on a tropical paradise island, where crystal clear waters and their incredible house reef, set the standard for an amazing visit to The Maldives. The lush island is full of tropical foliage, surrounded by coconut groves and palm trees.
Priding itself on being a bio-luxury island paradise, Reethi Faru is unassuming and isolated, where natural beauty shines through. The stunning lagoon and house reef offers guests the opportunity to swim with an array of marine life, including eagle rays, sharks and fish.
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St Michaels Resort Falmouth UK
Are you ready for the ultimate Cornwall getaways? Located in the beautiful seaside town of Falmouth in the UK, the gorgeous St Michaels Resort is a hotel and spa worth visiting. Since 2002, St Michaels Resort & Spa has provided guests from all over the world with an environment in which they can relax unwind and enjoy the best in Cornish hospitality.
Their ‘feel good again’ philosophy is embraced in all aspects of the hotel including their health club and spa to the food in the restaurant and proximity to the open ocean. They believe that well-being is all about balance and your weekend break in Falmouth can be a mixture of relaxation and activities.
Me and Theo visited Falmouth at the end of September this year and had the best time exploring Falmouth, and the nearby towns and villages. Falmouth is it an underrated town in Cornwall and is often overlooked by the more popular towns of Newquay.
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B2 Boutique Hotel and Spa Zurich Switzerland
When we booked B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa I knew it was going to be good, but I just hadn’t realised how good. Located in the former Hürlimann brewery, B2 Boutique Hotel + Spa is a quirky hotel, in the city of Zurich, where beer was once brewed. The trendy city hotel has been boldly designed around the old brewery, retaining its history and architecture. And the hotel is perfectly located in the Enge area, making it a great stay for a weekend in Zurich, and is only a ten minute tram journey away the main streets and Lake Zurich.
The hotel is sprawled across three buildings, and four-storeys, with 60 rooms for guests to enjoy. In what was once the mash house is now a sprawling lobby with lush sofas, roaring fire and tables held up by hardcover books. And just behind is The Library where over 33,000 books are placed across three 36-foot tall walls. The style of the hotel is luxury, meets industrial, where small elements of what used to be, within the Hürlimann brewery is set against plush fabrics and clean surfaces.
After a long, hot journey from Lake Lucerne on a train without air con or windows, we arrived in Zurich in dire need to fresh air and a cold drink and that’s exactly what we received when we checked in to B2 Boutique. As our taxi pulled up a lovely gentleman opened the door and took our suitcases inside for us, whilst reception checked us in and offered us a beer on arrival. That’s my kind of perfect welcome!
The former brewery has an industrial white facade, with brick chimney on the outside, with velvet sofas and open-plan lobby inside. Whilst chandeliers of beer bottles hang from the ceiling, and a concrete and glass tunnel that holds up the building can be viewed from both the lobby and the spa on the top floor. It’s a hotel with many sides and facades, offering all guests something interesting to stare at.
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Christchurch Harbour Hotel Bournemouth UK
On a visit to Bournemouth, don’t assume you need to stay in the town centre, head slightly down the coast to the east and you will stumble upon a gorgeous town called Christchurch. Sometimes forgotten, in the shadow of it’s popular neighbour Bournemouth, Christchurch offers visitors the perfect balance between relaxation and proximity to the hot spots.
Located to the east of Bournemouth, Christchurch Harbour Hotel is a fantastic stay for couples, families and girlfriends. Offering possibly some of the best views to wake up to, the Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa in Dorset is a hotel which delivers. Whatever the season, this hotel offers guests a friendly, warm and attentive experience, through comfy beds, delicious food, and a location so you can take a breath and relax.
The hotel is located in a long Victorian building, painted white, giving off seaside vibes and calm collection. Whilst the exterior can seem a little simple, the interior is not – with luxurious fabrics, stylish decor and striking orange and navy blue palette. Just through the front door you will find a gorgeous open reception, with seating area, and further on through the rooms, you will find Upper Deck, a restaurant that overlooks the harbour.
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Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon Portugal
Located in the heart of Lisbon, the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon sets the standard in luxury five-star accommodation in the city and is the best place to stay in Lisbon. The hotel was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar, and designed by award-winning architect Pardal Monteiro, to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital and he certainly proved himself with this stunning building, and its interior.
Locals still call the hotel the Ritz Hotel, but it was taken over by the Four Seasons group and entirely refurbished. It’s also got a great location, with Lisbon’s narrow streets making traffic a problem, the hotel’s location near the main Avenida de Liberdade provides easy access for guests around the capital.
The iconic hotel wears the soul of Portugal on it’s sleeve, with art-deco interiors, set against a collection of important contemporary local artwork, and outside from the bedrooms and the rooftop fitness centre you can view the city’s rolling hills, brown roofs and even the sea beyond. A huge marble lobby area, which leads into a formal lounge area, where guests can relax before and after dining in the Varanda Restaurant.
The décor throughout the hotel is grand, there are chandeliers and huge flower displays on gilded furniture, as well as collections of modern Portuguese art, from tapestries to sculptures and paintings. You can also dine on the terrace at the Varanda Bar is you want the alfresco style of dining, or you can head to the luxury spa in the basement, where you will find a 18-metre pool, with spa and sauna rooms.
READ MORE: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon
Sturthill Stable Dorset UK
As part of my amazing weekend away in Dorset, I stayed in the most adorable cottage to rent in Dorset called Sturthill Stable, through Classic Cottages. The cottage was perfect for our adventure in Dorset, and provided us with a great base to explore both Dorset and beyond. We spent the weekend following the coastal roads, spending the morning at Durdle Door, the afternoon at Lulworth Cove, and then sunbathing in the sunshine in the morning at Hive Beach just down the road.
Dorset is a land steeped in history, from the fossils at Charmouth on the Jurassic Coast to The Cobb at Lyme Regis. And you can also venture to inland Dorset, with its hamlets of thatched cottages, wooden-beamed pubs and watermills, and you’ll feel as though you’ve walked into a living, breathing Thomas Hardy novel. We only spent a weekend in Dorset, but you could easily spend a week here exploring the AONB, eating ice creams at the beach, and dining with Hugh at River Cottage.
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Buonconsiglio Trento Italy
On a recent trip to Trento in Italy for the iconic travel blogger conference that is Traverse, me and my friends Alice and Sandy decided to opt for an Airbnb in the city, as opposed to a hotel, so we could instead get an apartment that felt like home during our four days in this magnificent town, on the edge of The Dolomites! Here is a short blog post all about my recommendations on where to stay in Trento, Italy.
The capital of Trentino is quietly confident, liberal and easy to like. Bicycles glide along spotless streets fanning out from the atmospheric, intimate Piazza del Duomo, students clink spritzes by Renaissance fountains and a dozen historical eras intermingle seamlessly among stone castles, shady porticoes and the city’s signature medieval frescoes. While there’s no doubt you’re in Italy, Trento does have its share of Austrian influence: apple strudel is ubiquitous and beer halls not uncommon. Set in a wide glacial valley guarded by the crenellated peaks of the Brenta Dolomites, amid a patchwork of vineyards and apple orchards, Trento is a perfect jumping-off point for hiking, skiing or wine tasting.
Located at the front of the historical Buonconsiglio castle, the apartment we booked was better than we could have all imagined. The apartment can accommodate up to four people, across two bedrooms, which can be laid out as single beds or double beds. The cosy and bright attic apartment is 70 sqm, offering a large and stylish space for travellers from all different walks of life. It’s located on the fourth floor of the building, but can be accessed by lift inside the building and is completely accessible too.
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Abbey Hotel Bath UK
To celebrate World Sleep Day in March, I took a 24-hour trip to the wonderful city of Bath in the UK to stay at the newly refurbished Abbey Hotel. The stylish Abbey Hotel is perfectly located for a weekend break in Bath, with art-filled corridors, a classy bar and glamorous bedrooms. It was the perfect base to spend some time in the city with my friends Monica, Vicky and Emily, providing us with great access to the tourist hotspots but also somewhere to relax, unwind and get some sleep.
The Abbey Hotel spreads over three interconnected 18th-century townhouses overlooking an open, triangular area close to the rear of Bath Abbey known as Bog Island. The location is possibly the best selling point for me, as it is only a minute’s stroll from Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa. And to re-fuel afterwards, there are lots of cafés and restaurants virtually on the doorstep.
The hotel has a bold and unique look, offering stylish interiors, using leather, wood and strong dark colours to add luxury to every corner of this lovely hotel. This is particularly true in the plush and fun-looking ArtBar, where lampshades made out of decanters and dozens of glasses hang from the ceiling, and in the restaurant, which is painted pink and has long, beige drapes framing modern art.
READ MORE: Abbey Hotel Bath UK
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