Springtime has seen a tranche of sexy new openings across the UK and Ireland hospitality scenes. Here are six of the coolest launches to check out (and check into).
One Hundred Shoreditch, London
Many will have fond memories of the former Ace Hotel, the go-to crashpad for creatives on Shoreditch High Street, which closed its doors in late 2020. Happily, the hotel that’s filled its shoes, One Hundred Shoreditch, feels like a masterclass in upcycling. Combining the familiar with the fresh, an excellent co-working space meets lobby bar feels more convivial than ever; there’s on-site coffee courtesy of Ozone, and special occasion seafood at Goddard & Gibbs restaurant.
The Workshop, a gallery space with an events roster, is reaffirming the hotel as a creative hub, while the formerly sticky-floored basement nightclub now houses sexy Seed Library – a crimson-hued, dimly-lit Mr Lyan bar where black elderflower French martinis are served alongside bowls of potato smileys. A foliage-packed rooftop bar promising a Palm Springs feel will open in May.
Appealing guest rooms are decked out in soft, natural fibres with comfy beds like a great big hug – there’s a sanctuary feel, no matter how hard the rest of Shoreditch is revelling. Refillable glass carafes, DA & Durga toiletries, hand-woven tapestries and pleasingly thick Berber carpets ramp up the residential feel, and dogs are welcome (for a £30 fee). Larger front-facing suites with curtained-off spaces created by the facade’s new Oriel windows are an ideal watch-the-world-go-by spot.
Rooms from £175, B&B; onehundredshoreditch.com
Cashel Palace Hotel, Tipperary, Ireland
A former Archbishop’s country pile, Palladian manor Cashel Palace is now sporting a fresh new look and contemporary sustainability efforts, following an extensive restoration. With an astonishing location next to the Rock of Cashel – a limestone outcrop topped by medieval buildings – the mood at the new Relais & Chateaux property is all elegant glamour.
Reached by a tree-lined avenue, the property’s communal spaces are rich in original, restored details – think wooden panelling and fluted columns. Bedrooms have historical touches, too – from intricate cornicing and rustic beams to gilt-edged paintings and delicately draped bed canopies.
As well as lounges lit by roaring log fires and landscaped gardens, there’s a top-notch spa for Bamford treatments with an indoor-outdoor pool, traditional seaweed baths and yoga room. As for what else to do? Feast on suppers whipped up from ingredients sourced from the pastures of the surrounding Golden Vale at The Bishop’s Buttery restaurant, sip on a pint of Guinness in the basement bar, or tap up the equine concierge for the ‘inside trot’ on the area’s best riding routes.
Rooms from £333, B&B; relaischateaux.com
Wild Thyme and Honey, The Cotswolds
After a soft opening at the end of last year, countryside inn Wild Thyme and Honey threw open its doors properly this March – with squishy sofas and a lavender-pot-filled lounge, riverside glass-domed dining pods, and 24 serene bedrooms.
At this countryside idyll in pretty Ampney Crucis, near Cirencester, you’ll find exposed Cotswold stone, smoky grey and creamy almond palettes, timber cladding and checked pillows which give suites the feel of a contemporary cabin, while glossy faux-foliage and baths lined with Bramley products encourage leisurely soaks.
The ritziest room has a riverside barrel sauna and hot tub, and practical items – such as an iron and tampons provided by social enterprise Hey Girls! – can be found in a help-yourself communal pantry.
Hunter wellies and bikes are provided for yomps around local farming villages, and as for eating, the adjoining Crown at Ampney Brook pub does farm-to-table fare – think Norfolk chorizo scotch egg, baked Tunworth cheese with sourdough, and pistachio and olive oil cake. Signature gin cocktails are best sipped snuggled under sheepskin blankets in the courtyard by the flickering Argentinian grill.
Rooms are from £150, B&B; wildthymeandhoney.co.uk
The Hare & Hounds, Newbury
A reimagined boutique pub with 30 rooms, the Hare & Hounds has just opened in Speen, just outside Newbury. Decor at the 17th-century, redbrick Georgian inn pays homage to the area’s famous racecourse – about a 10-minute drive away – with eccentric equestrian riffs throughout.
Saddle up for jumping jockey wallpaper, split stable doors in the property’s ground level, dog-friendly rooms, and a Barn restaurant with a horse’s head sculpture. Already a hit with locals thanks to its convivial atmosphere, hearty chicken and ham pies with truffled mashed potato, and bowls of apple and rhubarb crumble with custard, the eatery is blessed with a triple-level garden terrace and plenty of cosy nooks with roaring fires for nightcaps.
The H&H is also well-placed for Downtown fans, being a 10-minute drive from Highclere Castle, which stood in for the Abbey on screen. Snelsmore Common, the crumbling ruins of Donnington Castle and Hungerford’s antiques shops are also close by.
Rooms are from £130 B&B; hareandhoundsnewbury.co.uk
The Spread Eagle Hotel, Wandsworth
Sticking with the trend for pubs adding boutique bedrooms is Wandsworth’s historic Spread Eagle. Retaining its mesmerising Victorian frosted and etched glass panels, wooden bar and globe lighting, the Grade II-listed Young’s pub on Wandsworth High Street has been given a fresh lease of life with vintage leather chairs, brass fittings, artwork inspired by the area’s printing heritage and the intimate new Garratt Dining Room.
In the pub, chatty staff whip up amaretto sours and refined pub grub – think bangers and mash, vegan shepherd’s pie and sticky toffee profiteroles – while upstairs are 21 brand-new bedrooms. Each is decked out in fresh spring colours pepped up by jazzy wallpaper, industrial-look shelving, comfy Hypnos beds and tucked-away wine glass racks.
Guests can retire for a slumber just a few steps from the dining room, or order food and drink straight-to-suite via an app. The fanciest suites have chandeliers and roll-top tubs – ale aficionados should book The Brewery suite, which has bathtub views of the original Young’s Brewery building and its striking tower.
From £129; room-only; spreadeaglewandsworth.co.uk
The Ironmongers, Aylsham, Norfolk
For those after a break with city, countryside and coast all within easy reach, boutique hotel The Ironmongers ticks the box nicely. Sitting a 15-minute drive from the Broads in the Norfolk market town of Aylsham, it’s half an hour from both North Norfolk’s beaches and Norwich’s cathedrals and coffee shops.
It’s owned by Tim and Lynnette Briscoe, who have spent three years working with local craftspeople to renovate the former Clarke’s Ironmongers shop. Now original timber beams, exposed brickwork and large sash windows rub up against eight charming bedrooms, with vibrant fabrics in sherbert lemon and teal hues, plus heated oak wood floors. With each room inspired by a historic market trade, the best for families is The Haberdashery, with a four poster bed and Narnia-like wardrobe leading to a secret bunk bed nook – while history buffs will adore The Tailors for its original wattle and daub wall.
Rooms can be accessed with a smart code, but the family is just a message away in case of any queries. Instead of providing breakfast, they encourage guests to support the community by visiting Aylsham’s excellent delis and bakeries. The lower floor of the Ironmongers will eventually house three indie businesses – including recently opened fish deli and tapas bar M’s of Aylsham, with a Bread Source Bakery and pizza joint arriving soon.
From £120, room-only; ironmongers-aylsham.co.uk