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Top 12 Five-Star Hotels In The U.K.

6 minute read

By Imogen Sharma

Few experiences are as opulent or restorative as a stay at a luxury hotel. Anyone who adores carefully selected furniture, exquisite attention to detail and the best cuisine must make time to visit as many of the top five-star hotels as possible. High-quality hotels don’t just offer plush surroundings; they deliver service that makes you feel like royalty, plus a highly personalised experience to ensure your every whim is catered to.

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In this list, discover the 12 best five-star guest houses in the United Kingdom, spanning England, Ireland and Scotland. Leave no stone unturned, and make time to visit each one, whether it’s one per month or one per year.

1. The Savoy, London

The Savoy is a truly iconic location. It’s the first-ever luxury hotel in Great Britain and one of the most famous guest houses in the world. Opened in 1889, it has an array of impressive bars and restaurants in addition to magnificent suites fit for a king or queen.¹

Service at the Savoy is legendary, with staff anticipating your needs without being overbearing. It’s the type of individualised service to make you swoon. Expect all-marble bathrooms in every room, and consider upgrading to accommodations overlooking the Thames and London Eye for the ultimate experience.

2. Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

The Balmoral is nestled in the heart of picturesque Edinburgh, one of the most beautiful cities in Britain. Its central location offers access to the main shopping district and historic theatres. The hotel features a clock that’s quaintly set three minutes fast to make sure locals don’t miss their trains.

The only time it runs on time is New Year’s — or Hogmanay as the Scots call it — possibly the most important celebration on the Scottish calendar. Its most famous suite is the J.K. Rowling suite, where the Harry Potter author finished the final installment of the much-loved series.²

3. Linthwaite House, Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most beautiful areas in the United Kingdom, and Linthwaite House is the most impressive and comfortable five-star hotel in the scenic, tranquil location. It’s sophisticated yet full of countryside charm, with idyllic views of Lake Windermere that can calm even the busiest minds. Take a rowing boat across the water or while the afternoon away with a champagne picnic in The Tarn Cabin.³

Rooms have marvelously comfortable beds and neutral decor, and Molton Brown products adorn the bathroom. Acclaimed chef Simon Rogan oversees the main restaurant’s menu, offering fine-dining cuisine in an elegant, modern setting.

4. Corinthia, London

The name Corinthia is synonymous with splendour, featuring imposing chandeliers and one of the best spas in London. The colour palette of the rooms showcases dusky blues, greens and greys, with beautiful marble bathrooms boasting underfloor heating. ⁴

Two fine-dining restaurants are available, one with Italian cuisine and the other with classic British fare. The building itself is stunning and once housed the Ministry of Defense. Its location is ideal for visiting Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Leicester Square.

5. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxford

Head to Oxford and check yourself into esteemed chef Raymond Blanc’s perfect vision of the ideal luxury hotel. The Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons has held its Michelin star longer than any other hotel in Britain, at close to four decades.⁵

It’s a 15th-century property with all the charm you expect from an English country manor. Rooms are floral-themed, with stunning bathrooms and unbelievable views. The pond in the garden looks like something painted by an impressionist artist, finished with pretty sculptures and winding pathways.

6. The Grand, York

Once a railway headquarters, The Grand hotel takes luxury to new levels and is as suited to couples as it is to families. Located in the heart of York city center, it’s the perfect hub for visiting local museums and historic landmarks. When the day is done, relax in the spa with pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room.⁶

Dressing gowns and slippers are available for everyone, including the kids, and handmade chocolates and a coffee machine keep hungry and thirsty travelers satiated. Staff members are attentive and warm without being stuffy, and the food and drink are exemplary.

7. Rusacks, St. Andrews

If you’re a golf lover, there’s no greater hotel in the United Kingdom to visit than Rusacks, St. Andrews. This decadent manor is more than 100 years old and features a rooftop restaurant with astounding views and delectable food. Rooms are suitably plush, with sea views, fine wooden headboards, marble sinks and chandeliers.⁷

Dog lovers don’t need to leave Fido at home thanks to a selection of pet-friendly rooms, and all suites have coffee machines and a fully stocked minibar. The hotel has its very own pub tucked away in the basement, where guests enjoy live music and a fine whisky.

8. Great Scotland Yard, London

Great Scotland Yard is a wonderfully kitsch ode to British policing history, with fine contemporary art adorning the walls and a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s located in one of the most central spots in London, Covent Garden, affording access to all the spoils of the capital city.⁸

The building itself was the first home of the Met Police, where Arthur Conan Doyle set his Sherlock Holmes novels and Jack the Ripper’s crimes were investigated. Wet your whistle at one of the speakeasy bars or salons, or retire to one of the chic, uniquely designed rooms.

9. Whatley Manor Hotel, The Cotswolds

If you’re looking to escape to a location with some of the finest landscapes, rolling hills and stone architecture in England, the Cotswolds is ideal. Whatley Manor Hotel boasts 12 acres of gardens, a luxurious spa and three magnificent restaurants, including one with two Michelin stars.⁹

It’s great for couples looking for a romantic break, with children under 12 not permitted to stay. Bedrooms are elegant and comfortable, featuring large bay windows and neutral decor. The gardens are immaculately kept, with a stream flowing through the grounds, perfect lawns and neatly-trimmed hedges.

10. The Lowry, Manchester

Music fans looking to explore one of the most iconic cities in England can head to The Lowry in Manchester. This sleek, modern hotel overlooks the River Irwell and Trinity Bridge, with the largest rooms in Manchester and beautiful porcelain bathrooms.¹⁰
The interior is bright and features contemporary styling, with shimmering polished stone floors and intriguing art pieces.

Despite the quiet setting, the buzz of the city is a stone’s throw away. If you prefer to stay in the hotel, there are plenty of bars and restaurants and a spa, so you can pass the time in style.

11. Cliveden House, Berkshire

Cliveden House is a 17th century stately home offering unparalleled grandeur in the Berkshire countryside. With 376 acres of gardens to explore and panoramic views over chalk cliffs, this extravagant hotel has it all. The rooms boast heavy drapes, original artworks, antiques and handmade beds.¹¹

It truly feels like a palace, with beautiful fireplaces and restaurants serving exceptional seasonal British cuisine. Past guests include Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and Meghan Markle. The spa boasts indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs and an array of treatments to help you relax and unwind.

12. Culloden Estate, Belfast

If you’re looking for the most luxurious five-star hotel in Northern Ireland, look no further than Culloden Estate. With views of Belfast Lough and majestic rooms, you can truly escape daily life at this palatial guest house. There are plenty of dining options to choose from and a spa with eight treatment suites, two relaxation rooms and a juice bar.¹²

Celebrities love this hotel, including David Beckham, Harry Styles and Kylie Minogue. After breakfast, stroll through the 12-acre gardens, or head into Belfast city to enjoy the sights and sounds of the capital city.

Imogen Sharma