So, you want to escape to a hideaway where you can’t be contacted? Then switch off your phone and journey to any of these top secret hotels, where you can sink into your own private haven and be cocooned by incredible scenery and boutique luxury.
Sometimes you just want to close your eyes and arrive in a new, magical dimension where time stands still and all your worries fade into oblivion. Well don’t tell anyone, but I’ve selected a few of my favourite top secret hotels that possess an infectious joi de vivre.
The Green House Hotel
You’d be forgiven for thinking you might need to don your wellies and gardening gloves here, but let me reassure you that The Green House Hotel in Bournemouth is far from being a glass house where you grow tomatoes!
Right next to the fascinating Jurassic Coast in Dorset and in the heart of Bournemouth, this hotel is skirted in all directions by sugary beaches and acres of national park. Hidden behind leafy trees amid streets lined with grand Victorian buildings, this is a unique treasure.
The name of the hotel merely hints at its owners’ intentions. Okay, so it’s actually a pretty big giveaway. Yes, you guessed it; The Green House Hotel claims to be ‘the greenest hotel in the UK’. This Grade II listed Victorian building lures you inside its contrasting 21st century interior and the subtle décor enhances the period features.
As you would expect, the green theme is mimicked in the restaurant, with the menu including dishes created from local, organic produce, and biodynamic wines.
This hotel has modestly pushed its way into my list of top secret hotels. Its fairytale setting presents the perfect backdrop for weddings, or for anyone who simply wants to wine, dine and romance their partner.
This independent manor house in St Saviour, Jersey sits in 16 acres of grounds, which has all the elements a young child could conjure up of a secret garden: tree swing, swimming pool, lake, fountain, wooden bridge, winding paths, woodland and a Victorian garden. And to complete this almost Narnia-like scene, driftwood animal sculptures are scattered throughout.
Now I’m not saying that this is my favourite of the top secret hotels, but it certainly has many components that woo me with their charm. What can I say? There really isn’t a reason not to visit this hotel, and I’m struggling to pick out just one or two, as everything about Longueville Manor subtly screams ‘fall in love with me!’ However, I will try.
Whether you want to experience exceptional food and service, one of the most incredible gardens in the country, or outstanding spa facilities, you will find more charisma here than you can shake a stick at.
Because I remember very clearly what provoked excitement within me as a child, I would be daft not to recommend Longueville Manor as a family friendly hotel. Apart from its mind-blowing location and magnificent grounds, the owners have thought of just about everything for the little ones: cinema, kid’s croquet, nature trails, cooking classes, baby sitting and listening service…the list is endless.
So if you want to please all members of the family and still feel like you can have a small slice of heaven, then this is the place for you.
Gilpin Lake House
If you go down to the Lakes today you’re sure of a big surprise! Resting on the edge of the lake, Gilpin Lake House is the ultimate hidden gem. Romance seeps out of every aspect of the building and seduces you into the natural beauty of the Lake District, which is a treasured national park for very good reason.
Staying here is like being cuddled underneath a metaphorical blanket of tranquility. The candlelit jetty with hot tub would warm the heart of any ice maiden, so if you want to impress your loved one, stay here. I must warn you, however, it could take some adjusting when you return to reality.
Although this is a great place to celebrate birthdays with your friends, forgive me for being selfish by saying that I wouldn’t want to share this adorable retreat with anyone other than the man of my dreams.
Sympathetic to the natural environment of Cornwall, this top secret hotel nuzzles affectionately into the side of Pont Hill Creek, which peers over the fishing harbour at Fowey. Seclusion is the theme of the day here, but it is still close enough to the pretty pastel painted town that you can explore its nooks and crannies.
If I were to be appearing in an episode of Grand Designs, then this is the type of building I would be proud to flaunt as my own brainchild. It goes without saying, the design at Pancalenick House is impressive but to add to this luxury self-catering retreat, there are extras that take it to another level. Don’t worry if you want to completely relax without the hassle of cooking, the dedicated chef and house manager will tend to your every whim.
Because this accommodation sleeps up to 13, it is ideal for larger groups who want to pretend that the rat race doesn’t exist for a week or two. And the 40 foot yacht you have use of is the icing on the cake.