BOOK A ROOM: The Londoner
If you’re after a London hotel for a luxury staycation or weekend treat, The Londoner has just opened. On Leicester Square, it’s the world’s first ‘super boutique hotel’, offering guests the personal touches you’d expect from a smaller property with the facilities of a much bigger one. Yabu Pushelberg (whose work includes the iconic Four Seasons hotel in Manhattan) is behind the design, so expect slick interiors with an NYC edge. There are 350 rooms and suites to choose from, plus a restaurant, rooftop bar, and ground-floor tavern which hosts daily live music performances. Relax at the on-site spa, take a dip in the indoor pool, and book a treatment at the hair and nail salon.
PRE-ORDER THIS COFFEE-TABLE BOOK: Slim Aarons: Style
A coffee-table book of holiday shots by iconic photographer Slim Aarons is on its way. Known for his glamorous pictures of Hollywood stars and socialites, the American shot most of his subjects while on holiday – think 70s models in Ibiza, ladies who lunch in St Tropez and pool parties in Malibu. Released on Tuesday 28th September, Style features some of Aarons’s early black-and-white fashion photography, as well as portraits of the fashionable elite, including Jacqueline de Ribes, CZ Guest, Nan Kempner and Marisa Berenson, as well as those who designed the clothes, such as Oscar de la Renta, Emilio Pucci, Mary McFadden, and Lilly Pulitzer.
HEAD ON A LAST-MINUTE STAYCATION: The Falcon, Castle Ashby
For a last-minute getaway, visit The Falcon at Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire. A Grade-II listed coaching inn dating back to the 17th century, the property underwent an extensive renovation last year. You can now stay in one of 22 bedrooms: eight are in the main hotel, while the rest are in adjacent cottages on the estate – we love the look of bedroom five with its private terrace, roll-top bath and original period features. Book a dinner at the on-site restaurant which uses local, seasonal ingredients, and enjoy afternoon tea and cocktails in the East Wing. Guests can also hire Hunter wellies or bikes, go wild swimming, and unwind at a yoga class in The Stables.
BOOKMARK THIS FOR LATER: Leven Manchester
Manchester is getting a slick new hotel in the form of Leven, which is set to open at the start of October. Housed in an early 20th-century warehouse on the corner of Chorlton and Canal Street, it’s in a great location for exploring Manchester’s restaurants and nightlife. The hotel itself has 42 ‘keys’, from standard bedrooms for overnight trips to penthouse suites made for longer stays. Each one has modern furnishings and industrial-chic décor; some have free-standing baths while others feature fully-equipped kitchens for self-catering. Head to the Lobby and Lounge for coffee and all-day cocktails, before treating yourself to room service in the evening.
TAKE A WINE-TASTING TOUR: Rathfinny Wine Estate
Grape harvesting season takes place during September and October, making now the perfect time to book a wine tasting tour at one of the UK’s best vineyards. SL favourite Rathfinny Wine Estate in Alfriston, Sussex, is easily reached from London via a two-hour train journey. Then you can spend the weekend taking a tour of the estate before sitting down to a wine tasting. Rathfinny offers vineyard picnics (£25pp) and daily tastings where you can learn about the process for making wines that now rival those found in the south of France. Stay at one of the barns on the estate – the ideal spot to enjoy a bottle of their award-winning English sparkling wine.
VISIT EDINBURGH: Lumo
Booking a weekend in Edinburgh is always a good idea, so we were excited to hear that new train operator Lumo is offering affordable journeys to Scotland’s capital. From Monday 25th October to Wednesday 1st December, one-way tickets to and from Edinburgh will cost £19.90 or less, offering fantastic value for a 400-mile trip which usually costs upwards of £60 – particularly during peak season. Once the service is established, Lumo has pledged that passengers won’t pay more than £30 per ticket. And the journey only takes four and a half hours, stopping at Newcastle en route.
GO FOR AN ITALIAN GETAWAY: Nordelia
Italy has just opened itself up to fully vaccinated holidaymakers, meaning you won’t have to quarantine on arrival. Perhaps it’s time to explore the northern region of Piedmont – famous for its excellent wine (which comes into season in September and October) and picturesque landscape. Book a room at newcomer Nordelia, a 12-bedroom boutique hotel in a restored 800-year-old farmhouse. Michelin-starred chef Andrea Ribaldone is heading up the kitchen, while British design studio These White Walls (which designed Hide restaurant in Mayfair) is behind the interiors. Relax at the spa in the hotel’s subterranean vaults, then take a dip in the outdoor pool.
HIT THE HIGHWAY: Skyscanner Road Trip Tool
Skyscanner is no longer just a great flight comparison tool. It now has a range of helpful functions and features to help you plan your holiday, including a newly launched road-trip planner which helps users design itineraries for trips around the US. With helpful information, detailed routes and a list of sights to see in each place, choose from trips around New York, Washington and Philadelphia. We like the sound of the three-day route from NYC to Boston.
DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW: Cool Pubs & Inns By Cool Places
Regular SL readers will know Cool Places has an extensive portfolio of homes around the UK, from countryside cottages to quirky treehouses. Now it’s got a book about Britain’s best pubs and inns, profiling the the country’s best establishments with rooms, all of which are independently owned, have friendly staff, and offer a comfortable night’s sleep at the end of a good evening. With first-hand reviews from the Cool Places team, each pub comes with recommendations on the best things to see and do in its area, whether you want to stay in a Michelin-starred gastro-joint or a contemporary pub with boutique rooms. A handy guide for all.
ESCAPE TO THE NEW FOREST: The Montagu Arms
The Montagu Arms in the New Forest has added five new rooms and suites, with a further four due in October. Guests can now stay in a Courtyard Deluxe Room or Courtyard Studio Suite, both of which overlook the hotel’s landscaped gardens. They also have spacious lounge areas, four-poster beds, exposed wooden beams, private terraces and en-suites with free-standing baths. Ideal for a family trip or group getaway, you can even book all the new rooms and suites to have the courtyard to yourself. Dogs are also welcome.
DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.