Best hotels in the UK for celebrity spotting

Best hotels in the UK for celebrity spotting

Rita Ora and Oprah Winfrey at Rosewood London.

David M. Benett/Getty Images

Rita Ora and Oprah Winfrey at Rosewood London.

The UK hotels where you could bump into the likes of Daniel Craig and Oprah Winfrey.

THE ROSEWOOD, LONDON

Located inside the former Chancery Court building in High Holborn, The Rosewood is every bit a five-star hotel. It stands seven storeys tall, with a grand Pavonazzo marble staircase rising skyward, and more than 250 rooms, including 11 signature suites that feature high-tech sound systems and gigantic walk-in wardrobes. It attracts its fair share of celebrities. The pint-sized pop prince Justin Bieber stayed last year as did talk show queen and movie star Oprah Winfrey. Covent Garden is just a few minutes away on foot as is Lamb’s Conduit Street, with its many quirky designer shops. The Holborn Dining Room, with its two patina copper-topped bars, red leather banquettes, and vintage Oak mirrors is often used to host after parties for events such as the BAFTAs and Brit Music Awards. See rosewoodhotels.com

THE CRAIGELLACHIE, SPEYSIDE

Built in 1893, this 26-room Aberdeenshire Hotel sits where the Spey and Fiddich rivers come together. Speyside is the world’s largest whisky region. More than half of Scotland’s distilleries can be found in this area and the hotel’s bar, The Quaich, has more than 900 single-malt whiskies lining its walls. So, if you want, you can take a guided whisky tour without leaving your bar stool. On Friday and Saturday evenings a traditional Scottish punch, created using 18th- and 19th-century recipes, is served between 6 and 7.30pm. The rooms, with Egyptian cotton sheets and Johnston’s of Elgin cashmere topped mattresses, are charming, comfortable and oh-so cosy on cold Scottish winter nights. The Copper Dog (the in-house pub) food is strictly farm-to-fork Speyside produce sourced from within 80 kilometres. As for celebrities, Joanna Lumley is a regular; and Sadie Frost, Noel Gallagher and Kate Moss have been known to spend a long night in the whisky bar. See craigellachiehotel.co.uk

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STARGAZY INN, CORNWALL

The Stargazy Inn featured in series four of the popular Doc Martin television show as Wenn House. Thankfully the staff here are much more approachable than the TV show’s brusque main character, Martin Ellingham, played by Martin Clunes. The iconic drama has been filming in Port Isaac and the surrounding areas of Cornwall’s north coast since 2004. Port Isaac has become quite the gastronomic destination, built on a reputation for serving some of the UK’s best seafood – straight off the day boats or out of the lobster pots in the bay. The hotel has nine recently refurbished rooms, a world-class restaurant lead by celebrity chef Andrew Sheridan (of the BBC’s Great British Menu TV show) and spectacular views across the bay of Tintagel. When Doc Martin is being filmed you can often bump into cast members Clunes, Caroline Catz, Joe Absolom and John Marquez on the hotel’s terrace bar downing a pint and some pickled oysters. See stargazyinn.co.uk

LORD POULETT ARMS, SOMERSET

Comedian Jack Whitehall has been known to have a long Sunday lunch at the Lord Poulett Arms in the pretty village of Hinton Saint George, near Crewkerne in Somerset. This traditional 17th-century village pub has also hosted Hollywood heart-throb and Wild Turkey bourbon spruiker Matthew McConaughey and English actress Hermione Norris (Cold Feet and Luther). The pub has six rooms but its best selling point is its restaurant where pretty much everything is either made, cured or smoked in-house. The Sunday lunch, a traditional British feast, is the perfect meal after a long morning walk around the village. As you would expect, this is Somerset so there are some impressive ciders to be tasted. See lordpoulettarms.com

SANDERSON HOTEL, LONDON’S WEST END

The Sanderson tends to attract entertainment’s leading ladies. Think Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway and Cameron Diaz. They have all been noticed at this luxury West End hotel known for offering celebrities some respite from the paparazzi. The hotel’s Purple Bar is regarded as one of London’s hottest meeting places and it is open until 3am Monday to Saturday for hotel guests. There are 150 rooms in the landmark 1950s building which is within walking distance of most of London’s “big brand” shopping on Oxford Street and in the Soho District. See morganshotelgroup.com

The Newt's cocktail bar.

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The Newt’s cocktail bar.

THE NEWT, SOMERSET

The Newt offers everything you would expect from a British country-house hotel. It opened in 2019 following a six-year renovation by its owners, South African Koos Becker and his wife Karen Roos, a former editor of Elle Decoration South Africa. Ten of its 23 rooms are outbuildings, each with an individual style and story. The restaurants serve produce from the estate’s kitchen gardens and greenhouses. The walled garden, where Guy Ritchie – of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Madonna fame – was seen wandering around, has a collection of 460 trained apple trees. That’s 267 different varieties of apples to be precise. There’s also a cider press and bottling plant. Others who like the place include Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) and his director wife, Sam. See thenewtinsomerset.com

THE TALBOT INN, MELLS

Guests have been booking rooms at The Talbot Inn since the 15th century. It is located in Mells, two hours from London by train and 20 minutes from Bath. Like most British pubs it’s acceptable to bring your puppy along for lunch in the main bar and courtyard. TV star Courteney Cox and a bunch of her friends stumbled into the pub on New Year’s Day last year. “Once we got there I had a beer, you know, hair of the dog, and next thing we know I am floating. I had the best time – [I was] the last to leave,” Cox, who played Monica in Friends, said. A small double room starts at £100 (NZ$196) a night (including breakfast). A dry aged Stoke Marsh Farm sirloin steak, charred shallot, lobster hollandaise, leaves and chips will set you back a modest £24. See talbotinn.com

NO 131, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Cue the James Bond music … Two of the contenders to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 are regulars at this Cheltenham hotel. Bookies in the UK rank Idris Elba (The Wire and Luther) and Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6 and The Hobbit) as front runners for the role of the quintessential British spy. The hotel sits on the border of the Cotswolds and is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore the myriad chocolate box villages in the region or spend a day at the Cheltenham races. There are 19 cosy rooms starting from £120 per night. Be warned: you can’t check in until after 3pm. See no131.com

The American Bar at the Gleneagles.

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The American Bar at the Gleneagles.

THE GLENEAGLES HOTEL, PERTHSHIRE

Set on a tranquil country estate, Gleneagles oozes Scottish appeal. For golfers, there are three, yes three, championship courses to choose from. Foodies can sample the delights of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, the only restaurant in Scotland with two Michelin stars. The 232 rooms (26 suites), meanwhile, are each completely different. There is nothing about this hotel that is cookie cutter. Scottish tennis champion Andy Murray visits often. His mum, Judy, is a member of the country club. Sir Sean Connery and John Travolta have been know to dine there as have William and Kate, adding a touch of royalty to Gleneagles. The hotel boasts a ratio of one employee per guest which means the level of service is legendary. See gleneagles.com

– Traveller

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