This month, Luxe Lavs contributors Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno went to non-traditional winter destinations, where cold weather can still be cool. They searched out great hotel bathrooms in former castles, mansions, and even a gentlemen’s club throughout UK—in London, Ireland, and Scotland.
St. James Hotel & Club in London was originally established in 1859. The former private club to dignitaries, authors and celebrities was converted into 60 luxurious rooms and suites. It’s situated on a quiet cul-de-sac around the corner from the Buckingham Palace and Green Park.
The hotel itself has a museum-quality collection of over 450 works of art as well as William Drabble’s Michelin-starred restaurant Seven Park Place. The bathrooms are as sleek as the décor. The polished black stone bathrooms are large with separate soaking tubs, dual sink vanities, and rain head showers. Never fear getting cold: There is an ample supply of thick towels on the heated towel rack, cozy bathrobes and slippers with London’s own Penhaligon’s bath products, including a special bath essence. Our favorite details include the black washcloth embroidered for “make-up” and the best lit magnifying mirror that we’ve ever used. After soaking in a hot bath, there’s nothing better than climbing into the Hypnos bed. These beds are so luxurious and comfortable they are fit for a Queen, literally, as the British Royal Family uses them. The winter special is currently three nights for the cost of two.
The Lugger in Portloe, Cornwall is nestled in a harbor with dramatic views of the sea. While waves are crashing and mist surrounds the cliffs, guests are cozy inside this boutique hotel. But
it wasn’t always as charming. The original landlord was caught smuggling brandy and was sent to the gallows. Nowadays, the hotel is a safe haven from the cinematic weather.
We stayed warm in the front upstairs guest room with the tub overlooking the cove. Clean large white tile and white walls accent the green hills and gray-blue water outdoors. The tub is basic but deep and comfortable, and the chrome overhanging shower head feels nautical in its simplicity. A quaint, white carved wooden basket holds Orla Kiely products, which is a nice detour from the
typically provided brand amenities. The towels are soft and plentiful, keeping guests toasty long after their baths.
The Ashford Castle in Ireland dates back to 1228, and has served as the Guinness family estate. This 82 guest room castle in County Mayo, Ireland just won Virtuoso’s World’s Best Hotel Award for 2015. Set on 350 acres and on the shores of Lough Corrib, this picturesque destination is restored to its historic splendor, combining the castle’s original features with the latest modern luxuries. The key fob hangs on a hook inside the door and controls the electricity, heat, and air in the room. Plus, there’s no way to lose it.
Quality is everywhere, from the carefully sourced antiques and artwork to the sumptuous linens, fabrics, and towels. The bathroom fits our standards like no other. There are heated floors, along with a heated towel rack, and a luxurious soaking tub and shower. The bathroom comes with the rarely seen hotel room bidet, a blue LED nightlight that spots the toilet in the dark, and Ireland’s
Voya organic seaweed products. Turndown not only includes chocolates and slippers set bedside on fine linens, but also a tea candle lit in the bathroom. The best warming aid found in the room is the sherry with a crystal decanter and set of glasses. For outside, there’s an array of Hunter boots and raincoats available for guests to wear when venturing outdoors, be it strolling the extensive grounds, fishing, or going on a hawking adventure. Check the website for winter and spring specials.
The Gleneagles Hotel is an 850-acre estate in Perthshire Scotland, an hour drive from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. This luxury spa and golf resort, opened in 1924, is 17.5 miles from Perth Concert Hall and 19.1 miles from Stirling Castle. We prefer the Estate rooms with wonderful views of the grounds, gardens, and the Perthshire countryside. The rooms have king-sized beds, generous space, and modern amenities.
The bathrooms feel elegant with just the right amount of vintage decor. Dual standing sinks, a round magnifying mirror attached to the wall, a toilet, and a robin’s egg blue standalone tub all share an intimate space. The high ceiling makes the room feel spacious while the blue painted wall complements the tub perfectly. The separate shower is convenient and leaves the tub available for long, leisurely soaks. We particularly loved the lighting—a combination of the outside sun and soft inside lamps.
Want to discover more luxe lavs? Check out:
- Valentine’s Day Spa Treatments Around the World
- Over the Top Hotel Suites in Las Vegas
- Unique Bathrooms at Private Island Resorts
By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for PeterGreenberg.com