The UK might be well known for its stately homes, manors and castles, many of which have been opened to the public – but you can still find luxurious stays on a smaller budget. Whether you’re visiting London, Manchester or Edinburgh, you’d be surprised at how many city break options come in at lower rates without sacrificing comfort. Here are our top picks around the country.
The Hotel Brooklyn has a lot to offer in one of the UK’s biggest cities. The bar and lounge area has all the trappings of a cool, converted industrial space, and the rooms are replete with high-quality furnishings you’d expect at a far more costly establishment. The newspaper-style guest pamphlets aren’t exactly subtle, but if you roll with this strange thematic approach, you’ll have a great stay.
Lauded as one of the most stylish cities in the UK, Brighton is a cool, cheap alternative city break. Snooze makes every effort to embody that spirit, with reclaimed fairground artefacts, ‘70s and ‘80s vestiges and hip-hop murals delightfully mismatched across the common areas and the rooms themselves. There’s eco-friendly touches– which extend to the bathroom products – and a complimentary breakfast buffet, plus you’ll find a branded stick of Brighton rock candy waiting for you on arrival.
London isn’t a cheap city to visit, so if you do go it makes sense to try and bed down on a budget. Generator London opened when the company was born in 1995 – marketed as a poshtel (posh hostel), Generator outdoes other hostels with its level of comfort and facilities. The lounge area offers pool and foosball, and the cafe serves sports bar-style food in the day and cooked breakfast in the morning. The bar is cheap enough to garner attention at £4 a pint in central London, and coffee and tea refills are unlimited.
With a few locations scattered around the UK, ABode’s approach has been to offer a luxurious feel at a fraction of the cost. Even at the lowest room type – Comfortable – the rooms are spacious and nicely decorated. A brasserie-style restaurant is in the hotel, and the stylish Northern Quarter is laid out before you, should you decide to step out and start exploring the city.
The red sofas and black and white tiling in Manchester’s Malmaison have a kind of Twin Peaks vibe, and many of the amenities in the common areas and rooms come with pithy little messages on them. Choose between Standard, Club and Club Deluxe rooms – but regardless, you’ll be spending a fraction of the amount you would for other hotels so close to Piccadilly Station. The Chez Mal brasserie has a great cocktail selection, and the hotel also offers a small spa, gym and Zen lounge – which is a great place to chill out.
As the name suggests, the Resident has more of an aparthotel vibe, with mini-kitchens in the rooms. If you do decide to venture out, the hotel is in Liverpool’s artsy Ropewalks District, which is full of interesting eating and drinking spots – many of which offer discounts for guests. Unsure of where to go? Not to worry, the friendly staff will happily provide insider tips. If you decide to stay in, all the rooms have HD TVs, plus great soundproofing and blackout curtains so you can hibernate in peace.
The Leeds Malmaison succeeds in encapsulating the same independent, bohemian nature that characterises the Motorway City. Sitting a stone’s throw from Call Lane and all its tantalising restaurants, the hotel is perfectly placed as a launchpad for a big northern night out. Discover the Victorian origins of the building inside, with vaudeville chandeliers and other trappings in the common areas. The rooms feel a bit more spartan, but the mini-bars and complimentary robes will make you feel at home. Like other Malmaison hotels, you can sit down to a hearty meal at the Chez Mal.
With an enviable location on Newcastle’s quayside, just yards from the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, a comprehensive experience of the city is all but guaranteed. The exterior of Newcastle’s Malmaison looks very industrial, but inside there’s more style, with red and purple carpeting in the rooms alongside silver cushions. If you’re willing to throw a few more pounds down, a river view adds a lot. There’s also a subterranean spa with a sauna and massage chairs.
It seems only appropriate in an ancient city like Edinburgh to stay in a converted Victorian villa. Murrayfield House is much more than that – filled with odd, interesting decorative touches like beaded lampshades and tribal carvings. The rooms are stylish and come with complimentary tea- and coffee-making facilities. The Bothy restaurant offers a surprisingly high-end dining experience, after which you can migrate to the Drinkery to glug the rest of the evening away.
New Road Hotel provides an excellent budget option for bedding down in East London. Built out of an old textile factory, the new ownership made a point of retaining many of the industrial features, particularly the windows and big metal signs. Despite the low rates, guests can expect king-size beds and wet room bathrooms with rainfall showers – plus the windows have been double glazed to help insulate against cold and noise. There’s a Chophouse restaurant, and the breakfast buffet evokes Shoreditch’s famous Cereal Killer Cafe with its Build-Your-Own-Mashup selection.
In a central part of the UK’s second city, Birmingham’s Hotel du Vin is ideal – whether you’re in the mood to shop in the Bullring, go partying on Broad Street or catch a concert at the Symphony Hall, all are around 15 minutes away on foot. It may be budget-friendly, but there’s also a spa, gym with sauna and steam room, cellar pub and bistro with an inviting seafood-heavy menu and extensive wine list. All 66 rooms feature Egyptian cotton bed sheets, Nespresso coffee machines and monsoon showers.