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Britain’s best townhouses, from Bath to Edinburgh

There may have been no dancing on the tables at Beaverbrook Town House, but there was a buzz that felt equally enriching. Groups of friends huddled in booths at Sir Frank’s Bar and couples sat together at The Fuji Grill restaurant. There was laughter, glamor, heels and the flash of jewelry, as if the 1920s had returned and a generation was being set free.

This red brick building in Chelsea, with concentrated fun and finesse on the ground floor and 14 rooms on the upper floors, is a perfect example of Britain’s latest getaway trend, the townhouse hotel. Overlooking Cadogan Gardens, it’s a brother to the luxurious Surrey country house that was once owned by newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, but it’s not a pastiche of the past.

Tucked away to one side of the restaurant, Chef Goemon-san oversees the six-seat omakase restaurant, which offers 20 dishes of sushi and sashimi, Scottish scallops, wagyu beef, and mackerel, while sake and wine are paired by the sommelier. Angelique, a former crime scene investigator and weightlifter.

Glamor: Dine at Beaverbrook Town House in Chelsea

Glamor: Dine at Beaverbrook Town House in Chelsea

As with all good townhouse hotels, Beaverbrook is about pleasure more than business. The rooms are named after some of the theaters in the capital (I’m in Haymarket), a hint that this is a hotel that wants you to get out there and explore, as fun and colorful as the decor.

And it really is, with jewel-colored velvet sofas, fringed cushions and tassels in a delightfully anti-minimalist way, and the hallways littered with posters and vintage prints (beaverbrooktownhouse.co.uk).

The townhouse trend is based on a strong sense of history. Because while Beaverbrook Town House refers to the 1920s, the concept dates back to the 18th century, when Georgian land-owning families left their estates to head to the cities in search of plays, dances, and marriage schemes; the very stylish forerunner of the modern city break.

City Slickers: The Garden Suite at Mayfair Townhouse

City Slickers: The Garden Suite at Mayfair Townhouse

City Slickers: The Garden Suite at Mayfair Townhouse

The Mayfair does not have a restaurant, but light meals can be enjoyed at the Dandy Bar.

The Mayfair does not have a restaurant, but light meals can be enjoyed at the Dandy Bar.

The Mayfair does not have a restaurant, but light meals can be enjoyed at the Dandy Bar.

When it opens next year, The Broadwick will defend its Soho location with a comprehensive historical journey through the ages, from vanity bar to ceiling bar to exterior décor (broadwicksoho.com). As designer Martin Brudnizki says: “We want people to feel like it is their second home. It may not be what you want to live in your house, but it’s kind of fun. ”

To get an idea of ​​a more purist approach, Henry’s Townhouse opened in December in Marylebone. In a building believed to have once been owned by Jane Austen’s brother, the seven rooms are complemented by cozy, art-filled lounges and while there is no restaurant, a pantry with a refectory table offers breakfast, private lunches and dinners. .

Heritage: the great facade of Henry¿s Townhouse in Marylebone

Heritage: the great facade of Henry¿s Townhouse in Marylebone

Heritage: the great facade of Henry’s Townhouse in Marylebone

Private and intimate, it’s filled with period furnishings, including four-poster beds and paintings (henrystownhouse.co.uk). The Mayfair Townhouse also opened last year in an equally quiet fashion. It is larger, with 172 rooms, and although there is no restaurant here either, breakfast and light meals can be had in the Dandy Bar, private dining rooms, or through room service (themayfairtownhouse.com).

“Townhomes have an air of calm and tranquility,” says Andrew Stembridge, Mayfair CEO, “but they need a bright and atmospheric bar where guests can gather for a cocktail before heading into town and a drink before to go to bed. “

Just as the aristocrats of the 18th century liked to move between their country estate and the great haven of the city, today’s townhouse hotels are often a nod to a larger picture. Mayfair Townhouse is owned by the Iconic Luxury Hotels group, so it can be seen as an offshoot of their properties in Cliveden and Chewton Glen, while Henry’s Townhouse owner Steve Collins also owns the Temple Guiting property in the Cotswolds (templeguitingmanor.co.uk).

Looking back on its past, Bath, the most fashionable city of the 18th century, has become the epicenter of the trend for townhouses.

The Royal Crescent Hotel, which opened in the 1970s on Bath’s most famous street, has spent the last several years, and several million pounds, regaining its original architectural integrity, dating back to the late 18th century (royalcrescent.co.uk).

There are newer townhouse hotels here too, including GuestHouse 15, Bath, on the city’s second largest street, Great Pulteney Street.

Bath has become the epicenter of the trend for semi-detached hotels.  In the photo is

Bath has become the epicenter of the trend for semi-detached hotels.  In the photo is

The Royal Crescent Hotel is located on the most famous street in Bath, pictured above.

Handcrafted cocktails are prepared in the ground floor bar, and guests are provided with maps showing Bath’s most attractive shops and restaurants. The owners, the three Guest brothers, will open another hotel in York, while a third hotel in Brighton, another key Regency resort, will open in 2023. James Guest says: ‘The UK has beautiful and prosperous cities and we want to help our guests to celebrate them as an alternative to a rural getaway. ‘

With townhouse hotels, the decor is largely traditional – a full coat of traditional-minded Farrow & Ball paintings is standard, but with nifty touches added.

The best ones also have a sense of generosity, and free minibars are often the norm.

On Portobello Road in bustling Notting Hill, west London, The Lost Poet is the most minimalist among the trend for townhouses. With just four modern rooms and a 21st century keyless entry system, you have a similar vibe to your fancier friend lending you his pad for the weekend.

The Lost Poet is a four bedroom townhouse on Notting Hill's Portobello Road

The Lost Poet is a four bedroom townhouse on Notting Hill's Portobello Road

The Lost Poet is a four bedroom townhouse on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road

Yet an essential townhouse is in place during the day: a concierge who, after making breakfast in the morning, can help guests connect with the neighborhood, which includes Holland Park, Portobello Market and the scene of Notting Hill restaurants (thelostpoet.co.uk).

Early next year, Gleneagles, one of Scotland’s smartest hotels, will open a home in Edinburgh.

Originally the headquarters of the British Linen Company and later part of the Bank of Scotland, the mansion in St Andrew Square is returning to its 18th century roots, with paneling and large four-poster rooms, plus a rooftop bar and restaurant that will bring some of the Gleneagles products to town (gleneagles.com/townhouse).

TRAVEL FACTS

Sarah Turner was a guest of Beaverbrook Town House, where room-only prices start at £ 400 per night, and The Lost Poet, where the B&B costs £ 219 per night.

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