The best places to stay in the UK - Hell Bay Hotel
It's a dot on the map. Bryher is just half a mile wide, the smallest of the inhabited Scillies. The 70 inhabitants look across to neighbouring island of Tresco and consider it rather brash because it has a concrete road.
But Bryher is also the most westward isle, which means its far coast faces the full force of any Atlantic storms. Hence the name of the site of one of my favourite hotels in the UK: Hell Bay.
Hell Bay Hotel is an unusual low-rise complex of small whitewashed buildings on a pretty sandy cove. The Scillies' highest-rated hotel is luxurious and stylish in a friendly seafaring Boden-and-Country-Living way - the reception ‘desk’ is a huge chunk of local timber blown down in a storm, hot flasks are offered to guests going for a walk and after dark, you can borrow a torch.
It’s stylish too, like a house featured in Coast magazine, with wickerwork chairs, stripped wooden floors and pastel paintwork. There’s decent modern art everywhere, including a Barbara Hepworth, but the images that always command most attention are the views from big picture windows. My room, top floor of a wooden ‘boathouse’, had huge French doors facing the Atlantic.
Compared to all that the rest fades into relaxed insignificance: Hell Bay food is three-rosette quality, there's an outdoor heated pool and plenty of watersports can be arranged - but the hotel's best attraction is its location and the ability to just step out the door for a potter around a beautiful island.
One morning I woke at dawn as a gale roared in smashing spray against my windows. Very unusual. I got up early, totally voluntarily, dressed in all my coats and hats and marched out into the storm. Before breakfast! It was quite unlike me…
I wasn’t being a Scilly Billy at all. In fact, an hour later, as I finally sat down to a full scale fry-up feeling like I’d been sand-blasted all over, I reckoned I’d earned this breakfast like never before.
Contact Hell Bay here: www.hellbay.co.uk
Other great places to stay in the UK:
St Curigs Church B&B, Snowdonia
Eccentric British aristocrat's friendly converted chapel in the mountains.
Montpellier Chapter, The Cotswolds
Relaxed design hotel in the grand spa town of Cheltenham.
Scarista House, The Western Isles
Great food, views and cosiness at a remote Scottish waterside retreat.
The Haven Hotel, Sandbanks
Unpretentious waterfront luxury at the heart of Britain's most exclusive seaside.
Gilpin Lodge, The Lake District
Romantic, sexy and luxurious country house hotel with superb food.
Got any other suggestions? Why not leave a comment at my Facebook travel page? LIKE it HERE
Things to mention about Hell Bay Hotel
The Isles of Scilly are a major attraction but they'd be even more major if they were easier to get at. It's expensive and time-consuming.
The Hell Bay Hotel is expensive too.
There's not much to do if it's raining.
It's not half as good if you haven't got a room with a good view.
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