Explore domestic luxury experiences

08 March 2019

Luxury can be found in many resorts around the world, from Abu Dhabi to the Seychelles, from Venice to New South Wales. However, it’s a myth that you have to head overseas to experience a genuinely luxurious holiday because there’s a wealth of high-end experiences right here in the UK that can rival some of the very best on the planet.

Lodge experience: The Tranquil Otter, Cumbria

The Tranquil Otter

Located in Thurstonfield, just west of Carlisle, The Tranquil Otter’s secluded lakefront cottages serve as a fantastic base from which to explore the Lake District and Borders.

Each of the nine south-facing lodges come with their own hot tub, wood-burning fire and fabulous views across the lake. There’s accommodation to suit parties of all sizes, be it the honeymoon-friendly Fieldfare Lodge, the three-bedroom Heron Lodge, suitable for families and friends, or the generous and spacious oak frame Lough House with its five bedrooms and substantial open plan kitchen, dining and living area.

Notably, luxurious lodge experiences can be enjoyed north of the border at the 18-acre Loch Lomond Waterfront or in the scenic lochside pine cabins at Great Glen Lodges.

Spa experience: The Gainsborough Bath Spa

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

If anywhere could be considered the spa capital of Britain, it’s Bath. The city is blessed with many high-end hotel spas like Woolley Grange, Lucknam Park and The Royal Crescent, which was named World's Best Country House Hotel Spa at the 2018 World Spa Awards. This time though, we’re focussing on The Gainsborough Bath Spa – the AA’s Hotel of the Year for England in 2017/2018.

This luxury hotel in the heart of Bath features custom-furnished accommodation from the award-winning Champalimaud Design with rooms and suites boasting five-star amenities like luxurious bedding, generous wardrobes, full blackout window coverings, a flat screen HD television, Bluetooth radio and radiant heated bathroom floors.

Set beneath a glass atrium within the hotel is Spa Village Bath, which adopts a contemporary perspective on the city's thermal water heritage. It blends the UK’s historic use of aromatherapy with a Malaysian influence to honour the region’s healing traditions. Guests at the Bath House are invited to visit a circuit of natural thermal pools, saunas, a steam room and an ice alcove, as well as indulge in aquatic body therapies and classic skin care treatments that focus on personalised aromatherapy.

Check out these award-winning spa experiences

Three Michelin star restaurant: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

A Michelin star signifies the undeniable brilliance of any restaurant, but what about an eatery with three Michelin stars? It doesn’t get any more luxurious than that.

Currently, there are five restaurants in the UK with a trio of Michelin stars and three of them are in London: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and The Araki, both in Mayfair. Berkshire claims the remaining two with The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn.

As the names would suggest, only one of these three-Michelin star restaurants is connected with a hotel: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.

Jean-Philippe Blondet, the executive chef here, interprets the cuisine of Alain Ducasse (who has a total of 20 Michelin stars to his name) by adopting a modern, refined approach and consistently championing and enhancing current seasonal produce, much of which is sourced from British and French suppliers.

The seven-course tasting menu is considered to be the best way to enjoy the complete chef’s menu experience with dishes including sauté gourmand of lobster and truffled chicken quenelles, saddle of venison with parsnip and peanut, and exotic fruit contemporary vacherin.

One of the world’s most prestigious and iconic five-star hotels, the Dorchester - which developed a star-studded history over the decades with film stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor being regular guests -retains much of its 1930s furnishings and ambience despite multiple refurbishments and accommodation at the hotel promises pure bespoke luxury, cossetted intimacy and utter majesty.

Country house hotel: Linthwaite House, Windermere

Country house hotel: Linthwaite House, Windermere

Nestled in the heart of the Lake District, Linthwaite House sits amongst 14 acres of established gardens and well-maintained private woodland grounds on a hilltop overlooking Windermere.

Guests at this contemporary country house hotel are well placed to explore the scenic surroundings with Keswick and Ambleside a short drive away. Within Linthwaite House’s beautiful grounds, there’s more than enough to keep guests busy. Dabble in a game of boules or giant outdoor chess, take a stroll along the many fauna and flora-blessed walking trails, or hop on a bicycle and explore the village of Bowness-on-Windermere.

Read more: Our favourite UK staycations

Cruise: Hebridean Island Cruises

Cruise: Hebridean Island Cruises

Hebridean Island Cruises is one of the first names that springs to mind when thinking of a domestic luxury voyage. This independently owned British cruise company promises unique and elegant voyages with enthusiastic, knowledgeable tour guides and excellent crew offering unbeatable service.

Its all-inclusive tariff couldn’t be more all-encompassing, with the price covering all onboard meals, snacks and drinks (alcoholic and soft beverages), all shore visits, as well as the use of the ship’s bicycles, gym equipment and fishing tackle. Port and passenger taxes and gratuities are taken care of too.

Visit the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, her lochs and remote mainland areas in the luxurious comfort of Hebridean Princess. With just 50 guests, Hebridean Princess has a reputation for exceptional service, fine food and wine and a dedicated crew of 38. She has 30 spacious, elegant and well-appointed cabins, with 10 being designed especially for the solo traveller.

“The Hebridean Princess feels like a small five-star country house hotel with immaculate cabins, a lovely lounge bar area complete with stone fireplace, and a number of outside spaces, including open deck areas which are used for summer barbecues, and even a conservatory area for cooler days.”

Ginny, Travel Counsellor

Train Journey: Northern Belle

Train Journey: Northern Belle

Further evidence that a domestic luxury getaway needn’t occur in a single spot is Northern Belle. This unforgettable rail experience evokes the opulence of 1930s rail travel on a luxurious, intimate train that ventures through glorious countryside en-route to some of Britain’s top destinations.

During one of Northern Belle’s specially curated journeys, you can expect exquisitely decorated carriages, lavish five-course dinners, effervescent afternoon teas, sumptuous cuisine and liveried stewards ensuring that each journey is as exciting as its destination.

“The Belmond Northern Belle went far beyond my expectations. It was a truly amazing day, with next-level fine dining and extremely attentive staff. This experience was like stepping back in time and having a taste of being treated like royalty was priceless.”

Paula, Travel Counsellor


Experience domestic luxury for yourself by contacting your Travel Counsellor today and taking advantage of exclusive benefits including full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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