Hidden in plain sight, designed to charm and seduce while making you feel right at home, this is the allure of the townhouse hotel. Instead of the long corridors of cookie-cutter rooms, gyms and swimming pools you might find at many city hotels, these are storied buildings, overflowing with character and rich with individuality.
From London’s Chelsea to the Regency streets of Bath, townhouse hotels are popping up ten a penny. The scene is set to rocket even higher come March, when the much anticipated Gleneagles Townhouse opens in Edinburgh. Here, we share our edit of the best new ones — plus a couple of old favourites for good measure.
Gleneagles Townhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland
Next year, Gleneagles Townhouse will open in Edinburgh’s New Town. The city counterpart to the luxurious countryside playground of Gleneagles, it will be set in an iconic building on St Andrew Square that once housed the British Linen Company and, later, the Bank of Scotland. Featuring a rooftop bar overlooking Edinburgh’s cobbled streets and historic Gothic architecture, it also has 33 elegant bedrooms, a restaurant, two further bars and a private members’ club. Sumptuous and grand, it will be the perfect base to explore the city’s independent shops and flourishing food scene. Make sure to book into Timberyard, a candlelit restaurant in a converted warehouse and the Edinburgh Food Studio, which invites guest chefs from all corners of the world.
Gleneagles Townhouse is opening at 39 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
Beaverbrook Town House, Chelsea, London
In another country to city leap, Lord Beaverbrook has recently opened quarters in Chelsea, in two beautifully refurbished Georgian townhouses that look over Cadogan Gardens on Sloane Street. Inside, there are creative and colourful interiors that give more than a nod to the Roaring Twenties and pay homage to the legendary tastes of his lordship. Fourteen lavish and dramatic suites with four posters, art and antiques meet with a Japanese grill and sushi bar and a snug little library with whisky to help yourself to. In short, it’s like staying in town with an extravagantly generous friend, who will even open up his little black book of London secrets to you, whether you require a workout or a personal shopping trip.
Beaverbrook Town House 115 Sloane Street, London, SW1
Yard in Bath, Bath, Somerset
Run by its present and very hands-on owners, ex-Londoners Esther Newman and Ed Haskins, the Yard sits proudly in the centre of Regency Bath. There are 13 serene bedrooms with whimsical wallpaper flourishes and a soothing pastel palette — and one even has a bathtub in the room. Downstairs, a daytime coffee spot transforms into a diminutive but buzzy bar come evening that’s open to locals too, with a selection of handpicked natural wines, beers and cocktails. This boutique bolthole is ideally placed to explore this peaceful city, being near to the Roman Baths, The Royal Crescent and a slew of independent restaurants and bars.
Yard in Bath 1 Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1
Henry’s Townhouse, Marylebone, London
The former Georgian home of Jane Austen’s brother Henry, this is a charming townhouse hotel that is rich with stories and character. Set on Upper Berkeley Street in Marylebone, discreet Henry’s has just seven bedrooms and can be hired as a whole, making it ideal for very special occasions with families or friends. It has a sprinkling of lovely spaces: there’s M. Halavant’s pantry for breakfast, lingering lunches and private dinners; or the velvet-clad Jane’s Sitting Room for a quiet afternoon tea; and The Carriage Snug for a pre-prandial tipple or two.
Henry’s Townhouse 24 Upper Berkeley Street, Marylebone, London, W1
The Lost Poet, Notting Hill, London
Located on Portobello, The Lost Poet is an adults-only bolthole that could not be more petite with just four bedrooms. Eccentric, bold with colour and pattern — think jewel tones, Nelly Duff artwork and House of Hackney wallpapers — it’s a love letter to the local area. Go the whole caboodle and book The Muse: the penthouse room, which is set over two floors and boasts its own roof terrace, complete with Notting Hill views and a giant silver bathtub for floating under the stars. Breakfast is delivered to your room each morning from the nearby Sloe Kitchen. Like Henry’s, it can be booked exclusively, too.
The Lost Poet 6 Portobello Road, London, W11
Zetter Townhouse, Marylebone, London
Staying in Marylebone’s Zetter Townhouse is rather like staying with one’s charmingly eccentric relative — decor is maximalist, handsome and riotously colourful — in their Georgian townhouse. Your host, the wicked Uncle Seymour, invites you to take advantage of his sultry bar for afternoon tea and cocktails, and his fleet of sumptuous rooms filled with antiques, lavish silk curtains and magnificent bathrooms. Push the boat out and book the Lear Loft, a spectacular penthouse apartment with its own staircase entrance, roof terrace and outdoor bath.
Zetter Townhouse 28-30 Seymour Street, London, W1