A Guide to the Ultimate Winter Escapes

Whether it’s a rural escape in the Scottish Highlands, a luxurious spa day in the Hertfordshire countryside, a weekend of peace and quiet in the Cotswolds or a night in the City as you’ve never seen it before, The Mango Agency have rounded up our favourite ways to use up 2020’s abundance of annual leave.

City Breaks

BRING MAN’S BEST FRIEND AND STAY AT ONE ALDWYCH, COVENT GARDEN, LONDON

We all fell even more in love with our pooches during lockdown, which is why the stylish One Aldwych in Covent Garden has opened its elegant doors to four-legged guests for the first time.  Partnering with its neighbour, Bow Wow London, the first and only dog boutique in Central London, One Aldwych guarantees a warm welcome to its canine visitors.  Spend the day exploring Covent Garden, on the doorstep, or enjoy a brisk walk along the tree lined River Thames with man’s best friend in tow, before settling down in the glamorous Lobby Bar, cocktail in hand.

Canine guests can choose an overnight stay, sharing their accommodation with their humans at no extra charge. They will be provided with a Bow Wow bed and bowl, whilst in residence, and treats from Bow Wow London to take home. If pooches are feeling a little “ruff”, they can book in for a post lockdown top-to-tail pampering at Bow Wow London’s grooming salon – just a bone’s throw away. Lizzie and Spencer, One Aldwych’s famous papier maché dogs (in the picture) are on duty, welcoming their furry four legged friends to their hotel.

CURIOUS AND CURIOUSER AT BANKSIDE, LONDON

Bankside hotel is the perfect base to explore the capital’s creative offerings this autumn.  Sharing its patch with some of London’s most iconic cultural institutions on the South Bank of the Thames, Bankside is the perfect base for discovering the capital’s creative offering. Whether it is appreciating pop art at the Tate Modern’s new Andy Warhol exhibition or taking in the sights on the Southbank Centre and the Hayward Gallery, there’s something to intrigue and entertain the culturally curious.

For its reopening this season Bankside has created a ‘Culture Curious’ initiative, to encourage guests to delve into the culturally vibrant neighbourhood. By booking tickets at local galleries, shows, and museums, guests can claim up to 30% off their room rate, along with late checkout allowing for more time to explore, as well as supporting the businesses within the area following the pandemic. It’s the perfect way to use up that un-used annual leave.

Proving its dedication to the area’s creativity, the ‘Culture Curious’ initiative does not discriminate between paid and free events, the only requirement is that guests must have a ticket to be shown at, or before, check-out.

SHOP TILL YOU DROP AT LONDON’S GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL

Combining the clean lines of the station’s contemporary architecture and the grande dame grandeur of a Grade II listed building, Great Northern Hotel is right next to King’s Cross station, and a short stroll to the hustle and bustle and style of Islington’s chic Upper Street. The newly renovated area of Coal Drops Yard is just a short walk away, where shoppers and foodies can explore the range of boutique stores, eateries and services on offer – even including local workshops and classes which visitors can take part in.

On arrival, check in to one of 88 rooms, all elegantly and thoughtfully designed with deeply comfortable Hypnos beds and wood panelling. On each floor there is a 24-hour Pantry with Nespresso machines, cakes and pastries, for guests to use throughout their stay. When hunger strikes, choose to dine at Plum & Spilt Milk (which takes its name from the dining livery of the Flying Scotsman) with views over the sloping roof of Kings Cross station and an Art Deco influence, serving a modern British menu – or sit with a cocktail at GNH Bar and watch the world go by.

Country Escapes

DISCOVER THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS WITH THE FIFE ARMS, BRAEMAR

The Fife Arms, deep in the Highlands at the heart of the village of Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park embraces its majestic location and, since re-opening in September, guests are positively encouraged to roam and ramble freely, with the help of hotel’s new Self-Guided Directory.  The guide features walking and cycling itineraries and has been curated to suit all levels of ambitions. Whether it’s for lone rangers, family outings or a romantic stroll, the new guide reveals the best locations for wildlife spotting, for foraging and to see local sights. Scavenger hunts, nature trails and activity sheets are also available for the younger guests to take with them on their adventure into the big outdoors.

To accompany guests’ excursions, The Fife Arms’ chefs have created a glorious Highland Picnic, which can be ordered up the day before. The picnics come in a Fife Arms hamper backpack with homemade pies and hearty sandwiches with meats and smoked salmon sourced locally, sweet treats made fresh by the pastry team and flasks of tea and coffee to help guests warm up on a frosty day.

WATCH THE SEASONS CHANGE IN THE COTSWOLDS, AT THE PAINSWICK

In the picturesque village of Painswick, surrounded by rolling hills and ancient woodland, The Painswick is a wonderful base for exploring the best of the classic Cotswolds country.  Togged up with wellies and walking maps and even a delicious picnic, guests can head out to enjoy hundreds of miles of public footpaths – and adorable, picturesque villages just waiting to be discovered.

Following an active day full of fresh country air, the obvious next steps are (1) an indulgent soak in a glorious roll-top bathtub, (2) an aperitif in front of a cosy fireplace and (3) a hearty dinner.  With just 16 rooms, each one an oasis of comfort, The Painswick is a truly relaxing spot.

RECHARGE AND UNWIND AT SOPWELL HOUSE, HERTFORDSHIRE

Just a short 20-minute train from central London, Sopwell House hotel in Hertfordshire is the ultimate luxurious post lockdown destination for couples, friends and families, focusing on indulgence and seclusion.

Guests of The Club at Cottonmill, the hotel’s new state-of-the-art spa, are spoilt for choice with an indoor/ outdoor hydrotherapy pool leading out into the spa garden, private hot tubs, fire pit, two Relaxation Rooms, Whisper Room and Garden Room, featuring warming fire places and day beds to curl up on. The Club area is accessible to members and a limited number of guests or residents on Club packages.

Signature treatments draw upon the soothing and healing powers of sand and water, including an Amber & Quartz Crystal Bed, the first of its kind in a UK spa. A perfect stress reliever, the bed immerses the body in hot sand, easing tension and stimulating cells. For those needing to unwind, Vichy Shower treatments gently let hydrotherapy bring the body back to balance, hydrating the skin in the process.

RELAX AND TAKE A DIP AT ST MICHAELS RESORT AND SPA, CORNWALL

Escape to the Cornish coastline this Autumn with a seaside spa break at St Michaels Resort, Falmouth. The resort underwent a multi-million-pound transformation in 2018, which included St. Michaels Spa It now offers the South West’s largest hydrothermal pool with 21 massage stations, herbal Finnish sauna, experience showers, heated relaxation beds and the world’s only Cornish sea-salt steam room. Beyond the pool, guests will find the hotels peaceful south-facing Spa Gardens complete with red cedar hot tub and Finnish barrel sauna.

There are a variety of spa breaks to choose from – so guests can experience bed and breakfast, health-focused spa lunches, delicious 3-course dinners and a choice of luxury spa treatments.