With UK breaks booming this year and their popularity likely to continue in 2021, Jennifer Morris takes a look at quirky hotel offerings for clients considering a short break.
With so much back and forth around the government’s travel corridors and Foreign Office (FCDO) advice, it’s no surprise domestic breaks are popular this year, with enquiries up for UK and Ireland holidays. UK short breaks specialist Great Little Breaks – which only started selling through the trade late last year – says it has seen “unprecedented” demand from agents.
“Agents are seeing the UK as a safe bet with all the current uncertainty in the world and this is evident with the amount of bookings and enquires we are seeing at the moment,” says Chris Cundall, director of trade relations.
“Destinations such as the Lake District and Cotswolds are selling really well, but city centres such as Manchester and Edinburgh are seeing great demand too as customers get more confident eating out, shopping and sight-seeing.”
So if clients are thinking about taking a UK break this year or next, why not add a bit of fun by recommending a quirky hotel that suits their personality and passions?
Located in the former headquarters of the Titanic’s shipbuilders Harland & Wolff, the earliest parts of the Titanic Hotel Belfast buildings (pictured above) date from the 1880s. The hotel has been awarded the Good to Go Covid industry standard mark from Tourism Northern Ireland and is a good fit for history-loving clients, with the hotel celebrating its fascinating history.
Its Drawing Offices – with their three-storey high barrel-vaulted ceilings – are the only surviving example of this type of shipyard architecture in the world, while all bedrooms have a “nautical personality”, with art deco furniture, hanging ship’s lanterns and maritime artwork. Located in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, the hotel is a stone’s throw from the Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast, while the airport is a five-minute drive away. The city centre is within walking distance, too.
Book it: Clients can complete the Titanic experience with a B&B stay plus access to Titanic Belfast and a car parking space from £75 per room. titanichotelbelfast.com
Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester is a design-led sister property to Hotel Gotham, and opened on 14 February before closing again a month later due to lockdown. “It is now open again – fresh, clean and raring to go,” says the hotel’s general manager Paul Bayliss. Hotel Brooklyn’s name was chosen for the New York borough’s similarities to Manchester “in terms of its buzzing industrial growth and strength of identity and culture”.
The brownstone building idea is explored from the moment clients enter the accessible hotel, with a Brooklyn-style loft aesthetic in the 189 rooms. The Runyon’s (named after American writer Damon Runyon) restaurant menu has European and American influences, featuring dishes such as Crab Flake A La Newberg and Billy’s Bacon Fried Rice.
Book it: Nightly B&B rates start from £130 for a club room. hotelbrooklyn.co.uk
Warner Leisure Hotels’ newest hotel Studley Castle is a great recommendation for those looking to combine some R&R with a range of activities and live entertainment.
Set in 28 acres of countryside, the Grade II-listed hotel offers 209 rooms, two restaurants, a cinema and a spa; a range of outdoor pursuits including laser clay, cycling, and archery; plus plenty of live music and comedy shows. With an Alice in Wonderland- themed lobby, guests will get a sense of Studley’s fun theming on arrival. There is plenty to do in the local area too, with Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon, just a short drive away, as well as the Cotswolds and Warwick Castle.
Book it: A two-night stay starts from £189pp based on two adults sharing, including breakfast and dinner on a Warner Leisure Hotels Re-Mixed entertainment break, arriving 12 May 2021. warnerleisurehotels.co.uk
Brighton’s “original rock ’n’ roll boutique hotel”, Hotel Pelirocco, is sure to be a winner with fun- loving groups and can be hired for parties and weddings. Disguised as a regency townhouse in the heart of Brighton, upon entry guests are faced with “a pink party playhouse”, including a Punch & Judy reception hatch and music memorabilia. Each of the 19 rooms are individually themed, including Tropical Paradise, Lord Vader’s Quarters and the newest, Rebel Rebel in homage to David Bowie.
Groups can celebrity-spot over a cocktail at the bar – often featuring live music – or flex their vocals in the Singstar karaoke lounge. It’s not for the faint- hearted though – there are even “Koibito love hampers” available for those seeking a “saucy seaside stopover”. I say!
Book it: Single rooms start from £59 and doubles from £89. hotelpelirocco.co.uk
Best for sports fans: Hotel Football, Manchester
The facts: While clients may not be able to experience the thrill of a live game in stadiums yet, they can still celebrate the beautiful game at Hotel Football, overlooking legendary Manchester United stadium Old Trafford. Freshly reopened after closing its doors amid the pandemic to accommodate NHS key workers, the Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt-owned property (part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio) is sure to capture the imagination of any football fan – regardless of their allegiance.
The hotel’s 133 rooms pay homage to footballing greats, with special touches like football shirt- shaped amenities and memorabilia and facts on the walls. The restaurant and bar, Cafe Football, serves such delights as The Nicky Butty and the Special One, and there is even a football pitch on the roof.
Thumbs up: The hotel has recently invested in a contactless experience featuring mobile phone check-in, a food and beverage app and contactless payments. It has also invested in sanitising machines to assist
with maintaining the daily control of Covid-19.
Thumbs down: Obviously match days are a big draw to Hotel Football in non-Covid times, which can’t currently include spectators. However, the hotel has been working on providing a great experience for football fans regardless by offering a three-night stay with a Q&A with one of the members of the Red Devils’ Class of ‘92 (from £250pp).
Book it: A two-night B&B stay in 2021 starts from £129 (excluding match days). hotelfootball.com