The Best Mid Priced Hotels To Book Now – Country and Town House

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It’s the mid-priced hotel’s time to shine, says Fiona Duncan, and there’s never been a better time to find affordable luxury – as long as you know where to look.

Affordable Luxury: Book These Mid Priced Hotels For Your Next Staycation

As a hotel expert, it’s the simplest thing in the world to recommend luxury hotels to friends and family looking for that perfect weekend away. Budget hotels, too, are easily recommendable (in general: never ever stay in a Britannia hotel; choose Premier Inn over Travelodge; and if you prefer character, go for a pub with good rooms rather than a chain). But what happens when a friend says: ‘I can’t possibly afford it’ about the list of lovely luxury places you’ve given them, whether it’s Lime Wood in the South, mid-country Hambleton Hall, Grantley Hall in the North, Ballyfin in Ireland or the host of other similarly gorgeous but expensive addresses spread around the country?

In the past, I’ve blanched. It’s so easy when there’s a big budget, so tricky when there isn’t. My friends and relations still want somewhere romantic, somewhere characterful, somewhere cool, somewhere in a lovely location, but all at prices that can generally deliver one or perhaps two of those requirements, but rarely all three. 

White historic house in parkland with flowers

Grove of Narberth

Now, though, the mid-price scene is blossoming. As we know, room rates across the board have increased substantially in the years since Brexit and the pandemic, mostly in response to the spiralling cost of energy, food and wages that hotels now have to cope with. Mid-price country hotels (I’m talking anywhere between £150 and £350 per night) are more expensive now than they were, for sure, but the best of them deliver much that you will find in their luxury counterparts, at far less cost to the guest.

The same goes for London hotels, where the advent of rooms costing an absolute minimum of £1,000 per night – without breakfast – has hardly been noticed by the mega rich and utterly amazed everyone else. But honestly, why pay £1,500 per night at Claridge’s if you can stay at the classy Rosewood for nearly half the price; or at the not-so- British-any-more Connaught when you can save hundreds at the oh-so-wonderfully British Goring?

Dan Brod and his business partner Charlie Luxton, who currently own four excellent West Country inns, including the superb Beckford Arms, are about to plunge into the mid-market hotel sector. Teffont House near Salisbury will be their first foray when it opens early in 2025. Why is this the right moment? ‘Guests are more savvy than they once were,’ Dan explains. ‘They are increasingly well-travelled and they expect higher standards across the board, and, with post-pandemic working from home, they have more leisure time mid-week. Crucially, they seek genuine hospitality and authenticity in the places they stay. That’s easier for mid-market hotels to provide than often faceless and increasingly overpriced luxury ones. In our hotel venture we are being careful (as we are with our pubs) to pay attention to the whole offering, from excellent beds to careful design and food that is approachable. In the end, most people, except the polarised super rich, will look for value at whatever price point; it’s up to us to make them want to repeat the experience when they check out – without having broken the bank.’

Food at Middleton Lodge

Middleton Lodge

We can’t wait for Teffont House to open; with their skill at making humble inns like The Beckford Arms and The Talbot Inn at Mells into desirable places to stay, however deep or shallow your pocket, it will surely attract customers who could afford five-star luxury but simply prefer the warmth and cosiness of a mellow village house and its lovely garden surrounded by an old topiary hedge. 

It was, of course, the advent of The Pig hotels that first disrupted the mid-price hotel market. The brainchild of Robin Hutson, they were, and still are, perfect examples of how affordable hotels can also be repositories of fun and glamour. Their spa offering says it all: ‘At Lime Wood,’ Robin told me about the luxury Hampshire hotel he also oversees, ‘we built a spa costing millions; at The Pigs a potting shed is our spa and goes down just as well.’

If The Pigs galvanised the mid-market and gave the chance to middle income earners to enjoy somewhere memorable to stay for a relaxing break, other hotels have followed in their wake. Take Middleton Lodge, near Richmond in Yorkshire. It has everything you could wish for in a luxury hotel, including a fabulous spa and a sensational walled garden, and yet the lead-in rates start at £230 per night. Or head for the New Forest and the Montagu Arms, where you can stay for under £200 a night and whose fabulous new deluxe suites and studios cost just over £300. As for treatments, guests have use of the excellent spa at nearby sister hotel Careys Manor. In Wales, you can choose between the luxurious Grove of Narberth or its less expensive but no less rewarding Penmaenuchaf in Snowdonia, a true ‘retreat for the soul’.

I could go on. You’ll find plenty of examples of mid-price hotels in our Great British & Irish Hotels Guide 2024/5: ones that have upped every aspect of their game, offering blissful comfort in their bedrooms and superb food in their dining rooms, plus character, warmth and kindness – and, critically, affordable prices.

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