Woolley Grange

Admit it, even the most cynical among us got swept up a little in the Royal Wedding fever… I watched it from start to finish with popcorn in my lap 🙂 Made me reminisce about some of the loveliest hotels I’ve stayed in in the UK which are actually outside of London. The Woolley Grange easily came top of mind as a highlight – less than 90 minutes away from Central London, close to the historic town of Bath, and – best part – a child friendly hotel that has full baby sitting/entertaining services so we could actually enjoy this as a proper vacation. There’s a garden to pick flowers, a small farm that includes chickens and pigs, and a romantic candle lit dinner for the adults at the end. It’s an extraordinary, wholesome experience for children and for the kid inside each of us!

The Welcome

The hotel is a former manor and you will feel every bit the princess as you walk past the picturesque lake, up the stairs and to the cosy reception. It just may take you a really long time because you’ll be busy taking photos of every step. It’s stunning isn’t it?

Sweet Suite

The rooms are quite traditional in design, with thick covers that you will definitely need to ward off cold at night. By European standards, however, rooms are surprisingly spacious, with large bathrooms and standalone bathtubs.

Fine Dining

The restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The seating area is gorgeous and airy. This is where we had breakfast of eggs and yummy, flaky pastries.

In the evening, you can opt for a baby listening service where you are notified if your child wakes up or cries, leaving you and your partner to enjoy a romantic candle lit dinner with some fantastic fare.

The food was exceptional, mainly because salads are made from plants and herbs grown in the garden of the hotel, and the dishes are simple but so flavorful and healthy. Between these delicious culinary delights and the fresh country air, I felt healthier and lighter than I had in months.

As mentioned, the hotel is a family friendly resort with a big focus on the little ones. From a small play area next to the restaurant where the kids can hang out and give grown ups some peace, to a carefully curated children’s menu, it ticks all the boxes to ensure every member of the family is happy.

What To Do

This is the best part. There is so much to do at this hotel that you will consider extending your stay a million times. You can go for the flower picking tour in the garden, where children will revel in the greenery, farm animals and fresh air:

How cute is this?!

Or you can enjoy a spa day and splash around in the indoor pool if it rains:

Or just run around playing games in the acres of greenery outside the hotel… it’s an experience we don’t get in Dubai!

To be clear, this was not a freebie review. I did tons of online research and we came here for two days last summer – it was the highlight of our trip. I can’t wait to come back!


Opt for a flowing, floral dress that will make Instagram photos of you running and laughing in the grassy fields a highlight of your feed! I loved this one from the wonderful Namshi.com 🙂

Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
The rooms
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
Don’t miss
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450


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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!