By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We donít like staying at big hotels and were wondering about something smaller. Cost isnít a big issue as this trip to Britain will be for our 15th anniversary so we want to make it special. Is there possibly a list you could give us?

A: You donít have to hold the title of queen to be able to stay at some posh hotels many of which are located in quaint countrysides or near castles themselves. Britain has been long luring vacationers to see the historic landmarks, funky galleries, and breathtaking scenery. For hotel buffs, thereís York with its narrow, cobbled streets bustling with shoppers and traditional tea shops on almost every corner.

Four High Petergate (four diamonds, tel. 01904 658516, is in the heart of the city, close to York Minster, with an elegant bistro, rooms that overlook the busy street below or the hotelís own charming walled garden and a history dating back to AD71 when the city was a Roman stronghold.

Head north into Scotland for another of the UKís best townhouse hotels, One Devonshire Gardens Ė Glasgowís best-loved address (four red stars, tel. 0141 339 2001, Everyone from George Clooney to Robbie Williams has walked through the elegant doors, to a softly-spoken world of roaring fires, lush velvet sofas and hand-made shortbread biscuits for tea. One Devonshire offers great value; even standard rooms provide plenty of space, and for pounds less than you would pay in London.

Over in Scotlandís capital, Edinburgh, The Bonham (four stars, tel. 0131 274 7400, has a superbly furnished hotel with the added bonus of a permanent contemporary art collection, with 30 works by local artists adorning the walls and spaces. Bedrooms continue the arty theme, with bold colours, deep purple drapes, warm orange carpets and soft, fluffy cushions piled high on the beds.

At the other end of the country, Brighton, on Englandís south coast, has seen several elegant townhouse hotels spring up on its Regency squares and streets over the past couple of years. Among the best is the four-star Drakes (01273 696934,, a townhouse overlooking the sea, where sleekly elegant rooms and a top-notch restaurant, the Gingerman, combine to give a feeling of laid-back luxury.

And if you prefer something more traditional, the Georgian city of Bath has a charm all of its own. The cobbled streets and colonnaded buildings are steeped in an array of boutiques and gift shops, plus the ancient abbey and even older Roman Baths. Here youíll find The Ayrlington (five diamonds, tel. 01225 425495, which is an easy five minutes stroll from the centre.


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