10 award-winning hotels to visit in 2020, from a lochside retreat in Scotland to a Georgian mansion that looks like a set from a BBC costume drama

It's awards season in Hollywood, but films aren't the only things which get gongs these days — Bonnie Friend of the Good Hotel Guide picks out some of her favourite award-winning hotels.

Each year, the Good Hotel Guide releases a new and revised edition of its heralded selection of UK hotels, B&Bs and pubs with rooms. The guide is known for its independent approach, with unbiased recommendations based purely on the opinions of guests.

Central to that selection are the annual winners of their coveted Cesar awards; here, GHG’s digital editor Bonnie Friend takes a look at their award-winning hotels to visit in 2020.

Southernhay House, Exeter

Simultaneously grand and intimate, Southernhay House in Exeter is a romantic Georgian townhouse brought to life by the expert design eye of owner Deborah Clark. High ceilings and a sense of grandeur give this place a sense of occasion, brimming with antiques and rich, carefully chosen colours that befit the historic architecture. Nonetheless, it’s also characterised by thoughtful details: local fudge in your room on arrival, a layout that feels a little like arriving at the home you always dreamed of having, and a menu that the smartest restaurants in London would be proud to serve.


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Old Downton Lodge, Ludlow

Deep in the heart of the Shropshire countryside, Old Downton Lodge is a stylish hotel with a rustic vibe, created of a variety of converted barns and farm buildings in Ludlow. It has a medieval feel but with all the modern comforts. Tudor decor permeates the buildings, and an award-winning menu of local fare is served with aplomb.


The Airds Hotel, Port Appin

The views are the star of the show at The Airds Hotel in Port Appin — or at least they’ll be the first thing that you notice. On the edge of Loch Linnhe (also pictured top) and with views to the Morvern mountains, its position is nothing short of breathtaking. Having started life as an early 18th-century ferry inn, today it’s a chic gourmet destination by Relais & Châteaux. So while the views are impressive, so is everything else. Soak with Bulgari toiletries, snuggle under Frette linen, and tuck into Scottish West Coast and home-grown produce at meal times.


The Quay House, Clifden

Between the foothills of the Twelve Bens and the Owenglin river where it meets the Atlantic, The Quay House is like stepping back in time. Rich in character and warmth, this beautiful property is stylishly decorated with quirky antique, vintage and reproduction furniture, zebra stripes, regency stripes, curio upon curio, and yet it all works. A 19th-century harbourmaster’s house combined with four other houses brought together, it’s a deliciously welcoming escape where you can always rely upon a superb breakfast and plenty of home baked bread.


Underleigh House, Hope

In a cul-de-sac lane in the Peak District national park, Underleigh House is a farmhouse B&B overlooking the beauty of Hope valley. With just four guest bedrooms, it’s an intimate retreat, where each room has its own characteristics; one, for example, has its own sitting room at a lower level, with a small fridge filled with local beer. In convivial style, breakfast is served communally with abundant marinated dried fruits and home-made muesli, and time stands still as you stroll outside or sit with a good book by the log burner in the lounge.


The Old Coastguard, Penzance

Owned by seasoned pros Charles and Edmund Inkin — proprietors of The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor and The Felin Fach Griffin — The Old Coastguard is somewhere that makes you feel totally spoiled. Here, elegant bedrooms look out over a pretty village and harbour, towards St Clement’s Island, and are all tastefully equipped with a Roberts radio, woollen blankets and Bramley toiletries. A blazing fire, bare floorboards and mismatched furniture come together harmoniously, and of course, you are only a short distance from the sea, making for a simply beautiful, restful location as well.


Read’s, Faversham

An elegant Georgian manor house that looks like something from a BBC costume drama, Read’s in Faversham is unmistakeable with its smart red brick, canopy of cedar trees and elegant gardens. With six bedrooms it’s intimate and peaceful, priding itself on its food, created from local game and fish fresh from the quayside at nearby Whitstable and Hythe. The restaurant with rooms also has its own walled kitchen garden for herbs and vegetables.


The Pipe and Glass Inn, South Dalton

Run by James and Kate Mackenzie, The Pipe and Glass Inn is a vibrant pub with rooms that has gained an international reputation as well as many major awards, including a Michelin star. Suffice to say, food and drink are very much at the heart of the experience, whether you’re having a rum-laced hot chocolate or a romantic three course meal. Meanwhile, rooms are contemporary and elegant but with cosy throws on the beds and beautifully design that’s different in each one.


North House, Cowes

Five minutes from the ferry, North House is an achingly-stylish Grade II listed town house that instantly makes you feel at home. Light and airy, it’s the perfect waterside hotel for romantic escapes. Each room has its own details to recommend it, some with a freestanding bath, some overlooking a courtyard garden. The seaside vibe is apparent but subtle, and dinner is nothing short of excellent.


The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

Afternoon tea at the Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

A former Georgian coaching inn in the Welsh market town of Abergavenny, The Angel Hotel features rooms and suites peppered across the main house as well as former mews cottages. Tastefully decorated, it is a destination paying careful attention to details, from smart fabrics to award-winning afternoon teas featuring delicacies from the hotel’s bakery next door.