Brown's Hotel (London; tel. 020/7493-6020; www.brownshotel.com): All Chippendale and chintz, Brown's was launched by the former manservant to Lord Byron in 1837, and it has been going strong ever since. Today, it occupies 14 historic houses just off Berkeley Square and coddles its well-heeled guests in luxury.
Chewton Glen Hotel (New Milton, Hampshire; tel. 800/398-4534 in the U.S., or 01425/275341; www.chewtonglen.com): This hotel is the best place to stay in southwest England. Service, taste, and quality are its hallmarks. The health club has a stunning design with a centerpiece swimming pool, and the hotel has 28 hectares (70 acres) of manicured grounds. Guest rooms feature period furniture. And the meals served in the Marryat Room Restaurant are prepared with first-rate ingredients.
The Lygon Arms (Broadway, Cotswolds; tel. 01386/852255; www.thelygonarms.co.uk): Dating from 1532, this fabled inn in the Cotswolds has hosted many famous guests -- Charles I used to drop in, and even Oliver Cromwell spent a night here, on the eve of the Battle of Worcester. Some of the inn's antiques are listed in The Dictionary of English Furniture. Request a room in the Tudor Wing, with its tilted oak floors and wooden beams. Number 20, with its massive canopied bed, is our favorite.
Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel (Lake Ullswater, the Lake District; tel. 01768/486301; www.sharrowbay.co.uk): This gem is known as much for its cuisine as for its accommodations. The location alone would justify checking in: a 4.8-hectare (12-acre) site, with several gardens, in a national park on bucolic Lake Ullswater, beneath Barton Fell. The lakeside dining room offers panoramic views of the water, and you can always find something delectable on the menu.
Bodysgallen Hall (Llandudno, North Wales; tel. 01492/584466; www.bodysgallen.com): One of Wales's greatest country-house hotels, this 17th-century mansion lies on 81 hectares (200 acres) of gardens and parkland. Even though an antique, it oozes with modern comforts while retaining its charms in elegantly furnished suites.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.