A group of country house hotels is offering ‘Downton Abbey’-style short breaks from around £70 per person as rival hotel chains slash their standard rates to attract more leisure customers during February.
With the prospect of further snow as winter tightens its grip, Douglas Waddell, operations director at Handpicked Hotels, with 17 hotels in stately period buildings from the New Forest to Edinburgh, says: “The market place is highly-competitive, because people have become so value-conscious. They are so savvy about where the best deals can be found.”
With several hotels well-placed for leading attractions – including Chartwell, Cadbury World, Chessington World of Adventures and Caernarfon Castle, North Wales – Handpicked Hotels breaks include a three-course dinner after champagne and canapes and traditional breakfast, all from around £145 per night.
Under-12s stay free if they share their parents’ rooms.
Leading the charge for budget hotels this week is the Travelodge Tennertastic sale, with 600,000 rooms offered for £10 per night in its summer sale, which launched on Thursday, covering stays in nearly 500 hotels between April 1 and August 31. Rates start at ten euros in Ireland and Spain.
Travelodge’s offer covers 66 cities including London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Cambridge, with 15 Grade II-listed buildings among the hotels. Queen Victoria stayed at one, in Leamington Spa.
Some Travelodges have good views too – across the coast in Brighton, Torquay, Blackpool and Newquay - and into Lakeland for guests at Cockermouth or Kendal Travelodges. Rooms take a family of four, so single night stays cost as little as £2.50 per person.
Other hotel groups are still focusing on imminent short breaks in February and March for those ready to defy the winter weather.
Self-drive stays at Shearings Holidays’ Bay Hotels start at £69 for two nights in mid-February, including a three-course dinner each evening, live entertainment and a star act on Saturday nights. Four-night breaks from £129 include selected drinks at the hotel bar between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.
Two nights at the Royal Hotel, Whitby, start at £89, with four nights from £169. At the Marine Hotel, Llandudno, prices are £84 and £159 respectively.
At five Mercure Spa hotels – in Shrewsbury, Coventry, Manchester, and Blackburn – doubles from £52.50 per night for stays until February 26 offer access to heated indoor pools, with pampering treatments as optional extras.
At 72 three- and four-star hotels across the UK, Mercure offers savings up to 40 per cent on standard prices, for customers who book online by February 25.
Best Western has trimmed rates by up to 50 per cent on stays until March 31: rooms at Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, outside Blackburn, start at £38.75 per night, with impressive Lancashire scenery, long walks, and an 18-hole golf course all on the doorstep.
On Bournemouth’s West Cliff, Best Western Montague Hotel has rooms from £45.50, with the Best Western West Grange Hotel, Berkshire, starting at £49.50.
Most offers in the Best Western deal include breakfast in the standard package.
Some Days Inn hotels can be found at motorway service stations, but this budget chain has more than half its 38 hotels in a winter sale of rooms from £29 per night.
One of them is at Strensham, around the corner from historic Tewkesbury, where half-timbered Tudor buildings still create one of the best medieval townscapes in England. Another is at Warwick South, on the doorstep of Stratford-on-Avon, where you can explore the celebrated home of William Shakespeare.
Days Inns hotels are also well situated to explore historic centres of Chester, Durham and Winchester.
In the same Wyndham Hotel Group with Days Inn is the Ramada chain, with a winter offer of B&B stays from £99 per room per night.
For drivers, the Coast & Country chain promises ten per cent off all breaks until March 31, with best value usually found on longer midweek stays. Three nights’ dinner, B&B at Charlecote Pheasant Hotel, near Stratford-on-Avon, starts at £116, with four nights from £184.
In the Big Barcelo UK Sale, hotel stays start at £24.50 per person per night on bookings by 10am on Tuesday, for stays until March 31 – which means huge discounts across the entire Barcelo UK portfolio.
INFORMATION: Handpicked Hotels 0845 4580905 and handpickedhotels.co.uk; Ramada UK Hotels 0808 10000783 and ramada.co.uk; Days Inn UK 0800 0280400 and daysinn.co.uk; Travelodge travelodge.co.uk; Coast & Country Hotels 0844 4995640 and coastandcountryhotels.com; Mercure Hotels 0871 6630627 and mercure.com; Barcelo 0800 6528413 and barcelo-hotels.co.uk; Shearings Holidays Bay Hotels 0844 8246373 and shearings.com