By Adam Raphael
Publishing a hotel guide in the middle of a pandemic is not for the fainthearted. As the country went into lockdown and hotels closed their doors in March, it was a tough call whether or not to go ahead with this year’s Guide. I am glad that we decided to publish, a decision that was made on behalf our many thousands of readers, our hard-working editorial team and our selected hotels, inns and B&Bs, all of whom are chosen solely on merit. The 2021 Guide, our 44th edition, will be published on October 5th.
The decision to publish and be damned has been welcomed. Martina Sheedy, who runs Sheedy’s a four generation family-owned hotel with her husband Martin in Lisdoonvarna, Country Clare, emailed; ‘Great that you are actually going to publish a guide this year. We all have to try to keep a sense of normality, and the guides are a big part of that.’ Supportive messages have also come in from readers: ’The Guide has been an essential companion for 40 years or so, and it’s difficult to imagine being without it. I’ve been introduced to wonderful hotels, many of which have become favourites. Long may you thrive.’ wrote Tony Hall from West Sussex.
This year’s edition with more than 750 hotels, inns, B&Bs and guesthouses has been edited by two distinguished travel journalists, Jane Knight, former travel editor of the Times and Kate Quill, formerly her deputy. We have benefited from their experience and detailed knowledge of the hospitality industry. Together with Niki Davies and Astella Saw who edited the Shortlist, they have brought their collective skills and keen eyes to discovering new properties such as a Michelin-starred pub in County Clare and a Stratford-upon-Avon barn which serves great food and offers fantastic value.
The Guide’s range of entries is deliberately eclectic, with Editor’s Choice selections in 20 categories that range from romantic and dog-friendly to pubs-with-rooms and places to stay offering great value. Our top ten awards, the Césars, which will be announced on publication day, include a 400-year-old farmhouse reached by a horse-drawn cart on a remote car-free island, and a stylish seaside Cornish hotel loved by millennials for its cool environmentalism.
Our selected hotels have been faced, as they reopen, by many challenges, not least the safety measures they have had to take to reassure guests. Despite the current problems, I am confident about the future. Our selected properties are not just the pick of the best, they have hospitality built into their very fabric. This country is a superb holiday destination and with international travel disrupted, there has never been a better time to discover what is on offer.
There are more than 50,000 hotels and B&Bs in the UK and Ireland. We have space for only a fraction which is why we refine our selections year on year. The ultimate judge of which properties get an entry are you our readers. So please keep writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even a few words in a hastily cobbled together email are welcome. There is also a monthly prize to be won of dinner and a night’s stay for two at one of our top hotels for the best review that month. If you would like to buy a copy of the new Guide, please CLICK HERE.