One in five couples, says a new report, says that their relationship was saved by a weekend away to sort through their troubles and ‘rekindle passion’. As a ‘perfect formula’, it recommends a city break with two hours 24 minutes extra in bed, two hours 45 minutes shopping, five hours 19 minutes exploring the city on foot, and eight hours six minutes wining and dining.
Revealingly, this research was done by Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. While I agree that a weekend away might help, I am not so sure about a city break. I can see endless opportunities for disagreement. She likes art galleries, he prefers cafes; he goes for tecky shops, she fancies couture. As to mealtimes, he is a carnivore, she prefers a salad. And walking may depend on her city shoes.
Much more peaceful, I suggest, is a stay at a country house hotel or one by the sea. In the former you can sit by a fire in winter or walk in glorious gardens in summer; in the latter you can go for bracing swims or seaside walks. You won’t worry about losing your mate if one wants to explore, the other to relax, because you have a comfortable bedroom to retreat to.
You are more likely to have a personal contact with owners and staff here than in a larger city hotel. And fellow guests, if you want to socialise, are more likely to be approachable in this relaxed ambience, particularly at mealtimes. The Good Hotel Guide contains many attractive hotels in both categories and at all prices.
Hotel Endsleigh, near Tavistock, Devon. This luxury hotel stands in a beautiful estate with gardens of historic interest, woodland walks, streams and waterfalls, and lawns that sweep d own to the River Tamar. There are lots of decent sitting areas inside and out; a library full of real books, a lounge, smaller sitting rooms; no background music.
The Nare, at Veryan-in-Roseland in Cornwall, is a cosseting place of the old-style sort, in a beautiful setting above Carne Beach on the Roseland peninsula. There are ‘masses of current magazines, fresh flowers and wonderful log fires’ in the public rooms. ‘Best of all is the staff’, who are ‘attentive, highly efficient, cheerful’. The bedrooms have ‘lovely antiques’ and modern plumbing. Go for one of the pricier rooms for its sea views.
Burgh Island Hotel, Bigbury-on-Sea, Devon. A Grade II listed 1930s hotel on a tidal island at the end of Bigbury beach. It has been restored as an ‘Art Deco tour de force’ by owners Deborah Clark and Tony Orchard. A ‘romantic’, ‘delightful’ place to stay, it has a lovely natural sea swimming pool among the rocks in its big grounds.
If you decide to go for a city hotel, you could not do better than the Ambassade in Amsterdam. This delightful B&B hotel is spread among ten 17th-century gabled houses on two of the city’s finest canals. ‘Super-efficient, friendly’ staff offer a ‘seamless service’ (regular guests’ preferences recorded; umbrellas, bicycle hire and city maps provided).