Tag: Arms

The Bath Arms in Horningsham, Wiltshire

  • The Bath Arms in Wiltshire underwent a transformation during lockdown with its ivy facade stripped away
  • The Inspector was shown to a room at the top of the house, ‘reached via various fire doors’
  • He was impressed by the room’s ‘character, romance and a sense of calm’ along with the ‘huge bathroom’ 
  • The service was ‘a little haphazard’ in the main dining room but the convivial atmosphere got a thumbs up
  • Remember… The Inspector pays his way – and tells it like it is… 

The Bath Arms has been through some changes (haven’t we all?) over the past ten years or so. 

It’s always been part of Lord Bath’s Longleat estate (the current Duke inherited on the death of his father in April), but various management teams have come and gone. 

The current lot has a considerable pedigree in the form of The Beckford Arms, The Talbot Inn and the Lord Poulett Arms — all in rolling countryside in Wiltshire and Somerset. 

The Bath Arms in Wiltshire underwent a transformation during lockdown, with much of its ivy facade stripped away
One of the bedrooms at The Bath Arms. The Inspector stayed in a room at the top of the house with a huge bathroom
The Bath Arms has always been part of Lord Bath’s Longleat estate, but various management teams have come and gone

It helps, of course, when you take over a classically beautiful, 18th-century coaching inn surrounded by woods and Capability Brown parkland — and just so we get the idyllic rural message, a hooting owl greets us on arrival. 

The big transformation took place during lockdown, with much of the ivy-clad building stripped back to reveal its original features in all their glory. 

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That means flagstones, oak floorboards and mantelpieces that would have architectural salvage companies salivating. A bright young man with impeccable manners shows us to our room at the top of the house. 

‘It’s my favourite, actually,’ he says. I can see why, albeit reached via various fire doors that could do with a lick of paint. 

A cosy lounge area within The Bath Arms, with dogs welcome to relax too

Character, romance and a sense of calm are writ large, with the huge bathroom (Bramley products) reached via a low Alice In Wonderland door. 

Downstairs, there’s a charming bar with a snug next to it where one wall is covered in Vanity Fair prints. This is a classy place, accessible to all. 

While we sit on comfy chairs near the front door and enjoy a pre-­dinner drink, a family of five, plus a greyhound, step in. 

They look as if they’ve been walking for hours. I can think of few better places to recuperate. 

The Inspector said the main dining room at The Bath Arms was ‘beautifully lit, moody, tasteful’
Some of the food on offer at The Bath Arms. The Inspector said that service was a little haphazard and that his wine was forgotten
The Inspector said
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Hot Hotel: University Arms Cambridge is a nod to the city’s quintessential Britishness | Short & City breaks | Travel

University Arms Cambridge

Despite its grandeur, the hotel is reassuringly relaxing (Image: PR)

This being Cambridge, one of the UK’s most prestigious seats of learning, interior designer Martin Brudnizki (whose projects include The Ivy restaurant, Buckingham Palace), working alongside Classical architect, John Simpson, has introduced scholarly elements.

Photographs of crews of the legendary Cambridge teams; of Winston Churchill resplendent in a favourite siren suit; another, an extraordinary alfresco lunch for 32,000 on Parker’s Piece celebrating the coronation of Queen Victoria and various botanical prints and old maps are a nod to quintessential Cambridge and its Britishness. 

Some of the original features of the building remain: a massive fireplace in the library, where distressed leather sofas sit on reclaimed parquet floors and original stained glass windows, featuring college crests overlook Parker’s piece.

Despite its grandeur, the hotel is reassuringly relaxing and its 192 rooms and nine suites ooze luxury.

Mine, the Charles Darwin suite, featured a nod to the great naturalist with well-chosen books relating to natural history such as dinosaurs and woodlands. 

Lighting emanates from wrought-iron chandeliers powder-sprayed in pillar-box red with dinky shades and industrial-style lamps.

Bedside lighting is mismatched, as are the bedside tables, avoiding looking too contrived. The hypnos beds are superb, as is the silky linen.  

Black marble bathroom basins work beautifully against white tiles and come with superb rain showers, claw-footed baths and smellies courtesy of D. R. Harris & Co. 

Corridors of carpet in deep blue and rust stripes representing the Cambridge University Tie connect the rabbit-warren array of hallways and the hotel’s recurring colour, uplifting Cambridge (Tiffany) Blue, pops up in trays and Dutch bikes available for guests. 

Cambridge

The property’s 192 rooms and nine suites ooze luxury (Image: PR)

COVID CHECK IN

Apart from a couple of staff wearing visors, hand sanitiser and a sign detailing what measures the hotel has taken, Reception appeared to be relatively ‘normal’.

I loved the very ‘Royal Birth Announcement’ ornate easel featuring details of the Covid app as well as decals of characters from Wind in the Willows on the floor tiles reminding guests to be considerate of others. Many amenities were removed from the room, such as bathrobes and body lotion. These are however, available on request. 

Drinks and food is left on a tray outside your door and rooms are serviced after three days and are thoroughly cleaned and left to sit for 24 hours after guest’s departure.  

STYLE

Parker’s Tavern has a very relaxed French bistro feel with white linen tablecloths, banquettes and Wainscot walls adorned with Cambridge-themed scenes (more rowing and old photographs of the city) under gigantic circular ‘chandeliers’ of wrought iron. 

Each second table was left empty to encourage social distancing but this didn’t detract in any way from the appealing atmosphere.

If nothing else, Parker’s is a destination restaurant with an incredible menu created by Tristan Welch who was Gordon Ramsey’s partner at Petrus. 

Kick off the evening in the adjoining bar (bar stools have been removed) with a cocktail or glass of

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New Virgin Australia strategy spells end of business travel arms race

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Virgin Australia looks set to cut basic fares and start charging fees for items like checked baggage and food under new chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka, prompting a wider industry shake-up as the country’s airlines reawaken from the coronavirus crisis.

FILE PHOTO: A Virgin Australia Airlines plane takes off from Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

Virgin’s shift from being a full-service carrier will also mark the end of a decade-long arms race with Qantas Airways Ltd QAN.AX for corporate travellers involving lavish airport lounges, celebrity chefs and lie-flat business seats on longer domestic flights.

Unusually for airlines globally, both carriers include free checked baggage allowances, free Wi-Fi and complimentary food and drinks even in the cheapest economy class tickets on domestic flights.

Virgin, which entered voluntary administration in April, is repositioning itself in a mid-market spot under new owner Bain Capital as it looks to weather ongoing low demand from the pandemic.

Company sources and industry experts said they expect Hrdlicka will re-introduce fees the airline had cut when it went upmarket under long-serving former chief executive John Borghetti.

Unbundling, or charging fees for previously included services like checked baggage, seat selection, Wi-Fi, food and in-flight entertainment is a strategy that helps airlines attract price conscious travellers with a low base fare while allowing them to pay extra for chosen add-ons.

This could become even more important post-pandemic due to the economic downturn, analysts say, with Virgin’s move downmarket also opening options for Qantas to stop providing an international-style business class service on transcontinental flights and to consider charging for some add-ons on its cheapest sale fares without losing customers.

Corporate fares are more likely to be all-inclusive, but Virgin plans to reduce its airport lounge network and will no longer attempt to match Qantas’ premium product when it unveils its new offering in around two weeks, according to a company source who said the details were not finalised. Virgin and Bain declined to comment.

“I think at least it allows the optionality for Qantas to go downmarket,” said John Thomas, a Boston-based former senior executive at Virgin who helped introduce baggage fees in the United States more than a decade ago as an airline consultant.

“You can take costs out, you can do some unbundling, but that doesn’t mean that you have got to unbundle all of your passengers,” he told Reuters. “For your corporates and for your business clients and your premium passengers, you can still keep it as a bundled offering.”

Virgin’s fleet reduction under Bain will widen Qantas’ advantage in network size and flight frequency, which can be even more important to corporate travellers than creature comforts, said a Qantas source who was not authorised to speak with media. Qantas declined to comment.

VARYING FARE PACKAGES

One potential model for Virgin’s fare structure is Air New Zealand Ltd AIR.NZ. For domestic flights and those to and from Australia, it offers fare packages starting from a

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New Virgin Australia Strategy Spells End of Business Travel Arms Race | Investing News

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Virgin Australia looks set to cut basic fares and start charging fees for items like checked baggage and food under new chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka, prompting a wider industry shake-up as the country’s airlines reawaken from the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin’s shift from being a full-service carrier will also mark the end of a decade-long arms race with Qantas Airways Ltd

for corporate travellers involving lavish airport lounges, celebrity chefs and lie-flat business seats on longer domestic flights.

Unusually for airlines globally, both carriers include free checked baggage allowances, free Wi-Fi and complimentary food and drinks even in the cheapest economy class tickets on domestic flights.

Virgin, which entered voluntary administration in April, is repositioning itself in a mid-market spot under new owner Bain Capital as it looks to weather ongoing low demand from the pandemic.

Company sources and industry experts said they expect Hrdlicka will re-introduce fees the airline had cut when it went upmarket under long-serving former chief executive John Borghetti.

Unbundling, or charging fees for previously included services like checked baggage, seat selection, Wi-Fi, food and in-flight entertainment is a strategy that helps airlines attract price conscious travellers with a low base fare while allowing them to pay extra for chosen add-ons.

This could become even more important post-pandemic due to the economic downturn, analysts say, with Virgin’s move downmarket also opening options for Qantas to stop providing an international-style business class service on transcontinental flights and to consider charging for some add-ons on its cheapest sale fares without losing customers.

Corporate fares are more likely to be all-inclusive, but Virgin plans to reduce its airport lounge network and will no longer attempt to match Qantas’ premium product when it unveils its new offering in around two weeks, according to a company source who said the details were not finalised. Virgin and Bain declined to comment.

“I think at least it allows the optionality for Qantas to go downmarket,” said John Thomas, a Boston-based former senior executive at Virgin who helped introduce baggage fees in the United States more than a decade ago as an airline consultant.

“You can take costs out, you can do some unbundling, but that doesn’t mean that you have got to unbundle all of your passengers,” he told Reuters. “For your corporates and for your business clients and your premium passengers, you can still keep it as a bundled offering.”

Virgin’s fleet reduction under Bain will widen Qantas’ advantage in network size and flight frequency, which can be even more important to corporate travellers than creature comforts, said a Qantas source who was not authorised to speak with media. Qantas declined to comment.

One potential model for Virgin’s fare structure is Air New Zealand Ltd

. For domestic flights and those to and from Australia, it offers fare packages starting from a seat without checked bags and rising to “worksdeluxe”, including two checked bags, food and seatback entertainment.

“That would allow Virgin to straddle both sides of the divide,” said

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