This is a deliciously hip hotel inside a beautiful Georgian townhouse. It’s the sort of place the word ‘boutique’ was coined to define: small and friendly with good food and lots of style. It’s subtle, cleverly conceived, a design hotel with a level of craftsmanship you rarely find in small hotels. It’s a very welcoming place, too, a cool little café/bar where you can pop in for coffee, grab a bowl of soup or come down for cocktails before dinner; the Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea is not to be missed. Potter about and find a mirrored ceiling in the chic bar, a stylish restaurant with green leather booths, then a terraced courtyard for lunch in the sun. Rooms are excellent: comfy beds, beautiful linen, smart TVs, robes in sparkling bathrooms. Two have a free-standing bath in the room, another a panel of original wallpaper that was discovered when refurbishing. Bistro-style food waits downstairs, perhaps beetroot with goats cheese and grapefruit, pork belly with a herb jus, peanut butter parfait. Don’t miss the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, a jewel of the North. Durham is close.