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A 5 star luxury cottage with sunshade sail, patio furniture and rolling hill views.

Over the last year, 4 in 5 Brits have enjoyed a holiday in the UK. With many opting for a 5 star luxury cottage for an extra lavish experience.

According to Sykes Cottages research, the market for holidays in the UK remains strong. 65% of us are considering a stay at home this year and 56% are considering two or more UK breaks.

Here at Helpful Holidays, we have 40 years’ experience in letting holiday homes and over 200 luxury cottages in our portfolio. We know what guests want from a holiday in the South West, and how owners can create a highly profitable and rewarding holiday let business.

Our property experts define how to create a 5 star luxury cottage and what premium amenities you should include. Read on to find out more.

Creating a 5 star luxury cottage

Use the quick links below to navigate to a particular topic or read on for our comprehensive guide to creating a 5 star holiday let.

Luxury interiors and soft furnishings

Bedroom at Woodwater with comfy bed, beautiful interior design and a lounge chair to admire the view.

Exceptional interior design can add significant value to your property and offer a 5 star experience to guests.

At Helpful Holidays, we recommend working with a professional interior designer to ensure your cottage stands out from the crowd. With staycations at an all-time high it is important to create an aspirational property that guests would like to retreat too.

Choosing the right décor is key to creating a 5 star luxury cottage. Opting for Egyptian cotton bed linen or 100% cotton high thread count linen is a must.

Mattresses should be well sprung, comfortable and have absorbent mattress protectors. Duvets and pillows should be synthetic rather than feather, but we recommend avoiding the cheapest as the quality is poor.

Towels should be plush; each guest should have at least one hand towel and a bath sheet. For a touch of luxury add a bath towel for each guest too.

The quality of the interiors and visual aesthetics should reflect that of a 5 star holiday let.

Looking for inspiration on how to make your holiday let stand out?

Take a look at some of our 5 star luxury cottages:

Latest technology and luxury gadgets

Luxury kitchen at Maple Cottage with coffee machine.

Equipping your cottage with the latest technology and luxury gadgets is another great way to provide a 5 star holiday experience. Showcasing premium amenities is likely to attract more affluent holiday makers, increasing booking conversion rates and maximising your holiday let income.

Here are some suggestions of luxury gadgets that we recommend in your 5 star holiday let:

  • Coffee machine
  • Remote control heating
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Projector/cinema screen
  • Streaming sticks
  • Games consoles
  • Mood and motion sensor lighting
  • DAB radio

Beautiful outdoor space

luxury cottage exterior with patio, good quality furniture and a view of the estuary

‘Bringing the outside in’ is a top tip used by many interior designers, so why not open up your space to create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience.

Letting in natural light not only provides a welcoming atmosphere for guests but it also provides breath-taking views. Skylights, floor to ceiling windows or bi-folding doors are a great way to add extra decadence.

But don’t forget about your outdoor space, the exterior is just as important as the interior. However big or small the area is, you can still add 5 star luxury.

Here are some suggestions of what to include in your beautifully presented outdoor space:

hot tub with lounging chairs, towels and champagne in a garden.

  • Firepit or chimenea
  • Water feature
  • Lush foliage and vegetation
  • High quality garden furniture
  • Outdoor lighting
  • A heated outdoor pool or hot tub

To qualify as a 5 star luxury cottage your exterior inventory must have:

  • A garden that is outstandingly presented
  • Garden furniture of good quality with enough chairs for the number of guests
  • A barbeque
  • Parking should be pot-hole and weed-free close to the property
  • External steps that lead to an entrance must have a railing and outside lighting
  • Paths should be kept clear of debris for wheelchairs, prams and assistance dogs
  • Dog friendly properties should have somewhere safe for dogs to run and a spending area (where they can relieve themselves)
  • Well maintained outbuildings, signs of neglect are not permissible
  • Dustbins stored out of sight

Providing a beautiful outdoor space is a great way to impress guests and offer that 5 star experience.

Choosing the right location

Aerial view of maple cottage and the rolling countryside.

It comes as no surprise that 5 star luxury cottages are usually found in breath-taking locations. Boasting luxury properties with panoramic sea views or picturesque countryside landscapes.

Guests paying a premium will expect your holiday cottage to be within proximity of local transport links and tourist attractions. And choosing a sought-after area close to nature is a must.

For more top tips on buying a holiday home in the West Country, read our blog.

Added extra features

luxury toiletries in a bathroom.

Creating a 5 star holiday experience means providing complimentary items that will bring a sense of prestige to your holiday cottage.

Installing a hot tub can not only add luxury appeal but it can boost your rental income too. Cottage owners can earn 54% more holiday let income with this added extra feature.

We would recommend providing complimentary items to accompany the hot tub, including slippers and fluffy robes.

Other added extras that can provide a unique selling point and offer 5 star luxury, include a gym, games room, cinema room or sauna. All these facilities provide year-round appeal and add value to your holiday cottage.

It’s important not to overlook the smaller details, providing luxury toiletries in the bathroom(s) adds to the 5 star experience too.

Finishing touches

When creating a 5 star luxury cottage the small details matter. Creating a good lasting impression is key to running a successful holiday let business. Guests who are paying a premium price expect the finishing touches.

Here are some suggestions of finishing touches that help deliver a 5 star experience:

  • Bottle of Champagne
  • Fresh bouquet of flowers
  • A luxury hamper upon arrival
  • Personal, handwritten note

Little luxuries make guests feel extra special and welcomed in your 5 star luxury cottage.

Helpful Holidays 5 star grading criteria

Here at Helpful Holidays, we are always striving to provide the best possible experience for our guests and owners. With that in mind our website shows a tick rating which provides potential bookers with the standard of each property.

To obtain a 5 tick rating your property must be luxuriously-presented to an exceptional standard throughout.

It must offer high levels of comfort, a welcome pack that provides essential items and thoughtful touches. It should be clean, extremely well-maintained, and consistently achieving excellent customer feedback in all areas.

For full details of what is expected of a 5 star luxury cottage, including the full inventory, please email our team on for a copy of our property standards guidelines.

Coach House Cottage case study | A 5 star luxury cottage

Recently refurbished 5 star holiday cottage - view of the living area and kitchen.

At Helpful Holidays we know that finding the right holiday home to enjoy with family, friends, or that someone special is key to having a lovely break away.

So, we inspected the refurbished Coach House Cottage to see why it was awarded our coveted five stars.

Coach House Cottage has undergone huge transformation, which was masterminded by Devon designer, Josephine Burlingham. Founder of Country and Coastal Interiors.

We catch-up with Josephine to find out how she created this 5 star luxury cottage.

So where did you begin with the refurbishment, Josephine?

I was given a brief by the owners and trusted with the budget to do as they saw fit. I looked at the layout of the space and pieces they already owned. The original sofa and comfy armchair were reupholstered with my own fabric, Spotted Egg, rather than replaced.

A tiny bedroom became a new bathroom; dark slate flooring was replaced with light limestone with cosy underfloor heating. The old kitchen was removed, and the stud wall was taken down to create a large, welcoming open-plan kitchen/dining/living room.

There’s a comfy armchair by the fire now where you can sit with a drink and chat to the cook in the kitchen. It offers a cosier and friendlier atmosphere.

I chose to create lovely, sweeping curves in the kitchen and light panelling around the room to give structure and a hint of colour. Panelling is very practical in a holiday cottage for cleaning off any scuffs!

How did you style this 5 star luxury cottage?

Coach House Cottage - beautiful interior design in the bedroom.

I hunted through local antique centres and online vintage shops, rather than buying new. I always try to employ as many local trades as possible, as they are usually better value and much better quality.

The style nods to the location, you will find an old seascape, seabird paintings, seashells in the bottom of a vase and local postcards around the property.

I like to emphasise the details and charm of the house. Coach House Cottage has an ‘upside down’ living layout and wonderful wide-open views over the long beach at Strete.

Lastly, when on holiday, you want to feel special and luxurious… but not so perfect that you don’t feel you can kick your shoes off and curl up on the sofa! Coach House Cottage is all that and more. It was a delight to refurbish this cottage.

Let your cottage with Helpful Holidays

Barley House exterior - converted barn.

If you would like to know more about creating a 5 star luxury cottage or how to maximise your holiday let income, please get in touch.

Our expert property team are always on-hand to offer advice, call 01647 433593 or email For more useful tips, head over to our Owner Advice blog.

Here are a few blogs that may be useful to you:

To find out more about letting your cottage with Helpful Holidays, request your FREE owners guide today.