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10 Unique Hotels That Are Worth The Splurge

Finding hotels that fall into stylish city stays, romantic rural retreats and chic coastal getaways can be hard to come by.

From Istanbul to the Dominican Republic, Portugal to Thailand — and a handful of destinations in between — these 10 properties that will get even the most modest of travellers hunting down their next trip.

Best Hotels Bermuda

Photo: @rwbermuda

Rosewood Tucker’s Point: Bermuda
Style: British colonial charm

Have the tennis whites and golf plaids pressed and ready for Rosewood Tucker’s Point hotel in Bermuda, a luxe playground for the country club set with views of the glittering pink beaches of Castle Harbour and Harrington Sound. As Britain’s oldest colony, you’ll catch sight of a bobby directing traffic or a heated cricket match. But this sun-splashed island is decidedly tropical, moving to the rhythms of calypso and reggae and the resort’s four stylish swimming pools, spoiling spa, manicured golf course and pro-worthy tennis courts are at your whim for playing the days away.

Santo Domingo Hotels

Photo: @casasdelxvi

Casas del XVI: Dominican Republic
Style: Charismatic colonial casas

Dominican Republic hotel Casas del XVI invites guests to quantum leap back to the colonial era – with the added benefit of all mod cons, naturally. Two casas, in the centre of Santo Domingo’s UNESCO World Heritage site Colonial City, have been lovingly restored (dare we say, improved upon) and fashioned into seven luxury suites. However, a supernaturally helpful private butler, peaceful palm-strewn courtyards to siesta in and a bygone setting support the illusion that you’re a fresh-off-the-boat hidalgo paying homage to the New World.

Panama Hotels

Photo: @elotroladoportobelo

El Otro Lado: Portobelo, Panama
Style: Native arts and culture

Tucked away across a cerulean Caribbean bay from the historic port town of Portobelo, El Otro Lado hotel is a laid-back, yet luxurious, outpost of traditional Panamanian culture that’s right at home in the jungle-blanketed wild. With original artwork adorning every room, local woodworkers carving sculptures on site, creative Caribbean cuisine and an ambitious list of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, this jungle retreat is the ideal mix of art and adventure.

Photo: @liz.bonney

The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa: Byron Bay, Australia
Style: Relaxed rainforest resort

Bed down in the rainforest at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, a tropical treat with an excellent restaurant, award-winning spa and flocks of resident birds and butterflies. Toast the forest from the glittering green pool, stroll to the beach or laze around in your fig-and-fern-surveying room.

LA Hotels

Photo: @acedtla

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles: Los Angeles, United States
Style: Rock ‘n’ LA noir

Where else can Spanish Gothic, art deco, noir, rocker chic and hipster cool coexist so peacefully but at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles? Located in the revamped United Artists Theatre building in the up-and-coming neighbourhood’s once-great Theater District, the hotel has generations of cool, and uses them to its utmost advantage, from its scenery rooftop bar to its Brooklyn-meets-California restaurant.

Istanbul Turkey

Photo: @smallcrazy

Vault Karaköy, The House Hotel: Istanbul, Turkey
Style: Historic bank, modern makeover

Originally the Ottoman Bank, Vault Karaköy by House Hotels in Istanbul has kept its classic architecture and charming historic features (including the eponymous vaults) but added plenty of modern delights: there’s a spa, stylish modern decor and even its own in-house art curator. Rooms from $263 per night. 

Photo: @royalcrescent_hotel

Royal Crescent Hotel: Bath, United Kingdom
Style: Georgian perfection

The neoclassical finery of Bath’s Royal Crescent Hotel, in the centre of one of the country’s most evocative streets, makes it the English escape of which elegant dreams are made. Add the first-class food and top-notch spa, and you’ll never want to leave.

Photo: @out.of_office

Point Yamu by Como: Phuket, Thailand
Style: Paola Navone perfection

At Italian-influenced Point Yamu by Como, rooms are immaculately styled by Paola Navalone and brilliant pizzas are served poolside at La Sirena restaurant. Thailand sings through, too, thanks to the Phuket-inspired artworks in the lobby, Peranakan-Thai cuisine in Nahmyaa restaurant and the jaw-drop views of Phang Nga Bay.

Memmo Alfama Hotel

Photo: @thehautepursuit

Memmo Alfama: Lisbon, Portugal
Style: White and wonderful

Once used as a shoe polish factory, Memmo Alfama hotel is a bright and breezy townhouse tucked away in a maze of cobbled streets twisting between ancient churches and Fado restaurants. Inside, smooth lines, crisp sheets and laid-back lounges beckon; outside, the river-view pool bar is Lisbon’s latest spot to see and be seen.

Photo: @toppingrosehouse

Topping Rose House: Hamptons, United States
Style: Gallerist’s beach house

If someone with a summer home in the Hamptons decided to build a hotel, it would be Topping Rose House. With just the right doses of gallerist-curated art, historic and modern architecture, anything-you-can-dream-of service, farm-to-table cuisine and the understated luxury that well-heeled New Yorkers expect, the Bridgehampton hideaway might actually be better than your own private Hamptons home. Or, does your summer home come with a free car and beach passes?

Eco-Friendly Destinations For Chic Travellers

By choosing green travel, you can help reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing the quality of your experience – many resorts and hotels are doing their part to be eco-friendly while remaining truly luxurious.

We’ve rounded up a selection of eco-friendly hotels that use sustainable approaches and provide a memorable stay.

Photo: @odile_archambault

Ritz-Carlton Montreal:

The Ritz-Carlton Montreal has been the most elegant address in the city since 1912, but following its recent renovations, it has also become the destination for green travellers. Take a dip in the hotel’s saltwater swimming pool that is heated using reclaimed-energy. Thermostats that remember a guest’s temperature preferences upon check-in and motion sensors that will activate the lights are other eco-friendly amenities.  Guests can also dine in a 46-person greenhouse featuring herb garden that provides some of the restaurant’s fresh produce.

Costa Rica Hotels

Photo: @elsilenciolodge

El Silencio Lodge & Spa’s,  located in Costa Rica, boasts 15 mountainside eco suites are set on stilts in the cloud forest canopy and are made with eco-friendly materials. 90 percent of the luxury hotel’s grounds are designated as a private forest reserve and the restaurant’s cuisine is provided by local farmers or the hotel’s garden.  Bonus: each suite is assigned an EcoConcierge to personalize your stay.

Eco-friendly resorts

Photo: @masseriacervarolo

Masseria Cervarolo in Puglia, Italy, has been awarded an EU Ecolabel for its environmentally sustainable practices.  A family-run 18-room farmhouse, Masseria Cervarolo has a knack for repurposing materials. You will find barn doors as headboards and bathroom racks made of recycled driftwood.  The eco-friendly retreat generates its own solar power and supplies only Malin + Goetz green toiletries.

Dominican Republic

Casa Bonita in the Dominican Republic is a 12-suite hotel set in the rugged Barahona rainforest, a leading eco-tourism destination.  The retreat was built entirely from locally sourced materials and uses a hydroelectric generator.  On-site, you’ll find Pat’s Organic Garden, which provides produce for the restaurant and the rest of the restaurant’s food is sourced from the surrounding community.  The Tanama Eco Spa, a haven for butterflies, is set in the rainforest. Enjoy therapeutic treatments inspired by natural elements.

Eco-Tourism

Photo: @atlantisbahamas

Atlantis, Paradise Island:

Atlantis, Paradise Island is passionate about ocean conservation and animal rescue; in fact, the Atlantis Animal Rescue Team successfully rescued Georgie, a West Indian manatee and relocated her to the Atlantis Dolphin Cay Marine Mammal Rescue Centre earlier this year.  After a successful rehabilitation period, Georgie was released in August to Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands.  The rescue centre is a haven for injured marine mammals with a fourteen-acre habitat and the Dolphin Cay features an education centre allowing guests to learn about the ocean and conservation.

5 Luxurious Destinations Fit For Solo Travellers

Discover the world with a luxurious trip for one.

Travelling solo is now a more common practice, with resorts and cruises offering specialized packages and activities for singles. Take time out for some R&R and enjoy that much needed “me” time.

These options will be sure to amaze and entertain the independent traveller.

Photo: @passionforcruises

Silversea Cruises invites travellers to take to the sea and meet others looking for adventure. Cruise Critic, the leading cruise review website, is now bringing their popular “Meet and Mingle” events on board Silversea Cruises. The luxury cruise line is offering guests the chance to meet one another before departing, using the online forum to connect. To check out Silversea destinations or to book, please visit www.silversea.com

Photo: @feriasnocaribe

The Crane Residential Resort in Barbados is the perfect place for solo travellers to experience the ultimate Caribbean escape. Relax by the turquoise water and pink sand beach and indulge in holistic wellness treatments at Serenity Spa. After a day of unwinding ocean-side, find inner peace with a sunset yoga session by the cliff pool garden. The 3,000 square-foot village is where gifts for loved ones or keepsakes to remember the special vacation can be purchased. For more information, please visit www.thecrane.com

Photo: @exclusiveresorts

From iconic beaches in Brazil to vineyards in Italy, Exclusive Resorts has more than 350 luxurious residences globally, so ideal locations for any globetrotter’s solo travel dream are within reach. The one-time fee gives a lifelong membership with services fit for royalty and trips designed around members’ specific tastes and visions. As a member, you can plan a 20-day vacation and choose from one of the 350+ spectacular villas worldwide, each complete with the services from an Exclusive Concierge. Starting from the very first trip, the team at Exclusive Resorts will notice everyday comforts such as your favourite wine and make sure it’s stocked in your villa, right down to your favourite bed sheets fitted on the bed. From wine tours to private cooking classes, surfing lessons and more, Exclusive Resorts has you covered. For more information on destinations and memberships, please visit www.exclusiveresorts.com/Your-Membership

Photo: @lifeof_riley

Travelling solo is carefree and luxurious with the help of Mr & Mrs. Smith, the leading luxury website, hailing from the UK, which offers one-of-a-kind hotel experiences. They have also recently launched their Canadian website (www.smithhotels.com). Mr & Mrs. Smith offer three levels of memberships (BlackSmith, SilverSmith, and GoldSmith) all providing brilliant service, exclusive hotel deals year-round, money back every time you book, upgrades and other enticing travel perks. GoldSmith members are provided with everything from a travel concierge to help curate an entire holiday to access to the 24-hour travel team just a phone call away for any questions one may have while travelling unaccompanied. For more information on hotels and membership fees, please visit www.smithcollections.com/members/benefits

Photo: @gansevoortturks

Gansevoort Turks + Caicos is the ideal destination for the traveller looking for both adventure and Caribbean relaxation. Solo Adrenaline junkies should check out the resort’s Big Blue Room package, which consists of daily scuba diving explorations and complimentary breakfast and daily scuba diving explorations. After discovering the pristine sea, guests can indulge in a fusion massage at the Exhale Spa. The Big Blue Room package rates start at USD$440 per night based on double occupancy. For more information, please visit www.gansevoorthotelgroup.com

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Grape Expectations: 6 Crush-Worthy Hotels

Oh, the bounty of the harvest… The ink-black Sangiovese, regal purple pinot noir and the plump pearl of a chardonnay.

We’re all about the mighty grape this time of year – gathering, stomping and, of course, sipping the fruits of all that labour. Even better if there’s a rolling vineyard view to go with that vintage, like the ones spied from the mod Cottages of Napa Valley’s Carneros Inn (pictured above).

Where to swill right now? We’ve selected some of our best boutique hotels for oenophiles, set on working vineyards or in top-notch wine regions from Sonoma to Tuscany. Cheers, cent’anni, santé… it’s five o’clock somewhere.

Mr and Mrs Smith California Hotel

H2 Hotel: California Wine Country, United States

Green, by nature

Setting the eco-conscious standard in Sonoma, the H2 Hotel has sleek, wood-floored modern rooms in muted earth tones that are fashioned and furnished from sustainable materials. Bath products are locally made and guests are encouraged to refill reusable bottles with still or sparkling water from a bar on each floor. The living roof is rich with succulents and a protected stream runs next-door. The talented chef at the hip restaurant is a veteran of the French Laundry and the bar serves cocktails created from local ingredients. Smith Extra: Two cocktails at Spoonbar.

Wine retreats and villas in Tuscany, Italy

Conti di San Bonifacio Wine Resort: Tuscany, Italy

Restyled rustic farmhouse

Presiding over a swathe of rolling green Tuscan lands, Conti di San Bonifacio hotel is a restored stone villa whose surrounding farm and vineyards provide most of the ingredients for your meals. Taste wine straight from the source and revel in relaxed rooms with designer-pedigreed polish. If you’re feeling especially Italian, hire the whole five-room farmhouse and make like a master vintner. Smith Extra: Two glasses of Conti Di San Bonifacio Estate prosecco and a platter of cold meats.

Wine in Spain, and hotels in spain

Mirabó de Valldemossa: Mallorca, Spain

Sun-kissed 16th-century olive farm

A picturesque 16th-century olive farm on Mallorca, Mirabó de Valldemossa hotel boasts a breathtaking array of views out over the surrounding mountains from its sun-flooded rooms and stone terraces. Apart from the peaceful historic village nearby, you’ll feel like you’ve found your own private wilderness – if, of course, living off the beaten path included nine romantic rooms, a palm-fringed outdoor pool, welcoming service and aromatic gardens. Smith Extra: A bottle of red, white or rosé from the hotel’s vineyard.

Wine hotels in Provence France

Photo: @http://runninginheels.com/

Domaine des Roullets: Vaucluse (Provence), France

Historic homestay

A rustic-chic retreat at the foot of the Luberon Mountains, Domaine les Roullets hotel in Vaucluse is the perfect Provençal pied-a-terre. With Roman roots, mediaeval history and buckets of charm, this special Maison d’hôtes also offers pristine grounds, stylishly subtle decor, armfuls of intriguing art and objets trouvés, plus panoramic views to die for. Smith Extra: A bottle of Domaine les Roullets’ own organic red wine.

Wine hotels and tours in Portugal

Herdade da Malhadinha Nova: Alentejo, Portugal

Wine and wicker

Home to a working winery, serene spa and remarkable restaurant, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova hotel is a sense-stimulating experience in the Portuguese countryside. You can sample local wines, go for a dip in the infinity pool or taste creations from the mind of a stellar chef – all with the golden backdrop of Alentejo. Smith Extra: 10 per cent off in the spa and restaurant, and a jar of home-made jam to take home.

Wine country California

Farmhouse Inn: California Wine Country, United States

Romantic Ranch

Nestled away outside Healdsburg in the winery-packed Russian River Valley, the Farmhouse Inn hotel greets guests with laid-back Sonoma friendliness and natural beauty. Understatedly luxurious rooms are the perfect place for romantics to hide away, but you’d be missing out if you stayed inside, when on-site offerings include a wrap-around porch, pool and spa, fire pit and superb farm-to-table Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s the perfect base for busy days out exploring wine country. Smith Extra: A bottle of Russian River Valley wine on arrival, and a VIP wine-tasting pass for two, redeemable at 15 partner wineries.

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Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

We’ve hand-picked the very best boutique and luxury hotels in Morocco to bring you our collection of stylish romantic retreats.

Find your perfect hotel and get the low-down on holidays in Morocco – just choose your destination from the list below.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Dar Ahlam: Ouarzazate, Morocco

Kasbah with added wow

Dramatically set between the Atlas Mountains and Morocco’s stretch of the Sahara desert, the Dar Ahlam hotel is a renovated 19th-century Kasbah whose name means ‘House of Dreams.’ Re-imagined in high style by a fête aficionado from Paris, this luxurious escape will lure you into its lair with a sleek outdoor pool, oversized bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and soothing sand-coloured suites.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Palais Namaskar: Marrakech, Morocco

Five-star, French, feng shui

On the edge of up-market Palmeraie, just outside the bustle of Marrakech, the opulent Palais Namaskar hotel takes cues from the Chinese doctrine of feng shui in the design details of its spacious suites and palaces. This sprawling, Oetker-managed boutique resort pulls out all the stops, from a seriously luxurious spa to flawless, anything-you-wish service. The sprawling grounds have numerous nooks for privacy while the glamorous restaurant and bar play host to a stylish, see-and-be-seen crowd.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Kasbah du Toubkal: Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Berber castle retreat

Just 40 miles from Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains, the hotel Kasbah du Toubkal feels much further from civilization than that, perched as it is near the foot of North Africa’s tallest peak. Views from this clifftop castle’s candlelit, pillow-strewn rooms and ideally situated terraces overlook three valleys carved from the surrounding dramatic mountains that soar to over 4,000 metres. Settle in with a pot of Moroccan mint tea and lose yourself in the magical setting.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Dar Maya: Essaouira, Morocco

Pale and interesting

Your luxury riad home-from-home awaits by the beach in Essaouira: Dar Maya was created by a runaway Englishman who became enamoured of coastal Morcco while on vacation… once you’ve taken a dip in the rooftop pool and been given a thorough rubdown in the traditional hammam, you won’t want to go home, either.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Selman: Marrakech, Morocco

Terracotta pleasure palace

The burnished Berber-style interiors of luxury hotel Selman, Marrakech – given an art nouveau twist by designer Jacques Garcia – provide a chic contrast to the surrounding desert terrain. Cavernous rooms eschew full-on casbah style for subtle hints of colour, Zellige tiles and Mousharabi panels. Spoil yourself in the Henri Chenot spa, dip into the 80sq m swimming pool and enjoy fine Mediterranean fare in one of the hotel’s three restaurants, while watching the hotel’s 16 Arabian horses perform. 

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Palais Amani: Fez, Morocco

Historic hammam hideaway

Palatial traditional riad on the outside, colourfully contemporary urban chic on the inside, the hotel Palais Amani captures the many facets of the ancient city of Fez. Here, the air is perfumed with citrus, the rooftop terrace has dramatic views and the hammam offers peaceful seclusion from the pace of the medina.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Kasbah Tamadot: Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Sir Richard’s splendid retreat

The enchanting Kasbah Tamadot hotel – located in the High Atlas Mountains near Asni – is maze of serene courtyards, secret staircases and pristine gardens encased by an ancient wall. Mountain views are especially marvellous from the master suite, a scaled-down copy of the Kasbah itself. 

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Riad Farnatchi: Marrakech, Morocco

Refined comfort

Hidden behind an unmarked wood door in Marrakech, Riad Farnatchi hotel is a carved, inlaid, art-decorated take on a traditional Moroccan home designed by Jonathan Wix entirely for his guests’ comfort. Ring the almost-invisible bell and step through the ornate door into a world accessed only by those in the know. The riad is one of the city’s most refined options, complete with a marble hammam, heated swimming pool and market-fresh cuisine.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

Heure Bleue: Essaouira, Morocco

Ocean-liner elegance

Post-colonial elegance reigns at Heure Bleue, a hotel built into oceanfront Essaouira’s medina walls. In Marrakech’s alternative, seaside sibling where the likes of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix once relaxed, this luxurious hideaway offers peaceful rooms with traditional carvings, fabrics and lamps in a lavishly low-key atmosphere.

Sleep Here: 10 Moroccan Treasures

El Fenn: Marrakech, Morocco

Traditional riad with an artist’s touch

A 22-room labyrinth with three sheltered courtyards, El Fenn hotel is a serene, shady enclosure that offers an art-gallery-worthy respite from the outside world of bustling Marrakech. Lanterns light a sultry courtyard with a marble fountain in this colourful, avante-garde hideaway, complete with a screening room, carved antique wood doors and a well-stocked library.

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10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Romantic getaways aren’t always that romantic when you’re surrounded by lots of little Smiths. In these couples’ hotels, we guarantee they’ll be no screaming babies or over-energetic toddlers to spoil your style. Whether you’re craving a relaxing rural retreat or balmy beach escape, we’ve scoured the Smith collection to bring you the best boutique boltholes, just for grown-ups.

In these couples’ hotels, we guarantee they’ll be no screaming babies or over-energetic toddlers to spoil your style. Whether you’re craving a relaxing rural retreat or balmy beach escape, we’ve scoured the Smith collection to bring you the best boutique boltholes, just for grown-ups.

Do not disturb.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Photo at top of story also of The Balé

The Balé: Bali, Indonesia

Zen and sensibility

Zen-inspired buildings of light brick and unobtrusive glass soothe the senses at The Balé hotel, a serene Balinese sanctuary that feels more Japanese than Indonesian. With clean-lined, simple interiors, high levels of service and a no-children policy, this is the ultimate resort for luxury-loving lovers looking for a little peace and quiet.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

The Australasian Circa 1858: Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia

Heritage bones, mod-Asian heart

A symphony of light-filled spaces and Asian-inspired decor greets the guest at The Australasian Circa 1858 boutique hotel in the Fleurieu Peninsula, a restored sandstone pub in the seaside town of Goolwa. There are no more beers on tap here though, just five individually styled rooms and a chic restaurant where chef and co-owner Juliet Michell prepares a nightly Asian-inspired menu.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Ponta Dos Ganjos: Santa Catarina, Brazil

Jet-set jungle bungalows

Hiding amongst the tropical thickets and oyster farms of Santa Catarina, Ponta dos Ganchos hotel is a relaxed rainforest retreat of shimmering sunsets and secluded beaches. Should you tire of sipping caipirinhas by the infinity pool or lounging on your private deck, this exclusive paradise has plenty of play left with its games room, cinema, and a restorative spa, too.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Hotel Icon: Hong Kong, China

Home-grown Hong Kong

At Hotel Icon in vibrant Kowloon, you can split your time between admiring the stash of contemporary Chinese art, the food served in the trio of restaurants, and the sweeping views of Victoria Harbour. The hotel is owned by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, used as a research facility and staffed by bright young things: expect a stay that’s edifying and enjoyable in equal measures.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Ksar Char-Bagh: Marrakech, Morocco

Palatial comfort

More guest palace than guesthouse, Ksar Char-Bagh hotel in Marrakech’s post-Palmeraie neighbourhood is an Alhambra-like retreat surrounded by nearly 10 acres of grounds. Far too big on first glance to contain just 13 rooms, this ode to calm Moorish style makes use of a neutral colour palette that is a peaceful contrast to nearby souks. Attention to detail reigns here: engraved silver keys, house-made toiletries and fragrant candles all up a delight for the senses.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Can Simoneta: Mallorca, Spain

21st-century farmhouse

Clinging to a clifftop near Capdepera in Mallorca, the historic Can Simoneta hotel strikes the perfect balance between traditional Mediterranean hospitality and contemporary island getaway. In addition to close proximity to both the island’s beaches and golf courses, this secluded farmhouse offers massages under pine trees and a Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean below.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Sir Albert: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Diamond geezer

The host of Sir Albert hotel in Amsterdam might be fictitious, but you’ll definitely feel his thoughtful presence during your stay at this discreet former diamond factory. His genteel touch is everywhere, from the refined Japanese food in Izakaya to the atmospheric interiors and the impressive selection of books in the study.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Headland House: Cornwall, United Kingdom

Beaches and cream

This homey Headland House B&B hotel sits in the lovely seaside town of St Ives in Cornwall. The spectacular views of Carbis Bay are certainly the draw, but the bright, cosy rooms, the well-tended garden with hammock and home-made cake and sherry make a stay here all the more inviting.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Kurà: Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Minimalist jungle bungalows

High above Uvita, Kurà hotel has bird’s-eye views of the Pacific Ocean and dense tropical jungles. The contemporary open-plan suites feel like they’re tucked into the hillside, and the saltwater infinity pool really does look like it continues forever into the Costa Rican horizon.

10 Romantic Retreats For Adults

Milliken Creek Inn & Spa: California Wine Country, United States

Classic country casual

A charming clapboard home in Napa Valley, set on a picture-perfect plot right on the lush banks of the Napa River, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa hotel is an idyllic base from which to explore the vineyard-ridden Silverado Trail. That said, with its organic spa, giant hydrotherapy tubs and regular visits from local winemakers offering tastes and selling their wares, you might not feel the need to leave the property at all.

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12 Bucketlist Villas & Cottages To Book

We love a hip hotel stay, but what if you’re travelling in a group or looking for a little privacy?

Not everyone wants to dine at the restaurant every night, either. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of hotels with kitchen-equipped villas, cottages and other self-contained spaces available to book with Smith. So what’s it to be: private-pool villa, riverside cottage or even a treehouse?

Take your pick and make yourself at home.

 

Monteverdi: Tuscany, Italy

The Grape Escape

Monteverdi hotel has medieval charm by the village-load: cobbled streets, a tiny church, a sociable enoteca and a peaceful pool set in fragrant herb gardens. Holidaying historians will be pleased to know that there’s even 12th-century castle. Rooms are decorated with rustic romance – elegant four posters and rich paints in herb and flower hues – and some of Italy’s best Winelands beckon.

Tip: Welcome reception including a glass of prosecco and selection of local cheeses and meats.

Domes of Elounda: Crete, Greece

Perfectly Rounded Resort

A high-flying hideaway of intimate suites in blissful Crete, Domes of Elounda hotel is all about smooth-edged architecture with Moorish touches, first-class dining from the country’s only Michelin-starred chef, and the sun-soaked sand of the hotel’s private beach. A sparkling spa will have you feeling brand-new, like Aphrodite fresh from the sea.

Tip: A Thermae Experience for two in the spa, or GoldSmith members staying seven nights or more get a three-course dinner.

Casa Angelina: Amalfi Coast, Italy

Modern Med Minimalism

Between soaring pine-covered mountains and a deep sapphire sea sits hotel Casa Angelina, perched majestically on the Amalfi Coast’s cliffs. Inside, the sleek, all-white rooms – save for the wild and whimsical colours of Murano glass sculptures dotted around communal areas – contrast dreamily with the blue sky and water outside.

Tip: Champagne and fresh fruit on arrival, a romantic bath on the first night, and a Casa Angelina gift on departure.

Borgo Egnazia: Puglia, Italy

Fairy-tale Village Resort

A collection of villas arranged like a traditional village – plus the luxe additions of a golf course, two beach clubs and a knock-out spa – hotel Borgo Egnazia is a modern-day castle on Puglia’s sun-swept seashore. The romantic interiors are designed with sumptuous white-on-cream décor and nature-inspired flourishes like almond-filled baskets, bird cages and egg-shape ornaments.

Tip: Fruit and a bottle of spumante.

Hotel Puente Romano: Marbella, Spain

Whitewashed Andalusian Luxury

A three-storey whitewashed retreat on Spain’s Golden Mile, hotel Puente Romano Beach Resort Marbella is a village-style set-up with seaside tennis courts, three pools and eight restaurants. The scattered layout and intimate atmosphere set it apart from nearby oceanfront mega-resorts on the Andalusian coast.

Tip: For BlackSmith members, a bottle of Oloroso sherry; for SilverSmiths, a package of gourmet Spanish olive oil; for GoldSmith members, a bottle of champagne.

Chewton Glen: Hampshire, United Kingdom

Spa-spangled Manor

Set near the coast in Hampshire, Chewton Glen hotel is a stunning manor, spa, restaurant and country club that perfectly combines old-school elegance of the Jeeves & Wooster era with stylish modern touches and updates. The treehouse suites takes luxury to new heights – the forest canopy, to be specific. And, with a staff-to-guest ratio of two-to-one, it’s hard not to feel like royalty at this haven, the only privately owned five-star hotel in the UK.

Tip: A half-bottle of champagne in your room and breakfast (usually £20 a head).

Château les Merles: Dordogne, France

Neoclassical Winery

Basking in the Dordogne Valley, hotel Château les Merles is a neoclassical country estate revived with high-style Philippe Starck furnishings and sleek modern finishes. After dining on delicious Perigordine cuisine, take a moonlit turn around the groomed grounds with top-notch vineyards, inviting pool, tennis courts and golf course of this 17th-century manor.

Tip: A free glass of champagne, a selection of regional amuses bouches and a bottle of wine from the vineyards of Château Les Merles.

Lime Wood: Hampshire, United Kingdom

Mannered Modern Manor

A grand estate fit for a royalty, the Lime Wood hotel in New Forest has a history dating back to the 13th century, where it began life as a hunting lodge. In the 1740s, the manor was reclaimed by the Duke of Clarence. Since then, it has had an elaborate makeover, with exquisitely designed interiors, an indulgent spa, fantastic restaurants, and gorgeously landscaped grounds.

Tip: A bottle of champagne.

Le Trésor: Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Boutique Bed and Breakfast

Named for the treasure once rumoured to be buried somewhere in this vintage Aude countryside maison de maître near Mirepoix, hotel Le Trésor could be turned upside down and reveal nothing but airy rooms, crisp linens and rustic furnishings. But the real gem of this little boutique property might be the tree-shaded terrace garden in one of France’s most unspoilt wine regions.

Tip: A bottle of local wine.

Paradise Island Villas: Crete, Greece

Set-apart, Secluded Villas

Between the mountains and the Mediterranean, hotel Paradise Island Villas is a family-friendly stay in Crete, right outside Anissaras. Terracotta-tiled floors and bougainvillea-lined walls belie the minimalist aesthetic inside, where earth tones, neutral hues and classical furniture predominate. The private gardens, though, are all decadence.

Tip: Bottle of Cretan wine and a hamper of local produce.’

Babington House: Somerset, United Kingdom

Relaxed Retro Country Club

Set in a handsome manor on 18 landscaped acres in Somerset, Babington House hotel brings a little bit of cosmopolitan London cool to the West Country. The rural cousin of the exclusive Soho House, it’s the perfect spot for stressed urbanites to unplug and unwind. The staff is hip, friendly and, refreshingly, not in uniform. The Cowshed spa, indoor and outdoor pools, billiard room and on-premise cinema may make you reconsider a return to the city.

Tip: A full-size Cowshed bath product.

Tankardstown House: Country Meath, Ireland

Late-Georgian Looker

Sprawling across 100 acres of verdant parkland near Slane in County Meath, Tankardstown House hotel is a charmingly coiffed former family home that bears the refined touch of its mindful matriarch. Should you care to ramble about the ample green grounds, this elegant estate will loan you boots and one of its four dogs to help you cultivate your inner country squire.

Tip: A bottle of prosecco in room on arrival.

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Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Soleil… sol… ilios… sole… sunce.

No matter the language, you’ll find sunshine and sea views in abundance on the Mediterranean.

From coastal Spain to Croatia, we have the ideal villa, casita or cluster of ancient caves for the ultimate sun-kissed retreat.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Hoppen and Jumpin’
Murmuri Hotel: Barcelona, Spain

Located in the upscale Eixample district on the busy promenade of Rambla de Catalunya, Barcelona boutique hotel Murmuri is a place to see and be seen. All understated elegance – interiors have been designed by British style maven Kelly Hoppen – and quiet intimacy, it hits the right notes for well-heeled locals and visitors alike.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Neutral, Natural, Nautical
Villa Dubrovnik: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Villa Dubrovnik is Croatian through and through: built from grey Brac stone, styled by two local designers, and boasting Adriatic views that a seagull would migrate for. Days here are idled away at the flower-flanked outdoor pool, serene spa and ambitious Mediterranean restaurant that’s worthy of a Michelin star.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean HotelsGaudí-contoured Caves
Perivolas: Santorini, Greece

Santorini hotel Perivolas marries stunning scenery with a handsome hunk of history. An alluringly renovated cluster of 300 year-old caves, once the homes, wineries and stables of fishermen and farmers, is now 17 private houses that hug the edge of a cliff overlooking the brilliantly blue Aegean horizon.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Art-graced Guesthouse
Locanda al Colle: Versilia, Italy

Locanda al Colle hotel, an art-filled guesthouse set in a Tuscan olive grove in Versilia, combines the best aspects of home and hotel and welcomes guests like old friends. Candlelit dinner parties replace run-of-the mill room service on these gorgeous grounds lush with leafy gardens and an inviting outdoor pool. You won’t miss the TVs, replaced by Cubist art, big reading chairs, and views out to the sea. 

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Minimalist Shore-side Luxury
Anemi Hotel: Folegandros, Greece

The buildings of the all-white Anemi Hotel on Folegandros look, from a distance, like giant sugar cubes overlooking the turquoise Aegean. And, once you get up close, this Greek-island getaway guarantees a stay as stylish as the views are stunning.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean HotelsSnow-white Sun Trap
JK Place Capri: Capri, Italy

Sweet scents waft around olive and lemon trees in huge pots outside JK Place Capri, a Fellini movie in hotel form, that’s far away enough from the buzz and night-life noise, yet somehow still managing to feel in the thick of things. This gleaming white, shore-side hotel is the kind of place you want to re-book as soon as you leave.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean HotelsThe White House
Avaton Resort & Spa: Santorini, Greece

If we were doctors, we’d prescribe a stay at Santorini’s Avaton Resort & Spa: its white minimalism will calm you, its sea views will soothe you, and its spa and restaurant will indulge you, and its sea-and-caldera views will mesmerise you.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean HotelsVerdant Village
Kapsaliana Village Hotel: Crete, Greece

Kapsaliana Village Hotel’s history-steeped settlement, set in the island’s largest olive grove, has an 18th-century olive press and its own museum. The original press and pitharia (clay storage vessels) can still be admired and there’s a homely restaurant and a flower-flanked outdoor pool. Rooms are soothingly simple: stone interiors and arches.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean HotelsSparkling Boho Hangout
San Giorgio Mykonos: Mykonos, Greece

Housed in a cluster of white-washed stone buildings overlooking the Aegean Sea, boutique hotel San Giorgio Mykonos is a pared-down retreat for island hedonists. Flop in a hammock by the pool, explore the rocky shores of the private beach, then dance the night away under the starry skies – crashing in San Giorgio’s sleek boho rooms will feel like coming home.

Sleep Here: 10 Mediterranean Hotels

Med à la Mode
Cavo Tagoo: Mykonos, Greece

Ingeniously engineered into the cliff-side, Cavo Tagoo is a multi-pooled paradise of a boutique hotel, minutes from Mykonos Town in the Aegean Islands. Spacious and contemporary, this luxury getaway offers five-star spa pampering, peaceful privacy and Jacuzzis for all.

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Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Things that improve with age: Tuscan reds, Victorian four-posters and your faking-it-French-accent.

We’d also put hotels with rich past and loads of style in that column. Good thing we have the definitive collection of classic European stays for history buffs, from a moated medieval castle to an opulent pasha’s palace. If only these tapestry-draped walls could talk (over aged wine and with an accent, of course).

If only these tapestry-draped walls could talk (over aged wine and with an accent, of course).

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Boutique Bedrock
Sextantio le Grotte della Civita
Basilicata, Italy

With prehistoric origins and a Unesco World Heritage setting, the candlelit caves of Sextantio le Grotte della Civita showcase an atmosphere of pure romance. A decade of work transformed this stone settlement into a boutique hotel that pays homage to its subterranean roots with rustic furnishings, plenty of calming candles and artisan stonework. Rooms from $277/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Boho B&B Boudoirs
Brody House
Budapest, Hungary

With airy, light-filled rooms that double as mini art galleries and a trendy members- and guests-only bar, Budapest’s Brody House hotel is a feast for the senses. Popular with the city’s art scene, this cutting-edge townhouse plays host to film and fashion shoots and plenty of art events and book readings, while somehow maintaining the feel of a historic home. Rooms from $90/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Hip, With History
The Connaught
London, United Kingdom

Few hotels are as revered as the stately Connaught hotel in central London. For more than a century, it has been one the most stylish and elegant places to stay in Mayfair, an area long known for its elegance. Though it has been revamped in recent years, the hotel and its staff have maintained the sense of old-fashioned English grandeur, with superlative service and exquisite antique furnishings. The Connaught also offers the UK’s only Aman Spa, a gorgeous indoor pool, two glamorous bars and two acclaimed restaurants. Rooms from $742/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Neoclassical Winery
Château les Merles
Dordogne, France

Basking in the Dordogne Valley, hotel Château les Merles is a neoclassical country estate revived with with high-style Philippe Starck furnishings and sleek modern finishes. After dining on delicious Perigordine cuisine, take a moonlit turn around the groomed grounds with top-notch vineyards, inviting pool, tennis courts and golf course of this 17th century manor. Smith Extra: A free glass of champagne, a selection of regional amuses bouches and a bottle of wine from the vineyards of Château les Merles. Rooms from $145/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Emperor’s New Bricks
Hotel Vestibul Palace
Split, Croatia

It’s no wonder Split’s Hotel Vestibul Palace feels fit for king – this historic waterfront hotel sits within a World Heritage Site that once housed the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The remnants of three architecturally diverse palaces dating back to the 4th century provide a stunning contrast to the modern decor, subdued colour scheme and sleek glass atrium of this seven-room palace. Rooms from $248/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Courtesy of Cannes
Poseidonion Grand Hotel
Spetses, Greece

Poseidonion Grand Hotel is a dose of old-world glam in sea-swept Spetses, a beachside haven for the Athenian jet-set. Set apart by a blissful spa (the first in Greece), innovative dining, and romantic rooms with mesmerizing Mediterranean views, this is island living at its most posh. Rooms from $243/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Reinvented Dutch Masterpiece
Canal House
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The rich textiles and signature light of the Dutch Old Masters’ paintings inspired décor at the Canal House hotel, a bundle of 17th-century merchant houses overlooking – you guessed it – a canal in central Amsterdam. The entryway’s historic canvases give way to sultry rooms, whose walls are lined with contemporary artwork, dramatic curtains and plush fabrics in deep purple hues. After a day out biking and museum-hopping, unwind in the courtyard garden, refined restaurant or over your room’s marvellous canal views. Rooms from $345/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Stately Modern Manor
Liss Ard Estate
County Cork, Ireland

With gorgeous flowering grounds and romantic rooms in County Cork, hotel Liss Ard Estate has an unlikely backstory full of skulduggery. Constructed by a disgraced Celtic chieftain, and once used as a headquarters for Swiss spies (before the Austrians found out), this serene sanctuary now deals in the finer things in life, like contemplative walks in the lush meadows and farm-to-table dining at its refined restaurant. Rooms from $168/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Magical Manor
Cortijo del Marqués
Andalucia, Spain

Hidden among neverending sunflowers and olive trees, boutique hotel Cortijo del Marqués is Andalucia’s little secret. This revamped 19th-century manor’s beautiful rooms are steeped in history. You’ll love the period features and quirky details such as old troughs upcycled into baths. With a peaceful pool, rambling gardens to explore hand-in-hand and moonlit dining, it’s the ultimate romantic retreat. Rooms from $124/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Contemporary Ottoman
A’jia Hotel
Istanbul, Turkey

A grand old mansion on the Bosphorus, the A’jia Hotel in Istanbul was once the impressive home of a Pasha. Today,the Ottoman-era exterior cleverly masks a sleek, spacious and modern interior. Fifteen large and comfortable rooms and suites offer various luxurious flourishes, but all include gorgeous bathrooms of creamy marble and tile. And, of course all guests can enjoy a drink or several on the expansive waterfront terrace. Rooms from $458/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Belle Époque Country Manor
Vidago Palace
Douro Valley, Portugal

Built as a remote royal palace in 1910, Vidago Palace hotel is an opulent retreat located in a small spa town near the northern border of Portugal. In picturesque Tras-os-Montes (literally, ‘beyond the mountains’), this salmon pink property with the façade of a grand English country estate overlooks a distinctly Iberian landscape. The lavish main building – where the grandiose former ballroom is now a restaurant – is complemented by a golf course and sleek spa. Rooms from $272/night.

Sleep Here: 12 Historic European Hotels

Photos courtesy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Pastel-Painted Saxon Homes
Copsamare Guesthouses
Transylvania, Romania

True to its Romanian roots, Copsamare Guesthouses hotel goes out of its way to offer guests a true Transylvanian experience, no vampires included. Short of being invited to a local’s house for dinner, no deeper immersion exists than this boutique hideaway, where furniture is handcrafted by the neighbours and honey is sourced from the priest’s bees. The welcoming Italian owners created a modest hotel where even the smallest decorations – dried nut leaves, tree trunks – deliver a faithful sense of place. Rooms from $152/night.