To call a hotel boutique it seems you only need to be small, cramped and serve rubbish breakfasts. These beauties though, they really are the business...
Hill Lodge, Chiang Mai, Thailand
If your idea of a holiday in Thailand does not include noisy beach resorts, the Hill Lodge, set in the hills above Chiang Mai may just be the place for you. It is an intimate, luxurious retreat set amid lush tropical vegetation around a peaceful lotus pond. The city of Chiang Mai is known for its Buddhist temples so you can meditate and cultivate your spiritual side as well.
Bambu Indah, Bali, Indonesia
There are two sides to Bali: hotel resorts with hardcore revelling by the pool, and then quiet, hidden sanctuaries away from the coast. Bambu Indah is most definitely in the second camp. A magical, luxurious retreat outside the village of Ubud, it was built by jewellery designer, John Hardy. There are four pavilions made of teak and bamboo nestled among coconut trees with stunning views over the rice fields, and a little stream runs past where you can swim. In peace.
Chambre avec Vue, Provence, France
A holiday in Provence need not mean faux 18th century furniture and fusty lodgings. If you crave a more contemporary, artistic approach to holiday stays, but still want seclusion, Chambre Avec Vue in the village of Saignon, is ideal. It is an art gallery, artists’ residence and boutique hotel in one, all set in an 18th century mansion with a lovely enclosed garden.
Cocolobo, Roatan, Honduras
If you are looking for a Caribbean holiday with, perhaps, some gentle diving, the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, is still relatively free of the massive resort hotels that have come to characterise a Caribbean break. The best boutique hotel on the island is Cocolobo with ocean-front rooms and self-catering lodges, set in a quiet spot away from town but still within walking distance of restaurants and bars.
Les Terrasses, Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza has a reputation for loud, excessive partying that is largely undeserved. Many people come to the island to get away from all of that. Although there is no shortage of charming boutique hotels on the island, Les Terrasses stands out because it is only five miles (eight km) from Ibiza town, but feels like another world. Decorated in contemporary Mediterranean style, it is a favourite among the Parisian fashion and art crowd. It is also known for its restaurant, which serves amazing couscous and North African dishes.
You sleep on tatami mats, eat a traditional Japanese breakfast, perform the rituals of the Japanese bath and take in the serene, tranquil beauty of the monastery’s gardens.
Hotel Viura, Alava, Spain
A boutique hotel with the kind of striking modern, architectural features that would make it more at home in Tokyo or London, Hotel Viura is set in the Rioja wine region of Spain, between Burgos and Pamplona. The rooms are stacked up like cubes and each has a panoramic view of the countryside. A gourmet restaurant makes this hotel particularly appealing to foodies, who can take advantage of the hiking and biking attractions of the area to work off all those calories.
Miauw Suites, Amsterdam, Holland
Thousands of visitors to Amsterdam walk past Miauw Suites, or at least, glide past it on a sightseeing boat, but would never know it was there. Located on the corner of the Hartenstraat (one of the most popular shopping streets in the city) and the Keizersgracht canal, Miauw has six large beautifully decorated apartment-style suites with gorgeous views over the water. The ground floor is a concept store and café. It is a favourite among designers, art directors and style mavens.
Witt Istanbul Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey
While you may be tempted to stay in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul, close to main tourist sites such as the Blue Mosque, a far better option is the prettier Cihangir neighbourhood, perched high on the hills across the Bosphorus. Cafes and restaurants cater to residents instead of tourists, and quirky little markets will keep you busy all day. The coolest place to stay here is the Witt Istanbul Hotel with large airy suites, decked out in a striking contemporary style, providing a restful diversion from the busy, chaotic city.
Shojoshin-in, Koyasan, Japan
For the ultimate hideaway, Koyasan, a small town in the mountains south of Osaka, offers spiritual retreat from our harried lives. Because Koyasan is a centre for the Buddhist, Shingon sect, there are dozens of shrines and monasteries, many of which have traditional Japanese-style guesthouses (ryokans). Shojoshin-in is a ryokan attached to a monastery. You sleep on tatami mats, eat a traditional Japanese breakfast, perform the rituals of the Japanese bath and take in the serene, tranquil beauty of the monastery’s gardens.
Hotel Fox, Copenhagen, Denmark
Hotel Fox is a dazzling new boutique hotel with individualised rooms, designed by different artists. From stark minimalism to Japanese Manga, there is something for almost every taste. Wi-Fi, bicycles and iPods are available for rent and a taxi-sharing service for guests alongside a delightful sushi restaurant, make Hotel Fox the ultimate modern hangout for artsy types and technophiles alike.
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