Right then, hands up: who wants a relaxing holiday? And we mean a proper, seriously luxurious holiday: stunning decor, supreme location, world-beating cocktails, top cuisine, the kind of place you stay in once – maybe twice – in your lifetime. If you’re lucky.
So without further ado, the winners of the World’s Best Boutique Hotel Awards have just been announced – which means it’s time to put your hands up pack your bags.
For those who get airsick, one of them is here in Blighty (so much for the white sands, then). Check out our favourite winners below:
World’s Best Culinary Hotel: Vila Joya, Algarve, Portugal
Not just one of the world’s best boutique hotels, the Vila Joy was also named in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Its restaurant comes with two Michelin stars (dress code: “casual elegant”), serving up such tasty treats as guinea fowl stuffed with black truffles and artichokes, and roasted goose liver with purée with smoked eel.
Prices start from £265 for a double room. Book here.
World’s Best Beach or Coastal Hotel: El Nido, Pangulasian Island, Philippines
Looking like the kind of place James Bond would apply the factor 30, Pangulasian Island is known as “Island of the Sun” (yes, it’s well sunny there). El Nido is super exclusive, with private villas and a private beach, and has a green ethos. Set beside a tropical rainforest, the resort offers sustainable menus and au naturel activities (that means nature-based, not nude) with a low carbon footprint.
Prices start from around £578 per villa (sleeps three), per night. Book here.
World’s Best Classic Hotel: Hotel Heritage, Bruges Belgium
Exactly what you’d imagine from a plush old school European hotel, there’s a sense of grandeur and history. There’s a sauna and steamroom for relaxing, plus gym if you’re feeling more sprightly. The regal décor of the Le Mystique restaurant will make you feel like 19th century royalty, though the modern well-posh grub will bring you bang up to date. They even offer hot air ballooning provided you don’t spend all your Euros on the minibar.
Prices start from around £165 per room (sleeps two) for one night. Book here.
World’s Best New Hotel: Hotel Gotham, Manchester, United Kingdom
Quirky central Manchester hotel Gotham genuinely does have a touch of Batman about it (the logo is decidedly bat like). There’s a retro art-deco feel, with his brass baths, twin-headed showers, and posh sheets you can melt into. Also boasts an on-site restaurant and speakeasy bar, Club Brass.
Prices from £195 per night for a double room. Book here.
World’s Most Romantic Hotel: Aenaon Villas, Santorini, Greece
Notable for the distinctive whitewashed architecture, there’s something almost dreamlike about this one – actually a complex of connected villas overlooking the Aegean Sea and its beaches. It sits on an ancient path connecting Oia with Imerovigli and Fira. With the villas’ own private pools, it’s the ultimate venue for lounging around and soaking up some rays.
Prices start from around £279 per villa (sleeps two), per two nights. Book here.
World’s Best City Hotel: 11 Mirrors, Kiev, Ukraine
Ukraine isn’t necessarily somewhere you’d think of for a luxury break, but the 11 Mirrors hotel is located by some of Kiev’s most stunning, must-see attractions - the Ukraine National Opera House and Golden Gate entrance to the medieval city. Also sits next to a spa (with cheap rates for hotel guests) and offers “incognito” rooms for seriously peaceful relaxing.
Prices start from around £200 for a standard room (sleeps two). Book here.
World’s Best Boutique Hotel: Secret Bay Hotel, Dominica
The big winner was the stunning Secret Bay hotel overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Set on a cliff top, it’s surrounded by rainforest-covered mountains and boasts two swimming beaches. Activities there include kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkelling, and beach-side yoga. Yep, it’s pretty much paradise.
Prices start from £382 per night for a one-bedroom bungalow (sleeps two). Book here.