repeats itself. Before there were hotels à la
the Hilton and the mega properties of Las Vegas, there
were pubs, inns and relais. Nowadays, you may
enjoy a luxurious B&B, but for the ultimate in travel
for those who live large but like things intimate, there
is no better place to stay than at a boutique hotel.
Typically, the room count is under 200, and there are
plenty of enticing suites. The point of such places
is to serve a few select guests at a high level of service
and deliver the feeling of a home away from home. Comfort
is the utmost priority. Around the world are fabulous
opportunities to stay in chateaux, lodges and intimate
luxury hotels... at the following you'll find experiences
second to none.
York City, New York
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
hotels feel as if they were created to set a standard,
and as far as urban boutique hotels are concerned, Hôtel
Plaza Athénée is a benchmark. It has not
compromised its classic, classy character to the hip
hotel scene, and the loyalty of its guests is matched
by the loyalty of the long-standing staff, starting
with the GM and moving on down the ranks. As for its
attributes, the list is long: discretion, classic French
contemporary furnishings, Clef d'Or concierges, gorgeous
suites with glass-enclosed solarium terraces and a dark,
exotic bar that feels lost in time.
just fifteen suites, this Barossa valley retreat offers
a luxury experience that’s been missing in this
region of Australia’s burgeoning wine country.
Recently bought and renovated by a foodie couple from
San Francisco, the property sits atop a hill surrounded
by hundreds of acres of vineyards. Guest privacy is
taken seriously here, which is a great attribute of
any first-class boutique property. Suites have gated
courtyards and inspire the feeling of being hidden away
in a posh home decorated with artwork from South Australian
artisans. The Louise is also home to a carefully developed
wine cellar and Appellation, one of the premier dining
destinations in Barossa.
COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri
the travel elite, it isn't always easy to agree on the characteristics that make up a true sanctuary, as
everyone's needs for relaxation are different. But you'll
be hard pressed to find the traveler who can't unwind—and
ultimately find spiritual renewal—at Bali's COMO
Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri. Forget about the island's
reputation for crowded beaches and the chaos of Kuta Town.
The estate's sublime residences are tucked into lush jungle
in Ubud, on grounds fed by three holy springs. And the
COMO Shambhala spa facilities are the closest you're likely
to come to heaven on earth. This is the paradisiacal Bali
of years gone by.
lodges rarely fail to meet the boutique hotel criteria
of intimacy and hospitality. But few are those that
possess the make-or-break boutique staple: sophisticated
luxury. For the après ski crowd, the Post Hotel
elevates the quaint, European mountain hideaway to a
new level, with a wine cellar offering over 25,000 bottles,
a cigar lounge featuring hand-rolled Cubans and log
cabin-style bedrooms just minutes from the slopes. Lovers
of the authentic shouldn't despair, though—there
are still the requisite antlers hanging on the wall.
boutique hotel experience must be organic. Any place can offer the feeling of intimacy and elitism, but
in a boutique property, a guest must feel in harmony with
the setting, the style, the hosts. Imagine, then, what
happens when this synchronicity extends beyond the hotel
walls. At the remote Hotel Punta Islita, guest comfort
is as important as community relations and ecological
preservation. When you stay here, you become essential
to the country you are visiting. And you discover—as
you laze in a hammock or savor a sunset massage—the
joys of social responsibility.
exactly does the term "hip hotel" mean? Quirky?
Snobby? Stark to the point of frigidity? Unfortunately,
in many cases, it's all of these things. For the few
that get it right, One Aldwych is at the top of the
list. Housed in a plush Edwardian building in the middle
of Convent Garden, it signifies warm, stylish and sophisticated
in every way, from décor to service. It also
means that even though a hotel is small (there are just
105 rooms here) it doesn't have to skimp. You'll find
a private screening room, lap pool and over 400 works
we were asked to proclaim the quintessential boutique
experience, we would have to name the château
as the official winner. Châteaux are the original
boutiques, and let's be honest…could there be
anything more intimate and indulgent than escaping to
what is essentially your own private manor house? At
Château Les Crayères, there are just twenty
lavish, light-filled bedrooms, which heighten the feeling
of ownership. A celebrated restaurant and residency
in a park-like setting in Reims—the Champagne
capital—are just two more reasons to raise a glass
of bubbly and celebrate.
Adare Manor Hotel
& Golf Resort
asked to consider boutique hotels, we would hardly
leap to include an 19th-century gothic manor house
(with 75 fireplaces and 365 leaded glass windows)
set on 840 acres. Yet it is the sprawling nature
of Adare Manor that gives it a feeling of intimacy.
There are only 63 rooms, which means you feel as
if you have the place to yourself. In this truly
private setting, you can kindle romance, explore
your thoughts (and the formal French gardens), pamper
yourself at the spa, explore the rolling countryside
on horseback or play a round of championship golf.
This brings us to bust a second stereotype: Scotland
doesn't have a monopoly on classic links.
Hacienda de San Antonio
boutique hotel experience doesn't get any better than
this: 25 impeccably decorated suites in a sprawling hacienda
originally built in the 1870s. You immediately feel like you’ve entered a glorious picture book
of Spanish colonial splendor. European and Latin aesthetics
merge with the best result: an out-of-the-way getaway
(with its own private airstrip) where you can take long
hikes, ride horses, watch birds or just loll by the pool.
On property is a farm, a cheese cave, a chef’s garden
and even grass-fed beef and lamb making most meals from
farm to table. Originally owned and renovated by British
billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, also responsible for
Cuixmala in Careyes, Mexico, the property is now operated
by his children.
Sand Game Reserve
Londolozi Private Game Reserve
a Russian nesting doll, Londolozi Private Game Reserve
reveals treasures within treasures within treasures.
It is located inside the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, and
hidden in its jungles are four camps—if you can
call a cluster of suites or chalets adorned with teak
decks, inlaid mosaic floors and private plunge pools
a camp. There are no more than twelve accommodations
per camp, and everything required for a satisfying safari
is provided for—game drives, moonlit bush dinners
and guided star-gazing. Bottom line: from the furnishings
to the views, this place is drop-dead gorgeous.