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Top 10 Boutique Hotels Worldwide 2007

There’s enough to worry about when traveling in a strange, new place, so many tourists these days eschew the large non-descript hotels in favor of something a little more comfortable, intimate and welcoming. Enter the boutique hotel. Today there’s a vast array of boutique hotels around the world to choose from: everything from intimate inns to luxurious lodges and comfy chateaus. With none of the hotels listed here offering more than 200 rooms, here's a sample of some of the best places to lay your weary head in a cozy setting when staying at your home away from home.

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UNITED STATES

New York City, New York
6 Columbus - A SIXTY Hotel

www.sixtyhotels.com

Six Columbus

6 Columbus is located at 6 Columbus Circle in Manhattan opposite Central Park. Bringing downtown chic uptown, this sleek 1960s-meets 21st century-inspired hotel boasts 88 rooms and suites, all with flat-panel plasma TVs, preloaded iPods and broadband Internet connection. The townhouse-style building is a pair of penthouses that stand over 1,000 square feet each, with double-height ceilings, fireplaces and kitchens. Teak and chrome furnishings punctuate this sleek, stylish lodging. It’s the perfect place for hip, savvy travelers who want to stay in a more intimate, yet still up market environment when heading to the heart of Manhattan.

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AUSTRALIA

Barossa Valley

The Louise
www.thelouise.com.au

Peppers The Louise

With 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.

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BALI

Ubud

COMO Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri

www.begawan-giri.com

COMO Shambhala Estate
Among 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.

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CANADA

Whistler, British Columbia

Adara Hotel
www.adarahotel.com

Adara Hotel

Welcome to Whistler’s first designer boutique hotel. With only 41 guest rooms and suites, the emphasis here is on the best of British Columbian contemporary design in a rustic mountain setting. Each room incorporates unique elements such as “floating fireplaces”, spa-style bathrooms complete with five-foot walk in showers with “rain” shower heads, luxurious beds and sheepskin throws. Larger rooms boast flat-screen TVs, patios and kitchens. Situated in the heart of North America’s most renowned ski resort, here’s a place to relax in stylish, modern accommodations, take on the powdered slopes and return for a relaxing soak in your hot tub overlooking stunning mountain views. And don’t forget to bring Fido; the hotel is pet friendly.

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ENGLAND

London
One Aldwych

www.onealdwych.co.uk

One Aldwych

What 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 of art.

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ITALY

Rome
Portrait Suites

www.lungarnohotels.com

Portrait Suites

This beautifully-appointed hotel is close to the Via Condotti, where some of Italy’s best shopping is to be had, and just a stones throw from the Spanish Steps.  With only fourteen “suites” to its name, it’s impossible to not fall for this elegant luxury Italian-style town house perched directly atop the flagship Ferragamo store. Leonardo Ferragamo makes a point of staying at all his hotels, so at the Portrait Suites, privacy and discretion are assured along with Egyptian cotton sheets and hi-tech gadgets; from wall-mounted plasma TVs to iPod and cell phone rechargers. The hotel is named after the photos of film and fashion stars and portraits of Rome that line its walls. Each suite is done up like a private apartment, complete with kitchenette. The rooms are decked out in sumptuous furnishings, and the piece de resistance is the hotel’s charming rooftop terrace where breakfast is served in the warmer months.
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IRELAND

County Limerick
Adare Manor
Hotel & Golf Resort
www.adaremanor.com

When 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.

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MEXICO

Veracruz

Hotel Azucar
www.hotelazucar.com

Hotel Azucar

Named after the sugar cane grown in Veracruz, the Hotel Azucar on the Gulf of Mexico consists of 20 bleached sugar-white bungalows and thatched palapa roofs offset with lollipop-colored décor. This back-to-basics resort focuses on ensuring guests feel light, fresh and breezy, making it virtually impossible to do much more than don some loose cotton clothing, slip on some flip flops and lazily while away the time in a hammock on your private terrace overlooking the stunning gulf scenery.  The minimalist furniture is constructed from individually selected driftwood and reproduction 1930’s furnishings. Revel in this hideaway hotel where you can bike to a nearby fishing village, drive through vanilla plantations and citrus groves or just chill out by the pool or at the beach while undertaking a hot stone massage.

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SOUTH AFRICA

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

www.londolozi.com

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Like 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.

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SPAIN

Elciego

Hotel Marques de Riscal
www.starwoodhotels.com

Marques de Riscal

Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Hotel Marques de Riscal is located in the heart of the Rioja wine region. It’s impossible to miss Gehry’s signature hotel with its funky roof that changes color depending on the light. The entire structure is built from glass, titanium and stone cladding. Yet with only 43 guest rooms, including eleven suites, this is the perfect, eclectic getaway in the heart of Spain’s wine country. Thehotel’s signature Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa features “wine therapy” massages and treatments.

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