2016 was a fabulous travel-filled year for the Boutique Travel Blog team, taking us to the Caribbean, South Africa, India and Argentina, as well as many wonderful places in Europe. We have all been lucky enough to stay at some glorious hotels. And we’re always on the lookout for the very best boutique, luxury or character hotels, small or large, quirky or mainstream. From stunning locations to historic charm, each one of the selected hotels has left a particularly strong impression on us, raising it above the norm. We’re always on the look out for the best boutique, luxury, interesting hotels, small or large, quirky or
Hotel Londra Palace, Venice, Italy
by Kathryn Burrington, TravelWithKat.com
One of my favourite hotels that I have ever stayed in has to be the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Londra Palace, which dates back to 1860 and overlooks Venice Lagoon. I arrived in style last November, courtesy of the Italian specialists, Citalia, via a private boat transfer which dropped me right outside the front door.
My suite on the top floor had stunning views over the city and lagoon in not one but, three different directions. Not only could I see the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which is across the water opposite the hotel, but also the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute at the mouth of the Grand Canal.
The hotel’s beautiful restaurant also looks out across the promenade and Venice Lagoon. The service was excellent with being overly fussy and the food was very good and beautifully presented.
With its stunning views and central location, not to mention the whirlpool bath and welcoming decor, Room 502 in the Hotel Londra Palace is one of the best hotel rooms I’ve stayed in to date.
Check out Hotel Londra Palace reviews on TripAdvisor.
Orestone Manor, Torquay, Devon, England
By Jaillan Yehia, SavoirThere.com
Orestone Manor, in the Maidencombe area of Torquay, Devon, was one of my favourite hotels in 2016. It gave me everything I wanted from a relaxing winter weekend away in the English countryside and more.
Set in an old Georgian manor house, the whole place is cosy and inviting, packed with the kind of atmosphere and curiosities you’d expect from a historic hotel, along with that special brand of attentive service.
Reclining on an overstuffed sofa by a real log fire and drinking expertly made cocktails before being invited through to the dining room for a decadent three course feast (four, if you include the excellent cheese board) is exactly what I want from a winter getaway.
My only worry was how I would manage the next morning’s full English breakfast. And the fact that it is all actually rather affordable as well as luxurious was just an unexpected bonus.
Read more about Jaillan’s stay at Orestone Manor.
Check out Orestone Manor’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Johanna Read, TravelEater.net
Looking back over all the hotels I visited in 2016, Algodon Mansion is one that stands out. Located in Buenos Aires’ leafy Recoleta neighbourhood, this converted family mansion has just 10 rooms. Mine, the Ambassador Suite, was the one in which Argentine President Mauricio Macri honeymooned, and it was stunning in its understated elegance. The bathing suite might have been my favourite area – a true rain shower (by Hansgrohe, the best) in a marble and glass-enclosed steam room, plus a deep soaker bathtub and piles of the plushest towels.
Like other Relais & Châteaux properties around the world, dining at Algodon is also exceptional. Downstairs is a library-like wine bar serving Algodon Estates wines from their vineyards in Mendoza. Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant was one of the best I’ve had in South America. I’m sure their Mendoza property, Algodon Wine Estates, is equally fabulous.
Check out Algodon Mansion’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
Cap de Castel near Toulouse, France
by Anna Parker, TravelWithPenelopeandParker.com
Cap de Castel is a charming hotel with a handful of rooms, and is less than an hour’s drive from Toulouse. It’s one of those hidden gems – I pinched myself when I found it, and was amazed that Conde Nast didn’t seem to have been there yet! There is a mix of rooms and suites and each is unique. Our suite was spacious and comfortable, and on arrival there were a couple of glasses of champagne waiting for us.
The hotel is in old buildings adjoining a former castle, located deep in the countryside on the edge of the village of Puylaurens. There are pretty gardens between the buildings, the perfect spot for a coffee and some reading. There is also a lovely pool that looks over to the Pyrenees in the distance.
Dinner is a feast, and I recommend the set menu, which is superb – there won’t be a spare seat in the house. Incredibly relaxing and pure rustic chic.
Check out Cap de Castel’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
Naledi Bush Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
By Lucy Dodsworth, OnTheLuce.com
Naledi Bush Lodge is a slice of luxury in the bush on the edge of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. There are just three rooms, plus a central dining room and bar with a viewing deck up top where you can look out over the park. There are lots of tucked-away spots where you can relax, and a pool to cool off in. You get fed practically non-stop, with lots of fresh produce and local dishes, and get a three-course dinner outside by candlelight every night.
The lodge’s experienced guides take you out for two game drives a day in the private Balule Game Reserve, and you can also do a walking safari or get left in a hide for a few hours (with a supply of G&Ts so you’re not roughing it too much). The staff are incredibly attentive and friendly, and it’s great value for a safari.
Check out Naledi Bush Lodge’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
Bushmills Hotel, The Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
by Heather Cowper, HeatherOnHerTravels.com
I loved the traditional Irish charm of Bushmills Inn on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast. With the Giant’s Causeway a short drive away and the chance to taste whiskey at the Bushmills distillery down the road, there’s plenty to do nearby.
The rooms are classic and elegant – I slept in a four poster bed, but I especially enjoyed the cosy atmosphere of the Gas Bar, the delicious Irish meat and fish in the restaurant, and the smell of the peat fire that they keep burning year round for a warm Irish welcome.
Read more about Heather’s stay at Bushmills Inn and the Causeway Coast.
Check out Bushmill Inn’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
47 Jobner Bagh, Jaipur, India
by Anna Parker, TravelWithPenelopeandParker.com
47 Jobner Bagh is known as an Indian home-stay, yet offers everything one would expect of a luxury hotel. The guest house is located in a former merchant’s house and is quite simply stunning and immaculately presented. White-washed walls, beautiful gardens and picture-perfect (and comfortable) furniture inside and out – there is always another corner of interesting things to explore.
It is located in Jaipur, but along a quiet street away from the buzz of the city. There is also a roof terrace which has fantastic views of the surrounding city and across to the hills that encircle Jaipur. Each room is unique, and a number have their own balcony. One of the highlights of the stay is the evening meal. A set meal, cooked by the proprietor’s wife and an assistant. Prepare to be amazed by the tastes, variety of dishes and sheer volume of food.
Check out 47 Jobner Bagh’s reviews on TripAdvisor.
Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St Kitts
by Kathryn Burrington, TravelWithKat.com
Set in 35 acres of lush green manicured gardens and verdant rainforest, Ottley’s Plantation Inn, a former 18th-century sugar plantation, is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing retreat under the Caribbean sun.
There are just 16 rooms in the Great House, with views across the sweeping lawn to the ocean. In the grounds there are also two stone cottages, each with two bedrooms and a private plunge pool. Lastly, the extremely spacious Grand Villa sleeps up to 9, and has not one but three private plunge pools, one for each of the bedrooms.
Built within the old sugar factory walls, the hotel’s Royal Palm Restaurant is popular with locals and visitors alike, serving delectable food inspired by cuisines from around the world. Here you’ll also find the hotel’s bar and a 65 foot, spring-fed swimming pool.
And, should you tire of the beautiful views, rainforest trails, tennis court and croquet lawn, the hotel also provides a complimentary daily shuttle to the island’s beaches and the capital Basseterre, as well as a local golf course.
One of my favourite features of the hotel, however, is the delightful little summer house where you can enjoy a massage or beauty treatment while looking out across the rainforest. Bliss.
Have you stayed in a hotel that you have particularly fond memories of? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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Some of out stays at the above hotels were complimentary but as always we will only share with you, our honest opinions.