Here’s a list of some of my favorite hidden boutique hotels. They’re not all in remote locations. Some are in cities such as Amsterdam, but the hotels are distinctive and quirky, definitely not boring and standard.
Hill Lodge: tropical hideaway in 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 and a 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: Eco-luxe retreat in Bali, Indonesia
There are two sides to Bali: the hotel resort scene with hundreds of drunken Australians revelling by the pool, and the quiet, hidden sanctuaries away from the coast. Bambu Indah is a magical, luxurious retreat outside the village of Ubud. It was built by jewelry 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 running past them where you can swim.
Bastide de Cape Longue: Gastronomic delights in the Provence, France
La Bastide de Capelongue is a marvelous luxury boutique hotel with views of the mountains of the Luberon and the village of Bonnieux, deep in the heart of the Provence. It is part of a large estate called Domaine de Capelongue. You can enjoy warm, tranquil days in the garden and indulge in some of the best food in the area served at the bastide’s own Restaurant Edouard Loubet. Read more about where to stay and where to eat in the Provence.
Cocolobo: Perfect Caribbean holiday without the crowds in Roatan, Honduras
If you are looking for a holiday in the Caribbean and even thinking of doing some diving, the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, is still relatively free of the massive resort hotels that have come to symbolize Caribbean tourism. The best boutique hotel on the island is Cocolobo with its ocean-front rooms and self-catering lodges, set in a quiet spot away from town but still within walking distance to restaurants and bars. Read more about why the island of Roatan is the ideal Caribbean getaway.
Les Terrasses: chic retreat in Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza has a reputation for loud, excessive partying but that reputation is undeserved. Many people come to the island to get away from their busy lives. Although there is no shortage of charming boutique hotels on the island, Les Terrasses stands out because it is only 8 kilometres from Ibiza town, but feels like another world. Decorated in a 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. Read more about where to stay and where to eat in Ibiza, Spain.
Hotel Viura: architectural wonder in the Rioja wine country (Alava, Spain)
A boutique hotel whose striking modern architectural features make it more at home in Tokyo or London, Hotel Viura is set in the Rioja wine country 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: luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of Amsterdam
Thousands of visitors to Amsterdam walk past Miauw Suites, or at least, glide past it on a sightseeing boat, but they’d 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. See Mapplr’s top 10 boutique hotels and B&Bs in Amsterdam.
Witt Istanbul Hotel: modern glamour in an ancient city (Istanbul, Turkey)
While you may be tempted to stay in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul close to the main tourist sites such as the Blue Mosque, a far better option is the Cihangir neighbourhood perched high on the hills on the other side of the Bosphorus. Cafes and restaurants cater to residents instead of tourists, and quirky little boutiques will keep you busy all day. The coolest place to stay in Cihangir is the Witt Istanbul Hotel whose large airy suites, decked out in a striking contemporary style, provide a restful diversion from the busy, chaotic city. Read Mapplr’s Travel Guide to Istanbul filled with tips on where to stay (and where NOT to stay), where to eat, what to do.
Shojoshin-in: atmospheric ryokan in a Buddhist monastery in Koyasan, Japan
For the ultimate hideaway, Koyasan, a small town in the mountains south of Osaka, offers exactly the kind of spiritual retreat from our harried lives. Because Koyasan is the centre of 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. Read Mapplr’s favorite ryokans in Japan.