This year, as we researched this list of boutique hotels we love from around the globe, a theme emerged. Nearly all of our hotels exist in harmony with their surroundings. Some of those surroundings are natural – vast African wilds, thick Southeast Asian jungles, towering seaside cliffs. Some surroundings are more human-made, like the posh high streets of London or beachy LA avenues. Regardless of where they are located, these boutique hotels have been purposefully and authentically built, in-sync with that location. The result? You, the traveler, get more than just a night at a hotel. You get an immersive experience.
Casa Cook Rhodes
The Greek Island of Rhodes is home to picture-perfect beaches, ancient ruins and steep hillsides spotted with Greek-white residences – if you’re into that sort of thing. Casa Cook is the perfect introduction to the island, with its boho vibe and laid back but on-style decor. Meet at the pool for a dip, a sip or a full-on multi-course meal, and revel in the sounds of a local DJ. Then, hop on one of the hotel’s bikes for a zip down to the nearest beach.
Naxian on the Beach
This private and secluded gem on busy-for-good reason Plaka Beach is a bohemian getaway perfect for couples and groups. Sip cocktails and munch on Greek pastas at sunny oceanside cabanas and then retreat to your modern room outfitted with natural touches in sandy hues. Naxian on the beach is a getaway inside a getaway.
Sophia Luxury Suites
Sophia Suites climbs a Santorini cliff, painted white with the homes of locals. This sky-high retreat seems to overlook the entire world, and you can too when you dip into one of the cool blue pools or sip a cold glass of white on your private terrace.
Back in Santorini, we can’t leave out Perivolas, the mid-century hotel that was built into a cliff with 300-year-old cave dwellings and some of the best views on the island. Caves have become luxury accommodations, decked in the signature bright white of Santorini, and shouldn’t be missed.
Imagine the cloud-white of Santorini, and you’ll begin to understand what it’s like to stay at Kirini. Surrounded by clean, heaven-like interiors with windows open to the eye-popping views of the sun and sea beyond, you may feel like a Greek gods or goddesses. Local food and wine are served at the terrace restaurant overlooking eternal ocean blues.
Maison La Minervetta
A colorful retreat tucked away up an impossibly steep Italian cliffside, Maison La Minervetta is the darling of Sorrento. Quirky nautical decor and floor-to-ceiling windows give you the sensation that you’re in a flying ship, high above the Bay of Naples. Pull yourself away from the window for a break for an al fresco aperitif and a pool with a view.
Nina Trulli Resort
This Puglian treasure fuses relaxed luxury with rustic history for the perfect southern Italy escape. Experience all the space of a traditional masseria in a vineyard, and take in the authentic stone trulli spotting the property. Get lost in grapevines and olive trees at Nina Trulli or go explore the historical Valle d’Itria, just 5 kilometers from the sea.
Here, modernity and structure are balanced out by a natural warmth. Villas and rooms with tall walls of windows make up the accommodation options at Sublime Comporta. You’ll find yourself somewhere between a natural retreat and a luxury resort when you visit this Portuguese getaway. Perhaps the most sublime of all is the hotel’s organic spa where you can customize your body work.
We love London. And we love the quiet style of South Kensington, home of the stylish Blakes Hotel. Each of its rooms has its own British version of je ne sais quois, from country-home chic to palatial opulence to Eastern-influenced minimalism.
Aire de Bardenas
Located in the Bardenas Reales, Aire de Bardenas is a natural retreat that incorporates the semi-desert surroundings modern luxury. Bring the outside inside with open-air bathtubs in this boutique hotel’s double rooms, cubes and suites or reserve a bubble room set underneath a vast sky of stars. The experience is completely tailored to you, with packages available for everyone from food lovers to just lovers.
The ideal spot from which to explore the Kenyan Highlands, Arijiju is a sanctuary for lovers of the wild. With a full 97,000 of open land and helicopter and quad safaris to explore it all, this boutique hotel was built into the landscape with humility and respect for its eternally wild surroundings. Arijiju has wellness-centric menus and a pool that overlooks a watering hole beloved by local elephants and giraffes.
Leobo Private Reserve
Open space distinguishes Leobo Private Reserve. Expansive rooms and an more expansive property (20,000 acres, to be exact) give you the chance to breath in the serenity of the African wild. Leave time for endless daytime adventures – from cave hiking to hippo camping (which is as wild as it sounds). Groups can reserve the award-winning Observatory Bush Villa, which sleeps six adults and three children.
Matetsi River Lodge
Just a short drive from Victoria Falls, this riverside lodge effortlessly brings you into the natural surroundings of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wildlife viewings are only the start of the adventures at your fingertips at Matetsi River Lodge. Its contemporary, organically airy decor and bush dining will draw you back in after a day of water- or land-safari.
Possibly the best jumping off point from which to see the World Heritage site Angkor Wat, Phum Baitan is luxury built into the Cambodian jungle. Incorporating natural elements in design and decor, this hotel offers airy accommodations and world-class local cuisine that will paint your stay with local cultural and natural elements.
Ahilya by the Sea
Overlooking Dolphin Bay and miles away from Goa’s bustling beach crowds, guests can settle into cozy rooms with at-home warmth and expansive sea views. There are rooms in three villas and one banyan tree house to choose from. Dine outdoors, take a dip in one of two pools, or share a cocktail in the common living room – whatever it takes for you to relax as if you’re in a friend’s home. That’s the Ahilya philosophy.
Palihouse Santa Monica
Here, a hotel that’s been in continuous operation since 1927. Palihouse brings all the authenticity of its namesake SoCal beachside neighborhood. Fitting comfortably in that imperceptible space between a luxury residence and a boutique hotel, Palihouse feels like a home far away from home.
Villa Marie Saint-Barth
Happy tropical getaways are par for the course on Saint-Barth, but Villa Marie takes this to unprecedented levels. With its cheery yellow-highlighted interiors and windows open to endless views of palm trees and sand, this hotel boasts rooms, villas and bungalows for guests to choose from.
We’re curious what are your favorite boutique hotels around the world?
Let us know in the comments section below!
You guys have traveled so much in search of the perfect location for your boutique hotel. But before Amberlair was even a twinkle in your eye, you both traveled significantly with your previous professions.
Tell us a little about why and where you traveled in the past!
Marcus and Kristin: In 2011, we decided it was time to make a change in our lives, so we quit our nine-to-five jobs and started traveling together. We traveled around the world, for over 600 days and through 45 countries. During our trip, we fell in love with boutique hotels in so many unique destinations. That was when the idea for Amberlair started to take shape.
You call Amberlair the “Worlds first crowdsourced Boutique Hotel”
Can you tell us what that means to you?
Kristin: What we want is to gather together like-minded luxury travelers to build a global community around this idea of the perfect boutique hotel. And then we’re going to build that hotel with their input from the very beginning. With online tools like crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, this travel community has a say throughout the entire process of building the perfect boutique hotel—not just financially, but creatively as well.
Marcus: We discovered that there are plenty of other well-traveled people out there who share our passion for small, authentic hotels in inspiring locations. And Amberlair’s crowdsourcing process is tapping into that global enthusiasm. Our crowdsourcing actually goes all the way back to the beginning. We requested input on the name — asked people to suggest two words that they thought would sum up our ambitions. We landed on Amberlair because it fit so perfectly. In pieces, amber is this fossilized resin that’s always distinctly unique, and “lair” brings to mind a cozy refuge. These are both qualities that resonated with us as we imagined the first crowdsourced boutique hotel.
How many locations have you visited while scouting locations for Amberlair to be built?
Kristin: Well, actually we visited lots of countries in Asia and Europe in hopes of finding a suitable location for a boutique hotel. Finally, we thought it was better to ask our continuously growing boutique hotel lover community where the first Amberlair should be located. And the winner is Italy.
You must have seen some pretty incredible places? Any standouts that we should be sure to add to our list?
Marcus: We saw so many great sights during our travels, but we particularly fell in love with the solitude and loneliness at the Haast River beach in New Zealand, the untouched nature of the Andaman Islands in India, the beaming smiles and the kindness of the people of Myanmar, and the outstanding food and the fancy interior design of the Grillmarket restaurant in Reykjavik. Those are just a few of our favorites, but as we look back, they stand out as the most incredible.
You finally decided on Italy – which we’re super stoked about – how did you come to that decision?
Kristin: We received lots of suggestions from our #BohoLover community around the world. It was really exciting to see all the ideas coming in. The top three countries that received the highest number of suggestions were South Africa, Spain and Italy. So, finally, we put these three countries to a vote.
Marcus: Our #BohoLover community finally voted for Italy. We’re super excited because we love Italy, and we think it has potential for a truly unique boutique hotel. In Puglia in South Italy we found an incredible location. Soon, we’ll be revealing the launch date of our crowdfunding campaign and ask the crowd for support.
With your #BohoLover feature on your blog, you ask other travelers about some of their favorite and least favorite travel experiences and destinations.
How have those answers shaped your vision for what Amberlair will be?
Marcus: The great ideas and suggestions we have already received from travelers and boutique hotel lovers around the world. These will constitute a strong foundation of what our future customer wants and doesn’t want in a hotel or travel experience. And we won’t stop collecting great ideas that will shape our concept as long as Amberlair exists. Crowdsourcing will always be one of the key drivers of Amberlair. This is part of our foundation.
In keeping with the #BohoLover theme, what are some of your personal favorite and least favorite travel destinations and why?
Kristin: We love stylish destinations with boutique hotels that merge with the local culture and design. We’ve found that this concept works best in places with a powerful history. We love Marrakech, and we would go back again and again. The culture, the architecture and the local interior design of the Riads there are so beautiful. Italy is another beautiful place we adore, of course. The food is amazing in Italy, the people are friendly, the natural landscapes are stunning. And we particularly love the historical buildings and the ancient cities.
India is another favorite. The colors, the palaces, the atmosphere, the natural environment. This incredible country is so full of energy and we love going there. Finally, on the other end of the spectrum is Iceland. It’s one of our favorite places because of its dramatic and almost melancholy landscape. In Iceland, we experienced a sense of vast solitude that we’d never experienced before.
We don’t like destinations with too many tourists: we tend to avoid places like Mallorca, Miami, and most of the beaches in Thailand. We’re also not fans of any kind of destructive tourism. We will skip destinations that are a part of the checklist tour of mass tourism groups. By opting out of Unesco World Heritage sites, for example, we’ve been able to have some less mainstream (but no less incredible) experiences.
What can we expect to see in Amberlair’s future?
Marcus: Amberlair’s vision is to set up boutique hotels in different countries around the world. We will always invite and encourage our community to get involved with Amberlair. They can bring their heart into this project with us, to get the best ever imaginable guest experience.
It may sound cliche, but when it comes to an exceptional hotel experience, having a good night’s sleep is vitally important. After all, comfy hotel beds are the very essence of a hotel’s business.
At boutique hotels, the product is slightly different. Guests who stay in this personalised accommodations don’t just want a good night’s sleep, they want a great bedtime experience.
What do guests love about hotel beds?
Our #boholovers know a thing or two about sleep. Between them, they’ve snoozed through thousands of hours of hotel nights. They are the authority on boutique bedtime and it’s going to take more than a king size bed to lull them into the land of nod. There is a lot of discussion surrounding all-things-bed in our on-going traveller interviews and in a recent #LuxTravelChat, the bed was noted as one of the most unforgettable aspects of staying at hotels, second only to service. Bed linen is also critical, with premium bedding being ranked as one of the top ten most important in-room amenities. Mattress type also makes it onto that list with a decent mattress being the difference between a great night’s sleep and not sleeping at all!
“Hotels are selling sleep. Amberlair is in business of creating dreams.”
We’ve ‘un-made’ the boutique hotel bed and separated each aspect of it to determine the ultimate comfort.
We’re talking size and level of quality here. A vast king size bed enables guests to stretch out, watch a film in bed, sit up and read and crucially, sleep comfortably together. High on space and high on quality is key and many chains believe they’ve got the formula to the perfect mattress and are now creating their own (which you can actually purchase).
- High concentration of springs in certain areas for support and to minimise movement
- Impressive depth for majestic luxury
- Customizable pillow-top with soft to firm options for tailored support
- Cooling foam core for temperature regulation
Ahh the heavenly feeling of resting your head in a plush pillow is hard to beat. It’s all about the filling when it comes to pillows but everyone’s different and whilst some travellers like nothing better than a deep-filled feather pillow, others prefer a foamy version. That’s why having a choice of pillows is a great way to promote a restful slumber.
- Big fluffy pillows look inviting and also feel fabulous
- They should be new or noticeably freshly cleaned for peace of mind
- Choice of natural fillings like feather, down and hypo-allergenic synthetic fillings like memory foam
- Thinner, softer pillows for those who sleep on their backs
- Side sleepers will enjoy thicker pillows to maintain safe spinal alignment
- Those who sleep on their stomachs will appreciate an extra flat pillow under their hips
Duvets and blankets
Perhaps the title should be duvets or blankets. One thing’s for sure, this is the extra cosy element of beds and it’s important to get it right. Cultural and climate differences can make or break a guest’s experience so although sheets and blankets are the way to go in some parts of the world, in others, it’s all about the duvet.
- Duvets should be over-stuffed for maximum hibernation opportunities
- Blankets should have a designer edge – think cashmere or lambswool
- Feather and down fillings can cocoon and help regulate body temperature
- Synthetic fillings are sometimes seen as less uxurious but they can help guests who suffer with allergies
- Ensure duvets are cleverly stitched to ensure the filling stays evenly distributed for downy softness
A key aspect in creating a dream-like space is top quality bed linen. Our #boholovers like their sheets to feel luxurious and a high thread-count of extra long fibres is a great starting point for this. Colour is also important, with white being the obvious choice for its associations with cleanliness and purity – sleep in white bedding for a divine bedtime experience.
- Choose natural cotton sheets for maximum freshness
- High thread-count is important and whilst 200 with the right finish may be ok, 400 gives a premium feel
- Egyptian, pima, and Supima® cottons have extra long “long-staple” fibres for high quality softness
- Typical percale weave is tight and perfect for durability but sateen has a more enticing feel
Little extras for a truly boutique bedtime experience
Taking you to another level of sleep, the extra touches that really set boutique hotels apart are what every #boholover looks forward to. These finer details should be personal to the vision of the boutique hotel and tailored where possible. From sleep-inducing music and soothing scents that fill the room, to sleep masks and aromatherapy sprays to make your bed into a kingdom of dreams, there is an endless array of bedtime treats to becalm and delight your guests.
Before you drift off, tell us in the comments why an entirely beautiful bed is important to you – let us know about the basics and the little touches that elevate your sleep experience.
We know we are preaching to the converted – but travelling the world and finding beautiful places to stay in is not just a feast to the eyes – it also works wonders on our soul.
When you pick a destination, you need to find a place that makes you feel you have arrived. When you open your eyes each morning, you just have that feeling – that you are in place X, and not in potentially 25 other similar locations. That’s why we love boutique hotels. They capture what’s new and beautiful about a destination and become authentic representations of all the places we love to travel. Boutique hotels, in their aim to enhance the experience of a place for travelers, are the perfect vantage points from which to see the world. They make traveling better.
And without further ado, here are some of the gorgeous gems we have discovered and handpicked for you – beautiful boutique hotels with soul, excellent design and everything else we will make sure Amberlair has. Explore the Amberlair 2016 Boho Selection:
The Oyster Bay
Contemporary African style greets you as you arrive in beautiful Dar es Salaam and prepare for your travels through beautiful Tanzania. With ocean-view suites and relentless attention to hospitality, you’ll understand what it feels like to be truly welcome at the The Oyster Bay.
Cozy and chic, with the simple elegance you’d expect from a Scandinavian hideaway, Ett Hem in Stockholm has its roots in everything local—food, style, history and personality. This boutique hotel takes care of its guests to they truly feel at home.
Here, in the heart of Istanbul, where East meets West, timeless elegance meets modern simplicity. Overlooking the vibrant city beneath a string of lights, you’ll feel the pulse of the urban landscape around you while you remain in a bubble of tranquil delight. Soho House in Istanbul, Turkey.
In an ancient walled city that exudes lavish opulence and a strong sense of history, Raas in Jodhpur matches the ancient, earth-toned style of its surroundings, even down to the centralized body of water. The hotel’s modern architectural spin on the traditional fortress is breathtaking.
Opened in the 1930s by an American mobster and favorite hideaway for countless mid-century celebrities like Frank Sanatra and Zsa Zsa Gbor, Colony Palms combines old Hollywood charm with contemporary desert-adapted style.
Jalakara is a tropical hideaway surrounded by nature, far from the humdrum cares of the modern world, that first opened its doors in October 2015. The property was an overgrown banana & betel nut plantation backing onto tropical rainforest in the Andaman Islands in India.
The Royal Standard of the House of Amber still flutters above Raj Mahal Palace, one of the oldest and most treasured palaces in the pink city of Jaipur, located at the heart of Rajasthan’s bustling capital. An enclosed oasis, secluded in verdant gardens, Raj Mahal is the repository of a celebrated history. If you love the movie “The Darjeeling Limited” by Wes Anderson you will love this hotel.
The atmosphere of this colonial fazenda combines traditional authenticity with tropical chic. Whether by the pool or in the tropical gardens, the Santa Teresa boasts spectacular panoramic views of the Bay of Rio and the Centro.
The Redbury is an all-suite boutique hotel featuring 57 suites that exude a warm, bohemian counter-culture feel with design elements drawn from a variety of old-world cultures. Each spacious guest suite offers a home-like atmosphere including a European-style kitchen with gas burners.
Das Stue is Berlin’s first luxury boutique hotel, nestled in the lush Tiergarten park in the diplomatic district. Originally built in the 1930’s, Das Stue was renovated to invoke a calming ambience, with open spaces and contemporary minimalist design.
We’re curious: what are your favorite boutique hotels around the world? Let us know in the comments section below!
We adore minibars. Although the concept can seem a little dated with all those miniature bottles rattling round and carrying extortionate price tags, we know that having your own personal bottle of chilled sparkling water on arrival or moreish cookies to nibble with your fair trade morning coffee is something even #boholovers don’t grow tired of.
Whilst hotel owners work hard at getting the lighting just right and tirelessly ensure mood-enhancing scents float through the reception to the guest rooms, choosing items to fill up the minibar can often get forgotten about; it’s hidden away behind doors, under tables, inside rooms. But perhaps that’s part of its charm.
Pioneered by Hilton in the 1970s, minibars were seen as a luxurious addition to hotel rooms. Packed with (expensive) little treats for weary travellers, their contents could momentarily ease your mind and quench your thirst and hotels would cash in on this. It’s easy money when you have a 370% mark-up on a bottle of beer.
More recently, traditional minibars have fallen out of favour with hotels and guests. They’re seen as a time consuming hassle for hotel owners who constantly have to re-stock and monitor them and with the rise of the budget traveller, they’re often avoided because of the obvious overpricing.
Everything tastes better when it’s free
Turning the concept on its head, many boutique hotels are now choosing to give their guests something for nothing. It’s actually an inexpensive way of saying ‘thank you for choosing us’ and almost certainly lead to repeat business as our #boholovers can confirm; complimentary treats always help to make a great first impression last.
“I can’t explain why free Cracker Jacks thrilled me, but they did.” Kim-Marie, Luxury Travel Mom
Making minibars boutique
Checking into a boutique hotel should always a special experience. Whether that’s because it feels intriguingly unusual or comfortingly familiar, the experience should arouse our senses in every way possible. Choosing the right products is key so here’s how to avoid falling into the trap filled with stale peanuts and flat prosecco:
Is there anything tastier than freshly baked goodies? We think not! Leaving a couple of fresh cookies in the room rather than a packet of dull biscuits tells guests that the hotel has time for them – that they want to indulge them with thoughtful treats, not cheap snacks.
It’s worth noting that the contents of a minibar directly reflect the hotel so offering locally sourced produce is the perfect way to help guests settle in, further understand the hotel’s vision and provide a taste of what to expect during their stay. A boutique countryside retreat might want to offer cheese from the local farm and crackers from a nearby bakery. What about home-grown fruits, locally brewed beer, typical pre-dinner nibbles…
The luxury of slipping into bed with a fabulous red wine or outrageously creamy hot chocolate is something we associate with our favourite boutique hotels and guests will always be excited by gourmet treats in a minibar. Rather than a regular bar of chocolate, why not organic, artisan or exclusive? Choose limited edition flavours or flavour combinations that are ever so slightly opulent for a truly indulgent experience.
It doesn’t have to cost the earth but if it does, make sure it’s personal to your guests and they won’t mind paying for it. Sending out a short questionnaire to guests to understand their preferences prior to their arrival is a great touch and some hotels now boast incredible “minibar” concepts, not necessarily based around food and drink. From sleep sprays to seduction kits to beauty fridges, upscale hotels are putting tantalising treats at their guests’ disposal for a completely unique experience.
Go outside the box
Literally. Amazing minibars may not actually be tiny fridges – they could be beautiful wicker hampers or a secret stash of goodies waiting beside the bed. If the products are focussed on well-being, perhaps shelves of treats hidden behind a gleaming glass door in the bathroom would be an enticing way to welcome guests.
We’re about to dive into a bag of posh potato chips but we would love to hear your thoughts on minibars in boutique hotels – have you enjoyed any treats that added extra sparkle to your trip?
Have you ever wondered why that bed looks so inviting or why you feel so good when you’re getting ready in a boutique hotel room? It has a lot to do with fabulous styling and everything to do with great lighting. Yes, behind (or next to) every plush pillow is a brilliantly lit lamp.
Lighting ties all of the luxurious and artisan elements of a boutique hotel together, creating a feeling that’s unique to that space. Here are some of the many ways that this special atmosphere can be achieved.
The welcoming glow
Great lighting is often functional as well as atmospheric. Externally or in their lobbies, boutique hotels may use semi-hidden strips of white or coloured light that cast a glow across ceilings or down walls. This feel-good lighting effect surrounds guests as they enter the property, immediately setting the tone for their particular boutique experience and inviting them in.
The illuminated staircase
Whether it’s the wall next to the stairs, the handrail or the stairs themselves that are lit-up, some boutique hotels use illuminated staircases to entice guests up (or down) into their sleeping quarters and effectively separate day and night-time spaces.
Your boutique hotel bedroom is more than just a sleeping space. It’s where you rest, wash, dress and enjoy your morning coffee or evening apéritif. Rather than just cutting the space off with screens or furniture, boutique hotels often zone rooms with different light fixtures and layers of light to create private, social and practical areas. It could be a well-angled reading light, ambient lighting that guests control with a dimmer switch, a back-lit shaving mirror or a seating area flooded with calming natural light; the mixture of soft glow with bright light all adds to the effectiveness of the space as a whole.
Utilising natural light
Whilst natural light is beautiful, it may come from a window with an undesirable view. Some boutique hotels soften it with layers of sheer fabrics or laser-cut screens, channeling and controlling the amount of light that enters the room to create an entirely unique effect.
A boutique hotel without a statement light is like night without day. If the bed is the focal point of the room, an oversized pendant light may be hung above it or unusual table lamps might be placed either side of it. The idea is to draw the eye to that area and contribute towards the feeling of drama, high-style or art that the hotel is trying to achieve. Other bold lighting choices may be illuminated showers, low-hung lights over tables in dining areas or clusters of wall-lights in hallways.
Right now, our environmental conscience is bigger than ever. From free-range food to organic cosmetics and energy-saving light bulbs, we’re seeing a great shift in how we are choosing to live. Now, responsible travel is in the spotlight as more and more of us choose to enjoy eco-tourism.
A recent travel survey found that although aspiring eco-travellers want to stay in greener accommodations, they don’t want to sacrifice their plush hotels, meaning that boutique hotels with sustainability programmes are cashing in on this fantastic travel trend. Whilst many of these BoutiquEco hotels dress their re-claimed wood beds with organic silk sheets, we have unearthed some are some that are so luxuriously responsible that even royalty approve. Here are our top picks…
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand
Drift off to sleep in a private clifftop residence or a vast beach-side villa at Soneva Kiri, safe in the knowledge that your impact on the stunning Koh Kood island has been creatively reduced. Sustainable-luxe architecture provides reclaimed wooden verandahs that makes the most of the sea views, whilst environmentally friendly electric buggies (with Rolls Royce Phantom-inspired dashboards) help you get around in bare-foot style.
Misool Eco Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Misool Eco Resort is an exclusive diving paradise in Indonesia and a model for caring for the community it lies within. Surrounded by pristine coral reef, you can eat fresh fish, caught from outside their “No-Take Zone” or take part in a Reef Restoration Experience before sleeping in your luxurious Water Cottage, which rests on stilts in the temperate water.
Bambu Indah, Bali
Serving organically grown produce that’s picked fresh every day, Bambu Indah invites you to stay in one of its eleven “recycled” teak bridal homes, brought to this Bali from Java, where they were crafted over 100 years ago. After swimming in the chemical-free pool and dining on exclusive meals created from time-honoured recipes, guests are encouraged to learn about sustainable bamboo architecture on a Green Village Tour.
Lion Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
As one of South Africa’s most exclusive game reserves, Lion Sands offers an incredible boutique experience where personal butlers serve your every need in romantic treehouse-style lodges. In addition, this reserve supports the Bhubezi Community Projects trust, which works to provide families with better education, living standards and healthcare.
Mnemba Island, Tanzania
This “award-winning barefoot beach paradise” on one of Zanzibar’s pristine, white-sand beach islands, will help you return to source in unrivalled style. Like all of &Beyond’s properties, Mnemba Island is built with a small environmental footprint and its tours and safaris exist to educate as well as delight. This boutique hotel works with its community development partner, Africa Foundation, to empower communities and promote conservation.
Adrere Amellal, Siwa, Egypt
Resting in the Siwa Oasis, Adrere Amellal offers a unique boutique hotel experience deep in the Egyptian desert. Free from the electrical hum of 21st century life, each candle-lit building is crafted from the surrounding earth, enabling it to blend perfectly into its environment, cocooning its guests in an all-natural calm.
Laguna Lodge, Guatemala
Set in its own nature reserve, Laguna Lodge perches on the edge of the sublime Lake Atitlan, where volcano views are enjoyed with a glass of delicious organic wine from your minibar (powered by renewable energy from 180 solar panels). Rooms are decorated with superb indigenous antiques and Maya weavings, rainwater is harvested, the gardens are filled with edible plants and absolutely everything is recycled, composted or re-used.
Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize
The peaceful Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize has its sustainable tourism practices verified by the Rainforest Alliance. In strong support of the country’s commitment to eco-tourism, this exclusive Family Coppola resort combines a love for beautiful design with a passion for progressive sustainable practices. Elegant dwellings are cooled by clever ventilation, plush sheets are washed in biodegradable detergents and vegetables for the restaurant are picked from the hotel’s organic garden.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
From intelligently designed spaces to the use of solar energy, Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa enables you to take in the majestic splendour of Torres del Paine from your bed, your private bath or the indulgent Uma Spa. This minimalist boutique hotel features luxurious Patagonian textiles and proudly supports Reforest Patagonia, which aims to plant 1,000,000 trees in Chilean Patagonia.
Hotel Endemico, Ensenada, Mexico
Hotel Endemico is a collection of twenty luxurious cabins, designed by Gracia Studio and built by a team of local tradesmen to offer unobstructed views of Mexico’s wine region. Blending in seamlessly with the breathtaking landscape, these wooden pods provide you with a personal and private space to relax in, complete with a Mexican Kiva.
Uxua, Bahia, Brazil
Artisanal, authentic and sustainable all perfectly describe the rustic elegance of Uxua hotel in Trancoso, southern Bahia. A place of inspiration and tranquility for the global art community, this boutique beach hotel provides organic spa treatments with its potent signature ingredient, Almescar resin. It also offers Capoeira classes with 100% of the class fees going to Trancoso’s Capoeira Sul da Bahia academy.
Offering a truly unique collection of treehouse lodgings for you to escape to, Treehotel is Sweden’s most magical boutique hotel. Never losing style over sustainability, this imaginative woodland retreat lets you dream as you’re suspended up to six metres off the ground. The structures are built on live trees without destroying the tree, hardly ever affecting the natural surroundings at all.
Kalnoky, Transylvania, Romania
Kalnoky, focussed on creating a peaceful atmosphere for its guests, is Prince Charles’ private nature retreat in Transylvania. Surrounded by meadows and forests, this exclusive boutique residence has been traditionally restored and lovingly cared for. One of its smaller properties is now being converted into a training centre for traditional crafts and rural skills to help sustain Romania’s villages.
Emulating the peace and soulfulness of ancient monasteries, Eremito offers space to meditate and de-programme from the system. Its luxuriously silent rooms are free from modern disruptions like Wi-Fi and televisions and instead focus on healing stressed minds and bodies with natural materials, hemp-yarn bedding and green valley views.
In the heart of the Swiss Alps, Whitepod is an eco-luxury boutique hotel, designed to blend environmental conservation and superior hospitality seamlessly. Menus and each of the 15 pods (energy efficient geodesic domes) are adapted seasonally to blend in with the surroundings and maintain a low impact on the environment. Night lighting is minimal, water and energy usage is sensible, private ski lifts are as standard.
…Finally you made it to the end of our our long post. Thanks for reading, M&K
We were happy if you answered our questions:
Have you stayed in a BoutiquEco hotel? What did you love about it?
Gypsetters are a breed of modern-day travelers who are reviving the free spirit of gypsies and combining that with the ease and convenience of air travel around the world to discover destinations and cultures that are new to them—both experiences that arguably can’t be had when you simply stay put.
The ’60s and ‘70s were a time of non-conformism for young people throughout the Western world. Thanks to a travel route established by British scientific explorers a decade before, hippies and young people flooded the Hippie Trail, which was a sometimes-treacherous but well-traveled route from Istanbul to India. This was when air travel was still relatively new.
En route, they did not stick to traditional hotels or typical tourist routes. Instead, they tried to interact as much as possible with each other and locals—treating their journeys as a cultural and spiritual adventure rather than a set of predetermined experiences. The glory days of the Hippie Trail came to an end in 1979. Since then, the Hippie Trail has lain dormant. Some countries have been cut off from the route and, for the most part, Western tourists.
There is something in the air today, as a new generation of young people are taking to the road and searching for a similar strain of non-conformism. Today, gypsetters are taking to the road, reviving the Hippie Trail. With airlines connecting all the major stops along the way, it’s faster and more convenient for the off-the-beaten-path traveler of today to set out along the Hippie Trail in search of adventure.
Fashionable boutique hotels with roots in natural surroundings and local culture have found their place among exotic destinations around the world. These destinations, and the gorgeous boutique hotels you’ll find there, are the epitome of chic luxury for the modern day gypsetters.
Yes, young students flock to Ibiza to party during the summer months. But these crowds, and the canned resort experiences that go with them, can be easy sidestepped if you delve into the hidden side of the island. Discover secret rocky coves, quiet villages and idyllic beaches, untouched by partygoers—a perfectly chic retreat for the modern day gypsetters.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Ibiza for gypsetters:
Pure House Ibiza – Relax in style at Pure House, where comfort in a unique, convivial environment is held in the highest regard.
Ibiza Zen – A converted farmhouse has become a chic bohemian paradise, convenient to the pulse of the island but far enough away to offer true tranquility.
This fashionable Moroccan city attracts chic travelers from all corners of the world, and the colors and styles you’ll see here are enough to feast on for your entire holiday. Nonstop people watching and shopping abound, set against a backdrop of colorful city streets with sophisticated charm. The boutique hotels here are among the best in the world.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Marrakech for gypsetters:
Talaa 12 – This traditional riad in the historical center of Medina has been renovated as a serene oasis in a vibrant, bustling destination.
El Fenn – Here, the traditional spirit of a Moroccan riad meets the colorful, contemporary attitude to create Marrakech’s funkiest boutique hotel.
Throughout the years, Goa has kept its unique identity as a beautiful Indian region, former Portuguese colony and cultural center for an international hippie movement. The beauty of the beaches, secluded forests and riverways are part of the natural beauty that defines Goa, as well as some of the best boutique hotels in all of India.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Goa for gypsetters:
Ashiyana – Escape to the eco-lodges or palm grove treehouses of Ashiyana for a stylish and spiritual retreat from your ever-busy life.
La Mangrove – Simple and natural, the tipi accommodations and riverside lounge of La Mangrove are only part of what this eco-hotel has to offer.
Off the eastern coast of Kenya, the Lamu Archipelago offers serene beauty as well as a secluded historical feel. The lengthy beaches and chic accommodations surrounding it make this the ultimate relaxation destination, and the picture-perfect quaintness of Lamu Town gives you that extra surreal feeling of stepping into the past.
Our favorite boutique hotels in the Lamu Archipelago for gypsetters:
The Majlis Hotel Lamu – Panoramic ocean views and exquisite “barefoot luxury” define this Manda Island boutique hotel.
The Red Pepper House – An encapsulation of a storied Swahili culture and breathtaking serenity, this is a charm-filled boutique hotel
Bali is a host for spirituality- and luxury-seekers alike. With its unparalleled pristine beaches and its soft and quiet spiritual soul, travelers can come for the unique cultural identity this destination has to offer or for some of the most gorgeous tropical landscapes visible to the human eye. Stay at one of the island’s distinct boutique hotels and you may never want to leave.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Bali for gypsetters:
The Sandat Glamping Tents is camouflaged in the rice fields, nestled in the natural and spiritual beauty of Bali.
Blue Karma – Among rice paddies and fruit trees rests this unique resort, ready for those looking to truly relax and let it all go.
A bohemian paradise in the 1970s, Byron Bay has grown up, but it hasn’t lost its hippie roots completely. A laid back atmosphere and natural beauty are the defining characteristics of this chic destination along the east coast of Australia.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Byron Bay for gypsetters:
Halcyon House – A clean and eccentric vibe define this boutique hotel that offers bright colors and beach views—a paradise for the weary traveler.
The Atlantic Byron Bay – Styled to bohemian-surfer perfection, the Atlantic overlooks the rainforest and sits only steps from the ocean.
Tulum, Mexico is a bright star shining just south of party-central Cancun. Its ancient beaches and tranquil ocean views that spread turquoise for miles make this a relaxing destination to be beat. The chic and beautiful travel here to soak up the golden sun rays as well as the simple happiness that resonates along the sandy beaches and cultured streets.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Tulum for gypsetters:
Coqui Coqui – The rustic feel of Mexican ruins greets and cools travelers, while the natural warmth of the Caribbean sun warms them right back up.
Papaya Playa Project – Sustainability and creative collaboration have come together in this Tulum retreat, with a unique identity along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
The furthest point east on Long Island, New York, stretching away from Manhattan, is the unassuming destination of Montauk. Among its Hamptons neighbors, this beach town has a more laid back vibe but upholds a distinguished sense of style with its quality restaurants and unique boutique hotels.
Our favorite boutique hotels in Montauk for gypsetters:
The Surf Lodge – Gathering together outdoors in a casual-chic atmosphere is the philosophy behind this unique Hamptons hotel.
The Montauk Beach House – This one’s a Downtown Montauk hotel that helps travelers rediscover the simple and social side of summer.
Today, gypsetters seek out the best in style and luxury all over the world, without limitations.
For boutique hotel lovers, there are no such things as boundaries.
Tell us: What are some of your favorite boutique hotels in these stylish destinations for gypsetters?
Spend a night in any of these luxury retreats and you might just bump into your famous Hollywood star at the breakfast buffet, meet a rock star sipping a cocktail in the hotel bar, or even share an island with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We picked some of the most stylish hideaways and hotels where celebrities love to stay. When it comes to interior design and style we share the same taste with Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba: we love Borgo Egnazia and Singita!
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel chose this most idyllic location of Borgo Egnazia in the Italian village of Savelletri de Fasano in Puglia for their honeymoon. In the undiscovered corner of Italy the couple welcomed guests such as Jimmy Fallon and musician Timbaland. Borgo Egnazia is a castle-like and candle-lit dream setting for a wedding of A-list celebrities. From the resort, made of the typical white Lecce limestone, to the views of the Adriatic Sea, the surroundings, complete with olive trees and jasmine flowers, create something of a fairytale. Luxurious add-ons include a championship golf courses, two beach clubs and a fantastic spa that bases its treatments on ancient Puglian rituals.
It is no wonder Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, chose this private island for their honeymoon spot. A secluded beach, lush tropical beauty and stylish eco-friendly villas in an exotic location in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The villas blend seamlessly with their surroundings and guests share the retreat with tortoises and endangered species of birds. This is the perfect combination of beauty and privacy that draws in celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham, 10th wedding anniversary, or Salma Hayek, who was also on honeymoon here.
Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar celebrated their wedding in 2004 at the Devi Garh, an 18th century palace and fort close to Udaipur in Rajasthan. For 200 years it was the royal residence of the rulers of Delwara principality. Nowadays Devi Garh has been converted in a contemporary manner while conserving the ancient exterior into one of the most exclusive boutique hotels in the world. The palace offers the last word in opulence, 4 staff members for every suite, an Ambassador car and chauffeur at hand for each guest and Indian haute cuisine. Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan or Fardeen Khan, and Indian business tycoons like the Ambani brothers are among the guests of Devi Garh.
Everyone likes a bit of seclusion on honeymoon, but for Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel the Singita Serengeti House with its only 350,000 acres were enough. The two-bedroom house sits proudly in the African landscape flanked by two guest villas with open fire in each. Lunches and charcuterie are regularly interrupted by sightings of elephant at the nearby watering hole, herds of impala, thousands of zebra and wildebeest migrating through the region.
Celebrities flock to Claridge’s for a taste of British tradition. The doormen are having a hard time to keep up with the names of the endless procession of stars popping up at this famous hotel in London. Just off New Bond Street in London Mayfair this traditional luxury hotel opened its doors in 1898. Claridge’s is a seven-storey terracotta-faced behemoth that has long been a favourite stop for statesmen, film stars, aristocrats and supermodels. Much of Claridge’s success results from an Art Deco renovation in the late 1920s. Recent guests include Kate Winslet, Poppy Delevingne, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane von Fürstenberg.
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most picturesque place on earth, and it’s here that you’ll find the legendary Le Sirenuse in the village of Positano. The resort offers spectacular views from all of the 59 rooms and suites over the bay of Positano, most have a private terrace or balcony. Le Sirenuse has been popular with the celebrities since the old days of Hollywood, when Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor holidayed at the Positano hotel. Today it is one of the hotels where celebrities love to stay in Italy and you can expect to bump into Sienna Miller, Gemma Arterton, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne or Reese Witherspoon who recently spent her second honeymoon there.
Thanks for reading and let us know which one is your favorite!
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