World's best hotels to book in 2023

Sleep in style at Andy Murray's country house hotel in Scotland or a baroque palace in Portugal

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Cromlix, Dunblane, Scotland

Cromlix hotel in Dunblane, Scotland

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Bought by Andy Murray in 2013, this country house hotel near the tennis star's home town, Dunblane, has just emerged from a makeover overseen by his wife, Kim Sears. The results are fabulous, said Jeremy Lazell in The Times, boosted by a "colour-popping look" that has replaced "tired tweed and tartan". Fresh flowers cheer up every mantelpiece, and the 15 rooms are "a tasteful riot of vivid Farrow & Ball shades, busy floral wallpaper and Victorian-style headboards". Chef Darin Campbell draws on seasonal produce and "punchy Eastern flavours" in the restaurant, and there's much to do outdoors, including tennis, fishing, shooting, archery and forest walks. Doubles from £310 b&b;

Passalacqua, Moltrasio, Italy

Passalacqua on Lake Como in Italy

(Image credit: Ruben Ortiz/The World's 50 Best Hotels)

The inaugural World's 50 Best Hotels list was revealed in September and it was Passalacqua in Moltrasio, Italy, that took the coveted top spot. A luxury boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Como, Passalacqua first opened its doors to guests in June 2022. Set in an 18th century villa that is the former home of Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, the property boasts "spectacular terraced gardens" and just 24 rooms, said the awards organisers. Showcasing the "finest Italian craftsmanship" in a "sumptuous riot of ornate Baroque elegance", this "sublime" retreat makes the most of a "truly magical" lakefront location.

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Paço da Glória, Minho, Portugal

Paço da Glória in Minho, Portugal

(Image credit: Paço da Glória)

An ideal place for large gatherings, this eccentric 18th century baroque palace lies in the "unrestrained lushness" of the Lima Valley, about 15 minutes' drive from one of Portugal's oldest towns, Ponte de Lima, said Lucy Kehoe in Condé Nast Traveller. The building, with its stormy granite facade, would not look out of place in Wuthering Heights, and is surrounded by wild gardens and a citrus grove. There are seven en-suite bedrooms, which overlook the gardens, but with two stand-alone apartments the whole thing can accommodate up to 20 people. Outside, there is a beautiful saltwater pool as well as a lake. Contact for pricing information;

12 | 14 Stradom House, Kraków, Poland

12 | 14 Stradom House hotel in Kraków, Poland

(Image credit: 12 | 14 Stradom House)

Its well-preserved old town is a bit museum-like, but Kraków is "Poland's creative hot spot", and it also has a "kinetic" art and design scene. This new hotel captures the best of both worlds, said Rick Jordan in Condé Nast Traveller, "mixing architectural oomph and downtown swagger". It is housed in a former monastery, and has a 20-metre pool, a spa, and two restaurants. Its interiors are "intimate", however, and decked out with contemporary art, "op art-like fabrics" and mid-century bentwood furniture. The centrepiece is a chandelier like "a disco jellyfish" in the former chapel – now the hotel bar.

Estelle Manor, North Leigh, Oxfordshire, England

Estelle Manor in Oxfordshire

(Image credit: Estelle Manor)

The newly opened Estelle Manor is “the most lavish, beautiful, incredible hotel in the country”, said Mark C. O’Flaherty in The Daily Telegraph. A sibling to the Maison Estelle members’ club in London’s Mayfair, it occupies a Jacobean Revival mansion (formerly known as Eynsham Hall) on the edge of the Cotswolds. Its revamped interiors have a “rich, dark Gotham glamour”, with contemporary art set off against ornate woodwork, chandeliers and “gem coloured” textiles. Its Chinese restaurant is excellent; its Brasserie serves “superb” seafood; and there’s a pool and an “impressive” gym, and a spa complex is on the way. Doubles from £450 b&b;

The Abbey Inn Byland, North Yorkshire, England

The Abbey Inn in Byland, North Yorkshire

The latest opening from the Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks, this 19th century inn on the edge of the North York Moors is “all about good old-fashioned comfort”, said Susan d’Arcy in The Times. It has three “homely” bedrooms, two of which have lovely views over the ruins of Byland Abbey. Downstairs, there’s a tiny bar and an “unpretentious” restaurant with a “gutsy” menu centred on pub classics such as burgers and pies. Stays are for a minimum of two nights, and cost from £950 for two people, including a nine-course dinner at Banks’s nearby Black Swan, with dishes that are firmly “rooted in the Yorkshire landscape”.

Grand Hotel Son Net, Mallorca, Spain

Grand Hotel Son Net in Mallorca, Spain

Set amid beautiful gardens in Mallorca’s Tramuntana Mountains, this terracotta-pink 17th century mansion has recently emerged from a three-year makeover under a new owner. It feels “timeless” even so, said Toby Skinner in Condé Nast Traveller. Each of the 31 rooms have been “individually imagined” by the designer Lorenzo Castillo to reflect a different aspect of the island’s richly layered history, with highly desirable antiques set off against bespoke fabrics at every turn. Still, this is no dusty museum. A “Mediterranean brightness” prevails, not least in the six poolside cottages and the 10,000 sq ft spa, which is due to open soon. Doubles from £812;

La Fantaisie, Paris, France

La Fantaisie Paris hotel

This boutique hotel in Paris is on Rue Cadet, “a 300-metre stretch of fine-food shops and family-run cafés” in Faubourg-Montmartre, said Susan d’Arcy in The Times. Its restaurant – “a bouquet of greens and golds dominated by a huge, gnarled olive tree” – is run by Dominique Crenn, a French-born chef who moved to the US and became the first and only female chef to head a three-Michelin-starred kitchen there. The hotel’s “pièce de résistance”, however, is its garden, which is “the prettiest I’ve seen in the city”. Dainty tables sit amid “vine-draped pergolas, and a soundtrack of birdsong and the scent of jasmine complete the sensory overload”. Doubles from £470;

The Peninsula, Istanbul, Turkey

The Peninsula hotel in Istanbul, Turkey

“From a tourist’s point of view”, the location of The Peninsula in Istanbul “could not be better”, said Claire Wrathall in the FT. In “walking distance of practically every major sight”, the hotel is the jewel of an area that was once a scruffy port, but which has undergone a major revamp over the past decade. Rooms are dotted around four buildings, including a former passenger terminal, designed in 1937, that processed passengers arriving at the port. And while the interiors seem “classically contemporary”, look closely (at the light fittings in the 25m indoor pool, say) and all sorts of “traditional details” emerge. It is “a legend in the making”. Doubles from £835;

Sterrekopje, Franschhoek, South Africa

Sterrekopje healing farm in Franschhoek, South Africa

This 17th century estate in South Africa’s Cape Winelands, which has recently been refurbished as a “restorative retreat”, is simply heaven on Earth, said Chris Schalkx in House & Garden. Set in the foothills of the Franschhoek mountains, its gardens – with their “lotus-dotted ponds”, orchards, wildflower beds, and drifts of lavender – are sublime, and its 11 suites are wonderfully “inviting”. Some guests come for wellness “journeys”, involving breathing workshops and “sound baths”, but you don’t have to opt into any of that. There’s a hammam, a pool, and an arts studio, and guests can help harvest ingredients for meals, served in the open kitchen. Doubles from £1,025 for two-night stays;

La Nauve Hôtel & Jardin, Cognac, France

La Nauve Hôtel & Jardin Cognac

With its celebrated distilleries and narrow streets of half-timbered houses, Cognac is a delight – and this hotel, recently opened in a restored Belle Époque mansion, only enhances its appeal, said Claire Wrathall in the FT. “No expense has been spared” in the 12 rooms, which have oak floors, and “curvaceous joinery” inlaid with marquetry inspired by the form of a sequoia in the extensive grounds. The gourmet restaurant is superb (its chef – Anthony Carballo – is surely destined to “become a legend”); and there’s much to do nearby, including trips on the beautiful Charente (the hotel has its own boat), and distillery tours and tastings. Doubles from €326, b&b;

The Three Horseshoes, Batcombe, Somerset, England

A room at The Three Horseshoes in Batcombe

From The French House to the Rochelle Canteen, there’s always been “a wonderful straw-hatted rusticity” at the heart of Margot Henderson’s cooking, says Rick Jordan in Condé Nast Traveller – so it feels “right at home” in the pretty Somerset village of Batcombe, where she has just opened a new restaurant. It’s housed in The Three Horseshoes, a refurbished 17th century pub only a stone’s throw from the beautiful parish church. Along with Henderson’s “field-to-fork” menus, there’s a glorious garden to enjoy, and five “spacious and high-ceilinged” guest rooms with stylish, eclectic furnishings. Doubles from £220 b&b;

Villa Mabrouka, Tangier, Morocco

Villa Mabrouka Tangier, Morocco

Once the home of Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, this art deco villa in Tangier has just emerged from a thorough makeover by Jasper Conran. It’s now “a fever dream of a hotel”, says Daisy Goodwin in The Times, the perfect place for “a long weekend of ineffable glamour” with “Edwardian levels of service”. Set in beautiful gardens on a cliff overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, it has 12 rooms in which every design detail – from the bedside lights to the cashmere blankets – is quite perfect. There’s a hammam, a “sinuously curving” pool and a rooftop bar, and the food is delicious. Doubles from £385;

Kalesma Mykonos, Greece

Kalesma Mykonos hotel in Greece

Opened two years ago, this boutique hotel is a pleasant retreat from the overheated party scene on Mykonos. It echoes the form of a “small, white-washed village” tumbling down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Ornos Bay, said Mary Lussiana in The Daily Telegraph. Natural materials – wood, marble and sand-blasted stone – feature prominently in the 27 “gorgeous” villas and suites, each of which has its own private, heated pool. Bathrooms are spacious, with large bathtubs and separate showers, and there’s a spa, a gym and an excellent restaurant serving modern Greek cuisine. The island’s main town is a 15-minute drive away. Doubles from £1,033 b&b;

Shiguchi Hokkaido, Niseko, Japan

Shiguchi Hokkaido, Niseko, Japan

Set in a wild corner of Niseko (a ski area on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido), Shiguchi is “an escapist nirvana”, said Danielle Demetriou in Condé Nast Traveller – the ideal place to switch off and reconnect with nature. Its five spacious villas are old timber farmhouses, relocated from elsewhere in Japan and kitted out with “hi-tech” kitchens, rock or cypress bathtubs, fire stoves and antique furniture. Local ingredients including foraged mushrooms and “melt-in-the-mouth” venison are showcased in the restaurant, and there’s an excellent gallery featuring works of art and local artefacts that form part of the collection of the owner, English artist Shouya Grigg. From £495pppn;

Reid's Palace, a Belmond Hotel, Madeira, Portugal

Reid’s Palace in Madeira

Reid’s Palace in Madeira
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Built by William Reid in 1891, this grand dame has always attracted a quiet, “discerning” clientele, said Fiona Duncan in The Daily Telegraph. Set in lush subtropical gardens on a sea cliff in Madeira’s capital, Funchal, Reid’s has an “elegant” lounge, a “glitzy” cocktail bar and a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves modern, seasonal dishes drawing heavily on local ingredients. Rooms are comfortable and charmingly old-fashioned, in powder blues and creams. There’s a wonderful sea-facing terrace for afternoon tea, as well as a kids’ club, a freshwater pool and a sun deck and tidal pool reached by steps cut into the rock. Doubles from £368 per night;

Kayaam House, Rekawa, Sri Lanka

Kayaam House in Sri Lanka

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Built a few years ago, this “intimate” seaside resort has recently been revamped by the well-known local brand Resplendent Ceylon. Set beside a private beach near Tangalle on the south coast, it offers “absolute peace”, said Harriet Compston in Condé Nast Traveller, “broken only by a soundtrack of crashing waves”. The nine rooms and suites are “simple yet sophisticated”, and most have four-poster beds and terraces with tubs. There’s a “glorious” pool “flanked by palm trees and frangipanis”, a spa with a sea-facing yoga shala, and a restaurant with a good-quality global menu, “including a very British roast rack of lamb”. Doubles from £180 per night;

Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa, Kefalonia, Greece

Eliamos Villas Hotel & Spa Kefalonia

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This “dream retreat” in Kefalonia is perched above a remote cove on the relatively “unspoilt” south coast of the island, says Louise Roddon in The Times. There are 12 villas to choose from, all of which offer both ample space and privacy: it’s easy to imagine a character from “Succession” coming here for a bit of luxe R&R. Outside the villas are “generously sized private saltwater pools” and canopied tables for al fresco dining. The interiors are mouthwatering – “think polished plaster, reclaimed rustic-chic teak furnishings” and “raffia pendant lamps” – and the restaurant is “remarkably good”. In sum, a “pretty near perfect” hotel. B&B villas from £384 a night for two;

Nine Orchard, New York, US

Nine Orchard hotel in New York

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Located in that still slightly ungentrified area of Manhattan where Chinatown meets the Lower East Side, this hotel recently opened in a former bank. The “grand Neo-Renaissance” bones of the building “elevate everything”, says Lara Kramer in Condé Nast Traveller, especially the airy lobby bar, with its huge arched windows and elaborately coffered and corniced ceiling. Mid-century furniture features heavily in the “crisply minimalist” rooms, which have well-stocked minibars and custom-made Ojas speakers. And the celebrated chef Ignacio Mattos cooks up classics such as steak au poivre and lamb ragu in the “bistro-style” restaurant. Doubles from £455 b&b;

The Boot, Barnsley, Gloucestershire, England

The Boot pub in Barnsley, Gloucestershire

Set in the pretty Cotswolds village of Barnsley, this 17th century pub was recently revamped by the late Timothy Oulton’s design studio. The result is “beautiful”, says Mark C. O’Flaherty in The Daily Telegraph – and pleasingly “subtle”. There are “expensive” linens in the bedrooms, and much Harris tweed and brown leather elsewhere, alongside antiques and curios from Oulton’s own collection – but nothing distracts from the loveliness of the old building. Food is simple (venison pie, Welsh rarebit) but good, and breakfast is served in the nearby luxury spa hotel, Barnsley House, which manages the pub. Doubles from £195 b&b;

Olinto Atlas Mountain Retreat, Quirgane, Morocco

Olinto Atlas Mountain Retreat in Quirgane, Morocco

Set in ten acres of olive groves and gardens about an hour from Marrakech, this former farm has recently been transformed into an “elegant” rural retreat, says Gisela Williams in Travel + Leisure. There are nine guest villas, with eclectic furnishings and spacious roof terraces. Three have their own infinity pools. The Moroccan-Mediterranean restaurant uses herbs and veg grown on site, and there’s also a hammam, great hiking all around (Morocco’s highest peak is nearby), and nothing but the occasional sound of classical music to disturb the quiet – the Italian owner hosts a residency for pianists at his house next door. Doubles from £600;

The Suffolk, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England

The Suffolk in Aldeburgh

Occupying a 17th century building on Aldeburgh’s high street – a stone’s throw from the beach – this restaurant with rooms was opened last year by George Pell, managing director of London’s L’Escargot. The restaurant has already won “great acclaim” for its seafood, says Joanne O’Connor in The Observer. I had a starter of seared scallops with pickled fennel, followed by halibut fillet with lobster velouté, and found it all “beautifully cooked and delicately flavoured”. And the six rooms, which opened in January, are “stylish”, with pretty wallpaper, soft white bedlinen, antique furniture, Roberts radios and “huge” bathrooms stocked with L’Occitane products. Doubles from £192 b&b;

The Darling, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Darling hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark

Since it opened in 2020, The Darling has been “one of the standouts in a noteworthy trend in the micro-hotel world”, says Maria Shollenbarger in the FT – stylish single-residence properties where every piece of furniture, art and even wallpaper is for sale. This year, its owners have opened a second “mini-residence” next door, smaller than the first but exhibiting the same “creative nous”. Each one showcases “Danish heritage design” by the likes of Borge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen and Poul Kjærholm, and offers “a roster of five-star services”, from drivers to private chefs, making it “a home-from-home that ticks all the Scandi fantasy boxes”. From €950 per night;

The Bear Inn, Hodnet, Shropshire, England

The Bear Inn Hodnet in Shropshire

Shropshire’s much-hymned hills lie in the county’s southern reaches; the north is flatter, but still quietly beautiful. Laid out in the 1920s, the gardens of Hodnet Hall are worth a visit, and nearby lies this 16th century inn, now one of the UK’s “loveliest” pubs-with-rooms, says Pamela Goodman in Condé Nast Traveller. Its interiors, designed by Octavia Dickinson, have a faintly dandyish, distinctly 1950s air, with fern-print wallpaper, Indian-print headboards, and “esoteric” selections of books. Equally “deft” is the cooking, with dishes such as potato velouté and smoked haddock, and ox cheek with burnt butter mash. Doubles from £120 b&b;

Capella Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Capella Sydney hotel in Sydney, Australia

Capella Sydney’s 192 rooms are spacious
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Sydney has “a curious dearth of standout hotels” – but this new one from the Singaporean Capella group goes some way to filling the gap, says Maria Shollenbarger in the Financial Times. Occupying a grand baroque Edwardian building that was once home to the city’s Department of Education, it is “unassailably polished, without being anodyne”. The 192 rooms are spacious, and feature lots of wood, soft leather and linen upholstery. The hotel houses an “impressive”, multimillion-dollar art collection, a “showpiece” 20-metre pool, two restaurants offering “delicious” contemporary Australian cuisine, and an excellent concierge service. Doubles from about £410 b&b;

The Queen's Arms, Corton Denham, Somerset, England

There are ten bedrooms at The Queen’s Arms

There are ten bedrooms at The Queen’s Arms
(Image credit: Tory McTernan)

Set in idyllic rolling countryside a few miles north of Sherborne on the Somerset-Dorset border, Corton Denham is a famously picturesque village with a pub to match. The Queen’s Arms’ new owners have recently given the inn a stylish makeover, says Rick Jordan in Condé Nast Traveller, and its ten bedrooms (two in a separate cottage) now have freestanding bathtubs, floral wallpaper and quality fabrics by the likes of Robert Kime. In the kitchen, local chef Rich Townsend produces seasonal, modern takes on British classics, with a heavy emphasis on local ingredients, from wild garlic to rare-breed pork. Doubles from £100 b&b;

Masons Arms, Branscombe, Devon, England

Masons Arms in Branscombe, Devon

Ten minutes’ walk from Branscombe Beach, this 14th century pub-with-rooms has recently emerged from a stylish, £2m makeover by the St Austell Brewery, says Richard Mellor in The Times. Eight of the 28 rooms are above the pub, and the rest are in nearby stone-and-thatch, terraced cottages. Some have claw-foot bathtubs and terraces overlooking the sea, while walk-in showers, Hypnos mattresses, and espresso machines are standard. There are two family rooms. The modern British cooking is “not fussy haute cuisine”, but is all the better for it, and breakfasts are “just as tasty”. Doubles from £120 b&b;

Kyrimai Hotel, Mani, Peloponnese, Greece

Kyrimai Hotel Mani

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Perched beside the sea in the far south of the Mani Peninsula, Kyrimai occupies one of the old fortified tower houses that pepper this wild and remote part of Greece. Opened 20 years ago, it is the “perfect” conversion, says Antonia Quirke in Condé Nast Traveller, “immaculate and indulgent”, yet true to the “romance” of its setting. Behind its thick stone walls lies a “maze” of arches and stairways, but rooms are full of light, with wooden floors and beds “wearing white linen”. The waterfront restaurant is “the best in the region”, elevating even the simplest local dishes into “something paradisiacal”. Doubles from £130;

Aristide Hotel, Syros, Greece

Aristide Hotel Syros

It’s half-an-hour from Mykonos by ferry – and its grand capital, Ermoupoli, was a major centre of commerce in the 19th century – yet Syros is not very touristy. Occupying one of its neoclassical mansions, the new Hotel Aristide is a “boutique haven for aesthetes”, says Tatler, with nine spacious rooms and dramatic décor. Vast canvases by contemporary artists adorn the “vibrantly painted” walls; Sarfatti chandeliers hang from the five-metre-high ceilings. Chef Petros Braikidis draws heavily on local ingredients (some from the hotel’s garden), and meals are served on a dreamy roof terrace overlooking the Aegean. Doubles from £210 b&b;

Updown, Deal, Kent, England

Updown farmhouse in Deal, Kent

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Located ten minutes from “the pier and pebbles of salty-bohemian Deal”, this 17th century farmhouse now houses a restaurant with rooms. Set in seven-and-a-half acres of walled gardens, it offers a rare mix of “bucolic whimsy” and pleasingly “unfussy” open-fire cooking, said Sarah Allard in Condé Nast Traveller. The four rooms share a “contemporary playfulness”, with vintage furniture, and “mismatched art hung on sage-green walls”, and there’s a cottage with its own kitchen. Chef-owners Ruth Leigh and Oli Brown (of the Brixton pop-up Duck Duck Goose) offer a different, “hyper-seasonal” menu each week, with most ingredients locally sourced. Doubles from £250;

Pine Cay, Turks and Caicos

Pine Cay in Turks and Caicos

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It’s a brief speedboat ride from the airport on Providenciales, but this private island in the Turks and Caicos feels like a world apart, said Tatler. There are 38 houses on it, but it is blissfully peaceful, and its only hotel is an “intimate” place set beside a two-mile beach of sparkling white sand. The 12 rooms are all spacious sea-facing suites with “sleek yet unfussy” décor; bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers. There’s amazing seafood on offer in the poolside restaurant – where chef Pablo Cabrera comes up with a different menu every day – and lots of activities on offer, including sailing, kayaking and snorkelling over a spectacular coral reef. Pine Cay is full board, with island-inclusive rates starting from $1,650 per room per night, including breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, daily snorkelling trips, non-motorised water sports (such as hobie cat sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding), bicycle rental and tennis, based on two sharing.

Crownhill Fort, Plymouth, Devon, England

Crownhill Fort

(Image credit: The Landmark Trust/Facebook)

Like many Landmark Trust properties, Crownhill Fort is a great place to indulge in a little “historical cosplay”, at least in imagination, says Oliver Smith in The Times. Built by the Victorians to defend Plymouth against a landward attack, it sits amid the city’s northern suburbs today, but it is so “vast” that, once inside, it’s easy to forget about the B&Q and dual carriageway nearby. The former officers’ quarters are a “cosy and characterful” family holiday let, with a “grand” kitchen and big bedrooms hung with portraits of “mutton-chopped” sailors. All the delights of Devon lie within easy reach, but there’s also plenty to discover in the fort itself, including lots of vintage artillery (connoisseurs will appreciate the “unique Moncrieff ‘disappearing’ gun”), and a huge network of tunnels where bats roost amid “yet more weaponry”. Four nights’ self-catering for eight costs from £592;

The Terrace Rooms & Wine, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

The Wine Room at The Terrace Rooms & Wine on the Isle of Wight

The Wine Room
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Set beside Ventnor’s shingle beach, this revamped Victorian villa is a “beautifully boutiquey” guesthouse with an “epicurean focus”, said Susan d’Arcy in The Times. Its six rooms mix wooden panelling and “pretty” Victorian-style tiling with modern art and mid-century furniture. Four-course breakfasts (including poached eggs with truffle sauce) are served in a “glamorous” new glass-box extension, while five-course dinners are eaten at a communal table, hewn from a single slice of oak, in the “atmospheric” wine cave racked with 400 bottles. Afternoon wine tastings are included in the room rate. Doubles from £200 b&b;

Hôtel Dame des Arts, Paris, France

The rooftop bar at Hôtel Dame des Arts in Paris

The rooftop bar at Hôtel Dame des Arts in Paris
(Image credit: Ludovic Balay)

The City of Lights has welcomed a new luxury hotel. The chic design-inspired Hôtel Dame des Arts, now open in the heart of Saint-Germain on Paris’s Left Bank, has 109 rooms, a fitness studio, ground floor restaurant, outdoor courtyard and its crowning jewel, a 360-degree rooftop bar. The views from the rooftop “alone” are a “reason to book”, and on a clear day “you can see practically the entire city”, said Steve King on Condé Nast Traveller. “If your faith in Paris is flagging – which does happen but seldom lasts – a visit to the rooftop of Hôtel Dame des Arts will restore it.” Rates from £280 per room per night;

Boys Hall, Ashford, Kent, England

Boys Hall Kent

This cosy boutique hotel in Kent is in a restored Jacobean manor about five minutes by taxi from Ashford, says Liz Edwards in The Times. Downstairs, there is a 20-cover private dining room and a tiny pub, tucked into the oldest part of the building. Upstairs is a warren of beams, “wonky floors” and “odd spaces” that feel as if they might have once been used to hide a priest. Several of the seven rooms have free-standing bathtubs, and two have four-poster beds. It’s the ideal getaway for DFLs (visitors “down from London”) looking for a good meal – in fact, the new chef has himself come from London, via the acclaimed restaurants Blacklock and Caravan. B&B doubles from £160;

Kea Retreat, Psathi Bay, Kea, Greece

Kea Retreat

This beautiful yoga retreat overlooking the Aegean is on the island of Kea, about an hour’s ferry ride from Athens, says Georgina Roberts in The Times. Rooms are in a cluster of restored farmhouses and decorated in an “earthy” style, with lamps woven from old fishing rope and locally made ceramics. Every day starts and ends with a yoga class, but there are other activities too, including the “cacao ceremony”, which involves “breathwork” and drinking hot, raw cacao. It may all sound a bit “woo-woo”, but the food is superb; there’s a lovely pool surrounded by hills, and you will leave feeling relaxed, both “emotionally and physically”. Full-board for six nights starts at about £2,130pp;

One&Only Cape Town, South Africa

One&Only Cape Town

A major refurbishment has been completed at the One&Only Cape Town, spanning the 133 rooms and suites of the luxury resort, as well as the entrance lobby, Vista Bar & Lounge, and landscaping, with new flooring, fittings, and fixtures. The only South African outpost of the One&Only brand, the resort has a “prime” location on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with views of Table Mountain, said Jane Broughton in Condé Nast Traveler. Its location “offers the best of both worlds” – “close enough” to all the attractions of the Waterfront as well as the city, but “still envelops you in a blissful bubble of privacy like only a resort hotel can”. From £812 per night on a B&B basis;

St Benedict Victorian B&B, Hastings, East Sussex, England

St Benedict Victorian B&B in St Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings

Every inch of this “enchanting” b&b in St Leonards-on-Sea is decorated in a Victorian style, which feels appropriate, given the seaside resort was established in the 1820s as a classier alternative to Brighton, says Gemma Bowes in The Times. Inside the “imposing” four-storey semi, you’ll find an “extravaganza of Victoriana”, pulled together with meticulous care by owner Paul Oxborrow, who has a passion for antiques. There are cabinets filled with curios, “heavy tasselled curtains” and “bell jars of fake fruit and butterflies”. Each of the five rooms is different, but all feature proper baths, showers and loos – with not a Victorian chamber pot in sight. B&B doubles from £105;

GoldenEye, Oracabessa, Jamaica

Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate GoldenEye

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A collection of private villas, cottages and beach huts in Oracabessa, Jamaica, GoldenEye is a high-end resort “centred on the villa where English author Ian Fleming wrote all 14 James Bond novels”, said The Telegraph. Privacy is considered “important” here – “there is no sign at the entrance” to this 52 acre property. “If you can’t find it, ask a local for directions.” Few places “manage to condense the sheer joy of island living” as successfully as Jamaica’s “favourite hotel”, said Condé Nast Traveler. GoldenEye is “hip, friendly, respectful” with a “bewitching” turquoise sea and cocktails “muddled with lime, pineapple, and rum”.

Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz, France

Hôtel du Palais Biarritz

Perched on a bluff overlooking Biarritz’s main beach, the Hôtel du Palais was built by Napoleon III as a holiday home for his wife, Empress Eugénie. Its magnificent interiors include a “fairy-tale” frescoed ballroom and a “plush” bar with a 900lb crystal chandelier – and they’re all looking wonderfully fresh this year following a “massive” programme of renovations, says Lanie Goodman in Condé Nast Traveller. Nautical details abound in the 142 rooms and suites, and there are two restaurants (one of which offers “home-style Basque cooking”) and a 32,000sq ft Guerlain Imperial Spa. Doubles from £340;

Atlantis The Royal, Dubai, UAE

Atlantis The Royal Dubai

(Image credit: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This luxury new resort and residence on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah has already made the headlines after Beyoncé was reportedly paid $24m (£19.4m) for a one-off concert to celebrate the opening. “Eight years in the making” Atlantis The Royal is designed with a “distinctive Jenga-like stackable blocks exterior”, said Jessica Michault in Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. The 795-room resort is 43 storeys high and has 17 restaurants under its expansive roof, eight of which are celebrity chef restaurants. There’s also the first-ever Nobu By The Beach, just one of 92 pools at the resort. “It’s worth the hype.” Guests will have to pay an average of $1,000 (£812) a night to stay in one of its rooms, said Bloomberg, with the top suite going for $100,000 (£81,215) a night.

Cap Karoso, Sumba, Indonesia

Cap Karoso Sumba

Found on a “far-flung exotic island” in eastern Indonesia, amid “megalithic tombs and windswept beaches”, Cap Karoso is set to be one of the “most captivating” hotel openings, said Angelina Villa-Clarke in Forbes. Located on the island of Sumba, the new launch is a “pioneering island getaway” with “meaningful community engagement and sustainability at its heart”. This eco-conscious haven will comprise 47 rooms and 20 villas, which are also available for private buyers, and a three-hectare organic farm. Other highlights include a restaurant, explorer’s beach club, open-air cinema, spa, gym, and yoga platform. Rates start from £245 per night for a studio based on two sharing, and from £532 per night for a two-bedroom villa, based on four sharing. Prices include breakfast;

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas at Iguazu Falls in Brazil

The vast Iguazu Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil are so vast and spectacular that when Eleanor Roosevelt first set eyes on them, she exclaimed: “Poor Niagara!” Today, the “pretty pink” Hotel das Cataratas is the only accommodation in the national park on the less commercialised, Brazilian side, says Tatler. It has large airy rooms, a big pool, and two restaurants serving modern Brazilian cuisine. But the hotel’s greatest asset is that it allows you to marvel at the falls in the early morning and in the evening moonlight, when no other tourists are allowed into the park. Doubles from about £290 per night;

Hotel Esencia, Tulum, Mexico

Hotel Esencia

Set beside a long, pale beach on a stretch of unspoiled coast between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, Hotel Esencia is the “chicest” hideaway on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, says Condé Nast Traveller. Originally a haven for an Italian duchess, the 50-acre estate was opened as a resort in 2014, and has since become a favourite of “tastemakers” such as Bella Hadid and Lupita Nyong’o, owing, not least, to the privacy it affords. Stone paths lead from the main house – where afternoon tea is served in the ocean-facing library – to the suites and villas, the newest of which has four bedrooms, three pools and its own cenote (a natural sinkhole), where guests can paddleboard among manatees. There is a café selling Mexican pastries, plus three restaurants and a juice bar. Doubles from £890;

Deplar Farm, Troll Peninsula, Iceland

Deplar Farm

Tucked away on Iceland’s remote Troll Peninsula, this is “the kind of place where frazzled bigwigs can rediscover their inner children” by taking part in “limit-pushing adventures”, from sea kayaking to heli-skiing, says Toby Skinner in Condé Nast Traveller. The farm dates to the 18th century, but beyond it lies a “lair of pure-grade hedonism”, full of mid-century furniture and “tactile invitations to play” (a pool table, a silver table-football set and so on). There’s a gym and yoga studio, a sauna and icy plunge pool, and a heated outdoor pool with a swim-up bar. It’s high-grade luxury, yet the atmosphere is “down to earth”, with meals served at a communal table, and staff who “seem to be having a blast”; and for all the trappings, it’s the feeling of being “small and fresh” in the “cold, silent” wilds that stays with you. Doubles from £2,955;

Villa La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France

Villa La Coste

In the past 20 years, the Château La Coste estate outside Aix-en-Provence has been transformed into one of the world’s most extraordinary open-air art museums – to which this hotel, which opened in 2017, is a worthy addition, says Tatler. Set on a hillside amid gardens fragrant with rosemary and lavender, it has 28 “vast, light-filled” suites, “white-on-white” affairs with marble baths and private courtyards and terraces. The spa is excellent (don’t miss the hammam massage), and there’s much to do on site, from biodynamic wine tastings to “meditative” walks past works by the likes of Louise Bourgeois and Tadao Ando. Of the four restaurants, two are overseen by celebrity chefs – Francis Mallmann and Hélène Darroze. Doubles from £702;

The Newt in Somerset, Bruton, Somerset, England

The Newt in Somerset

Set on an 800-acre estate in a “storybook” corner of Somerset, The Newt is not so much a hotel as a “fiefdom of pastoral extravagance”, says Tatler. Opened by the South African “power duo” Koos Bekker and Karen Roos in 2019, it is centred on a Georgian mansion, Hadspen House, and its celebrated gardens, but incorporates much else besides – including a spa, a bakery, a gelateria, a cider press, a “jewel-like folly” of an apiary (the Beezantium) and a reconstruction of a Roman villa that once existed on the estate. The pleasingly unfussy guest rooms are spread across the main house, various outbuildings and cottages, and there are two restaurants, both with fresh and “innovative” estate-to-plate menus. Doubles from £385 b&b;

Claridge's, London, England


Following a seven-year construction project, the Mayfair grande dame has a five-storey mega-basement and two new storeys on its roof – and it has all been so well done, even its most old-school guests would surely approve, says Susan d’Arcy in The Sunday Times. The hotel’s “centre of gravity” – the Foyer & Reading Room restaurant – is unchanged, as are the Fumoir and Claridge’s Bar. The new additions include the Painter’s Room – a bar with a “candyfloss pink” onyx counter – and L’Epicerie, an “intimate” chef’s table set within the hotel’s kitchens. The 62 new bedrooms are “restrained cocoons in restful shades of sun-bleached pastels” that sit well with the hotel’s “impossibly glamorous” art deco interiors. But the pièce de résistance is a “sparkling” new Japanese-inspired spa with a pool and gym. Doubles from £750;

Nirjhara, Bali, Indonesia


Nirjhara means waterfall in Sanskrit, and there’s a splendid one at the heart of this recently opened Balinese eco-resort, surrounded by rice paddies and towering palm trees half a mile from beautiful Kedungu Beach. It’s a glorious location, and the design does not seek to compete with it. Indeed, a spirit of “modesty” pervades the place, says House & Garden. The smallest of the 25 suites are spacious treehouse-like cabins, with big freestanding bathtubs on their roof terraces; the largest are two-bedroom villas and have their own infinity pools. Contemporary art and locally crafted ikat throws and ceramics enliven the interiors, and there’s a spa, a central pool, a yoga pavilion built on rocks overlooking the waterfall, and a restaurant with a “faithfully and deliciously Balinese” menu. Doubles from £220;

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