Sometimes an independent luxury boutique hotel hits the spot for privacy and intimacy. If that’s want you are yearning for right now, check out these luxurious and gorgeous new properties.
Choose from a mountainside hotel in Meribel, a private hill retreat in Bali, a sophisticated eco-hotel near San Sebastian, a Zen-hideaway nestled in the Chinese wetlands and even an ex-hunting lodge fit for the royals near Windsor.
Le Coucou Meribel, Meribel, France
55 rooms from £497 per night including breakfast
Le Coucou Meribel is part of a new luxury collection of five-star boutique hotels owned by fashion and property entrepreneurs the Pariente family. Perched along the slopes in Meribel at the foot of the Rond-Point des Pistes, the elegant ski-in/ski-out hotel overlooks the entire valley.
The chic mountainside chalet-style hotel spreads over 12,000 square meters. The mischievous cuckoo – from which it borrows its name, is featured on a wall in the BeefBar restaurant. There’s also an entire collection of old cuckoo clocks. Young guests can go to the hotel’s Petit VIP Kids Club and Teens Lab designed by Sophie Jacquemin, a specialist in captivating children leads the way in the design of fun and educational activities for kids and teens. Think customised creative workshops, interacting with an imaginary yeti and funny monsters, and creating their first glass of mocktail.
Tip: Book one of the four-bedroom chalets to enjoy a kitchen, games corner and TV room, private swimming pool and spa, a ski-in/ski-out room and outstanding views from the lounge.
Palacio Solecio, Malaga, Spain
68 rooms from £133 per night including breakfast
Opens 2nd December 2019
Set in Málaga’s Old Town, Palacio Solecio, a former palace from the 18th century has been restored by Antonio Obrador’s Architecture Studio, to rise into a modern style hotel with an Andalusian essence. Classic in architectural style, guests are greeted by glimpses of the hotel’s past from the moment they enter the lobby. The original stone staircase leads guests up to the first floor, where the relaxing décor of the rooms, suites and function spaces fuses historical character with contemporary comfort. The restaurant offers avant-garde cuisine thanks to Michelin star chef Jose Carlos Garcia who transforms traditional dishes from the South of Spain with his innovative touch.
The must-see Alcazaba Fortress is a short walk from the hotel, and guests can wander the gardens and courtyards before climbing the slope for spectacular city views.
Tip: By day, guests should relax in the hotel’s glass-ceilinged patio, and soak up the sun and bright conversation with tapas and drinks. By night, they can bring the indoors out underneath ornate cloisters and sit by the fountain with evening cocktails.
Le Refuge de la Traye, Meribel, France
8 rooms from £237 per night for a standard room (Mazots start from £142 per night)
Opening 14th December 2019
Refuge de la Traye in the French Alps will be reopening this winter following a complete renovation and expansion of the original hotel. This ‘hotel hamlet’ is set between lake and mountain and offers a collection of 8 eco-luxury rooms and suites that blend into the landscape and immerse guests in the natural setting. Choose between a cosy Savoyard alpine mazot offering a unique and intimate experience for up to 3 people, or reserve Chalet Edelweiss to enjoy an 80m2 family cottage with generous sofas, crackling fires and views at every turn. The restaurant serves hearty Savoyard specialities while the spa offers treatments including a Milk Bath, Hay Bed, Iyashi Dome Sauna and Wellsystem water massage. In winter it is all about exploring the 3 Vallées with access to 166 ski lifts and 600km of world-class slopes. In summer, children can enjoy the farm to learn about the rural traditions of the mountains.
Tip: Mountain lovers can get married in the incredibly romantic Saint-Bernard’s Chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of mountain people and climbers.
Hidden Hills Villas, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
7 rooms from £223 per night including breakfast
Located in the stunning hills of Uluwatu, Hidden Hills Villas is a luxurious retreat blessed with great views of the Indian Ocean. It’s perfect for discretion and total bliss – there are no common areas, and everything is provided in the comfort of the villa by a dedicated butler.
Guests here won’t find set mealtimes, a main restaurant or loungers lining the pool. Instead, chefs grill just-caught fish in the villas, while a personal butler will serve cooked-to-order breakfast or a mixologist-made cocktail – whenever and wherever the guest fancies.
Each of the seven villas (from one to five bedrooms) has its own distinct personality, taking inspiration from different cultures around the world which makes staying at Hidden Hills Villas a different experience each time.
Tip: Be sure to catch the mesmerising sunset at the world-famous Uluwatu temple, which is just a short drive away and can be arranged by the butler.
Arima Hotel, San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain
69 rooms from £127 per night including breakfast
Hidden among the trees in the Miramón Forest, Arima embodies “the new luxury” – boasting ultra-low energy consumption as the greenest lodging by far around San Sebastian. There are clean energy systems, sulphate-free toiletries and a menu inspired by locally-grown ingredients at veggie-based fine dining restaurant Misura. The interior details are Scandi and Zen: soft indie music playing in the stylishly lit hallways; floor to ceiling windows casting the Nordic-style furniture in a gorgeous light. The hotel is also ideally located for exploring the best sights and cities of the Basque region. Bilbao and Pamplona are easily reachable within an hour, as are Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz in France.
Tip: During summer, the rooftop infinity-edged pool commanding a majestic view over the canopy of the Miramón forest. Year-round, go hiking or cycling or explore San Sebastián’s many Michelin-starred restaurants. The local pintxos bars serving txakoli, the local white wine, with traditional Basque snacks, are also worth checking out.
Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel, Hangzhou, China
43 rooms from £310 per night including breakfast
Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel is a hotel that blends harmoniously with its surroundings – nestled near the southwest part of Xixi National Wetland Park. Its overall design concept is a combination of the wetland scenery and artistic inspiration from Chinese landscape paintings. Owned and designed by GOA Architects, one of the most prominent architectural firms in China, the hotel combines five buildings to create a harmonious, open architectural design that is in constant dialogue with its surroundings. The use of natural materials such as recycled wood, rusted steel and water-faced marble underline the structure’s sustainable concept, beautifully complementing the 200 native trees in the area which includes a 100-year-old persimmon tree.
From the bedrooms to the beautifully-designed restaurant which advocate organic and locally cultivated food and ingredients, glass walls and open spaces frame the stunning views, providing guests who walk into the hotel with a “slow life journey away from the hustle and bustle”.
Tip: By request, professional teachers from the Taiji temple can help guests exercise their body and mind, and experience the charm of Jiangnan on the private docks at the hotel
Great Fosters, Berkshire, United Kingdom
42 rooms from £325 per night including breakfast
Set within 50 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and parkland, the historic Great Fosters has impressive Saxon-moated gardens. Queen Elizabeth I, (whose crest still hangs above the front door), King Henry VIII and Charlie Chaplin have all stayed. The 16th-century royal hunting lodge is a perfect way to unwind and experience the royal treatment after a day trip.
The stately Grade One listed main house carries all the hallmarks of contemporary comfort while retaining its unique heritage. Fill your stay with as much – or as little – activity as you desire, from summer picnics, a dip in the heated outdoor pool with original 1920s bathing boxes and crisp winter walks around the Great Fosters estate, to a game of traditional croquet.
With chef Tony Parkin helming Michelin star and 4AA Rosette restaurant The Tudor Room, as well as the hotel’s very own Great Fosters’ Gin, guests are also in for a gastronomic treat.
Tip: For a special occasion, opt for one of its historic suites/rooms bedecked in jewels such as 17th-century Flemish tapestries (Tapestry Suite) and elaborate Italian Rococo furniture with oversized bathtub for dive-right-in pampering (Italian Room). Dogs are welcome, and rooms have a Dog Guide on the best spots to visit with your four-legged friend.