Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. Special-occasion escapes call for a more intimate hotel experience than larger resorts can offer – a refined collection of rooms, space by the pool, the personal touch. We’ve handpicked the hotels that prove the best things come in small packages.
A fresh addition for us, Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik balances boutique chic with a central location in the Med’s trendiest destination, Croatia. The hotel is crafted into a cliffside with its own secluded little beach, but you can still reach Dubrovnik’s enchanting old town inside 20 minutes.
Sleek and modern, Bellevue’s capsule collection of 91 rooms and suites come in soul-soothing earthy tones with fabulous floor-to-ceiling windows. At dinner time, the city’s new-fangled foodie scene is close at hand, but equally worth a try is the barbequed fish at the hotel’s beach restaurant, Nevera. Follow with a digestif at Spice Lounge.
Sugar Ridge is a boutique hideaway in Antigua’s sugar-caned hills. It’s a small, family-owned affair, kept carefully in-tune with the island and its surroundings. Yoga, nature walks and headspace are on the cards, but there’s a free bus to the beach and nearby Jolly Harbour when you’re in need of some noise.
Sixty rooms-with-a-view are leisurely spaced out for maximum privacy; the best of them rounded off with private plunge pools and verandas. An elegant, contemporary restaurant serves up freshly netted seafood in private dining gazebos, while Sugar Club acts as the resort’s easy-going gathering point for casual dinners, live music and anytime cocktails.
Gran Hotel Montesol is the grand old dame of Ibiza. It first opened its art-deco doors in 1933 (the first to do so on the island), and this year as well as undergoing an extensive refurbishment, the hotel was cherry-picked by Hilton to join its prized Curio – A Collection by Hilton, made up of unique, historic and characterful properties across the world.
This is grown-up Ibiza, in the heart of its capital overlooking squares and streets that still feel Spanish. It’s kept much of its original charm, with sleek modern touches, character features and a neoclassical yellow façade, plus 33 note-perfect guestrooms and a sophisticated tapas bar.
Bo Phut Resort & Spa wins the gold for curb appeal, reserving prime beachfront space in serene Koh Samui. Designed to blend seamlessly with its surroundings, the hotel is created using all-natural materials and traditional Thai touches, with seven acres of gardens keeping things deliciously secluded.
There’s an intimate portfolio of 61 rooms and villas, while the spacious design and five-star service gives Bo Phut the feel of a larger resort. They’ll arrange snorkelling trips and dinner cruises to your liking, but they can also leave you alone, too. Reserve evenings for signature restaurant Sala Thai, serving an authentic menu and Klim music overlooking the lotus pond.
Boasting one of Santorini’s most exclusive locations, boutique hotels don’t get more romantic than Mystique, A Luxury Collection Hotel. All elegant, whitewashed stone and sunglasses-indoors chic, the hotel’s 28 freeform rooms weave along the cliff, connected by winding walkways with heart-stopping views across the island’s famous caldera.
Suites are cool, white and sea-facing, with variations like Wet Allure Suites (with a dining terrace and open-air Jacuzzi) and Spiritual Suites + Spa (featuring private spa rooms). Dine at open-air Charisma, where the ubiquitous sea views make the Aegean Sea seem within touching distance.
With just eight guestrooms in a spacious, two-storey luxury villa, Villa Costa feels a little like having your own hotel. This small, family-run property sits beachside in Kefalonia, and life here is laid-back. Adults-only and consciously quiet on the entertainment front, it’s the kind of place you come to read a book on the sun terrace and stroll along the seafront, bar a few wine-tasting evenings and barbeques by the pool.
The eight rooms are individually decorated, and each named for a Greek goddess (we love sea-view Chloe), and mealtimes are al fresco at Sophia’s Terrace, with its fresh Mediterranean menu and curated cellar of Greek wines.
Crystal Cove’s brand of casual elegance is oh-so Caribbean, giving a new meaning to boutique chic. Families can get involved, too; kids are more than taken care of with complimentary watersports lessons at the kids’ club, and everyone has their fair share of dining picks. There’s private dining on the beach for couples, kids’ buffets and beach digs for casual meals. Our favourite? Cocktails at The Cave Bar – you swim through a waterfall to reach it.
Newly refreshed rooms and suites come with a tempting choice of views, with the resort’s colourful, cabana-style buildings in the crook of the beach and eight acres of beautiful tropical gardens.
Chic suites, outdoor infinity pool and private beach – introducing the KB Suites & Spa. Days here can be spent sipping a cocktail around the infinity pool, or finding your patch on the cushioned sunbeds on the beach. Save one day for the spa! Whether it’s a jetlag busting massage you’re after or the chance to improve your downward dog, it’s on the cards here.
Junior suites come as standard here. Decked out in Greece’s signature white and blue, they’re all light and airy, and thanks to their generous size have a real home -from-home feel. The beating heart is showstopper of a swimming pool (think four-poster daybeds and in-water loungers). After a day of relaxing, dine at the Caramel restaurant, complete with striking sea views.
There aren’t many places where you can throw open the curtains in the morning to be greeted with uninterrupted sea views. But here, it comes as standard. By day, feel like a VIP at the hotel spa. Don’t go home with trying the papaya and pineapple wrap! By night, head for the 10th-floor IIiades Restaurant to enjoy jaw-dropping views while you tuck in.
Everything here is ridiculously cool and contemporary. The pool signature suites are the cream of the crop of room types. Think a private pool and sleek sundeck complete with gorgeous daybed. Foodies will be in their element at the Cuvee Restaurant. It’s all about locally sourced ingredients, unique dishes and an award-winning chef. It has a winning location too, one of Kos’s most beautiful stretches of beach.
What hotel mini takes your fancy?