If you shudder when you hear the words ‘all inclusive’ and you dream instead of holidays in small, independent boutique accommodation where the luxury is bespoke, you’re not alone. More and more people booking ‘luxury’ holidays are turning away from the big multinational chains and looking for something more personal and intimate.
From holidays to Croatia and Madeira to destinations closer to home, such as the Channel Islands, there are a range of small boutique hotels which are heeding this new trend and offering an exclusive experience to their guests. You just need to know where to find them!
Bringing them all together under one brand umbrella is the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, an organisation that promotes only the very best high-end accommodation, giving customers a ‘go to’ source for excellence in independent holiday accommodation. The group is proud to offer a range of differing destinations, ranging from exclusive private island hotels to refined rural retreats across a vast range of countries. But for those looking for boutique excellence close to home, here are my recommendations for the very best small luxury holiday accommodation in Europe from its collection.
Boutique Hotel Alhambra, Croatia
If your view of holidays to Croatia includes overcrowded resorts and bustling beaches, think again. The Boutique Hotel Alhambra gets around the problem of crowds, as it’s situated off the mainland on the stunning island of Lošinj. The majestic old-world property has been renovated with class and style with echoes of Art Deco. Its beachfront location is emphasised with wide, elegant windows and a terrace that boasts panoramic coastal views. Of course, a luxury hotel wouldn’t be complete without exquisite fine dining, and the restaurant here does not disappoint. The Alfred Keller is one of Gault et Millau most highly recommended restaurants.
Bella Luce Hotel, Guernsey
For a little taste of luxury closer to home, try the Bella Luce Hotel on Guernsey. This restored twelfth-century manor house offers an elegant rural retreat for those looking for a country spa getaway. The beautiful, individually decorated rooms give it a distinct authenticity and vintage glamour. And if you want something completely different, check out the amazing gin distillery in the cellar (tours and ‘distil while you dine’ experiences are offered to guests).
Quinta da Casa Branca
Old and traditional meets contemporary design in the startling Quinta da Casa Branca. Set in stunning nineteenth-century gardens, the property’s modern architecture serves as a dramatic juxtaposition, creating an enthralling affect. Inside the sleek, elegant design and refined atmosphere exudes luxury. A stay here will entice you to wander through the elegant gardens and swim in the swimming pool, both of which are set in the heart of a banana plantation. After spending the day relaxing in the spa, you can enjoy an excellent meal on the terrace or in the exclusive garden pavilion.
Regardless of whether you choose holidays to Croatia, Madiera or the Algarve, there is no need to put up with the crowds. Just find yourself a small luxury hotel and relax in the peace and tranquillity of a boutique retreat!
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays to Croatia, Bermuda, Sicily and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.