They’re cool, great value and in trending locations around the world. These are the boutique hotels to book before everyone else does.
Image credit: Pia Riverola
Shila , Athens, Greece1/21
You’ll be in rarefied company at Shila, a renovated 1920s townhouse turned boutique hotel in Athens. First, there’s the location: close to the Parthenon in Kolonaki, the fashion and dining heart of Greece’s capital. (You can order from some of the best restaurants in town straight to your room.) Then there’s the size – just six generous, beautifully appointed suites so cinematic (antique metal bed frames, distressed velvet couches in shades of raspberry-pink) that Versace and Dior have shot campaigns here. And then there’s the vibe. Don’t expect a front desk or prosaic lobby bar here. Instead, head to the rooftop, where the long communal table is made for mingling with fellow guests over cocktails while a visiting DJ spins tracks, a sushi restaurant hosts a supper club or a local artist stages their latest exhibition. Shila is the coolest address in town.
Image credit: IHG hotels
The Dairy Private , Queenstown, New Zealand2/21
More is more at this 14 -room gem in downtown Queenstown. What was once a clapboard corner store is now your alpine bolthole, kitted out in stylishly clashing wallpapers and jewel-tone soft furnishings courtesy of House of Hackney. The best view, though, is of the Remarkables, which can be seen from the Oasis rooms and in spectacular 180 -degree fashion from the hot tub in the courtyard. The hotel prides itself on its sustainability credentials, including using as little plastic as possible, and its spotlight on local goods, such as the stellar South Island wines complimentary for guests during the daily happy hour. And once a corner store, always a corner store: there’s a lolly station where guests can fill their pockets with New Zealand favourites (Pineapple Lumps! Jet Planes!). Sweet as.
Image credit: Gap Di Antonino Gitto
I Cinque Balconi, Salina, Italy3/21
The quintessential island hotel needs to be close enough to the beach that you can taste saltwater in the air. It should have a small number of breezy rooms, with minimal clutter so you never feel too crowded after a busy day of swimming, drying off and swimming some more. And it must have a courtyard garden, bursting with figs and pomegranates, designed for catching the sun over an alfresco breakfast, lunch and dinner. I Cinque Balconi, a 10 -room property that’s a short stroll from the main port on Salina in the Aeolian Islands (a ferry ride from Palermo, Sicily) has all these charms and more. Housed in a building that’s been passed down through the same Sicilian family for four generations, the hotel is imbued with a welcoming and convivial atmosphere. The small island is known for its sweet wine, juicy capers and some of the most arresting sunsets you’ll ever see.
Image credit: 47 Jobner Bagh
47 Jobner Bagh, Jaipur, India4/21
Jaipur’s best-kept secret – until now – this 12 -room property sits in what was once the Maharajah of Jobner’s lush private garden. Small but perfectly formed, the hotel’s elegant curved walls also conceal a boutique of souvenirs and even an Ayurvedic spa.
Image credit: The Maker
The Maker, Hudson, United States5/21
Opened in 2020 by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, the pair behind cult beauty brand Fresh (yes , you’ll find the products in the bathrooms), this hotel inside three grande-dame buildings sits on the best street in Hudson, upstate New York, about a 2.5-hour drive from JFK Airport. It’s an ideal base for exploring the town, a shopping destination for antiques and homewares, but why head out when you can stay cocooned in comfort? Each of the 11 rooms is named for a particular creative vocation, which is reflected in their interiors: The Writer features walls lined with bookshelves, while The Gardener has a gallery of floral prints. What unites them all is a sense of decadence and luxury, right down to details such as fireplaces , chaise lounges, fringed lampshades and velvet throws in shades of sapphire and ruby. There are also a great Italian restaurant, a dark and sexy lounge bar and even a juice counter in the lobby. Staying in has never been such a pleasure.
The Convent, Auckland, New Zealand6/21
Praise be, what was once a nunnery is now one of Auckland’s best stays. Located in the chic suburb of Grey Lynn, The Convent is a few minutes walk from some of the city’s top cafés and restaurants – try Lilian for woodfired pizza and the morning pastries at Florets – as well as the Ponsonby shopping area. But what makes it so special is the old-school vibe: real keys instead of electronic cards, relaxed service and a rustic aesthetic with a retro colour palette (whoever thought to combine caramel leather sofas with aqua-blue cupboards is a genius). Designed with city-break travellers in mind, the space is cosy and several of the 22 rooms come with patios , sitting areas or small kitchenettes. The in -room snack bar is complimentary and stocked with local treats, including cookies, popcorn, chips and a couple of blocks of Whittaker’s chocolate (of course). Don’t over-indulge, though, because Ada , the hotel’s fantastic Italian restaurant, slings bowls of heavenly ricotta cavatelli.
There are two sides to Moss, which parcels its 41 rooms over two Georgian warehouses just a few metres apart on Hobart’s Salamanca Place. Moss 25 is intimate and quiet, while Moss 39 sits right in the thick of things so you can savour as much of the city as possible. Whichever you choose, you’re guaranteed immersion in the exceptional restoration by architects Circa Morris Nunn, who preserved the heritage façades while incorporating hints of Tasmania’s wilderness. Dark oak accents are paired with original sandstone walls, while some rooms in Moss 25 look onto an internal hanging garden. Our pick is the Grove Room at Moss 39, with its views over Salamanca and bathroom lined in forest-green tiles.
Lloyd’s Inn, Singapore8/21
Tucked away only a short walk from the hustle of Orchard Street, surrounded by greenery and featuring Scandi-minimalist interiors, this 34 -room getaway feels like a breath of fresh air. Rooms are stripped back with white walls and polished concrete flooring and some feature industrial-sleek outdoor terraces. The aesthetic might be simple but there’s no shortage of thoughtful touches, such as long hanging rails so you don’t need to live out of a suitcase, plus a rooftop terrace, small pool and outdoor kitchen equipped with microwave, coffee machine and cutlery. Travelling for work? Business Rooms have an ergonomic desk and chair, as well as fast wi-fi. But if you’re in Singapore for a break, the location couldn’t be better – within walking distance of some of the city’s best chicken rice (Boon Tong Kee and Five Star, next door to each other on River Valley Road) and designer malls.
Image credit: Gaëlle Rapp Tronquit
Le Moulin, Lourmarin, France9/21
The charm of rural Provence meets the style and energy of the City of Light at Le Moulin in Lourmarin (try saying that six times fast). An hour from Marseille Airport by car and on the road between Aix and Avignon, you’ll find yourself in a pretty village that was once home to the philosopher and writer Albert Camus. Inside a renovated 18th-century mill in the heart of town, this sun-drenched 28 -room hideaway is equipped with everything for a summer stay: pool, restaurant , terrace for aperitifs, Pilates classes, outdoor cinema and proximity to the village market for buying linen. The rooms are just lovely – carpeted in sisal with rattan armchairs and an ochre-tiled bathroom – while the breakfast is exemplary: fresh fruit juices, a basket of regional breads with local honey and organic free-range eggs done your way. On your way out, be sure to pick up something for the road from Les Commissions, the hotel’s petit deli, whether it’s a jar of local preserves as a souvenir or a baguette and pastry for the journey home.
Image credit: The Fleming
The Fleming, Hong Kong10/21
Situated in the heart of Hong Kong’s best neighbourhood – bustling Wan Chai – this hotel is modelled on the city’s famous Star Ferry. You’ll find porthole windows, teak floors and brass accents throughout the thoughtfully designed bolthole, which also boasts an in -house Italian restaurant and a location that can’t be beaten.
Image credit: House of Kheops
House of Kheops, Cairo, Egypt11/21
Fall asleep in the shadow of Giza at this hidden gem. The four rooms are arranged in traditional Arabic style around an internal garden and the décor is antique-chic, with handcrafted bedding courtesy of luxury local manchester brand Malaika Linens. Waking up here to the sun rising over the pyramids is unforgettable.
Image credit: Rye115
Rye115, Copenhagen, Denmark12/21
Among the coffee shops and bakeries of über -cool Østerbro, this 20 -room getaway sits inside a grand early -20th-century building. Rooms are Scandi-chic and range from single options for solo travellers to ones big enough for the whole family.
Image credit: Artist Residence
Artist Residence, Brighton, United Kingdom13/21
This boutique English chain has a few trademarks: great -value rooms, lively interior design and locations that are second to none, from Cornwall to Oxfordshire and Pimlico in London. In the popular seaside destination of Brighton, you’ll find the Artist Residence perched just off the main promenade, with views of the ocean and a buzzing bar.
Image credit: Wild Thyme & Honey
Wild Thyme & Honey, the Cotswolds, United Kingdom14/21
A few of the things every good country hotel in the UK needs are cosy beds, clawfoot tubs and an excellent pub next door. This spot, in the picturesque village of Ampney Crucis in the Cotswolds, has all three and more. Since opening in 2022, the 24-room hotel has become a go-to for weekend trips from London.
Image credit: Chez Georges
Chez Georges, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil15/21
Perched atop a lush hillside in Rio de Janeiro, looking down on the city and the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanima, this stunning Modernist property has a swimming pool and well-stocked library . Retreat to your room for floor -to-ceiling windows and second-to-none views.
Image credit: Esme
Casa Matanza, Miami, United States16/21
In Miami’s hottest neighbourhood, South Beach, this hotel is the coolest place to hang out. The 42 -room property was once an artist’s colony and the bohemian vibe is still going strong, courtesy of antique furniture and a colour palette of burgundy, caramel and moss-green.
Image credit: Zagame’s House
Zagame’s House, Melbourne17/21
It’s one of the best-value stays in Melbourne and in one of the best locations: on Lygon Street just a short stroll through Carlton Gardens to the restaurants and cafés of Gertrude Street. Throw in Zagame’s sleek, modern design and it’s the ultimate city break.
Image credit: The Chow Kit
The Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia18/21
Gourmet travellers will love this stay for being near Kuala Lumpur’s biggest market. You can trawl the food stalls to your heart’s content then wander back to the hotel for a nightcap in the bar before retiring to one of the snug but cleverly laid-out rooms and suites, decked in shades of rich burgundy, emerald-green and pale wood.
Image credit: Walker Hill
Douglas House, Seoul, South Korea19/21
Image credit: The Slow
The Slow, Bali, Indonesia20/21
Bali meets Bondi at this much-instagrammed Canggu pad, beloved for its industrial aesthetic, sophisticated restaurant and bar – try the KFB (Korean fried broccoli) – and laid-back vibe. There’s also an in -house gallery showcasing the work of local artists, in case you have room in your suitcase to bring something home.