Originally published on Concrete Playground.
Too good to be true?
We seriously hope you manage to sneak in a holiday in 2017, because boutique hotel curator Mr & Mrs Smith has compiled the votes from over 25,000 of its luxury-loving users and decided on the world’s best accommodation options. These sensational hotels are not only in our most famous cities, but also in areas of remote paradise across the world. In partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith, here are twelve truly incredible, highly individual accommodation options. You’ll find treehouses, old relics-turned-hotels and two boutique hotels on Aussie turf (oi, oi, oi)!
BEST SMITH HOTEL: HALCYON HOUSE, AUSTRALIA
Australia’s very own Halcyon House has taken out the top spot in the awards, ushering visitors in with its coastal charm. Luxuriously sited on New South Wales’ Cabarita Beach, the hotel opened in 2015 and has already made a name for itself simply by having rooms with stunning decor. Each is decked out in vibrant patterns, often featuring flashes of blue to honour the ocean. Restored vintage bicycles are available to hire, or guests can enjoy a calm afternoon playing croquet, unwinding on candy-striped day beds by the pool, or heading to the hotel’s acclaimed restaurant and bar, Paper Daisy, for some “Australian coastal cooking”.
COOLEST CREATIVE HUB: FOGO ISLAND INN, CANADA
Spectacularly perched on a cliff edge (we wouldn’t expect anything less from a hotel in Canada), Fogo Island Inn is turning heads. If a wood-fired sauna, rooftop hot tub, art gallery and pastries delivered to your door every morning sounds enticing, then this inn is for you. Managing to pull off grandeur while exercising sustainability, there are rainwater catchment systems and renewable solar and wood-burning energy sources embedded in the inn. The 29 suites are classically and calmingly minimalistic, consisting of white walls, floors and bathrooms that are livened with colourful homewares and furniture made by local designers.
BEST DRESSED HOTEL: PALAZZO MARGHERITA, ITALY
Dense with soul, grace and opulence, Palazzo Margherita sits in the Italian town of Bernalda, at the arch of Italy’s foot. It’s fit for a king, and coincidentally restored by film royalty. Director of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, sought to refurbish what was a decaying 19th century relic and turn it into a hotel. All nine suites in the palazzo are individually characterised, some with peachy walls and gold framing, others looking onto roof murals reminiscent of Catholic churches. Guests have the option to unwind at the warmly hued family bar, or the cinecitta bar where the walls are lined with glossy photos of Italian celebrities. For explorers, this accommodation could not be more perfectly placed. The Basilicata region is flush with ruins, including those of Metaponto and Policoro, as well as the cave dwellings of Matera. The deserted town of Craco is within reach, too.
WORLD’S SEXIEST BEDROOM: KEEMALA, THAILAND
You may find it hard to put your phone down and resist the urge to post on Instagram seventeen times a day at Keemala. It’s Avatar meets a five-star resort. The pool villas, harnessed in generous, luscious rainforest, may send your followers into an envious spiral. Rooms are encased in woven wood cocoons and beds are gloriously draped with lavish curtains that you can close and shut off from the world. The resort offers an hourly shuttle to Kamala beach, a spa and fitness centre holding yoga and Muay Thai boxing classes, as well as tai chi on the beach. The pool bar whips up innovative cocktails such as a lemongrass-infused Tom Yum cocktail and bittersweet Martinis paired with raw cacao. Intimate dining options can also be arranged, in the resort’s plentiful gardens, or on a rocky outcrop.
BEST DATE-NIGHT BAR: THE LONDON EDITION, ENGLAND
Behind a neoclassical, royal exterior lies the splendour of The London Edition. It’s part of the larger group of boutique ‘Edition’ hotels headed by the Marriott International, which are also opening locations in Abu Dhabi, Reykjavik and Barcelona. At the masterfully designed London Edition though, guests are welcomed by an extravagant lobby made up of ceiling motifs and classic green velour couches, while the rooms mix old and new to create an aesthetically wonderful atmosphere. The rooms are made of entirely timber walls, with refreshingly white bathrooms to contrast. Visitors often flock to the hotel’s dining room, Berners Tavern, which is superbly and absolutely packed with 19th Century gilt-framed paintings. Serving high-end comfort food, the tavern is not only popular among guests, but those outside of The London Edition, too.
BEST GOURMET GETAWAY: THE OLD CLARE HOTEL, AUSTRALIA
The Old Clare occupies the previous headquarters of the old Carlton & United Breweries in Chippendale. It’s made up of 62 rooms, which still have their heritage ceilings and panelling. Modern in some places and retro in others, the hotel exudes personality in every crevice. The Old Clare also plays the proud host to two of Sydney’s coolest dining institutions — Kensington Street Social, which has a menu that gives a contemporary tip of the to British cuisine, and the refined and brilliantly designed Automata. Both are gloriously sophisticated in their own right. Head to the other end of the hotel (the top) and you’ll find a rooftop pool that coolly overlooks Chippendale.
MOST SPOILING SPA: AMANEMU, JAPAN
You may fall over looking at the entrance pavilion at Amanemu — it’s a beautiful, Japanese building enhanced by stunning backdrop of Ago Bay. Fortunately, this spa hotel is built around natural hot springs that are incorporated into treatments and the suites themselves. The rooms are perfectly geometric, drawing on Japanese minimalism to calm patrons even further. Blonde timber is lit by generous rays of sunshine that arrive through the many windows of each room every morning. Step outside and you’re treated to an incredible scene of trees and the hotel’s spa terrace. If you seek healing and a pure escape, put Amanemu on your list.
POOL WITH A VIEW: GRAND HOTEL TREMEZZO, ITALY
This place is the epitome of la dolce vita. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is one of the monstrosities gracing Italy’s even grander Lake Como. The exterior of the hotel features what we call ‘lakeception’ — a pool situated on an actual lake. Behind that you’ll find guests rejuvenating on sun lounges shielded by white umbrellas, before trickling back through the hotel, through regal red painted walls and embellished columns. Rooms are furnished with gold, paint-framed mirrors and plush furniture resembling that of Italian royalty. Imaginably, the rooms host ridiculous window views of Lake Como’s emerald waters and the mesmerisingly large mountains that protect them. Waterside bars and in-house Italian dining top off the stay — anything more you want to ask for?
ABOVE AND BEYOND: AWASI, CHILE
Among pristine, untouched Patagonia are 14 luxury cabins unlike anything else out there. The Awasi resort champions its surroundings, fitting into vistas of lakes, snow-tipped mountains and forests as seamlessly as a Patagonian puma hiding in the hills. Each cabin is topped off with a hot tub, where guests can admire their unbelievable surroundings. Visitors are also well attended to, with a private guide assigned to customise their experience. That could involve running away to off-the-beat hiking trails that lead to the best wildlife viewing spots the area has to offer. Seclusion and serenity unite at Awasi to deliver an unforgettable Chilean experience.
BEST FAMILY HOTEL: TREEHOTEL, SWEDEN
If Tarzan opened a luxury group of treehouses, it would translate to Sweden’s Treehotel complex. There’s something addictively adventurous about hanging among the trees, even when you’re an adult. And before you think you’ll be doing it tough, know that the cleverly designed pods that clutch the forest trees are filled with stunning Scandinavian-styled interiors. You’ll have to monkey down the trees to cook though. There’s a restaurant, bar and shared kitchen area, as well as shared bathrooms with a sauna and whirlpool plunge bath. Alongside that is an open-air hot tub, ziplines and an abundance of forest to look at. Each room is accessible by either a ladder or stairs.
HOTTEST HOTEL SOUNDTRACK: FAZENDA NOVA, PORTUGAL
Fazenda Nova is the love child of London born Hallie and Tim Robinson, who holidayed in Portugal for three years before opening their own accommodation. The pair renovated a 19th-century farmhouse to create a stunning retreat, surrounded by almond, pomegranate and olive orchards. Fazenda Nova encompasses the exuberance Portugal is renowned for, but the Robinsons have slotted in international influences into the grounds including Balinese teak furniture and Moroccan doors that the pair collected during their travels. The restaurant, A Cozihna, preaches the glory of Portuguese cuisine, which is often shadowed by Spanish cuisine (note — the two are exceedingly different). Menu options rotate daily, but often honour local seafood, and dishes are made from the hotel’s own produce.
LOCAL HOTEL HERO: 11 HOWARD, NEW YORK
The romantic 11 Howard hotel proudly resides in Lower Manhattan. You may recognise the 150-foot mural that graces the side of the building from Instagram, where it is shared endlessly. Made up of minimally beautiful rooms, it’s not hard to assume that guests struggle to check out of here. Danish design rules the decor; rooms are made up of light oak floors, blush pinks and soft greys to create a calm ambiance. Le Coucou (the hotel’s restaurant) is something out of a fairytale, partly evoked by the forest painted walls that surround diners. It’s a NYC hotspot, not that we’d expect anything less from acclaimed chef Daniel Rose, who set up La Bourse et La Vie in Paris. After indulging there, trickle over to the hotel’s bar, The Blond. By 9pm, the sensual space transforms into a nightclub. There’s a strict guest list from Thursday to Saturday, but as a hotel patron you don’t need to fret. You’ll get in easily.