10 secret boutique hotels to book in 2016

Posted by
Anna Hart
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites

If you're still firmly in the grips of the January blues, then what better way to kick it than by booking a New Year break? If you're stuck for inspiration, we've decided to let you in on the 10 best secret boutique hotels across the world. All so stylish it'll be hard to leave them in favour of sight-seeing.

From a renovated 1850s apartment block in Hungary, to an industrial-chic hotel in the heart of Hollywood, there's a bolt-hole to cater to every traveller's taste.

Brody House, Budapest, Hungary

Part-private members club, part-creative hub and part-stylish B&B, Brody House combines faded grandeur - exposed brickwork, artfully peeling paint, battered vintage furniture - with spiffy designer flourishes like Ercol furniture, industrial-chic steel chandeliers and parquet flooring.

Every room in this elegant, high-ceilinged 1850s apartment building is individually decorated by a local artist; my pick is Tinei, with a sexy gold freestanding bath and balcony overlooking the courtyard.

Doubles from £49 per night.

Hotel San Jose, Austin, Texas, USA

A ridiculously cool hotel in a ridiculously cool city, Liz Lambert’s Hotel San Jose is a beautifully restored 1930s motel bang in the heart of Austin’s hip, alternative South Congress district. Decor in the public spaces is a hat-tip to the Wild West, with a rock’n’roll vibe and a dreamy bohemian courtyard filled with native plants.

The former motel rooms and bungalows are minimal and modern, with comfy queen beds, shiny white bathrooms stocked with Dr. Bronner’s soap and writing desks with Eames side chairs. The San Jose is simple and decadent in all the right places.

Doubles from £120 per night.

Farmer’s Daughter, West Hollywood, USA

In a notoriously unwalkable city, Farmer’s Daughter (so-named for the Farmer’s Market across the road) puts you right in the heart of West Hollywood, a short stroll from ‘Museum Rile’, starring The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Petersen Automotive Museum, A+D Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum and George C. Page Museum. Last year’s skillful redesign of this well-loved hotel combines industrial-chic touches with mid-century furniture and expertly curated artwork. And the restaurant, Tart, is the current hotspot in the hood.

Doubles from £150 per night.

Hoxton Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The industrial-chic design and Modernism-meets-contemporary decor of the Shoreditch and Holborn properties is in evidence here, particularly in the public spaces, where dark wood, autumnal-hued upholstery and subway tiled-walls are set aglow by vast windows and a glass-topped courtyard. Battered leather sofas, vintage lighting and 1950s Danish furniture populate a lobby made for lounging, MacBook Air on knee, flat white in hand. Having honed the formula in Shoreditch and Holborn, The Hoxton bring stylish interiors, buzzing public spaces and slick service to a row of five historic canalside townhouses on Herengracht.

Doubles from £90 per night.

Batty Langleys, London, England

Named after Bartholomew “Batty” Langley, the 18th-century architect, landscape gardener and writer, this gloriously eccentric townhouse feels much more like a fabulously wealthy friend’s home than a boutique hotel. Every piece of artwork or antique has been lovingly sourced by the owners Douglas Blain and Peter McKay, and Apple TVs are discretely concealed behind mirrored cabinets. 

The cosy public rooms (the Tapestry room, complete with a well-stocked honesty bar, is a highlight) add to the decadent flavour; it’s all too easy to forget that Liverpool Street Station and the gleaming skyscrapers of the city are mere minutes away. There is no restaurant, but breakfast is served in bed, a creaking wooden tray piled high with smoked salmon bagels, freshly-baked pastries and fresh fruit topped with granola.

Doubles from £275.

Bushmills Inn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Roaring peat fires, a snug gas-lit bar, a secret library and a lingering scent of malt makes a stay at the Bushmills Inn the stuff of all your wintry getaway dreams. Wrap up for a blustery walk along the Antrim Coast to the Giants Causeway nearby, cross the terrifying (and beautiful) Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, then warm up with a distillery tour at the impossibly picturesque Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest working distillery.

Doubles from £120.

Eben House, Cape Cod, USA

Kevin O’Shea and his partner David Dowd (a hotelier and interior designer, respectively) put their impressive hospitality and design pedigree to good use to concoct the perfect colonial-inspired, pleasingly rustic New England beach B&B, with a brilliant breakfast buffet, stylish, unique rooms and public spaces to linger and lounge in. The mosaic-tiled breakfast room, which opens through French windows into a flower-strewn courtyard, is particularly lovely. Throughout the property, contemporary design flourishes and Scandi-influenced furniture melds perfectly with 18th century portraits and colonial-era antique pieces; Kevin’s eye for arresting yet understated design is incredible.

Doubles from £140.

The Pig, New Forest, England

The Pig hotel portfolio has yet to put a trotter wrong, with a cluster of perfect boutique hotels around England. The original outpost is the New Forest is still a favourite of travel editors, offering old-fashioned grandeur with refreshingly unfussy service. Spa treatments at the Potting Shed are a highlight, as is the food; there’s a walled kitchen garden and full-time forager on site, ensuring all ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.

Doubles from £149.

Tri, Galle, Sri Lanka

Perched on an island hill overlooking Sri Lanka’s largest natural lake, Lake Koggala, Tri’s picturesque position was discovered by British photographer, Rob Drummond, over 10 years ago. Determined to bring something wholly different to Sri Lanka, Drummond worked closely with Raefer Wallis, of Shanghai’s A00 Architects, to design a hotel that fits in with the environment and prioritises sustainable practice.

An eco-luxury theme pervades this ten-suite design hotel, with living walls, green roofs, solar hot water, upcycled wood and locally-sourced materials. Just 20km from the arty, intoxicatingly beautiful colonial town of Galle, this is the most stylish way to do Sri Lanka. 

Doubles from £185.

Albergo Il Monastero, Ischia, Italy

Housed in a former monastery within the 16th century Aragonese Castle, and perched atop a rocky outcrop connected to the main island by a narrow causeway, this rustic, tranquil and unbelievably atmospheric hotel immediately transports you to another world. 

Vaulted ceilings and whitewashed walls lend a sense of spaciousness, and the decor is a perfect blend of Mediterranean luxury (basketweave furniture and crisp linens) and striking contemporary artwork by the late artist Gabriele Mattera, a former owner of the hotel. Rooms (originally monks’ cells) are simple and tranquil, with spartan whitewashed walls, traditional terracotta tiles and darkwood furniture.

Doubles from £90.

Share this article


Anna Hart