5 cool boutique hotels to visit in 2018

Instagrammable gems of the accommodation world, the best boutique hotels deliver memorable escapes with bucket-loads of originality and panache.  Warm, personal service is a given – as are bespoke, well-considered interiors.  Read on for our top-picks to add to your wander-lust wishlist for 2018 and beyond:

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

This clifftop retreat rests 2,000m above sea level in the Hajar Mountains, overlooking Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon.   Recently listed in the ‘World’s Coolest Hotels for 2017’ by Escapism magazine, the interiors are seriously stylish – and the mesmerising views across the rugged mountain terrain outside are the icing on the cake.

Tempting though it would be to spend your entire holiday being soothed in the sumptuous Spa Alila, the real appeal lies outside.  Take advantage of the hotel’s Leisure Concerige team, who’ll arrange a host of adventure activities with everything from guided hiking trails, to mountain biking, fossil hunting, abseiling and cave exploration.  After dark, head out to the wooden deck for stargazing sessions.

The Library, Koh Samui, Thailand

Easily the best-looking place on the popular Chaweng Beach, this boutique hotel is a great choice if you like a bit of buzz nearby, with the option to escape the hustle and bustle within seconds of returning to the hotel grounds.  The tree-filled grounds are sparsely populated with just 26 luxury studios and suites, allowing ample space to switch-off and rejuvenate.   

Created as a play on the concept of ‘the book,’ each area represents a blank page on which to write your own story.  The idea is you ‘leave your mark’ on the pages (rooms) through the inter-changeable mood lighting and high-tech TV and sound systems.  If all that sounds a bit too ‘arty-farty’ – you can simply enjoy the resort’s sleek minimalist feel, relaxed vibes, and the eye-catching blood-red pool.

Like the rest of the hotel, the cuisine at The Library is very artistic – with a varied menu of sophisticated Thai and Western dishes served in uber-modern surroundings.

Blue Karma Ubud, Bali

With a scattering of private villas dotted around a pretty swimming pool with a backdrop of rice paddies and jungle scenery, Blue Karma Ubud is exactly what you’re looking for from a boutique hotel in Bali’s countryside.  Tropical butterflies float past the rooms, which are designed in the style of traditional Javanese huts with contemporary natural furnishings.

The hotel has its own Yoga pavilion – and there are lots of hiking trails and organic restaurants all within walking distance.  The hotel’s Blue Spa is another highlight – you can’t leave without being soothed by a Balinese massage, an aloe-vera facial or traditional hot stone therapy.

Keemala, Pattaya, Thailand

The highlights here are the tree-house style pool villas, which sit perched amongst the glorious greenery of Thailand’s Kamala rainforest.

The hotel bills itself as a ‘holistic’ retreat – which means yoga, spa treats, healthy eating and trips to the local national park top the to-do list.  If that all sounds like a bit too much ‘wellness’, rest assured the Mala Bar offers a extensive range of signature cocktails, which are best enjoyed whilst watching the sunset from the open deck overlooking the beach and the mountains beyond.

Nearby you’ve got a choice of beaches to suit various personalities – from the lively hotspot of Patong with its bustling bars and restaurants, to the lesser-known Nai Thon, ideal for swimming and romantic strolls along the sands.

Na Narind Boutique Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand

Tucked away down a quiet street overlooking the Ping Riverside near to Chiang Mai Old town, this charming hideaway is perfect for a romantic escape.  You’ll be greeted with a welcome that’s as warm as the tropical Chiang Mai weather by the infinitely-accommodating staff.

Designed in the colonial style of a 19th century Thai house, the hotel has a warm, comfortable ambience.  There are just 45 rooms, each with their own patio or private balcony.  All are decorated with carvings, handmade furniture and woven textiles, showcasing the skills of local craftspeople.

Facilities include a Lanna-style spa, gym, and library.  There’s also a restaurant, which features a rooftop bar offering impressive views over the Ping River and the giant 100-year-old rain tree that stands as the resort’s centrepiece.

Spencer Groves is Commercial Director at letsgo2.

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