The end of the 2017 and it’s time for my round up of my favourite hotels of the year!
Beautiful Beach Hotels
1. Rosewood Mayakoba, Mexico
Visiting Rosewood Mayakoba, part of the Mayakoba resort in Mexico, was my first taste of sunshine in 2017 and it was also my first ever visit to Mexico. I totally fell in love with this hotel for the incredibly personal service, beautiful spacious suites (THAT bath) and landscape, excellent food and one of the best spas I’ve ever visited.
They also offer champagne o’clock – that is free champagne on the beach at noon. Quite possibly the world’s best hotel amenity.
FACT: The Rosewood Mayakoba is built along winding lagoons and a mile beauitful beach. A boat can transport guests down the lagoon giving access to the facilities at the other hotels in Mayakoba – the Banyan Tree, Fairmont and the Andaz, the most recent addition to the resort.
2. Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
As soon as I stepped through the door and saw the beautiful views at Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach, I fell in love with the place. At hotel that could be categorised as both city and beach, it gives best of both worlds sitting on a gorgeous stretch of pristine sand.
Mr S loved the attentive service by the pool, I loved the bottomless brunch at Asian seafood restaurant Sea Fu and we both adored the roof top bar with a panoramic view of the city.
FACT: The hotel has two restaurants but there is also entire restaurant village just steps away including one of my London favourites, Coya.
3. Imperial Vienna, Austria
Nothing makes you feel more like a princess than staying in a palace, and the Imperial Vienna does just that. A glittering past filled with a royalty, glorious balls and brilliant musicians takes your imagination on a magical journey just thinking of people passing through the doors for over a century. The rooms were fit for a queen – and we even had a peak at the suite where our own Queen Elizabeth stayed in 1969.
For me hotels like Imperial Vienna encompass the very history of the city in their walls and are so much more than just a place to stay.
FACT: You can enjoy Michelin-starred dining at the hotel’s OPUS or traditional coffee house culture at Café Imperial Vienna. Be sure to sample the famous Imperial torte.
4. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest
It was a bucket list dream come true when Mr S treated me to a festive trip to Budapest with a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. The hotel was everything that I hoped for, the perfect place to visit at Christmas, perfectly located at the end of the Chain Bridge by some of the best bars and restaurants in the city and the Christmas Markets.
We enjoyed lunch at the hotel’s restaurant, Kollázs and we absolutely loved our room with a panoramic view of the city and the Danube.
FACT: The hot chocolates in the lobby lounge are to die for!
5. Four Seasons Hotel Milano, Milan, Italy
Our second time in Milan together after four years and this time we fell in love with the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Milano.
This gorgeous hotel was converted from a 15th century convent and has utterly beautiful restaurant and courtyard.
FACT: The hotel can organise Ferrari rental to tour the city and nearby lakes.
A Room With A View
6. Hotel Grand Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
Ever since I fell in love with Lake Como four years ago, I’d dreamed of returning. Our third wedding anniversary seemed the perfect time and our stay at Grand Hotel Tremezzo couldn’t have been better. Seriously one of the world’s most beautiful hotels, with a panoramic view of Lake Como, a gorgeous park and a world-class spa.
Our suite was absolutely magnificent (one of the best I’ve had) with a private hot tub and a view of the hotel’s floating pool. There’s also five different restaurant choices ranging from the upscale La Terrazza down to the T Pizza for something more casual.
FACT: Fancy a tour of the lake itself? You take one on the hotel’s private boat – prosecco included.
7. Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites, Santorini, Greece
Visiting Santorini was a dream of mine and I felt so lucky to be asked to collaborate with Classic Collection holidays for a stay in Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites. Our room was absolutely sensational, more like a cottage with it’s own private hot tub and from there we had a sensational view of the endless blue sea and the famous Santorini sunset.
Mr S and I love Greek food and we absolutely feasted at the hotel restaurant plus enjoyed cocktails and local wine around the hotel’s stunning pools and at the Romantic Bar.
FACT: The hotel is only a few minutes walk from the picturesque town of Oia.
Private Island Paradise
8. Gili Lankanfushi, The Maldives
The rumours are true The Maldives really is a beautiful as it looks and I experienced my first taste of this gorgeous country at barefoot luxury, eco-chic resort Gili Lankanfushi. Our over water villa was such a huge tick of the bucket list and it was a pinch-yourself moment when I saw my first pink Maldives sunset.
We totally loved our breakfasts on the beach, lunch in the above water restaurant and dinner at the gorgeous Japanese restaurant. The spa was like something I’ve never experienced before with windows to the ocean to watch the fish swim by during your treatment.
FACT: You remove your shoes on arrival at Gili Lankanfushi and you never need them again until you leave.
9. Velaa Private Island
The ultimate hotel, often cited as the most luxurious resort on in The Maldives, Velaa Private Island really is next level.
With the most epic of over water villas including the most outstanding bath, the biggest private pool and your own butler, it’s seriously not wonder it comes at such a price.
We loved the beachfront restaurant, above water fine dining and the tasting menu at the Japanese restaurant. The spa is by Clarins so you can guarantee excellence.
FACT: Velaa Private Island is one of the most expensive hotels in The Maldives and includes the highest restaurant in the country, one of the largest wine collections and even has its own submarine.
10. Petit St. Vincent Private Island, The Grenadines
Eco-chic and perfectlu private, I loved my individual cottage on Petit St. Vincent Private Island. The ideal place for a digital detox the rooms contain no televisions and the only WIFI hotspot is in the reception – it’s this element of total relaxation that has people returning again and again.
You may be on a remote island but the wine cellar is fully stocked, the food is excellent (much grown in the resort’s garden) and the treetop spa is an absolute treat. One of my favourite days was setting sail on the hotel’s boat Beauty and glimpsing some of the incredible underwater life.
FACT: Room service operates via a flagpole system and cute fibre glass cars known as ‘Mini Mokes’ deliver the food.
The Great British Countryside
11. Soho Farmhouse, Oxford, UK
It will come as no surprise that Soho Farmhouse has made this list, and it is the only hotel that also appears in last year’s list plus the only place that I stayed at more than once this year. I just love everything about this place from the exquisite individual cabins, to the myriad of dining options, gorgeous Cowshed spa and beautiful grounds. It’s a place where you won’t be short of things to do either.
The attention to detail is some of the finest I’ve seen and owner Nick Jones has gone to every effort to make this the ultimate country retreat in the UK.
Needless to say, there’s a return in store for 2018! It’s a little bubble of paradise and well and truly my happy place.
FACT: Every morning a pint of milk is delivered to your room. You can also arrange the breakfast float to cook you breakfast right outside your room and in the evenings the cocktail float is available to make your favourite tipple. I told you they’d thought of everything.
12. Coworth Park, Ascot, UK
While Soho Farmhouse has the rustic causal charm down to a tee, Coworth Park is the epitome of elegant refinement though it’s never stuffy and overly formal. The Dorchester Collection hotel easily take the position as my second favourite UK hotel after my beloved Farmhouse.
We actually came here for our family Easter and it really was the perfect choice. I absolutely loved walking around the extensive ground and our suite was gorgeous with major #bathtubgoals.
Casual dining takes place at The Barn and more formal dinners at Restaurant Coworth Park which was recently awarded a Michelin star. The spa is located separately from the main house and it is the perfect place to relax.
FACT: The hotel has its own horses and is the only UK hotel to feature its own polo fields.
13. Chewton Glen, New Forest, UK
Chewton Glen has been a family favourite for years and this time I was delighted to return for a mini Staycation with my mum to check out The Kitchen & Cookery school, a new restaurant and dining concept offered by the luxury country hotel.
Chewton Glen never disappoints and we loved our Junior Suites, dinner at The Dining Room and a healthy cookery class at The Kitchen.
FACT: At Chewton Glen you can opt to spend the night at treehouse and sleep 35 feet above the ground, at one with nature and with your head in the clouds!
Something a Little Different
14. Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, Two hours outside Madrid, Spain
Another one of my favourites this year was something completely different. I totally fell in love with Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine in Spain. Once a 12th century monastery it has been converted to a gorgeous luxury hotel that sits right on a vineyard
Much of the original architecture is preserved including a central chapel and cloister garden.
Highlights of this hotel are the glorious Michelin-starred restaurant, the incredible spa and organised tours of the vineyard.
FACT: The hotel includes the world’s first spa sommelier and innovative vinotherapy concept. Based on your wine preferences the Spa Sommelier determines the treatments and experiences that would most suit your needs.
15. Deplar Farm, The Troll Peninsula, Iceland
On an unspoilt Peninsula in ‘middle-of-no-where’ Iceland lies Deplar Farm. Easily my favourite hotel of 2017, and one of my top hotels of all time. So why was this grass-roofed hotel located in a former sheep farm surrounded by wilderness my favourite place?
It was the way we were made to feel totally at home by the wonderful staff who treated us like part of the family. Our room was like a bedroom at a family home, meals were taken communally and you’re encouraged to grab a snacks from the communal fridge. The spa was a dream and the geo-thermal swimming pool had a built-in bar so you could enjoy a cocktail during your swim.
With hotel being all-inclusive, all activities were organised too so we were able to experience the beauty of this magical country fully with a dip in a hot spring, a ride on Icelandic horses and viewing awe-inspiring waterfalls. As I said before, ‘falling in love’ with a hotel is about a certain feeling you get and Deplar Farm truly gave me the warm and fuzzies!
FACT: For the truly daring, Deplar Farm offers heli-sking in the winter. And yes, that’s where you jump out of a helicopter…
Those are my top fifteen hotels of year and I already have exciting plans for next year! Which of these do you like the best? Have you stayed in any wonderful hotels this year?
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