Chocolate-box villages, cookie-cutter cottages and bang-average Airbnbs are as common in the Cotswolds as DFLs (down from Londoners) are queuing outside Daylesford. Until Bibury Farm Barns flung open its doors and shook up the UK’s self-catering scene, that is.
Our edit of the best hotels around the world, from design-forward city stays to beachfront getaways and wilderness lodges. If we don’t love it, we won’t cover it.
Near the Piazza del Popolo, Castel Sant’Angelo and the Campo de’ Fiori, hotel J.K. Place Roma is an ideal base for discovering Rome’s star attractions – and a contemporary-cool retreat for a little R&R (and a decent negroni) between the sights.
Situated on a sprawling estate in a little-discovered pocket of East Anglia, Wilderness Reserve is collection of cottages rewriting the traditional self-catering stay. Spend days free-wheeling through woodland or foraging in the bucolic grounds.
Hideaway of the jet set and the glitterati, the celebrated Villa d’Este is caught between Lake Como and it’s own private parkland. Spend days by the floating pool, strolling through the grounds and letting white-gloved waiters fawn over you while you dine on the lakeside terrace.
Rising from the cliffs of Corfu, the eight-bedroom Villa Soukillia is the haute couture of self-catered holiday homes. Great for a sun-seeking group getaway, it comes with a fully stocked kitchen, infinity pool and a private beach. Want more? The harbour town of Kassiopi is on the doorstep – and we’ve found its best restaurants.
Just over two hours’ drive from Athens, this marble-columned hilltop hotel is the ideal base for lazy, poolside days and sunset tipples overlooking the Aegean Sea. Like any Aman property, Amanzoe has a wealth of restaurant offerings, a state-of-the-art spa and exceptional service – oh, and the Beach Club is within easy reach.
A Venetian institution, The Gritti Palace draws discerning travellers with its 15th-century charm and views across the Grand Canal. Thanks to its state-of-the-art spa and Italian menus, it’s the perfect base for exploring La Serenissima – so long as you finish the day with cocktails on Bar Longhi’s famed terrace.
Clinging to the cliffside about a hundred steps from Positano's heaving seafront, legendary Le Sirenuse offers a beguiling escape from the holidaymaker humdrum that is the Amalfi Coast during summer months.
Away from Italy’s tourist hotspots of Bari, Ostuni and Alberobello, this revamped 17th-century castle (and family home) immerses guests in southern Italian culture with its world-class cookery school, Puglian tasting menus, artistic flair and surprisingly green eco-credentials.
Reminiscent of an ancient Omani fort, Alila Jabal Akhdar clings to the side of its namesake mountain. Beyond its spectacular infinity pool, you can indulge in an array of wellness activities including yoga, and meditation before evenings spent beneath the stars. Its locavore fare and eco-conscious initiatives attract those looking to harmonise themselves with the impressive natural surrounds.
If Gordes is the darling of Provence, then we’ve fallen head over heels for its most romantic hotel, Airelles Gordes, La Bastide. Gazing across the Luberon Valley from medieval ramparts, its lavender-strewn terraced gardens, clubby bar and vaulted spa draw bon vivants summering in the South of France.
As perfect for outdoor enthusiasts as it is for those who want to go off-grid without forgoing modern luxuries, The Duncombe Arms, a Michelin-accredited pub with rooms, brings together country-chic design and a great Sunday roast on the southern fringe of the Peak District.
A polished-concrete symbol of Stratford’s urban regeneration, The Stratford hotel is a Scandi-style rule breaker that draws city-break guests and those after long-term loft apartments with world-class design credentials, a spectacular sky terrace, a fine-dining farm-to-table restaurant and easy access to central London and beyond.
Floating pools. Technicolour design. Gardens overflowing with flowers. Gazing out over Lake Como, Italy’s most famous body of water, Grand Hotel Tremezzo deserves cult status. Expect an award-winning spa and a pizza-cocktail combo that’s hard to refuse.
Offering a laid-back, contemporary stay and a whole host of watersports beside one of Cornwall’s much-loved surfing beaches, the Watergate Bay Hotel is the benchmark in coastal retreats for city dwellers.