Luxury travel: 26 of the best hotels to discover in 2022
Featuring a ‘treehouse-like’ lodge in Queensland and a stylish retreat in Mexico
Cashel Palace Hotel Co.
Set on the main street of the postcard-pretty Tipperary town of Cashel, this 18th century archbishop’s residence is one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. Converted into a hotel 60 years ago, it became a favourite of Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor, and this year it reopened after a makeover by new owners.
The results are good, says Susan d’Arcy in The Times. The place is as elegant as ever, but with a friendly ambience despite all the gilded mirrors and chandeliers. Staff are “boundlessly enthusiastic”, food is “delicious”, the spa is good, and rooms are “stylish”, with views of the ruins of the Rock of Cashel.
Silky Oaks Lodge
Queensland’s Daintree National Park is the world’s oldest living rainforest, and this “treehouse-like” lodge offers guests a deep immersion in its wonders, says Chloe Sachdev in Condé Nast Traveller. Set beside the Mossman River, it opened in 1985, but has recently emerged from a makeover by new owners James and Hayley Baillie, who specialise in “smart, culturally sensitive” hotels in remote areas.
There are new suites with outdoor tubs and fires, a huge chef’s garden supplying produce to the lodge’s pan-Asian restaurant, and “First Nations” rainforest tours on which guests learn about the ways of the Kuku Yalanji people.
Beaverbrook Town House
The Beaverbrook hotel in Surrey occupies the former home of the press baron Lord Beaverbrook; this one in Chelsea is its sister property. It opened last year, with interiors echoing the glamour of the 1920s, when Beaverbrook was in his prime, said Condé Nast Traveller.
Spread across two Georgian houses on Sloane Street, the 14 suites feature rich colour schemes, prominent use of printed textiles, vintage theatre posters and glassy tiled bathrooms like “precious jewel boxes”. In the bar, Japonisme meets art deco to opulent yet intimate effect, and there’s a Japanese restaurant with a strong sushi menu.
Set back from the Pacific in a fashionable corner of Oaxaca state, 15 miles from the surf town of Puerto Escondido, this new and stylish retreat was designed by the Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, says Mary Holland in the FT.
Its 14 interconnected villas feel both “ancient” and “futuristic”, with arched concrete ceilings, pale brick walls, rooftop pools and “brilliant” views of the sea and surrounding wilds. It is entirely off the grid (all its power comes from the Sun), but very comfortable all the same. The hotel has two communal pools and a hammam, and chic attractions such as the Casa Wabi art foundation and Kakurega Omakase restaurant lie within easy reach.
Linthwaite House Bowness
This sprawling Edwardian mansion high above Windermere is a great place for a “grown-up escape”, says Susan d’Arcy in The Times. Public areas are “resplendent in animal stripes and tribal pieces” following a £10m revamp that “nods to the owner’s South African roots”, but the decor in the rooms is pale and understated. Standard ones are small; if you can, opt for one of the spacious, cedar-clad suites set in the landscaped grounds, which extend to 14 acres.
The restaurant is overseen by Simon Rogan, whose nearby L’Enclume has three Michelin stars, and dishes tend to feature local ingredients with an “exotic” twist.
The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon Beacons
Few things are more appealing than “a proper country inn with great food, a blissful bed and somewhere lovely to walk after a heroic breakfast” – and the Felin Fach Griffin fits that description perfectly, says Fiona Duncan in The Sunday Telegraph.
Set in one of the most “wildly beautiful” parts of the country, this centuries-old establishment is refreshingly “unpretentious”, with rooms furnished with “auction-room finds” (no “rustic-chic” nonsense here) and supplied with Roberts radios and vases of fresh flowers, but no TVs. The pub downstairs is great, and the food is so robustly tasty it’s worth the journey in itself.
Artist Residence Bristol
This new boutique hotel in Bristol’s rapidly gentrifying St Pauls district is the fifth in the Artist Residence chain, a brand that began life in Brighton in 2008. Occupying an “elegant” Georgian town house, it has “playful” interiors and an air of “grown-up hedonism”, says Olivia Morelli in Condé Nast Traveller.
The 23 rooms come with fluffy robes, local spirits and Tony’s Chocolonely bars, and vary in size from “dinky” to “sprawling”. Some have free-standing bathtubs. Downstairs is The Library, a space with “distressed walls and mismatched chairs” that serves as a breakfast spot, a café and a cocktail bar. There is no restaurant now, but there will be one soon.
Sextantio Abruzzo, Italy
The website Ecobnb is a good place for “affordable escapes” with green credentials in Italy – and among its most characterful listings is this albergo diffuso in Abruzzo, says Liz Boulter in The Guardian. Perched at an altitude of 1,250m in the Gran Sasso National Park, the hotel is spread across several medieval buildings in the fortified village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio.
Its interiors are timeless, with wooden beds and “gorgeous” handwoven covers in the rooms, and handcrafted crockery in the restaurant, which serves local, seasonal food. And there are no end of activities on offer, from massages and cookery lessons to wolf tracking and truffle hunting.
No.15 by GuestHouse
Relaunched under new management last year, following a “mini makeover”, this townhouse hotel in Bath (formerly called No. 15 Great Pulteney) mixes “Georgian splendour” with “modern whimsy” to crisply stylish effect, says Paula Ellis in Condé Nast Traveller.
The 37 rooms have “quirky” design features, such as coffee machines enclosed in doll’s houses. Elsewhere, “understated hedonism” rules: there is a stylish spa and a great list of “twisted classic cocktails” in the bar; for children, you will find teepee hideouts and instant cameras; and in the “elegant”dining room, they serve good seasonal British food.
The Merrion Hotel
This Dublin hotel is “the sort of place where a two-night stay feels like a ten-day holiday”, says Fiona Duncan in The Sunday Telegraph. Situated opposite the handsome Government Buildings, it occupies four 18th century town houses (in one of which the Duke of Wellington was born), and has “resolutely traditional” decor, a fine collection of 19th and 20th century art and a wonderful air of calm.
Rooms are well equipped; there’s an excellent new spa (with sauna, steam room, gym and pool) and two of the very best restaurants in Ireland – the “bright” Garden Room and “gastronomic hotspot” Patrick Guilbaud, which has two Michelin stars.
Shinta Mani Wild
This riverside camp in southwest Cambodia is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face, said Juliet Kinsman in Condé Nast Traveller. Guests arrive in an ex-military fourwheel drive, but the final leg of the journey is via a “zip wire over the forest canopy”.
Even more thrilling is the camp’s location – an 865-acre swathe of “magical” rainforest that lies between three national parks and which was bought by the camp’s American owner to protect it from loggers and poachers. The tents are “decadent” and “whimsically themed”, the food is “wonderful”, and there’s a spa and “scores” of river- and forest-based activities to enjoy.
Casa Maria Luigia
Having won three Michelin stars for his restaurant in Modena, the renowned chef Massimo Bottura opened this country house hotel, in an 18th century villa on the outskirts of the town, in 2019.
It has 12 bedrooms hung with contemporary art, and a pool and a tennis court in the pretty grounds – but the “main pull” is, of course, the food, said Tatler. Guests congregate around communal tables to sample Bottura’s best-known dishes, including “pasta al pesto in abstract” and “the crunchy part of the lasagna”, and on Sundays, there are long, leisurely brunches overseen by his wife, Lara Gilmore.
This new “off-grid, solar-powered escape” on Mozambique’s Nhamabue Peninsula is “the epitome of barefoot luxury”, said Tatler. Its main lodge is built “in the local architectural vernacular, using natural materials”, and its six private bungalows strike a note of “sophisticated African minimalism”, with design details including outdoor baths, woven baskets, thrown-earth pots, and chairs crafted on site.
The resort has a saltwater lap pool and a white-sand beach, and sits beside a 1,425-square-kilometre marine protected area. The diving and snorkelling are good, and dugongs (a rare cousin of the manatee) are often seen in the nearby lagoon.
Seaham Hall, County Durham
Lord Byron got married at this Georgian pile on a sea cliff in County Durham in 1815. Today, it combines “stately grandeur” (vast gardens, chandeliers, open fires) with modern luxury – making a stay here dizzyingly indulgent, says Sherelle Jacobs in The Sunday Telegraph.
The spa is “jaw-dropping”, with a Zen garden, a hammam and numerous pools. Suites are “vivaciously decorated”, and some have outside spaces with hot tubs. The hotel has two restaurants – one specialising in British dishes, the other in pan-Asian cuisine. There are lovely coastal walks nearby, and Durham itself is a 20-minute drive away.
Palácio Príncipe Real Lisbon
Recently restored by British owners Gail and Miles Curley, this beautiful pink palacio in the heart of the Portuguese capital is “a home from home”, says Tatler.
There are Nespresso machines, complimentary minibars (try the ginger health shots) and fresh flowers in the 28 bedrooms, some of which have balconies, and all of which have views over the hotel’s leafy gardens and heated swimming pool.
Bathrooms have heated floors, large tubs, rain showers and Byredo products. Dinner, served inside or under the stars, is “simple and seasonal”, and the extensive wine list is excellent.
The Star Alfriston
Recently revamped by the hotelier and designer Olga Polizzi, this medieval inn is an ideal base from which to explore the South Downs, said Tatler. The interiors are lovely (both in the main building and the 1930s and 1960s extensions, where most of the rooms are), with a mixture of contemporary and antique furniture, as well as “jaunty” Richard Smith textiles and “painterly” Lewis & Wood wallpapers.
The cosy restaurant is run by River Cafe alumnus Tim Kensett, who draws on a larder of local ingredients, and the bar, with its beamed ceilings and stone floors, is a great place for a leisurely Sunday roast.
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Located right at the start of Orchard Road – Singapore’s answer to Oxford Street – is the Grand Hyatt, a luxury five-star hotel in the heart of the Lion City. With its smack-bang-central position, cavernous conference facilities and suites bigger than the average London flat, this hotel is the perfect Singapore base whether you’re visiting for work or for pleasure.
The hotel contains several restaurants including mezza9, its signature, which is found on the mezzanine level and offers several cuisines, from traditional Chinese dishes to a Japanese sashimi bar. The buffet breakfast at StraitsKitchen – where guests can opt for a classic fry up or a regional speciality like laksa or wok-fried carrot cake – is one of the most varied you’ll find.
Sustainability is at the heart of this 677-room hotel; it has an in-house waste management plant that converts 1,000kg of daily food waste into organic fertiliser, guests are given sugar cane drinking straws and it rescues 4,000kg of “ugly” oranges from landfill each year – squeezing them for juice instead. And as the Grand Hyatt marks 50 years since it opened its doors, the hotel is planning to introduce several other sustainability innovations to help minimise its environmental impact even further.
One of Britain’s most “beloved” fishing hotels since the 1930s, this former coaching inn near the Tamar in Devon recently emerged from a refurbishment that has left its “tranquil, traditional feel” intact, says Fiona Duncan in The Sunday Telegraph.
New owners Simon Village and Arabella Monro have opened a deli in an outbuilding – already proving “hugely popular” – while the food in the “grand” dining room remains “impressive”. You don’t have to fish to enjoy a stay here: the hotel, in the “inconspicuous” village of Lifton, is also a great base from which to explore some of England’s “loveliest” countryside.
Located just 20 minutes from Stoke-on-Trent, this new resort is a “superb spot for a long weekend”, said Mark C. O’Flaherty in The Sunday Telegraph. A “seriously luxurious rural wonderland”, it features “hobbit-like” holiday villas, treehouses and cabins, set within 70 acres of lakes, woodlands and trails, and centred on an excellent restaurant.
The accommodation units have big windows and fresh, bright decor, and many contain hot tubs and free-standing bathtubs. There’s a heated outdoor pool, and staff will prepare baskets “full of goodies” for picnics. It is an “impressive” alternative to “England’s assorted Pigs and Soho Farmhouses”.
Côte d’Azur, France
The Maybourne Riviera
Perched above the village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, this opening from the Maybourne group (which owns Claridge’s and The Connaught) is the hippest of the top-class hotels on the Côte d’Azur, says Lanie Goodman in Condé Nast Traveller.
A “dazzling block of white criss-crossed lines and floor-to-ceiling glass”, it has a “modernist” feel within, with “museum-quality” art including a huge Louise Bourgeois sculpture. There’s a holistic spa and two pools, as well as private pools in some of the 69 rooms. Restaurants include Ceto, created by three Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco.
Set in 438 acres of pasture and woodland on Hampshire’s northern fringes (an hour from central London), this revamped Georgian manor house is a fabulously chic home away from home, says Jo Rodgers in Condé Nast Traveller.
The hotel reopened in 2018, after a ten-year restoration, with interiors overseen by designer Ben Thompson. These are true to the building’s “red brick bones” but “perfectly modern” too, with “earthy” textures and tones, “elegantly unadorned” walls in forest-green, ochre and rose, and nothing “stuffy or chintzy” in sight.
A biodynamic farm on the estate supplies the two “wonderful” restaurants, which are both overseen by Skye Gyngell; a spa will open this year. Activities include trail running, wild swimming and rowing on the ornamental lake.
Six Senses Yao Noi
This “barefoot luxe haven” lies on a peaceful island mid-way between Phuket and Krabi. With its sublime views over the cerulean waters and “dramatic” limestone sea-stacks of Phang Nga Bay, it is worth visiting just to watch the sunrise, says Lee Cobaj in The Daily Telegraph – but its charms don’t end there. It also has an “insanely photogenic” hilltop infinity pool, a gorgeous white beach and a spa that is “one of the best in the region”.
Its 56 thatched villas have driftwood canopy beds, sunken bathtubs with sea views, and large decks with pools. There’s a long list of complimentary activities, including yoga, “mini-massages” and watersports, and the food is good, with a strong emphasis on local cuisine made with ingredients from the hotel’s gardens.
Belmond Splendido Mare
Portofino is the jewel of the Italian Riviera, and the Splendido Mare is worthy of it, says Condé Nast Traveller. Occupying what was once a guest house for fishermen, it is the “harbourside sister” of the larger Splendido – the hotel on the hillside above, which became famous as a “magnet for movie stars” (Elizabeth Taylor spent four of her honeymoons there).
Having recently emerged from a subtle but “exquisite” refurbishment, the Mare’s interior features Loro Piana fabrics, local terracotta tiles and plenty of “nautical nods” in its 14 rooms. In the restaurant, Enrico and Roberto Cerea stick to simpler dishes than in their Michelin-starred establishment in Bergamo. Their breakfast banquets are a particular joy, best enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the “emerald” bay.
Hotel Le Toiny
The only privately owned five-star hotel on the French Caribbean island of St Barths, this “tropical sanctuary” mixes “old-school English hospitality” with pleasing interior design and “epic” sea views, says Celina D’Abo in Tatler.
Located on the island’s “wild” side, away from most of its other resorts, it was bought in 2015 by hoteliers Charlie and Mandie Vere Nicoll and has recently emerged from a makeover by British designer Bee Osborn. Its 22 villas are set on the hillside above Toiny Bay, with private pools and calming, neutral interiors. Below them is a four-bedroom villa once owned by Rudolf Nureyev, with a terrace cantilevered over the sea, and an excellent beach club – although strong currents mean it’s not a great beach to swim off.
Housed in the early 20th century Samaritaine department store building – a few doors down from the Louvre – the LVMH group’s first urban hotel is “a chic addition to the 1st arrondissement”, says Tatler.
American architect Peter Marino has made the most of the spectacular views it commands across the Seine in his interiors, with floor-to-ceiling windows and the clever use of mirrors.
The 72 rooms are “feminine, light-filled, white-on-white affairs”, with marble bathrooms featuring “lotions and potions” created by the Dior “nose” François Demachy. Elsewhere, striking modern art adds a dash of colour. There’s a rooftop bar with views of the Eiffel Tower, and four restaurants, including Plénitude, from Arnaud Donckele, who was voted best chef in the world in 2019.
An hour’s drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh, this “old dame” has long been known for its warm service and the array of country pursuits it offers, from clay shooting to fishing and falconry. But now it has “a dash of hipster gloss” too, said The Times, thanks to a recent £30m makeover by the Ennismore company (which also owns the Hoxton Hotels in London).
The exterior – a “baronial” building with modern extensions – is not that appealing; but the interiors “ooze luxury”, with “light-filled” living rooms, antique four-poster beds in the 232 bedrooms, and “tubs for two” in the suites. Of its six restaurants, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is the only one in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars. There’s a spa, and on the hotel’s 850-acre estate are tennis courts and several golf courses.