What do you think of when you think of luxury? A grand hotel and butler service? Yes, indeed – but such luxury has a time and a place. At other times getting away from the textbook description and finding a place others haven’t or stumbling across a gem where you least expect is as good if not better. Over the years we’ve developed a knack for finding places such as these, and here are some great examples:
The Crown Inn, Elton
10 minutes from Peterborough and 90 minutes drive from North London and you will discover The Crown Inn, in a sleepy countryside village where there is no traffic hum whatsoever and footpaths heading off into Wind in the Willows country along the River Nene. A perfect location for a weekend away from London, the inn has 8 rooms on offer, all of which are luxuriously and individually decorated. Everything is thought through to ensure you have a relaxing time. There’s also a welcoming bar and a quieter snug area as well as a restaurant serving great bistro options as well as tempting pub grub. An inn with great character and comfort.
XVA Art Hotel, Dubai
In the old town of Dubai (there is one) it may surprise you to know that there is a tiny boutique hotel. Dubai is renowned for its big budget luxury hotels and so it is refreshing to find somewhere well away from the hotel-scene. The rooms are simple, yet luxurious. The hotel hosts a gallery and so the decoration will change but as a result is very unique. There is also a cafe in the courtyard which serves fabulous mini-lemonade. The hotel offers a real break away from the hubbub of the city at the same time as getting you closer to the culture of the real city. The management are incredibly helpful and will ensure you enjoy the local area as well as advising on the best way to see the well-known sites. There isn’t a pool, however there are plenty of shaded spots away from the heat.
Sycamore Avenue Treehouses, South Africa
What better than your own field and treehouse, lovingly made by the owner of the venue. Stumbling across this was a real treat. Each treehouse is homemade and across a couple of floors has balcony space (with views over to the Drakensberg Mountains), a hot tub and a bedroom with wood-burning stove. Despite being in a tree there is running water and electricity and it is one of the most unique places I have stayed in. Each treehouse is different and they offer such privacy and space. Dining here is more like being at a friends house, real home-cooked feasts every night. The wine is dealt with through a trust bar with a fridge full of white and a rack of red on top. Don’t be deterred by the lack of a wine list – your free choice will always get you something good!
Another big city where it is possible to find a hotel that in comparison to many, is tiny. The Naumi hotel is just round the corner from Raffles and has a magnificent roof pool and bar that commands incredible views of the city. There are 73 luxurious rooms which are simple but evidently expensively decorated. Personal service despite being in the CBD. The hotel is ‘fun’ and is ideal for a business visit (well lit and equipped rooms) and a holiday (the pool really is a major selling point).
Camberley Vineyard, Stellenbosch
A private guest cottage on a boutique winery 15 minutes drive from the centre of Stellenbosch would be lovely. Luckily such a place exists. And not only is this, the cottage also has its own plunge pool, views of the stunning countryside and free-access to the gorgeous vineyard. Wine-tasting the the proprietor is also a fantastic way to spend the afternoon. As a self-catering cottage everything has been thought of and there is plenty of interior and exterior space. Breakfast is included and is a feast best enjoyed in the dappled garden sunshine.
As these examples show looking beyond the obvious and finding something a little more personal and unique has identifies some wonderful locations providing unique local experiences.
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