BEST FOR BOUTIQUE HOTELS
Intimate and stylish, the boutique hotels on this website are all hand-picked for their unique charm. There are options in the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, America and Australasia and the company offers a price match promise, meaning you can be sure you’re getting a good deal. You can also search via different themes, which is ideal if you know you want a city break, relaxing spa weekend or an eco-friendly getaway.
Small Luxury Hotels
This is a great resource for small hotels with a big impact. SLH features around 500 hotels in more than 80 countries, each one with its own quirks and character. We love the fact you can also buy gift cards for the website –the perfect way to give a loved one a special present.
For some of the smartest hotels available, check out Tablet Hotels. The site prides itself on selecting only the most extraordinary venues, and makes the booking process as easy as possible. Hotels are anonymously evaluated by the team’s experts and are only kept on the site if they receive rave reviews. From hip independent boutique offerings to grand old palace options, you’ll find everything here.
BEST FOR UNUSUAL STAYS
As well as showcasing a brilliant collection of cottages and hotels across the world, Welcome Beyond also features a number of more unique lodgings. Choose from yurts in Cornwall, a tree house in Tanzania, a cave home in Italy and much more. Each one has plenty of personality and offers the perfect location for an unusual getaway.
Canopy and Stars
If you love getting close to nature and spending time outside, Canopy and Stars is the website for you. From destinations offering wild swimming to firepits, hammocks and stunning views - you’ll be spoilt for choice.
The name of this website says it all and if you’re looking for somewhere a little bit quirky to stay – this is the place to come. Showcasing teepees, underground caves, chateaus, ice hotels and railway carriages, there are all sorts to keep curious travellers satisfied.
BEST FOR BUDGET TRIPS
If you fly a lot, chances are you’ve already used Sky Scanner. This handy flight comparison site lets you search through all the different options for your destination, and most importantly dates and prices. We love the fact you can see all the low-cost flights for any given time period - great if you're looking for a bargain and don't mind where you end up.
Some travel comparison sites can be awkward to use – but not Hipmunk. This one-stop-shop scours thousands of other travel sites in seconds so you can compare different options for flights, hotels or cars – and shows the results in an simple-to-read format. View hotels on a map, look at flights on a timeline and see what’s included in every booking.
This travel deal site provides some of the best holiday offers available on the internet. You can search through flights, holiday packages, accommodation and cruises, and the prices are really budget-friendly.
BEST FOR UK STAYS
As the brainchild of two women in the know (Liz Simpson is the former editor of luxury travel website i-escape.com, while Sarah de Vere-Drummond has spent more than 10 years in boutique travel marketing), you can rest assured you’re in good hands with Kip. The website features the most gorgeous self-catering hideouts across the UK - we love that all the options fall within the £50-£200-a-night price bracket.
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to call home during your staycation, Cool Stays should be on your radar. There are nearly 1,300 unusual listings in England (as well as other options worldwide), so there’s sure to be somewhere that takes your fancy. Browse listings including treehouses, lighthouses, boats, chapels, windmills and shepherd huts, and plan a trip to remember.
By booking a holiday through the National Trust, you’ll not only guarantee yourself a memorable getaway, but you’ll also be supporting vital conservation work. Choose from cosy and unique holiday cottages, bothies and bunkhouses near national parks, camping and glamping options or a relaxing hotel and spa experience. From fisherman’s cottages and ancient mansions to listed lodges and turreted towers, you’ll find all sorts on offer.
BEST FOR SELF-CATERING LUXURY
One Fine Stay
As the name suggests, One Fine Stay provides access to some of the finest, most luxurious properties across the world. Space, character and comfort are all priorities for the brand, and the team visits and vets every home featured. There are tasteful touches in every venue, too – pristine sheets, luxury towels and toiletries, and a friendly face to meet you on arrival.
For a city break with style, check out Sonder. The apartments showcased are all leased by the company and transformed into chic and stylish places for guests to sleep. The group aims to offer the consistency and quality service of a great hotel, along with the warmth and comfort of a real home. You’ll find accommodation in some of the most popular cities in the world, including Rome, San Francisco, Dublin, Dubai and Toronto.
Veeve is a great option for those looking to stay in London, although it also includes listings in LA and Paris, too. There are more than 1,000 characterful homes to choose from, and guests can also add extra home comforts to their booking, such as fridge fills and maid service. Veeve is essentially a luxury property management company and looks after homes that are rented out, as well as offering a range of add-ons such as professional housekeeping and concierge services.
BEST FOR LAST MINUTE TRIPS
Haven’t got time to hunt through hundreds of travel sites? Kayak takes the pressure off. It showcases the best-value flights, hotels and car hire deals, and ensures you get a bargain, even last minute. The explore section is particularly handy, letting you search through all the destinations on offer.
Find cheap flights in seconds with help from this internet giant. Google Flights allows you to book journeys from more than 300 airlines and online travel agencies. It’s easy to use and has loads of great features to help make holiday hunting even easier.
Need somewhere to stay at short notice? Hotel Tonight can help. This website offers brilliant last-minute deals for stays across the world, all the while being nicely laid out and easy to use. We like the simple signposts which point out if a hotel is hip, luxe, solid or basic.
BEST FOR FAMILY
This is another brilliant one to keep up your sleeve when booking holidays, and we particularly love its attention to detail when it comes to family holidays. With lots of information as to why each listing is good for kids and the guarantee that it will be kitted out for all ages (think high chairs, games and more), we love the peace of mind it gives.
Tots to Travel
Another one which has it in the name, Tots to Travel is especially good for those with toddlers. Each listing has extensive details about why it’s suitable for youngsters, and there’s a good amount of detail when it comes to safety considerations. It’s great for those who want a truly family-friendly environment and are trying to reduce the stress involved with travelling with little ones.
Mr & Mrs Smith
This luxury boutique website may not be known for its family-friendly offerings, but it’s still got a great choice. Hotels, cottages and villas are all included in the listings and there’s loads of information about each venue, giving parents exactly what they need to work out if it’s right for them. You can also choose to search hotels which offer special features such as crèches, nannies and kids clubs.
BEST FOR ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS
Step outside your comfort zone with the help of this experienced travel operator. It offers an amazing collection of group tours, taking in places such as the Silk Road, Loas and Cambodia, the Oman Desert and Iran. You can also search via themes such as wildlife trips, family-friendly tours, honeymoon holidays and more.
For an unforgettable adventure, take a look at what Explore has to offer. Specialising in small group adventure holidays, there are more than 500 trips to choose from – including family adventures, walking holidays, cycling trips and wildlife-focused getaways. With expert local guides, you’ll be sure to get right to the heart of your destination.
This inventive adventure operator has plenty to choose from. With self-guided trips available as well as walking, cycling, wildlife, culture and family holidays, there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy. We love the fact Exodus offers a tailor-made service too, where the company creates a bespoke trip especially for you. Check out the Exodus Edits collection as well – it’s specially designed for busy professionals in their 30s and 40s.
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