The Ultimate Gift For Travel Lovers This Christmas
CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH MR & MRS SMITH
Mr & Mrs Smith is the travel club for hotel lovers. An award-winning boutique-hotel booking service, it specialises in some of the world’s most seductive stays, offering more than 1,200 boutique and luxury hotels – all hand-picked and anonymously reviewed. The service guarantees you the best prices, free extras on arrival and round-the-clock service from Smith24, its in-house travel specialist.
New for 2019, Mr & Mrs Smith has created its ‘Get a Room!’ gift card. From £215, the voucher set can be pre-loaded with anything between £150 and £5,000 to spend on a stay in any Mr & Mrs Smith property. It also includes three 70g scented Diptyque candles (Feu de Bois, Ambre and Baies) presented in a coffret box.
Wondering where to spend your gift card? Here are the winners of the Smith Awards 2019…
Best Smith Hotel: Casa Fortunato Lisbon, Portugal
Townhouse Casa Fortunato is a nine-suite hotel overlooking a tree-lined boulevard in Amoreiras, an elegant neighbourhood that’s long been a haunt of Portuguese high society. The house bears all the hallmarks of a stately past including a sweeping staircase, grand living room and suites with soaring ceilings. Architect-owners Filipa and Antonio have channelled a wealth of experience into its transformation, combining original tiling and timber floors with contemporary design. Best of all, it still feels like a (very luxe) home.
Best-Dressed Hotel: Palazzo Daniele Puglia, Italy
Modernism meets old-world majesty at Palazzo Daniele, a Pugliese mansion. The 19th-century palazzo served owner Francesco Petrucci’s family for four generations until he threw open its doors, enlisting Milanese architects to restore its historic look. Now, its period details have been married with minimalist furniture and striking art installations, and the once-formal atmosphere has been replaced by something far more familial. We love the look of the orange grove and outdoor pool.
World’s Sexiest Bedroom: Joali, The Maldives
This honeymoon island isn’t a place you’d ordinarily associate with the art world, but Joali’s immersive art collection and big-name curators might yet coax the critics into their swimwear. The romantic resort has a playful spirit and lots of activities: follow the Art Map through the palms, find colourful reefs with resident marine biologist Sam, or learn to cook Maldivian delicacies in the kitchen.
Best Date-Night Bar: Maison de la Luz New Orleans, USA
What was once a City Hall annex is now Maison de la Luz, a lofty, light-filled hotel – and an A-list addition to downtown New Orleans. On arrival, a Wes Anderson-esque check-in desk, complete with tasselled keys, two sweeping staircases and a living room with covetable furnishings and colour-pop details compete for attention. In your stylish bedroom, you'll be seduced by tactile touches, bespoke bath tubs and local-leaning artwork.
Best Smith Villa: Uxua Alma Casa Anderson Bahia, Brazil
Spread out over a set of four structures made by local craftsmen, Casa Anderson is a refreshing rainforest retreat by the Brazilian coast. At the centre of Bahia’s historic Quadrado, this luxury villa fans out under a canopy of tropical trees in a private garden. Each of the three bedrooms is set in its own bungalow (one a treehouse-style pavilion on stilts), and a fourth colonial-style building houses the main indoor living area and master kitchen. There’s also a gently curving private pool and plenty of inviting outdoor areas.
Most Spoiling Spa: Euphoria Mystras, Greece
In the pine-clad hills of the Peloponnese peninsula, Euphoria Retreat delivers world-class spa therapies. This holistic spa hotel is within walking distance of the fortified town of Mystras, the ruined second city of the Byzantine empire. Providing a link with old-world Greece, these cultural roots have been woven into the hotel’s fabric, with domed ceilings, ancient patterns and rich, earthy colours adding a classical finish to the otherwise modern design scheme. The spa itself is spread over four floors and staffed by a team of experts from dozens of disciplines.
Best Budget Boutique: Sands Hotel & Spa Palm Springs, USA
Retro-chic Sands Hotel & Spa is in the Coachella Valley city of Indian Wells. Thanks to designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, this desert escape is filled with bright prints, exotic tiles, pink stucco walls, greenery galore, cacti, fire pits and a pool with humbug-striped cabanas. Highlights include the Cali-meets-Marrakech spa (which has a trio of treatment rooms) and the Pink Cabana restaurant and bar.
Above & Beyond: North Island, The Seychelles
North Island in the Seychelles provided the backdrop for Wills and Kate’s honeymoon – and it’s not hard to see what lured them here. For starters, there’s a PADI dive centre, a clifftop infinity pool, two restaurants and VIP villas with exceptional views.
Best Gourmet Getaway: The Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
The Pig at Bridge Place has taken a storied estate belonging to Kentish gentry – via a raucous rock ’n’ roll reinvention in the 60s – and applied a winning formula of country charm, fresh-as-it-gets food and rural relaxation. The main house comes with cosy nooks to curl up in (and sip some local wine); there’s a string of cabins and the Pig’s trademark kitchen garden has a hidden patio for al fresco feasting.
Best Family Hotel: Datai Langkawi, Malaysia
You’ve probably not slept in a ten-million-year-old rainforest before. Change that at The Datai Langkawi on Datai Bay, one of the top ten beaches in the world, according to National Geographic. The hotel is totally plugged into its surroundings, from its team of resident naturalists and marine biologists to its nature-immersion experiences, educational Nature Centre and an indigenous ingredients-championing spa.
Coolest Creative Hub: L’Otel at Dôce 18 Concept House San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Astride a string of fashion boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, L’Otel at Dôce 18 Concept House is a window onto San Miguel de Allende’s creative scene. The colonial-era casa is a pretty pink-stone building that’s become a hub for the city’s artistic community. On the ground floor, you’ll find everything from fine tequila to homegrown fashion; upstairs, you’ll bed down in cool rooms furnished with artistic flair. On the roof, expect a sun-trap terrace and pool.
Local Hotel Hero: Salt of Palmar, Mauritius
This palm tree-lined paradise has more than a passing Moroccan influence from the outside, but the interiors are more rainbow than riad. Across the resort, there’s a rooftop bar, spa, pool and white sand just a few steps away. On the agenda, you’ll find feel-good trips to a sustainable salt farm and skill swaps with islanders.
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