While I am not averse to staying in larger hotels (especially in Las Vegas!), I do feel that they lack personality, the personal touch that makes a good holiday a great holiday, and the opportunity to meet other travellers, as one might in a small boutique hotel.
Larger hotels may be more cost-effective and convenient if you are travelling on business or ‘in transit’, but we have had some of the most wonderful holidays in smaller family run properties, and so we always recommend them to people who are looking to take an experiential holiday, rather than just a trip abroad.
We have been lucky enough to stay in some real gems over the years, and met lifelong friends along the way, so here are just a few Boutique Hotels that are well worth a visit, if you ever in the area…
Dawson’s Game & Trout Lodge, Mpumalanga South Africa
Sitting at the foot of the Nelshoogte pass in Mpumalanga (about a 3-hour drive from Kruger National Park), is the super luxurious Dawson’s Game and Trout Lodge. A beautiful hotel with a personalised service, Dawson’s is the perfect place for a romantic weekend away, and we are 100% certain that Rob, Domino (the Dalmatian) and the rest of the team will make your stay memorable – they certainly did ours!
Yarra Valley Guest House, Yarra Valley Australia
A great little guest house in the Yarra Valley Wine Region, the aptly named Yarra Valley Guest House does exactly what it says on the tin! We arrived midday to find an envelope sellotaped to the reception door saying, “Welcome Wendy & Ingo, here is the key to your room… We’ll see you later!” – Ha! You would struggle to find that in Europe!
About an hour later, the owner Anthony (and his cat Bella) turned up with a bottle of wine and some fresh fruit for us to enjoy on the terrace. We stayed 3-nights in all, and Anthony even organised us free bicycles to drive around the vineyards – perfect!
Courtyard @ Heeren Boutique Hotel, Melaka Malaysia
Don’t be misled by the name, this particular hotel has nothing to do with the big chain starting with ‘H’, but is rather a sweet boutique hotel in the pretty Malaysian town (city?) of Melaka.
We stayed here for 2 nights on our trip around the world, and the staff couldn’t do enough to ensure we had a wonderful stay.The rooms were beautiful, the breakfast was delightful, and when we asked the owner if he could recommend a good local (non-touristy) restaurant, he personally drove us there and invited us for a meal!
The location of this hotel is simply perfect, you can walk to all the major attractions and it is literally one street back from Jonker Street and its night markets!