1 Owl and the Pussycat Hotel
One of Sri Lanka’s newest boutique hotels, having opened in January 2016, the 16-suite Owl and the Pussycat Hotel is a luxurious coastal retreat with a laid back feel. Situated close to the UNESCO listed historic Galle Fort and Buddhist temples, the hotel provides access to an unparalleled authentic Sri Lankan experience with an imaginative twist. Each spacious suite is a little different, but guests can expect eye-catching artwork, vivid colors and panoramic sea-views in every one. The property was designed by New York architect Udar Dhar and houses furniture, colourful textiles and artwork, hand-made by 20 artists from all over the world, including local craftsmen. Together with its jazz band and selection of musicians playing on weekends, and its local learning program and philanthropic heart, this new hotspot is inspired by local influences, while still promising sophistication and style. ‘The Runcible Spoon’ restaurant is another nod to the hotel’s namesake, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ by British author Edward Lear and serves traditional Sri Lankan cuisine with a Mediterranean influence.
SLH Insider Tip: Perched on a hill five minutes from the town of Galle, The Sun House bar is a perfect spot to enjoy a drink with a panoramic view of the ocean and town.
Owl and the Pussycat Hotel: Galle, Sri Lanka Rooms from C$242 per night www.slh.com/owl
2 Foxhill Manor
With just eight rooms, Grade II listed Foxhill Manor is an intimate retreat set on the magnificent 400-acre Farncombe Estate near Broadway. The hotel’s charm lies in its home-from-home feel, with characterful bedrooms and cozy furnishings. Boasting a ‘whatever you fancy, whenever you fancy’ ethos, the team invites guests to help themselves to cake and cocktails in the Drawing Room, snacks from The Pantry or a home cooked meal from the chef. Foxhill Manor is pet-friendly so beloved pooches are welcome to join their owners for a country walk or popcorn and a film in the onsite cinema room. They offer a free shuttle service to sister property to Dormy House, where guests have access to the expansive spa, restaurant and facilities there too.
SLH Insider Tip: Take a hand-drawn map from the hotel and use it to explore the surrounding countryside on a leisurely walk before ending up at one of Broadway’s many charming gastropubs.
Foxhill Manor: Cotswold, England, Rooms from C$627 per night www.slh.com/foxhill
3 Hulbert House
Just ten minutes from the center of Queenstown, Hulbert House sits halfway up a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The stately villa was built during the height of the gold rush in 1887 and has been lovingly restored by award-winning designer Neil Lachlan, leaving the boutique property brimming with vintage style. The six individually-decorated rooms each have a stunning lake, garden or skyline view. Where one room boasts a canopy bed or a wood burning fireplace another is home to an antique writing desk or a teardrop chandelier, each one unique in its style and feel. The chef lovingly prepares breakfast and evening canapes in the dining room using home-grown produce for guests to enjoy with some of the finest wine in New Zealand.
SLH Insider Tip: Climb Queenstown Hill Summit for some of the most incredible views in New Zealand, a round trip from the hotel should take around two and a half hours with time for pictures at the top.
Hulbert House: Queenstown, New Zealand Rooms from C$880 per night www.slh.com/Hulbert
4 Villa Della Pergola
In 2006, husband and wife team, Antonio and Silvia Ricci, bought Villa Della Pergola to save it from destruction. Since then, the couple have worked tirelessly to restore the grounds and villa with the help of famous Italian architects Paolo Pejrone and Ettore Mocchetti, creating an airy space still very much in-keeping with the architectural bones of the property. Twelve bedrooms are split across three buildings and each room has its own individual style, ambiance and furnishings dedicated to the many figures that have stayed in the hotel in the past. The grounds of the hotel extend over 22,000 square meters and are a true Garden of Eden, renowned for the abundance of Mediterranean flora and exotic evergreens. The hotel restaurant, Ristorante Nove, is headed up by Executive Chef Giorgio Servetto and serves traditional Ligurian cuisine in an elegant setting.
SLH Insider Tip: Treat yourself to some Baci di Alassio – small but powerful little macaroons packed with cocoa, hazelnuts and rum from the Terre Di Mare deli in Il Budello.
Villa Della Pergola: Alassio Italy, Rooms from C$470 per night www.slh.com/dellapergola
5 Das PostHotel
Das PostHotel is a classic alpine lodge with 27 rooms and an eco-conscious design, deeply rooted in mountain traditions. The hotel oozes with character with its contemporary furniture and colorful fabrics and is rich in raw pine, oak and native spruce. The owners, the Binder family, live next-door to the property and are the largest timber producer in Austria. Sustainability is at the heart of the resort which shows in the many design features like the solar-heated pool, as well as in the kitchen with the organic menus at HeLeni restaurant. The bedrooms are spacious and each is individually designed with colorful fabrics, rustic wood panels and a quirky take on tradition chalet décor. Das PostHotel is situated in the Zillertal ski area of Austria, boasting optimally-groomed pistes, super modern lift facilities and guaranteed snow – you can even ski all year round on the snow-sure slopes of the Hintertux Glacier.
SLH Insider Tip: Opt for the Skyloft penthouse suite and take a bath with a view overlooking the mountains.
Das PostHotel: Tyrol, Austria, Rooms from C$282 per night http://www.slh.com/hotels/das-posthotel/