First we took a trip down i-escape’s memory lane, then we heard from some i-escape fans as well as our directors. Now, last but not least, in celebration of reaching 1,500 hotels, we reveal the i-escape team’s favourite hideaways. After numerous intrepid trips and countless hotel visits (it’s a tough job) we’ve helped put together the bread and butter of the i-escape collection. These are the places that have stuck with us…


SARAH BREAUX, Bookings Consultant

Hotel De las Letras is bang in the centre of my second home, Madrid. I love it for the colourful, classy rooms, great location, and excellent food. The newly opened El Trapo restaurant is run by Paco Morales, trained under 3-starred Michelin chef Ferran Adrià, who dishes up surprising twists on Spanish cuisine. There is also an open-air rooftop bar that is perfect for relaxing after a long day out. If it’s cold or rainy you can chill out on the plush white sofas in the lounge or basement library. For an especially luxurious getaway, I recommend a Duplex Suite or Deluxe Terrace Room, all of which have private sun terraces and Jacuzzis.”

MELISSA BURFITT, Acting Assistant Editor

Douar Samra was the hotel that led me to discover i-escape. I was reading an article on budget travel when the summary of Ian Belcher’s journey to this Moroccan guesthouse caught my attention, “My Marrakech taxi spluttered for over an hour towards the mountains, before I switched to four mule hooves to clomp up the Tamartet valley, and finally two feet to clamber up a dry riverbed.” I followed the link to i-escape’s review and instantly realised I’d found the perfect resource for my travel tastes. A year later I joined the Editorial department, and this summer (3 years later), I finally made it to Douar Samra. Even after all that anticipation, it utterly exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to return.”

Melissa at Douar Samra

BEN FEETHAM, Rates Manager

“Situated in one of my favourite parts of Cape Town, Tamboerskloof, An African Villa has views of Table Mountain, is surrounded by exceptional restaurants, bars and independent shops, and boasts great rooms and amazing breakfasts. The owners Jimmy and Louis couldn’t be more helpful and are on hand to recommend trips, restaurants and anything else you may need. To top it all off, the owners’ two dachshunds Monty and Taylor add an idiosyncratic quirkiness to the place. I will definitely be staying here again.”


“It’s got to be Fundu Lagoon, a cluster of Afro-chic beachside bungalows on Pemba Island, off the coast of Zanzibar.  It’s wonderfully remote, and we arrived via speedboat with the wind in our hair and huge grins on our faces that remained there until it was time to leave. There’s nowhere on earth I would rather be than perched on the end of that jetty as the sun sets over the turquoise waters of the Wambaa gulf.”

Fundu Lagoon
Fundu Lagoon

DAISY GELL, Acting Head of Bookings

Areias do Seixo, in Portugal, is the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed. The staff are wonderful, the food is fantastic and our room (Três Desejos) looked out across the gardens and the sand dunes that lead to the Atlantic. The icing on the cake has to be the multiple caipirinhas we drank – the best we’ve had anywhere.”

EMILY MCDONNELL, Editorial Assistant

“For me it’s probably Le Mas des Oules. It is a real retreat, with gorgeous grounds, an inviting pool, and Provence and Languedoc (two of my favourite French regions) right on the doorstep. A lot of thought had gone into each individual house and apartment and the one off antique pieces really made a difference to the personality of the place. I loved sitting on our terrace with a glass of wine produced 10-minutes away, listening to the relaxing sounds of the countryside.”

Emily at Le Mas des Oules
Emily at Le Mas des Oules

EMILY PREECE, Bookings Consultant

“I would pick Maison La Minervetta, in Sorrento, Italy. It’s undeniably romantic: the views are breath-taking; the rooms are stylish and spoiling; the breakfast is heavenly and the staff are fantastic.

I have never been anywhere since that wowed me as much!”

OLIVIA ALLEN, Assistant Rates Manager

“I would have to say it’s Villa Guatiza, one of the first i-escape properties I was lucky enough to visit. The villa itself is full of personality and one-off pieces from all over the world, and the heated pool and sun terrace are the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The thing that stays with me most is the enthusiastic welcome from the owners, John and Stephy, who have poured their souls in to the place and can’t wait to share it with you.”

Villa Guatiza
Villa Guatiza

ABI DARE, Acting Editor

Posada Puerto Bemberg has to be one of the most memorable places I’ve ever stayed. Hidden on a nature reserve on the banks of the Paraná River, which separates Argentina from Paraguay, it’s proof that you can experience remote environments such as rainforests without skimping on comfort, and that hotels can be both luxurious and environmentally responsible. We went on guided nature walks in search of monkeys and toucans, took thrilling rides in the hotel’s speedboat and got soaked on a daytrip to the mind-blowing Iguazú Falls, before returning for a dip in the pool, cocktails on the treetop deck and delicious fusion food in the candlelit restaurant. But best of all was waking from our heavenly bed each morning to find the jungle stirring all around us: parakeets squawking in the branches, hummingbirds hovering in the flowers, the sun burning through the dawn mist, and the scent of rich red earth hanging in the air. Magical.”

Iguazú Falls near Posada Puerto Bemberg
Iguazú Falls near Posada Puerto Bemberg

BEN REED, Bookings Consultant

I completely fell in love with the old medieval city of Fes – and in particular Dar Seffarine – embedded deep within this chaotic labyrinth of a city. My jaw dropped to the floor as I walked in from the plain dusty streets to reveal tall intricately carved columns and mosaic tiling all around. The real high point for me was the absolutely breath taking view of the medina from the rooftop. Situated at the bottom of a gently curving bowl, the city wraps itself around you. It was utterly mesmerising – all consuming, and pictures will never do it justice. Watching the city change colour as the sun sets with the call to prayer all around was something that will stay with me for a long time. The friendliest of staff, the amazing communal meals of lamb tagine & pomegranate salads…I love this place. Pure escapism of the surreal kind. It really is an exceptional find, and to top it all off – an absolute bargain.

Take a look at what our fans and directors had to say about their favourite i-escape hotels, or take a trip down memory lane to the beginning of the collection.