As 2014 draws to a close, find out which of our 1,500 handpicked hotels and boutique rentals got the biggest thumbs up from happy holidaymakers this year.
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Unlike certain global sports bodies, nobody can buy these votes – they’re based purely on scores submitted by our verified guests. So extra kudos to those who got top marks all round…

small crownBEST BEACH ESCAPE: Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar

We say: A tiny coral-ringed island off Zanzibar, with beautifully designed thatch bungalows, genuinely ecological aims and some of the world’s best snorkelling

Chumbe Island Coral Park
“What’s not to like? An excellent place to spend a few days”

You say: “Snorkelling was wonderful, and it was great to have the opportunity of a short dhow sailing trip.” Kirsten, Liechtenstein (28.07.14)

“We had such a perfect stay. Lovely places on the island to see sunset, go for a walk, go snorkelling. The staff are awesome – all are so friendly and kind! Best food we had on Zanzibar. Thanks to all the team. You are doing a great job to save the corals!” Maria, Germany (20.06.14)

Take a look at the review >>

small crownBEST FOR WINTER SUN: Turtle Beach House, Sri Lanka

We say: Secret hideaway for 4-6 on the beach near Galle, with luxe furnishings, a lovely garden and a dreamy pool

Turtle Beach House
“The place is perfectly positioned on the most beautiful beach in the area”

You say: “Turtle Beach is a true gem amongst private villas anywhere in the world… The location is right on the beach, which is easily accessed after you walk around your private swimming pool.” Graham, Hong Kong (26.10.14)

“Absolutely superb in all senses. Even hard to distinguish the best part of our experience – was it the villa itself, the delicious food made every evening by Ranaweera, the kindness of Santa, or the overall atmosphere?” Andra, Latvia (26.01.14)

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small crownBEST ISLAND HIDEAWAY: Casa Los Geranios, Canary Islands

We say: Gorgeous traditional Canarian house (sleeps 2-8) in La Palma’s sunny south, with gob-stopping views over volcanoes to the shimmering Atlantic

Casa Los Geranios
“A fantastic place with excellent service”

You say: “This is a very special place – quite perfect. Located on the edge of a vineyard, with beautiful accommodations and gardens. It was spotless and very comfortable, and the owner Lourdes went to great pains to ensure everything met my expectations.” Jonathan, Canada (01.07.14)

“A fantastic place with excellent service, a fabulous view and a wonderful garden. This is now one of my favourite places on earth.” Katharina, Switzerland (18.03.14)

Take a look at the review >>

small crownBEST BUDGET BOLTHOLE: Casa do Rio Vez, Portugal

We say: An ancient millhouse with a contemporary slant offering B&B rooms and a self-catering loft, beside the crystalline waters of the Vez River

Casa do Rio Vez
“Very relaxing stay on the beautiful River Vez. Excellent hotel”

You say: “We had a great time at Casa do Rio Vez and Valerie is an excellent hostess. Food was fresh and good quality, and always looked tempting as well as tasting good.” Sue, United Kingdom (01.09.14)

“This is really heaven! So nice and peaceful and beautiful! Everything is perfect. I have never seen such a lovely breakfast and beautiful rooms. You do feel so wonderful. The owner tells you a lot of places where you can go and is very helpful. We recommend it to everybody!” Albert, Netherlands (11.09.13)

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small crownBEST FAMILY ESCAPE: Ammos Hotel, Crete

We say: Style with a big smile at this chic and superbly serviced family-minded hotel on the beach, 15 minutes from Chania

Ammos Hotel
“Loved this hotel. Incredibly welcoming & helpful staff”

You say: “Absolutely wonderful place – fantastic staff, great food and beautiful hotel. It was the ideal place for a holiday with our one year old (who was treated like royalty by everyone there) and we all loved it.”  Julia, United Kingdom (21.06.14)

“Faultless! A wonderful boutique hotel that really caters for small children. The service is fantastic and the staff are genuinely friendly and helpful; nothing is too much trouble. Excellent food – we didn’t eat anywhere else really, apart from the days we hired a car. Nikos and all his staff were amazing.” Colette, United Kingdom (17.06.14)

Take a look at the review >>

small crownBEST CITY PAD: Pedrera Boutique Apartment, Spain

We say: A spacious, super-stylish apartment for 2-4 in the heart of the Eixample district, looking onto Gaudí’s La Pedrera building

Pedrera Boutique Apartment
“Sitting on the balcony listening to a jazz concert on the rooftop of neighbouring La Pedrera was a real treat”

You say: “Fantastic location and a beautifully conserved and designed apartment. We cannot fault it and would love to go back before too long.” Duna, United Kingdom (02.09.14)

“Our stay at the Pedrera Boutique Apartment met and exceeded our expectations – a thoroughly excellent experience all round! I loved that the apartment had all the best bits of staying in a luxurious hotel – extraordinary decor/furniture, AMAZING city centre location – and none of the things that can niggle about staying in an apartment.” Katie, United Kingdom (17.06.14)

Take a look at the review >>

small crownBEST HOTEL (OVERSEAS): Finca el Tossal, Spain

We say: A traditional casa rural, 8km uphill from the Costa Blanca, with great views of the Marina Alta mountains and the Med

Finca el Tossal
“Absolutely beautiful guesthouse run and staffed by lovely people”

You say: “Lovely secluded place. A place to enjoy the view and the calm atmosphere. Bring some good books and sit back and relax.” Jon, Denmark (24.09.14)

“We had a wonderful stay at Finca el Tossal. The setting is stunning, in the middle of the quiet mountains though just 10 miles from the sea. The house is beautiful, with careful service, and the delicious dinners cooked by the Argentinian chef were perfect. We highly recommend this place.” Perquis, France (23.08.14)

Take a look at the review >>

small crownBEST RENTAL (OVERSEAS): Xaghra Farmhouse, Malta

We say: A huge rustic townhouse in the charismatic small Gozitan town of Xaghra; ideal for families or friends and excellent value (sleeps 6-8)

Xaghra Farmhouse
“Really great location and house”

You say: “We had a wonderful stay at the Xaghra Farmhouse. The house was beautiful, well equipped and relaxing. The Maltese stone interior when lit up at night was lovely, and we all enjoyed the pool. Our little girl also really enjoyed playing with the toys available at the house. We spent most days and evenings relaxing by the pool, but had a lovely meal at Ta’Frenc. We would thoroughly recommend the house, and Gozo itself.”
Emma, United Kingdom (13.09.14)

Take a look at the review >>

Small print: only properties with at least 5 respondents were counted. ‘Verified guests’ means those who booked and paid their stay through Percentages shown are the average across all guests and all categories (Rooms, Eating, Service, Value).