The 10 Best Places to Travel in 2019 / Jake Hamilton / The i-escape blog

By Jake Hamilton, i-escape Editor

 Why makes a ‘perfect’ small hotel? The rooms, the service, or perhaps the food? Actually, it’s something far more personal…



1  Apokryfo, Cyprus


Location: Troodos Mountains, Cyprus
Price: Suites from £147
Wow factor: Impossibly romantic candlelit dinners

We said: This is our favourite guesthouse in Cyprus. The fabulous Apokryfo sits in the Troodos foothills and has just 7 picture-perfect suites and a pair of stylish houses for 4-8. The food is exceptional, the bedrooms divine, and the wonderful atmosphere conjured up by owners Vakis and Diana is utterly magical. Definitely put this on your radar.

You said: “This is the most peaceful tranquil place we have ever stayed in. Wonderful stay, wonderful people, would definitely return.”


Relais del Maro, Italy


Location: Liguria, Italy
Price: Rooms from £65
Wow factor: Breakfast comes with Prosecco!

We said: This enchanting guesthouse is just 20 minutes from the Italian Riviera – yet worlds away in price. Relais del Maro is an authentic slice of Ligurian loveliness. Devotedly run by Elena and her mother, it sits in the heart of a beautiful tiny village called Borgomaro (population: 884!) and offers 14 immaculate bedrooms, a serene garden, plus a pool and bubbling Jacuzzi. Why, hello there.

You said: “We have never been so well looked after at such a lovely hotel before. Every little detail has been thought of in this beautiful place. An absolute gem.”


3  Le Mas des Oules, France


Location: Provence, France
Price: Apartments from £97
Wow factor: Super-sleek kitchens with dining tables inside and out

We said: This grand country hideaway in the Gard Provençal is a genuine paradise. A place for everyone, the marvellous owners Christophe and Christine have poured their heart and soul into 8 elegant houses and apartments. Each is snuggled around a sun-dappled garden with a tranquil pool. Just pour yourself a glass and watch the sunset over the Cévennes hills. Parfait!

You said: “This place is so utterly amazing that I want to tell everyone it’s dreadful so we can keep it to ourselves!”


4  The Gecko, Greece


Location: Lefkas island, Greece
Price: From £276pn for whole villa
Wow factor: A pool with perfect views

We said: This dreamy 2-bedroom villa is straight from the pages of Vogue. It’s an impossibly romantic hideaway on the remote west coast of Lefkas island that gets top marks for privacy. The gorgeous interiors will delight your eyes, but it’s the exquisite views from the galleried master bedroom that takes your breath away.

You said: “Everything about this sublime, one-of-a-kind villa has been lovingly created. I highly recommend The Gecko, especially to couples looking for a romantic getaway.”



5  StayCatalina, Mallorca


Location: Santa Catalina, Mallorca
Price: Apartments from £108
Wow factor: Great value – plus free bikes!

We said: This boutique townhouse in the ‘Soho’ of Palma is the epitome of coastal chic. Spread over 4 floors, owner Felix and his family have created 5 lovely, light-filled apartments with custom-made furnishings, private terraces, well-equipped kitchenettes and ultra-comfy kingsize beds. Just looking at the pictures will brighten your day.

You said: “My husband and I had a fantastic 5-night stay here. Everything was perfect from the decor to the wonderful sheets! The only improvement would be for us to have stayed longer!”


Hotel Heureka, Italy


Location: Venice, Italy
Price: Rooms from £155
Wow factor: Breakfast is served in a secret garden

We said: In a city dripping with elegance, it’s hard to stand out. But this small, stunning concept hotel is the stuff of dreams. Dazzlingly unique and outrageously flamboyant, its 10 sumptuous suites can only be matched by its seductive canal-side setting. Hotel Heureka should really only exist inside an extravagant Fellini movie. And yet here it is. Eureka!

You said: “What an utterly fabulous hotel, with utterly fabulous staff and the most fantastic location. Perfect in every way. Sensational!”


7  Avalon, Turkey


Location: Kabak Bay, Turkey
Price: Rooms from £78
Wow factor: A private footpath to one of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches

We said: Very few places in the Med are as mesmerising as Avalon.  It’s an intimate, adults-only small hotel perched high above Kabak Bay and all 11 wooden bungalows (each with private gardens) get a slice of the spellbinding views. The food, the facilities and the friendly staff are simply impeccable. It’s top-notch value, too.

You said: “Avalon was one of the best holidays we have ever had. Everything was absolutely perfect. The food, service and accommodation were all outstanding. We’ll definitely be going back.”



8  Albero Capovolto, Sardinia

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Location: Golfo Aranci, Sardinia, Italy
Price: Rooms from £121
Wow factor: Seafood banquets fit for a Roman emperor

We said: This must-visit boutique B&B is one of the most intimate and debonair retreats in Sardinia. There are no timetables, no room keys, just 5 airy bedrooms and a lovely relaxing atmosphere created by owners Alessandro and Iacobo. You’ll adore the homemade breakfasts and superlative al fresco dinners. And if you fancy the beach, there’s over 50 within an hour’s drive. Seriously.

You said: “This is such a magical place. You truly feel like you’re a friend. We are already looking forward to our next visit!”



9  El Gran Sueño, Spain

Location: Asturias, Spain
Price: Rooms from £82
Wow factor: It’s a place for dreaming big

We said: A pristine mountain retreat with magical views and sublime service, this ultra-chic 5-bedroom guesthouse is the perfect place to recharge your body & mind. Delightful owners Javier and Dave will take care of everything with the utmost love, while you go hiking in the countryside. You’ll barely see another soul, save the odd wild horse. Heaven!

You said: “A wonderful week! The friendly hosts focused on making our stay really enjoyable. We look forward to staying there again… 10/10!”

Looking for more? View our Very Secret Hotels