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

By Jake Hamilton, i-escape Editor

 At i-escape, we specialise in fabulous & affordable hotels that fly below the radar. With over 100 secret hotels NOT listed on, here are just some of our favourites


Riad L’Orangeraie, Morocco

Location: Marrakech
Why book? Because it’s so Instagramic 
From £130

Our Feel-Good Award Winner of 2017, Riad L’Orangeraie is a stunningly eye-catching 7-room townhouse tucked away inside the Medina. The food is incredible, the bedrooms divine, and there’s a mosaic swimming pool for cooling down. Topping it off – literally – is a dazzling roof terrace with cinematic views of the High Atlas. Bring your Instagram husband.


2  At the Chapel, UK

Location: Somerset
Why book? Because it’s 2hrs from London = the dream
From £125

This restored chapel in pretty Bruton is the perfect excuse for a romantic getaway. Brimming with classy comforts, delicious food and stylish bonhomie, its 8 gorgeous rooms have details to die for, and the prices offer something for everyone. Owners, Ahmed and Catherine, and their lovely staff welcome you with a glass of Prosecco.

3  My Little Place on the Hill, Greece

Location: Kefalonia
Why book? Because this is boho heaven
From £104

We absolutely adore this beautiful little bohemian jewel in Kefalonia. Close to the airport yet far from crowds, its 17 stylish self-catering suites come with soaring views, a gorgeous pool and very attractive prices. Owners Vicky and Alex are dream hosts who spoil their guests. Yes please.


4  Casa de las Olas, Mexico

Location: Tulum
Why book? Because shoes are optional
From £187

A secluded eco-retreat with just 8 sea-facing rooms set on a beach with bedazzling white sands, this ‘House of Waves’ is in perfect harmony with the elements: green electricity from sunlight, rainwater showers, and unlimited air con from the Caribbean breeze. Its stylish rooms (some with kitchenettes) come with thatched shelters and daybeds just metres from the big blue.


5  La Maison Papillons, France

Location: Provence
Why book? Because we all deserve serenity
From £87

A gorgeous hilltop B&B with a saltwater pool and heart-melting views of the Cevennes countryside, this secret hideaway is ideal for couples or close friends. Its wonderfully creative owners, Olivier and Caroline, provide 6 great-value bedrooms, each individually designed. Wander the lavender-scented landscapes, cool off in the pool, then more of the same, s’il vous plait.

Chapel House PZ, UK

Location: Cornwall
Why book? Because your next weekend just got brilliant
From £150

A stylish sanctuary with a house-party vibe and beautiful cooking, this listed Georgian house with 6 bedrooms is a triumph of minimalism, yet marvellously cosy. Nothing is off limits. Come and go as you please. Kids are welcome, dogs get spoilt, everyone loves owner Susan’s breakfasts and… you’ve fallen in love, haven’t you?


7  Modus Vivendi, Cyprus

Location: Psematismenos
Why book? Because beauty & value can co-exist 
From £70

Talk about a dream find. This hidden gem in a sleepy hamlet just 3kms from the coast is hands down our favourite budget hideaway in Cyprus. These self-catering cottage suites are clustered around a sun-drenched pool terrace, each a treasure trove of charmingly mismatched furniture. Lovely husband and wife team Yiannos and Christiana will take good care of you.


8  Leaves and Lizards, Costa Rica

Location: Monterrey
Why book? Because it’s Lord of the Jungle
Price: From £120

It’s quite something to wake up and see Arenal Volcano looming out of your window, but that’s Leaves and Lizards for you. This cluster of hilltop cottages has everything outdoorsy families need: large bedrooms, a cool pool, awesome wildlife and the chance for kids to go wild in the jungle. Tarzan eat your heart out.


9  Tas Otel, Turkey

Location: Alacati
Why book? Because all this for that price! 
From £57

A small romantic guesthouse tucked away in beautiful Alacati town on the Aegean coast, Tas Otel is like walking through a fairy garden. There are just 7 antique-chic bedrooms, a pool with hammocks, a pair of gorgeous family-friendly villas for extra privacy, and an enchanting garden for lazy summer afternoons. Wish you were there?


10  Baoussala, Morocco

Location: Near Essaouira
Why book? Because this is #travelgoals, people 
From £74

A guesthouse with a big heart, Baoussala is that much-talked about but rarely seen thing  — the real Morocco. Peeping behind a eucalyptus grove near Essaouira, and close to surfing beaches, its 7 delightful bedrooms are wrapped around a secluded courtyard, and beautifully decorated by owner Dominique. Eat wholesome food, walk barefoot through dunes, or dream away by the pool.

11  Villa Pia, Italy

Location: Lippiano
Why booky? Because rates are all-inclusive
Price: From £169

This award-winning family hotel in the beautiful Umbrian countryside is a wonderland for kids and adults. Quiet, authentic, with a carefree vibe, its 25 bedrooms draw easy-going families who come for the peaceful surroundings, the hearty Italian cooking and the boundless toys, games and activities. Little ones will have the times of their lives.


12  Jardin de la Paz, Tenerife

Location: La Matanza
Why book? Because Tenerife just went up a level
Price: From £209

Hidden in the ‘hill gardens’ of Tenerife, this collection of 12 top-notch self-catering apartments and villas, with 2 heated swimming pools and epic views, is a world away from the frenzied holiday resorts below. Horse-riding or tennis can be arranged, but you’ll probably spend your day sunning by the pool while drinking in those sensational views. There are few better places to do very little.


13  The Sanctuary, Thailand

Location: Koh Pha Ngan
Why book? Because this is R&R the right way
From £58

All-night beach parties or all-day fasting? Both are on offer at The Sanctuary, a fascinating hippy hangout on one of the Koh Pha Ngan’s remotest beaches. Call it detox & retox in equal measure, it’s a place for kindred spirits to mingle, and the wonderful health treatments are something else: Dietary courses, hydrotherapy, colonic fasting – take your pick. It’s all cool.


14  Convento, Portugal

Location: The Algarve
Why book? Because it’s a dream   
From £91

Go up a narrow street, past the crowds, past the noise, to a little white door in a stone archway — which opens into a historic townhouse straight off the silver screen. Our Best European B&B Winner of 2018, this great-value hideaway has 9 romantic bedrooms, a tranquil courtyard with hand-painted tiles, and a split-level terrace with views of whitewashed roofs. It’s just like the movies.


15  Banyan Camp, Sri Lanka

Location: Udawalawe National Park
Why book? Because sure, you could book a normal hotel. Orrr…
Price: From £141

An utterly unique eco-retreat with just 3 quirky lodges fashioned from recycled bottles and, yep, an old Mercedes, this secret lakeside sanctuary was dreamed-up by nature lovers Souhaine and Vijayanthi during their country’s civil war. They found peace in 15 acres of pristine wilderness dotted with banyan trees, chattering monkeys and the occasional wandering elephant. Oh my.

Want more? Explore over 100 secret hotels in our Secret Hotel Collection