We’ve counted nearly 10,000 votes and we’re delighted to reveal the winners of our Feel-Good Hotel Awards 2017. Each of these hotels and rentals has truly surpassed itself this year to give extra-special holiday memories to their guests, and we couldn’t be more proud to be partnered with them.
Igloo-shaped pods clustered on a remote hillside: this is glamping, Swiss-style. Seriously cool in itself, but the activities on offer are even better. It’d be hard to top the thrill of whizzing along Alpine trails in a kart pulled by a team of dogs, but bathing in thermal springs surrounded by snow sounds awesome, too!
Guests of this mountain hideaway describe the food as ‘exceptional’. Breakfasts include freshly pressed Asturian cider-apple juice, artisan cheeses, and owner Dave’s homemade sourdough bread and blueberry and coconut sponge cake. In the evening, his beautifully presented dinners are always seasonal and local – perhaps a ginger pumpkin soup followed by steamed hake and clams, then a sensational chocolate brownie.
Only actual royalty and a privileged few get to stay on this Unesco island, so you’re in exclusive company just by booking. And in their Signature restaurant you get to tailor-make your perfect dinner (not literally, of course, there are masses of staff, including a waiter per table).
Mowani is Swahili for ‘Window on Heaven’, and as you lie back and watch the sun rise over a surreal other-worldly vista of red rock, savannah and distant mountain, you’ll feel you’ve arrived in Paradise.
Originally a migrant hotel owned by the Royal Dutch Lloyd shipping company, this building became a young offenders’ prison and an artists’ squat, before a group of leading architects transformed it into an utterly unique hotel. Today there are simple rooms for small budgets, or bigger, crazily beautiful and outlandish bedrooms. One has a grand piano, a few have a swing, and one has a 4-METER-wide bed, for up to 7 guests! That’s one big duvet.
Set your kids free to roam through flower meadows, climb trees in the rainforests and picnic by secret waterfalls; this organic farm in rural Brazil is heaven to explore. For a real adventure, zip-lining and full-moon horseback rides sound thrilling, as does abseiling down rocks to a river for wild swimming. There’s even an exciting accommodation offer – spurn the main fazenda for a tucked-away wooden eco cabin, with bunk beds and a solar-shower.
Owner Cyril goes constantly above and beyond for guests, walking them to hard-to-find restaurants at night, and giving out mobile phones with his number programmed in, in case you get lost in the souk. ‘We cannot rate this place highly enough,’ says a recent guest.
Community spirit reigns strong at this back-to-nature hideaway. The hotel’s guiding ethos is supporting the local village, and incorporating their values into everyday life. They partner with the island taxi boats for transfers and excursions, financially support the school and hold batik classes at the resort where students teach guests. Heart-warmingly, staff are allowed to bring their kids to work, too; it’s not unusual to see small children playing alongside their parents as they work in the grounds.
When home-baked cakes simply appear in your super-stylish room each day, you know you’re onto a good thing. Oh, and when said room is filled with treats that speak of a hotel twice the price – from cool Scandi shower products to glorious sea views – well, that’s the icing on those free cakes!
When country houses and cool creative flair collide, you get Backwell House. The passion project of owner Guy Williams, every room speaks of his design and carpentry skills – we particularly loved the concrete basin he cast into a vintage suitcase.
Western Iceland is one of the best spots in the world to view the Northern Lights, and Hotel Husafell’s restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows for gazing on the Aurora Borealis or, in summer, the midnight sun. If you’re here in winter, spend an afternoon soaking in the geo-thermal pool while snow falls around you. Unforgettable.
Personalised packs set the welcoming tone at this safari lodge, but the first-class treatment doesn’t end there: the Mini Rangers programme has kids tracking wildlife in the bush, going on bespoke bug hunts and meeting snake experts (while you get to put your feet up).