We asked you to tell us your dream hotel destinations for the year ahead: the places like-minded independent travellers should be getting excited about. A massive thank you to all who voted (more than 4000 of you!) and congratulations to all our winners. Without further ado, here they are…
Best Hotel in Asia: Puri Ganesha Villas, Bali
On Bali’s unspoilt north coast, far from the tourist hordes, is a place unlike anywhere else on the island. Bold and charismatic owner Diana von Cranach’s four spacious beachside villas are delightfully unpretentious in design, filled with treasures from her travels, and boast private pools. Plus, you can enjoy simple yet seriously delicious organic food from the privacy of your villa or the intimate and convivial open-air restaurant. If you’re heading to Bali next year, this place should be top of your list.
Combining island simplicity with supreme style, this little beach lodge on Pemba Island has to be one of the world’s coolest places to unwind. Tented rooms have sun-warmed showers and comfy beds looking out over the Wambaa Gulf’s blue waters, but it’s diving and watersports that are the biggest draw. Pemba Island has some of the richest waters in Zanzibar, and with resident dive instructors, you can tick that PADI course off your New Year’s Resolutions.
Best Hotel in the Americas: Oxygen Jungle Villas, Costa Rica
So-called because its owners felt they’d finally found somewhere to breathe, Oxygen Jungle Villas are nestled in rainforest on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, overlooking the spectacular Playa Uvita. The 12 villas blend interior design and nature, with plenty of luxurious touches and a fabulous infinity pool. If wildlife spotting is high on your list for 2020, you’re in one of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions, close to the Marino Ballena National Park and its world-class whale-watching and snorkelling.
Best Hotel in Europe: Anemomilos Boutique Hotel, Greece
If your travel goals for 2020 involve escaping to a remote island where the sun always shines, Anemomilos Boutique Hotel is the place for you. Spacious rooms are built in Cycladic style, and with breathtaking Mediterranean views to soak up, you could lose whole days. Naturally it books up early, especially for high summer, but visit in the shoulder seasons and you’ll find Folegandros blissfully uncrowded.
Best Hotel in the UK: Linthwaite House Hotel, Lake District
Heading for the Lake District next year? This Edwardian hotel overlooking Lake Windermere recently underwent a £10m refurbishment and boasts 14 acres of gardens, woodland and rolling lawns. As well as soul-stirring views, luxurious and comfortable bedrooms and an elegant restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan (also behind the famed L’Enclume), there’s also a wraparound Bar & Conservatory that serves up killer G&Ts.
You probably won’t have heard of Andros – few have – but the northernmost Cycladic island is an underrated gem. And on its east coast, in a gorgeously secluded cove, you’ll find a collection of stone houses perfect for couples and families alike. Make next year’s holiday a detox from modern life: wander through the riverbed to Achla’s coastline or take a jeep to Vitali (one of our all-time favourite beaches), explore one of the island’s hiking trails or simply while away your days sunbathing in the shade of a plane tree.
Best City Escape: Venice Boutique Apartments, Italy
Housed in a historic waterfront Palazzo, this trio of self-catering apartments marry heritage, comfort and style. Original features sit alongside contemporary touches, and the apartments are decorated with unique pieces of furniture and art from the owners’ own collection. They’re set in an outstanding location on the Grand Canal, mere minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco and famous Harry’s Bar – perfect if you’re planning a Venetian city break for 2020.
Best Family Escape: Ekies All Senses Resort, Greece
A paradise for parents and children alike, Ekies is pure barefoot luxury, a stunning reinvention of the place owner Alexandra Efstathiadou spent her own childhood summer holidays. The resort is set on a sandy beach with calm, shallow waters – safe for small children – and there’s a Kids’ Club and playground too. Parents will love the waterfront restaurant’s fantastic gourmet food and the vast array of spa treatments – therapists can even provide tailored programmes for whatever is ailing you.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in 2020, Pacuare Lodge might just be it. Hidden in the depths of Costa Rican rainforest, this carbon neutral lodge sits on the bend of a river among tropical gardens, accessed via a thrilling raft journey. It’s a unique opportunity to be totally immersed in nature, waking gently to the sounds of the rainforest. Yet you’re not totally without creature comforts: cabins are rustic yet luxurious, and Pacuare’s restaurant serves fine wines and excellent food. In fact, we think it’s so special that one of our Bookings Consultants, Marta, is there right now!
Stylish and intimate, this B&B is a hidden gem in the ancient town of Stari Grad on Hvar’s blissfully quiet north shore. There’s an informal and fun atmosphere thanks to owners Chris and Amanda, who spent a decade transforming the semi-derelict 300-year-old Dalmatian townhouse. Today, there are four cosy bedrooms (plus a large suite, if you rent the whole house) with eclectic interiors, antiques and retro design pieces. And it’s amazing value, too – reasonable rates also include a generous breakfast.
It’s easy to see why these charming apartments were voted the most desirable rental for 2020. They cling to a cliff edge with an intoxicating panorama of the cobalt-blue Med and across Positano, yet are blissfully hidden from the crowds that flock to visit the town. There’s a shared pool, access to a secret beach, and each apartment has at least one fabulous al fresco dining area. A leisurely 10-minute stroll brings you to Positano itself: an enchanting maze of family restaurants and artisan shops.