You know what they say about early birds? For a limited time only, we’re giving away free nights at some of our favourite hotels to help you start planning your 2019 escapes. These hideaways fill-up early – book before 15 December to take advantage of our dreamy Limited Edition Offers.
This is an ideal rural retreat: a chic country-house hotel with beautiful grounds and an excellent restaurant, hidden in the folds of Dorset’s bucolic Cranborne Chase. Forget homespun barbecues and tiny paddling pools: a G&T on this terrace is this the only way to enjoy an English country garden.
Early bird offers: 2 nights for 1, 3 nights for 2, 7 nights for 5
Our top tip: The hotel’s owner is a wine merchant, and their collection is outstanding. Not only that, their gins are excellent, too. They are the UK’s only importer of South African tipple Inverroche, and you can try a glass of this as a thank you for booking through i-escape.
After receiving a Michelin star for the Red Lion in 2012, owners Brittany and Guy opened an accompanying guesthouse. Troutbeck is a 2-minute walk from the pub, and gloriously quiet, overlooking the River Avon. Come for the food, stay for the luxe rooms (with private terraces) and serene Wiltshire countryside.
Early bird offer: 2 nights for 1 (Wednesday-Friday)
Our top tip: Make the most of the setting on a sunny day — there’s a delightful pub garden for alfresco dining.
In a county of cosy B&Bs and cream teas, these luxuriously minimalist sleek apartments are a brand new and boldly ambitious departure. You get top-spec appliances, heavenly beds and a smattering of impeccably chosen artworks in a prime position above one of Devon’s most awe-inspiring beaches. It may not be the Maldives, but for painterly beauty inside and out, this spot can compete with anywhere in the world.
Early bird offer: 7 nights for 5
Our top tip: Catch the magical moment when encroaching evening tides cover the beach in a reflective film of water, creating an infinitely Instagrammable mirror sunset.
Imagine waking up in a glamorous apartment on one of Rome’s splendid little cobblestone stradas. Envisage a bedroom dressed in sumptuous Society Limonata sheets, a kitchenette stocked with fresh pastries, Prosecco and chocolates, and a sauna in the bathroom. You’ve just transported yourself to CasaCau, a sylishly converted 16th-century palazzo a short stroll from the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps.
Early bird offer: 7 nights for 5 & 3 nights for 2
Our top tip: The basilica-shaped Santa Maria church in nearby Trastevere is one of the oldest in Rome and has a stunning mosaicked apse. Take time to sit and enjoy the effects of light as it streams through the coloured glass above the entrance.
Viura is gorgeous, simple as that. Its super-cool design, helpful staff and unbeatable position in a pretty village surrounded by Rioja wine fields all elate. It may look like a stack of half-toppled boxes from the outside, but its profoundly beautiful light-filled interiors reveal nothing but order and charm. Cool, contemporary elegance flows throughout. Come for a small slice of heaven and some good red wine.
Early bird offer: 7 nights for 5
Our top tip: If you’re here over a weekend then head to the Arabarte winery on the edge of Villabuena de Alava for a meal. They serve simple Riojan food washed down with their own wines – some of the best we sampled in the region. You can also buy their wine by the bottle to take home.
Cool and luminous, Carpe Diem Santorini sits serenely atop the hills of Santorini, with breathtaking views across the island to the Aegean Sea. The hotel is honeymoon heaven – each of the 10 suites is sleek and luxurious, with a private plunge pool, spacious terrace, and stunning vista. This is essentially a classy sanctuary for adults in serious relax-and-read mode – those not actually seizing the day, but caressing it and letting it slip over them like sunshine.
Early bird offer: 7 nights for 5, 3 nights for 2
Our top tip: Watch an iconic Santorini sunset without the crowds; head up to Pyrgos’ ruined castle or drive down to Akrotiri Lighthouse on the island’s southwestern tip to see the blazing sun sink into the horizon.
Secluded and serene, this oceanfront hotel blends laid-back beach sophistication with dreamy Zen style. Easily glamorous enough to attract well-heeled posers on location, Jashita somehow still manages to inspire its guests to abandon pretence and truly let go. Let time slow right down among foliage-framed vistas of champagne sands and azure waters from its 30ft showpiece glass pool. Or gather for cocktail hour and uninterrupted seascapes on cushion-strewn sofas at the elevated terrace.
Early bird offer: 7 nights or 5, 3 nights for 2, 2 nights for 1
Our top tip: Follow the locals to the rustic lobster shack on the beach nearby. They cook over a fire and serve delicious conch and lobster ceviche, squid and fish. It’s a hidden gem with virtually no tourists.
Relaxation and pampering are the main focus of this modernist Italian-owned hotel a kilometre or so inland from the sun-baked south coast. Interiors are stylish and minimalist – a contemporary take on Sri Lankan design, characterised by deep open verandas, honey-coloured timber furnishings and wall-mounted Balinese basketry. The hotel’s rural setting is extremely tranquil: As you relax on kingsize daybeds beneath swaying coconut palms, you’re likely to be serenaded by birdsong.
Early bird offers: 7 nights for 5, 3 nights for 2
Our top tip: The palm-shaded grounds are visited by numerous bird species, and after the rains or in the early morning, keen birders can identify a real variety.
This lavishly re-imagined abode of the late Maharaja Narendra Singh – polymath, card player, dog-lover extraordinaire – brings his enigmatic character back to life. You’ll find an eclectic mix of ‘Indian déco’ and curios collected from his world travels, whilst elaborate gilded mirrors and old family portraits adorn the intensely chromatic walls. The centrepiece is a royal red baby grand piano, with Edith Piaf’s memorable maxim “Non, je ne regrette rien” inscribed in gold lettering.
Early bird offer: 3 nights for 2
Our top tip: Dip your nose into one of the many books (there are over 1,000). They are what the designers imagined Maharaja Narendra Singh would have kept in his own private library. Also take the time to get to know the host himself, Karan, who seems to embody the erstwhile Maharaja. He’ll be glad to join for a Martini or 2.