To us, boutique means a small, intimate hotel or somewhere you feel like family rather than one of the masses.
But this definition isn't the only reason to book a boutique resort or hotel. When you book boutique, you're buying into a little private oasis for you and your loved ones. A place where you can really feel at home throughout your stay, knowing that you're only going to receive high-end service with a genuine smile.
With superb facilities and a personal touch you'll remember for years to come, there's no wonder these hotels often have rave reviews from the guests they welcome. We've handpicked some of our favourite boutique hotels in Europe so that you can get a feel for them yourself.
Vila Foz is a boutique hotel in the seaside suburb of Foz and perfectly captures the style and grandeur of its 19th-century origins as a manor house. Today, the property has been lovingly restored with a blend of old-world glamour and modern design and is a great place to combine a coastal escape with city sightseeing. The sparkling seafront is right on your doorstep, and you're just a 20-minute shuttle ride away from the centre of pretty Porto. This is one for foodies. At breakfast, Champagne and oysters are on the menu and the fine dining restaurant has just been awarded a Michelin star. You can also enjoy gourmet adventures such as a trip to the seafood market to select fresh fish for your dinner, an urban park picnic and wine and cheese pairings. If you're celebrating a special occasion, we recommend you book an exclusive 'kitchen seat' experience for two, where you'll interact with renowned head chef Arnaldo Azevedo as he takes you on a gastronomic journey.
This characterful bolthole is a great base for discovering a less-touristy part of Tenerife. Nestled in historic Garachico, Boutique Hotel San Roque matches the town's brightly-painted houses with its striking marigold-hued façade that fold's around a quaint swimming pool – heated all year round. There are only 20 individually designed rooms and suites here, which means it never feels crowded and the service is wonderfully personal. You could easily while away your holiday lounging on the ocean-view terrace with a good book, occasionally wandering into town for a tasty tapas lunch. Or, for more adventurous tastes, hire a car and head into the wonderfully wild north, swimming in natural volcanic pools or hiking in the mysterious Teno Mountains.
Tucked away on sparkling Komista Bay in a tranquil corner of Halkidiki, this boutique hidden gem, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux brand, has just 36 beach-chic rooms, suites and villas – most with private pools. The draw here is the sleepy location, nuzzled up against one of Halkidiki's prettiest beaches and surrounded by rural Mediterranean scenery. It's the ideal spot for a relaxing, away-from-it-all escape, although there are plenty of activities beyond swimming and sun-soaking. Cruise around Holy Mount Athos, go horse-riding to a local winery or sweeten your palette with wildflower honey tasting at a bee farm. Back in the resort, there are fitness sessions and cooking classes, as well as watersports and scuba diving. But what everyone comes here for is the small, homely feel and the inventive cuisine; fine-dining restaurant Atelier serves refined farm-to-table dishes using the best local and seasonal produce.
At Grand Hotel Continental Siena, you can be sure of the royal treatment – back in 1904, this was the residence of Margherita of Savoy, the Queen of Italy. Nowadays, this elite 17th-Century palazzo is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and is the only five-star boutique hotel located within Siena's ancient city walls. Rooms are adorned with original frescoes and priceless antiques; we love the top floor Junior Suites, where you can gaze at the views of Siena's terracotta rooftops on the cosy outdoor terrace. With just 51 rooms, you can expect attentive service from the helpful staff, who'll share their city's secret spots and help you reserve a table at the best restaurants in town. After days out roaming the sights on your doorstep (the famous Piazza del Campo is just a few steps away), relax with a signature 'Vin Santo Swing' cocktail in the glass-dome-topped lounge bar or try Tuscan wine tasting in the hotel's exquisite wine cellar.
If you're looking for somewhere unique to stay in Madeira, this is it. This stunning bijou hotel has a long-standing title as a Small Luxury Hotel of the World and dates back to the 19th Century. It's a work of art – inside and out. As well as its extraordinary glass architecture design, the interiors of the Manor House are filled with splendid paintings and tapestries from their private collection, and outside, the surrounding spectacular gardens are where you'll find their 'Collection of Natures Works of Art'. It's a joy to wander the groves between the two freshwater pools, restaurants and rooms, passing a colour explosion of blooming bougainvillea, African tulip trees and rare species endemic to the island. While away an afternoon enjoying an Aromatherapy spa treatment, tee off on one of Madeira's impressive golf courses or stroll downhill to browse the chic shops and seafood eateries of cosmopolitan Funchal.
Perched high above the famous caldera, this exclusive boutique hotel was carved out of the clifftop and has an award-winning heated infinity pool, chalk-white interiors, creative dining and the most mesmerising views of Santorini's incredible sunsets. The 20 rooms scattered down the hillside range from minimalist deluxe rooms to opulent suites, all with white-on-white furnishings, Nespresso coffee makers and jaw-dropping views, many with heated private plunge pools. By day, wake to a decadent five-course Champagne breakfast before lounging in the Santorini sun, or the dedicated team of staff will be delighted to arrange a visit to the spa or recommend a bespoke excursion. After dark, don't miss a trip into vibrant Fira to experience the nightlife scene, or simply soak up the panoramic views in the 363 Lounge with a signature Grace cocktail in hand.
This feature was published on 8th March 2022. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.