The 17 best boutique hotels in the world


The winners of the international Boutique Hotel Awards 2021 were revealed yesterday, providing an insight to the hottest properties on the planet.

Now in its 11th year, the awards honour the people behind the most outstanding properties in the world and bring together members of The Master Key Society, where relationships are built exclusively among the award winners by facilitating hotel exchange visits between them.

As part of the judging process, every property is visited personally by an experienced hotel judge, who specialises in each category, and decisions are influenced by true guest experience at the property.

Story continues below

This year’s winners were selected from over 250 nominees in more than 70 countries.

Here is the full rundown of the winners and the judges’ comments.

1. World’s Best Beach or Coastal Hotel: Hyakuna Garan, Okinawa, Japan

The hotel has actually brought the surroundings in; a huge open-air courtyard with three banyans grows through the centre, corridors looking onto a mossy cave with a 7-metre Buddha statue, and a huge tatami zen room opening out onto an ocean view.

2. World’s Best City Hotel: Corpo Santo Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal

“Corpo Santo makes it very hard to leave. With a complimentary welcome massage and fresh fruit platter, soundproof windows, and Portuguese design on every floor, this hotel has set a trend for a flawless guest experience.”

3. World’s Best Chic Design Hotel: Hotel TwentySeven, Amsterdam, Netherlands

“The Netherlands’ only ‘Six Star’ hotel is infused with dark, decadent glamour – and a genie-like butler serving each suite.”

4. World’s Best Classic Hotel: Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage, Bruges, Belgium

“In the heart of Bruges, Hotel Heritage really breathes an easy elegance.  Large windows and high ceilings give a feeling of light and space; the traditional rooms are complemented by gadgets such as Bose sound systems, iPads, and automatic lighting.”

5. World’s Best Culinary Hotel: Velaa Private Island, Maldives

“If you decide not to inform your private butler where you are going (spa; beach; golf; tennis), he will still somehow magically show up when you are done, waiting to give you a buggy ride to your villa. Team members remember your breakfast order, and recommend wine or dishes they think you will enjoy. Velaa is pretty much flawless.”

6. World’s Best Inspired Design Hotel: Ultima Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

“Ultima is a haven of unapologetic excess.  Its design is faithful to traditional Swiss chalet style, updated with state-of-the-art technology and indulgent touches like Bvlgari toiletries, welcome gifts, and a spa with its own snow machine.”

7. World’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway: Alissachni Mykonos, Mykonos, Greece

“I felt that all I had to do was think of something I wanted and in two seconds a staff member was standing next to me asking if I would like a cocktail, a water, an iced coffee, etc… The hotel has 180 degree views from its position on the cliff… this hotel oozes romance.”

8. World’s Best Romantic Retreat: Ca Maria Adele, Venezia, Italy

“Not only does it have its own private water entrance – arrive by boat and you feel like you’re in a Bond movie – but it’s directly opposite the stunning Santa Maria della Salute, and so wonderfully quiet that it feels like your own cosy, private corner of the city.”

9. World’s Best Sustainable Hotel: Svart Hotel, Norway

“Svart is not just a hotel, it’s a project in sustainability. The world’s first ‘energy-positive’ hotel aims to generate 160% of its energy. A circular and glass-fronted building perched on the waters of the Holandsfjorden Fjord, it will also have an education centre.”

10. World’s Best New Hotel: Hotel Barriere Le Carl Gustaf, St. Barths

“A haven of understated luxury, this hotel was designed to fit in with the unpretentious style of the island.  As well as impeccable service, guests can expect incredible food from the restaurant run by Michelin-starred Pierre Gagniere.”

11: World’s Best Wellness Spa Naturhotel Forsthofgut, Leogang, Austria

“With a natural, alpine aesthetic, this hotel creates a feeling of calm and tranquility.  There’s a beautiful natural swimming pool and daily list of activities including yoga and hikes. It’s in an unbeatable mountain setting with direct access to ski slopes.”

12. World’s Most Stunning Views   Boutique Hotel Villa Sostaga, Gargnano, Italy

“The design and architecture is rich in history, with lots of natural light and a chandeliered dining room with spectacular views over Lake Garda and the villages beyond.”

13. World’s Best Family Hotel: Green Spa Resort Stanglwirt, Austria

“I’ve never seen so many high quality facilities in the same place. It has 15 tennis courts, 5 saunas, 5 pools, stables, and much more. There’s even an 8-course tasting menu that’s different every evening.”

14: World’s Best Private Villa: Over Yonder Cay, Bahamas

“A unique, eco-friendly haven for those seeking sustainable and luxury living. You’ll have the attention of a team of therapists, water sports and diving instructors, and tennis and golf coaches. Over Yonder Cay has a private sailing yacht and its own reef.”

15. Europe’s Best Private Villa: Isla Sa Ferradura, Ibiza, Spain

“This private island has just 6 suites, and 24 staff members who are dedicated to making your wishes come true. You are spoilt with incredible facilities including a gym and spa.  The staff can organise almost any activity, including hot air ballooning, yacht or even helicopter tours.”

16. Best Host Of The Year: Relais Rossar Garda & Hills, Italy

“Run by sisters Marta and Camilla, Relais Rossar is a converted stable offering world-class hospitality. The design is simple, homely and warm, with family antiques scattered around.  50% of the guests are returners, so don’t be surprised if you see some pottering around in their dressing gown and slippers.”

17. The Finest Home–Grown Wine Pairing: Tenuta Montemagno Relais & Wines, Italy

“Waiter Francesco and wife served breakfast and dinner. Francesco introduced all our food and wines and had a lovely manner: calm, attentive, local. Dinner was a taster menu based on what had been sourced that morning at the market.  Wine was all locally produced and wine matching was excellent.”

Tags : boutiqueBoutique Hotels
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

1 Comment

  1. Interesting read. Blu Atlantic Hotel Lekki is a perfect example of the excerpt “our food and wines and had a lovely manner: calm, attentive, local.”

Leave a Response