Travel Picks: Best boutique hotels

Fri Nov 8, 2013 2:13pm EST
 
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(Reuters) - Boutique hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.com) have announced the winners of their first hotel awards celebrating the world's best boltholes, a marker of the evolution of the boutique hotel industry over the last decade.

Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Best-Dressed Hotel Alila Villas Uluwatu Bali, Indonesia - Staking a stylish claim on Bali's rugged Bukit Peninsula, this is a cool, contemporary cliffhanger of a resort which delivers dramatic eco-friendly design in a jaw-dropping setting.

2. Sexiest Bedroom in the World Blakes Hotel London, UK - Arguably the original boutique hotel, Anouska Hempel's wickedly opulent Kensington hideaway has been discreetly looking after lovebirds for over 25 years. It's hard to imagine a more alluring setting for seduction than the honeymoon-perfect, white-on-white Corfu Suite.

3. Hottest Hotel Bar Ace Hotel New York New York, USA - Hip, quirky and brimming with confidence, the Ace's bar channels the spirit of its home city perfectly, and bustles with moving, shaking New Yorkers both day and night. They come for the cocktails, ingeniously crafted by Milk & Honey's Sasha Petraske, they stay for the electric ambience.

4. Best Hotel Restaurant Bastide de Moustiers Provence, France - Alain Ducasse's Provençal hideaway is a love poem to the surrounding area, a gastronome's daydream that showcases the finest local produce in a daily changing menu of delectably inventive dishes. There's no frippery or unnecessary extras; just simple, seasonal ingredients, intelligently prepared and served in a truly beautiful place.

5. Best Spa Hotel Como Shambhala Estate Bali, Indonesia - Como's flagship retreat in Ubud renowned for its holistic back-to-nature approach, and promises to soothe, relax, cosset and revivify - while surrounding you in totally tropical, thatched-pavilion, wall-to-wall waterfall luxury.

6. The Eco Award Sextantio Albergo Diffuso Abruzzo, Italy - Albergo Diffuso is more than a hotel, it's a whole new accommodation concept built around restoration and sustainability. Spread around the buildings of what was an abandoned village high in the Italian Apennines, the project hasn't just created an utterly unique place to stay, it has reinvigorated an entire mountain village that would otherwise have been lost to history.

7. Best for Families Soneva Kiri Koh Kood, Thailand - With a breathtaking jungle-meets-ocean setting, switched-on service and fun-loving attitude, eco-friendly Soneva Kiri takes luxury family holidays to a new level. The free kids' club the Den is beyond impressive: Dutch eco-architect Olav Bruin asked groups of children to design their dream play area - and then built on that.   Continued...