Good-looking hotels have been around for centuries. But the boutique hotel concept — as coined by Steve Rubell in reference to the Ian Schrager-designed Morgans in NYC — appeared on the scene only in the 1980s. Since then, the design-forward, highly curated lodging spaces have become icons of a particular kind of lifestyle — one we’d gladly join full time. At
, our boutique, award-winning travel website, we research and travel the world to share the best travel resources, stories, products, and recommendations. Here’s a highly edited list of our favorite boutique hotels right now. A group so visually tempting, it’s hard to go back home.
Providence, Rhode Island
An artfully arranged barebones hotel. Custom furniture, handmade objects from local purveyors, and antique artwork from around the world are thoughtfully positioned and placed throughout the early-20th-century building. There’s a clear sense of intention in the decor, making it a dream space for anyone who appreciates an old school vibe created with modern day finds.
The dreamy Scandinavian townhouse has been converted from an elegant home into a twelve-room hotel designed by London-based Ilse Crawford. Thoughtful touches like cashmere blankets and potted plants are strewn about creating a warm and welcoming environment. Spend your time curled up with a good book in the Ulf Nordfiell-designed garden or peruse the beautifully appointed kitchen for fresh produce and a glass of wine.
The brand new sister hotel to
in Venice, began as an art project, when owner Gabriele Salini invited 20 contemporary artists to demolish the 16th-century Roman palazzo, uncovering centuries-old plaster and floors underneath, sometimes leaving them, sometimes painting them, all to dramatic effect. Ten “unconventional luxury suites,” two on each floor, are named for iconic Italian designers from the 1930s-50s (Ponti, Seguso, Parisi). In-room details include mirrored tiles and chandeliers in showers, cabinets that hide mini-kitchens, and sofas so big they invite considerable mischief. The lobby — also the cafe/bar G-Bar — has already established itself as a preferred gathering place for cool locals.
Cabarita Beach, Australia
While the motel-turned-luxury-hotel’s original 1960s architecture and chill vibes are preserved, the 21-room hotel got a stylish update and fresh coat of blue and white paint Bright patterns cover every surface — from upholstered walls to pillowcases to handmade tiles in the bathroom. Carefully curated antique furnishings make each room special. Lounge on striped deck chairs under palm trees by the pool, or have a meal at the low-key but equally spiffy Paper Daisy.
New York, New York
Once an apple orchard, then a seminary student house, the 19th-Century neo-Gothic building is now a 60-room hotel that remains incredibly private and homey in bustling Chelsea. Designed by Roman and Williams, rooms are dotted with old-fashioned details (rotary dial phones, fireplace mantels, chandeliers) and large windows face neighborhood highlight, The High Line. The lobby is filled with vintage curiosities purchased from local antique fairs. Walk through the back door to the private garden grounds.
Perched on a ridge overlooking the Gulf of Naples, this family-run hotel was built in the 1950s. While retaining its original charm, the space also maintains a wholly modern look and feel. Family furnishings and collections adorn the walls and corners, alongside Vietri pottery, nautically inspired fabrics, and eye-catching blue and white gingham tiles.
Tel Aviv, Israel
The subtly elegant vibe feels like a reprieve from Tel Aviv’s bustling and vibrant streets. Created from two former homes built in the 1920s, the exteriors are painted in calming shades of light yellow and powder blue. The use of pastel colors extends to the interiors, with rooms decorated in shades of lilac, beige, and periwinkle. Serene and airy spaces are given more depth with mid-century modern furniture and dark hardwood floors, while intricately patterned tile lines the bathroom floors, a detail inspired by the work of local artisans.
Silvia Tcherassi, Colombia’s top fashion designer, has transformed an old colonial home into a charming seven-room inn in the heart of the cobblestoned old city. There’s a rooftop terrace, a vertical garden, a small courtyard pool, a spa, and an absolutely delicious Italian restaurant on the ground floor. It’s the attention to the small, warm touches, however, that make this one a dream. The wrought-iron doors. The bedspread covered in the designer’s labels, the curtains made of safety pins.
Torres de Paine, Chile
Sustainability and environmental protection are paramount to the architecture and maintenance of this stunning resort on the Patagonian pampa. The spa is built around a central open fire, indoor/outdoor baths, and saunas. Almost the entire exterior and interior is built from native lenga wood by native craftspeople, and immense floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outside in. Bedrooms have a Shaker-like spare elegance, freestanding soaking tubs, and incredible vistas.
If you dream of living in the pages of an interior design magazine, this is your chance. The single bedroom hotel is one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets. The small apartment is furnished with vintage finds, including French linens and industrial lighting, all thoughtfully gathered and styled by interior decorator Lynda Gardener. A strictly black, white, and gray palette gives the place a calming and serene vibe. And to make you feel even more at home, it comes with a handpicked list of Gardener’s favorite spots in the neighborhood.