With the year-end holiday season coming up, Small Luxury Hotels of the World is pleased to introduce six new members to its exclusive collection of independent luxury boutique hotels.
From a private hill retreat in Bali, a sophisticated eco-hotel hidden in the forest, a Zen-hideaway nestled in the wetland to an ex-hunting lodge fit for the royals, there is something to suit the tastes of all independently-minded travelers.
Hidden Hills Villas, Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Located in the stunning hills of Uluwatu, Hidden Hills Villas is a luxurious retreat blessed with great views of the Indian Ocean. The resort is the perfect getaway for travelers who value discretion and total bliss – there are no common areas and everything is provided in the comfort of the villa by a dedicated butler. Guests here won’t find set mealtimes, a main restaurant or loungers lining the pool. Instead, chefs grill just-caught fish in the villas, while a personal butler will serve cooked-to-order breakfast or a mixologist-made cocktail – whenever and wherever the guest fancies. Each of the seven villas (from one to five bedrooms) has its own distinct personality, taking inspiration from different cultures around the world which makes staying at Hidden Hills Villas a different experience each time.
SLH Insider Tip: Be sure to catch the mesmerizing sunset at the world-famous Uluwatu temple which is just a short drive away and can be arranged by the butler.
Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel, Hangzhou, China
Muh Shoou Xixi Hotel is a hotel that blends harmoniously with its surroundings – nestled near the southwest part of Xixi National Wetland Park, its overall design concept is a combination of the wetland scenery and artistic inspiration from Chinese landscape paintings. Owned and designed by GOA Architects, one of the most prominent architectural firms in China, the hotel combines five buildings to create a congenial, open architectural design that is in constant dialogue with its surroundings. The use of natural materials such as like recycled wood, rusted steel and water-faced marble underline the structure’s sustainable concept, beautifully complementing the 200 native trees in the area which includes a 100 year-old persimmon tree. From the bedrooms to the beautifully-designed restaurant which advocates organic and locally cultivated food and ingredients, glass walls and open spaces frame the stunning views, providing guests who walk into the hotel with a “slow life journey away from the hustle and bustle”.
SLH Insider Tip: By request, professional teachers from the Taiji temple can help guests exercise their body and mind, and experience the charm of Jiangnan on the private docks at the hotel.
Le Coucou Meribel, Meribel, France
Opening on 12th December, Le Coucou Meribel is part of a new luxury collection of five-star boutique hotels owned by fashion and property entrepreneurs the Pariente family. Perched along the slopes in Meribel at the foot of the Rond-Point des Pistes, the elegant ski-in/ski-out hotel overlooks the entire valley. With its traditional chalet styling, the mountainside hotel spread over 12,000 square meters offers a chic and relaxed take on mountain living with cheeky nods to cuckoos – the mischievous bird from which it borrows its name, including a feature wall in the BeefBar restaurant adorned with an entire collection of old cuckoo clocks. Young guests are not forgotten either – the hotel’s Petit VIP Kids Club and Teens Lab designed by Sophie Jacquemin, a specialist in captivating children, leads the way in the design of fun and educational activities for kids and teens. Think customized creative workshops, interacting with an imaginary yeti and funny monsters, and creating their first glass of mocktail.
SLH Insider Tip: Book one of the four-bedroom chalets to enjoy a kitchen, games corner, and TV room, private swimming pool and spa, a ski-in/ski-out room and outstanding views from the lounge.
Arima Hotel, San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain
Hidden among the trees in the Miramón Forest, Arima embodies “the new luxury” – boasting ultra-low energy consumption as the greenest lodging by far around San Sebastian. From clean energy systems, sulfate-free toiletries to a menu inspired by locally-grown ingredients at veggie-based fine dining restaurant Misura, the hotel sets a new benchmark in terms of environmental and social responsibility, as evinced by its rigorously audited Passivhaus qualification – a leading global authority for the reduction of the ecological footprint of buildings. In fact, 77 percent of Arima Hotel’s energy needs are fulfilled from aerothermal and geothermal power. The interior details are Scandi and Zen: soft indie music playing in the stylishly lit hallways; floor to ceiling windows casting the Nordic-style furniture in a gorgeous light. The hotel is also perfectly located for exploring the best sights and cities of the Basque region. Bilbao and Pamplona are easily reachable within an hour, as are Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz in France.
SLH Insider Tip: During summer, the rooftop infinity-edged pool commanding a majestic view over the canopy of the Miramón forest is not to be missed. Year round, go hiking or cycling in the forest or explore San Sebastián’s many Michelin-starred restaurants, but we recommend the local pintxos bars serving txakoli, the local white wine, with traditional Basque snacks.
Great Fosters, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Set within 50 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and parkland, Great Fosters is a regal sight to behold, boasting impressive Saxon-moated gardens and a guest list over its 400-year history that includes Queen Elizabeth I (whose crest still hangs above the front door), King Henry VIII and Charlie Chaplin. Perfectly positioned for visitors to Windsor (especially after Harry and Meghan’s wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018), the 16th-century royal hunting lodge is a perfect way to unwind and experience the royal treatment after a day trip. The stately Grade One listed main house carries all the hallmarks of contemporary comfort while retaining its unique heritage. Guests are welcome to fill their stay with as much – or as little – activity as they desire, from summer picnics, a dip in the heated outdoor pool with original 1920s bathing boxes and crisp winter walks around the Great Fosters estate, to a game of traditional croquet. With chef Tony Parkin helming Michelin star and 4AA Rosette restaurant The Tudor Room, as well as the hotel’s very own Great Fosters’ Gin, guests are also in for a gastronomic treat.
SLH Insider Tip: For a special occasion, opt for one of its historic suites/rooms bedecked in jewels such as 17th-century Flemish tapestries (Tapestry Suite) and elaborate Italian Rococo furniture with oversized bathtub for dive-right-in pampering (Italian Room). Furry companions are not forgotten either – they have dog-friendly rooms complete with a Dog Guide on the best spots to visit with your four-legged friend.
Ovolo Central, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
Ovolo Central on Arbuthnot Road unveils a transformation including exterior façade, new social spaces, reception and rooms following a total overhaul. The boutique designer hotel in the heart of Hong Kong’s Central Business District pays tribute to the fun and playful atmosphere of Central, featuring an array of unique and edgy design elements and channels a modern, funky aesthetic replete with custom artworks, edgy fabrics and design accents riffing on the city’s east-meets-west heritage. Ovolo Central also boasts an exceptional flagship food and beverage offering from VEDA, Hong Kong’s first vegetarian hotel restaurant spearheaded by celebrated vegetarian chef Hetty McKinnon. The restaurant’s innovative “High Chai” – with a keen balance of health and indulgence – makes the perfect afternoon tea experience.
SLH Insider Tip: Book its Radio Suite, designed by award-winning firm ALT-254, which spans the entire top floor of the hotel measuring 700 sq ft and features an unbeatable view and a sleek, modern design.