No prizes for guessing that many of you will already be thinking of your holiday destinations for the year, and it goes without saying that the right accommodation can make or break your holiday.

You don’t quite fancy a Villa or Apartment because that would mean cooking for yourself, so how do you maximise relaxation with picturesque elements? A good hotel. Lerease Sweeney, our Travel Contributor shares her top five.

In my view, many big hotel chains often lack the X factor in terms of style so I’m always looking out for unique hotels that bring something a little special. I look for Local, Interesting, Quirky, Stylish and Luxurious. Think aesthetically pleasing and curious all at once.

On my travels, I’ve encountered a number of hotels that celebrate their uniqueness in the best possible way, with their very own character, inevitably making stays much more enjoyable.


Here are my Top 5:

The Slate, Phuket, Thailand

This five-star hotel with its dark and sensual tones lends a very subtle nod to this regions tin mining history. The Slate is regarded as the island’s only avant-garde expression of a true Phuket heritage. Set in a luxurious setting, this stunning resort in Nai Yang Beach has recently been relaunched with refreshed looks in all suites, villas, food and beverage outlets, and their wellness facilities. Updated and innovative menus also offer a wider range of healthy options as well as flavourful local dishes that stays true to Phuket’s culinary traditions.

Why go there? We love the unique way they weave a part of their history into their décor whilst remaining stylish, which is no easy feat when the topic is mining. Everything is well thought out and you’ll constantly want to capture sights in pictures. The service was excellent, the food was fantastic and you’ll feel completely relaxed whilst there.

Best for? Couples or Families, there’s a bit of both for everyone to enjoy.


Malmaison Hotels, UK

This chain of hotels inhabits old buildings that were once something else, think hospital, think Royal Mail sorting office, think prison! Visit Malmaison Oxford for an out of this world experience of just that!

Check out this small cluster of hotels, which use sumptuous, luxurious colours and furnishings in all of their decor. Their quirkiness gives a sense of fun at every stage of your stay.

Why go there? A stay at a Malmaison makes you feel like you are part of the Malmaison family. You’ll instantly feel at home, but a nice touch is that because the rooms differ so much, it’s always a nice surprise to see what design and layout you’ll find on each visit. Some branches have a great bar and spa on-site but you must also try the room service menu!

Best for? Dates / Ladies Nights – after Shopping and Spa trips.


W Hotels, Worldwide

Every branch of this hotel almost outdoes itself in the style stakes. They are part of the Starwood Group and can be found all over the globe. Think glitz and glamour, we think the W should probably stand for ‘Wow’ factor.

Why go there?  From the excellent service received at the front desk to the concierge booking us the most amazing night out in town, the gorgeous rooms and social areas in each of their hotels, It’s hard to see why you wouldn’t!

Best for? Couples or Families, there’s a bit of both for everyone to enjoy.


Hard Rock Hotels, Worldwide

There’s no doubt about the rock and roll credentials of this hotel chain. Every single one of this branch of hotels gives a very blatant nod to its well-known history in the music hall of fame. You can’t visit one of their hotels without experiencing their passion for music.

Why go there? Modern yet stylish with a fabulous amenity program called The Sound of Your Stay, which could see guests channelling their inner rock god by either giving them free playlists and music streaming, strumming a guitar during an in-room jam session or throwing down beats and mixing like a professional DJ.

Best for? Groups


Sanderson Hotel, London

 Sanderson Hotel - please remove writing at bottom

An establishment with a reservation list that includes a roster of A-Listers, and when you see the décor you can easily see why they come here. The landmarked 1950s building has been transformed by Philippe Starck into a surreal Cocteau-like dream world, epitomising a new luxury that is understated and cool. If your budget can’t quite stretch to a stay at the Sanderson, at least try their Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea and have a drink at the Long Bar.

Why go there? It’s smack bang in the middle of Central London in Soho and looks like a 60s office block from the outside, but step inside, and you will be transported to a fashion conscious lobby, as well as achingly trendy rooms, bar and restaurant.

Best for? Dates and the fashion conscious traveller.


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