The Hotel Guru is Fiona Duncan of the Sunday Telegraph - a leading hotel journalist who, after several lifetimes of professional hotel reviewing and globe trotting for many of the major national newspapers and press in the UK, knows the best places to stay all over the world. She has also recruited a small team of travel journalists and hotel experts to help her. Their reviews are honest, unbiased, and tell it how it is.
Villa Magnolia is a Noble Villa dating back to the 18th-century, the smallest luxury Boutique Hotel/Retreat in Puglia. It is set within a generous 4 hectares of land full of ancient olive trees and almond groves in the heart of Puglia. ABC News has rate…"
This elegant yet relaxed country retreat occupies a 16th-century patrician villa in the heart of Chianti with uninterrupted classic views of rolling hills, vines and olive trees. The stylish interiors are done out in strong, earthy colours; bedrooms are…"
The Hotel Guru Review: The Firmdale group of hotels run by husband-and-wife Tim and Kit Kemp epitomize the sort of sexy yet welcoming city hotels that we love. The Covent Garden, located in the very heart of things, their first West End hotel and perhap…"
The Hotel Guru Review: A tucked-away deep red door leads to an astonishing Aladdin's cave of a drawing room, filled with antiques and curiosities collected by antiques experts Martin and Ioana Miller, and glittering under dozens of candles at night. Bed…"
The Hotel Guru Review: In Sydney Street, plumb between the shops of the Kings and Fulham Roads and the museums of South Ken, a townhouse hotel that's been given a stylish makeover by its new owners. You'll find pale pistachio walls, blonde wood floors, …"
Polished and elegant hotel in a 16th century nobleman's house, sympathetically decorated in wood, stone and soft natural colours. Catalan dishes are served in the arcaded restaurant and there's a fabulous teak-decked rooftop terrace with pool. Staff are…"
A late 19th-century school is home to Amsterdam's latest hip hotel. The name also refers to the fact that it is staffed by students, overseen by an eagle-eyed team of professionals from the excellent Stein Group of hotels. Its award-winning design by lo…"
With its roots as a 17th century inn, this sky blue and white house, with huge views from the upper floors, is filled with music, pictures and good books. Warm and welcoming Thelma McCausland, a great home cook, offers two guest bedrooms in her family ho…"
Designed by famed architect Charles Boccara, Caravanserai is the epitome of mud hut chic. Bohemian and luxurious, there are 16 Berber style rooms, either with a terrace or bit of garden, and two suites with their own private plunge pools. The vibe is lai…"
The new kid on the block. This is the one you feel Elton John and David would choose if they were in Bath. Quite camp ('our philosophy is straightforward; if you don't have fun you don't have life'), lavish and comfortable but always with a slightly arch…"
In its heydey Marrakech's most talked about restaurant, this elegant riad was turned into an understated luxury hotel with good facilities in 1997 by Fabrizio Ruspoli. Outside splashing fountains play in flowered patios where you can take drinks and ligh…"
In the foothills of the High Atlas mountains, yet within easy reach of Marrakech, Sir Richard Branson's turretted Kasbah, discovered by his mother during one of his ballooning exploits, seems forbidding at first, clinging as it does to a dusty hill. Once…"
Within walking distance of some of Rome's main sights, the quietly aristocratic, residential area of the Aventine with its handsome 19th-century villas and lush gardens has an almost villagey feel. The smartly-revamped Sant' Anselmo has a gorgeous garden…"
Superbly located within the heart of the medina, yet very simple to find and moments from both the city gate of Bab Laksour (taxis) and Djemaa el-Fna Square, this newly refurbished bolthole will suit modern sensibilities perfectly with its seemless mix o…"
Less is more at this ultra-minimal riad in the heart of the medina. Well-chosen pieces of pottery and local craftmanship stand out from stark white walls, classical music plays softly in the communal areas and host Jean-François will make sure your stay …"
It might no longer be the louche, decadent meeting place it was in the 60s and 70s, but L'Hôtel, with its fabulous circular atrium, is nowadays graced by gloriously extravagent interiors. Choose between compact, jewel-box like rooms and themed suites (if…"
Very small (three bedrooms), very central and as neat as a new pin, the Town House makes an excellent choice for those who prefer not to walk too far, though it has no lift so doesn't suit the very infirm. South African pictures and artefacts make a plea…"
A grand 18th century mansion has been transformed into a futuristic space, with original features, including sweeping staircase. Doors are framed by sparkling curtains of twisted plastic lit by spotlights that constantly change colour. The mood in the ro…"
THEY SAY: Punta "San Vigilio" lies at the tip of Monte Baldo and stretches far into the lake, farther than the peninsula of Sirmione, exactly at that point where the lake is at its widest and most open. From there you overlook more or less the whole of L…"
The Swiss owners of this converted 300-year old oil mill have done a beautiful restoration job; interiors are a modern take on Tuscan rustic with lots of wood, stone and natural fabrics. The food is good and there's a big garden with a pool."
England's deepest lake, Wastwater, lies just below; its highest peak, Scafell Pike, towers above. The setting of this famous climber's inn is bleak but magnificent, and the traditional interior, though fairly simple, is more comfortable than you might im…"
The smart, younger and hipper sister of the Locanda San Vigilio occupies an 18th-century farm in countryside east of the lake. The cooking in the fresh, yellow painted restaurant is highly regarded and buzzes every evening with outside diners as well as …"
Classic medium-sized (29 rooms, large and unusually comfortable) modern boutique hotel, privately-owned, very central, smart, and well run. Although it is in several houses of a Georgian terrace it feels anything but old-fashioned. There is a striking ab…"
The longer we linger, the more we love this 150 year-old mock-Tyrolean building, former family home of the two sisters who own it. Public rooms and bedrooms are charmingly decorated with unusual objects, including rare Sicilian paintings on glass. Key st…"
A best-kept secret, small and luxurious, and complete with the friendliest staff in town. Even Aman junkies are jumping ship. The three acre garden is gorgeous, quiet and filled with lemon trees; the pool is heated and the food a sensation. There are onl…"
One of Amsterdam's most charming small hotels is named after the seven bridges you can spy without moving from this lovely spot where the Reguliersgracht and Keizersgracht meet. Well-proportioned rooms have wooden floors generously scattered with Orienta…"
Occupying a 15th-century mansion in the lovely old town of San Quirico d'Orcia, the Palazzo del Capitano has emerged looking better than ever from a recent renovation. It offers 11 pretty rooms, handsomely furnished in Tuscan tradition, a comfortable sit…"
This remote corner of the Maremma is way off the worn tourist track, but it's a fascinating area and there is somewhere comfortable and stylish to stay in the form of this hotel which occupies part of an 11th-century fortress. Views from the rooms are fa…"
This popular riad is owned by an expert city guide and his wife who is an antique dealer. Interiors are, of course, full of interesting Moroccan antiques and objets d'art and the whole home has a rich, traditional feel. The service at Riad Kniza goes bey…"
A flawlessly hip refuge in a landscape of heritage-listed gardens, Cowley Manor is an elegant blend of stone grandeur and contemporary bliss-out, ideal for stressed urbanites. Enjoy the two pools, gym and treatments on offer at C-Side, the hotel's award…"
Despite its outwardly grand Georgian exterior (the house was designed in 1752 by John Wood the Elder) this tranquil guesthouse has the feel of a family home, where John and Ros Napier go out of their way to provide a relaxed welcome. Quirky (house empty,…"
This mellow old villa and its gorgeous garden sit in the hills just south of the Arno. The five bedrooms are each different but all are furnished with taste and style; one has a big terrace overlooking the city. There's also a small pool."
Superb value, wonderful hotel. The owners have preserved the atmosphere of the simple pensione where Ruskin stayed, with a homely dining room and a kind welcome, plus the recent addition of a café/restaurant, La Piscina, on a fabulous floating terrace in…"
"Hidden amongst century-old pine trees on verdant Cap d'Antibes, this chic Art Deco villa with a charming, fresh feel is run by Flemish brothers Filip and Frederik Vanderhoeven. An oasis of calm just 100 yards from Salis Plage, it has lush gardens, five s…"
If Lake Windermere is where you'd like to be, consider this a less expensive alternative to Holbeck Ghyll. With superb views across landscaped grounds to the lake and the Old Man of Coniston beyond, Michael Bevans' hotel has Edwardian-style public rooms,…"
The young owners of this delightful little B&B welcome guests as if into their own home. Rooms are all carefully and prettily decorated; those on the ground floor are quite luxurious; try the 'Theatre Suite' occupying a tiny ex-playhouse complete with st…"
A hip hangout ablaze with artistic details. Silver buckets burst with roses, tables are covered in silks and walls are punctuated by paintings from owner Vanessa Branson's stunning collection. Email wirelessly by the pool and enjoy a hamman, screening ro…"
The setting of this country hotel, in a national park, is magnificent and there are plenty of outdoorsy things to do. Inside, the style is modern Italian rustic with white walls and colourful ceramics and fabrics. The food is good and there's a wonderful…"
Occupying the top two floors of a 15th-century palazzo, this hotel, with its creaky floors and antique furniture, has an Edwardian feel to it in spite of being located in designer shop-land. Meals are served on the lovely roof terrace in summer."
The best sort of small hotel where the owners (industrial managers recently made redundant) have committed everything to making it work well. The Kennard radiates their cheerfulness and energy. Imaginative details include a tiny formal garden newly plant…"
The most English of the city's top three. Decorated with real taste in the country house style (good 20th century portraits, Victorian Gothic detailing) set in a four-acre landscaped garden that also supplies the kitchen with vegetables, the Bath Priory …"
In this delightful, multi-coloured Regency town, the former Harbourmaster's waterfront house continues the theme: azure blue outside, multi-coloured inside. Downstairs: eating and drinking at the curving bar or in the informal dining room with inventive …"
"Set in rolling countryside and occupying a whole Renaissance hamlet complete with tiny chapel, the Amorosa is one of Tuscany's most captivating hotels. The bedrooms are beautifully appointed, there is a fine restaurant and service is professional yet dis…"
"In the same family since 1945, this pretty Italianate villa is an extremely simple hotel in an extremely beautiful and privileged location with sensational views from its flower-filled terraces. Bedrooms (air-conditioning) are basic (bed, chair, desk) bu…"
Arranged around an attractive paved inner courtyard, Riad Honey provides a tranquil refuge from the heat and dust of the medina. It has eight air-conditioned double bedrooms, decorated unpretentiously but with panache. With their Oriental rugs, wrought-i…"
A strikingly elegant restoration of ten 17th-century merchants' houses overlooking the Herengracht, with particularly fine views of the canal through the large windows of the graceful salon and high-ceilinged breakfast room. The comfortable bedrooms, fur…"
An old inn, close to the main road in stunning walking terrain, that gained a new lease of life as a gastropub, and remains a fine example of its type. Squashy leather sofas round the fireplace in the bar/lounge; stylish food at pine tables in the barn d…"
On Sunday mornings, the welcoming drawing room is full of newspapers, coffee and chat, and the sun, when it shines, pours in from the market square. Most of the inviting bedrooms look on to the square (the largest) or out to sea, though there are some ga…"
An oasis of calm luxury on the ancient Singel, the Estheréa traces its history back three generations to the 1940s when widow Maria Flieger-Gruyters opened a guesthouse, naming it in honour of her three daughters, Esther, Elly and Ria. The hotel has expa…"
The Villa des Orangers is owned by renowned French hoteliers the Beherecs and their influence is apparent at this popular and well-appointed hotel. Orange trees fill the patios and one of the two swimming pools can be found on the rooftop sun terrace wit…"
Torcello is the cradle of the Venetian civilization, yet all that remains are two serenely beautiful religious buildings. When the tourists drift home its magic takes hold, and the handful of guests at the Locanda Cipriani are there to share the privileg…"
"In a salubrious corner of Earl's Court, this pillared, white stucco townhouse offers a mix of rooms, from singles and bunk-bed to superior and deluxe doubles (£175) most of which have soothing views over the gardens or a pretty mews. Each has clean lines…"
A thoroughly civilised hotel housed in a wonderful, rambling 17th-century palazzo filled with beautiful antiques and pictures. The excellent restaurant occupies part of what was a Roman amphitheatre and there's a charming hanging garden."
"An absolutely delightful, family-run hotel with a magical setting (a 16thC star-shaped castle) and a truly warm atmosphere. While never forgetting its core clientele of walkers, retired couples and families, the hotel's recent refurbishment will appeal t…"
Once a simple pensione, Villa Giulia is a beautiful, large house in Victorian style with gothic touches, owned by the charming Bombardelli family for more than 50 years. Gardens and terraces run practically to the water's edge, while inside, airy rooms l…"
"Budget travellers will be relieved to find this attractive hotel in an 18th century house that once belonged to a friend of Pushkin's and overlooks the lovely Moika. Just off Nevsky Prospect and near the Palace Square and Hermitage Museum, it employs Eng…"
It's hard to imagine closer attention to detail in the seven delightful bedrooms, full of fresh flowers from the lovely garden, pretty fabrics and delicate ornaments, of this four-century old house where malt for the village ale was stored. Judi Wilkes i…"