New year, new holiday allowance: Here’s how to spend it…

With the New Year comes a new holiday allowance and we’re already thinking carefully about how to spend ours. From sun-worshipers to culture vultures and everyone in between, we’ve got you covered with our top picks.

Sun Seeker

For the sun lover endlessly seeking out warmer climes, you can’t beat these ray-filled hotspots:

March – Escape the winter chill with 5 days at Desert Palm Dubai. With its gorgeous infinity pool, on-site spa and Dubai’s year-round balmy climate you can rediscover your summer glow.

June – As the mercury rises in Europe, enjoy a sun-filled week in Mallorca at Pure Salt Port Adriano. Adult-only, this is a place to really kick back and unwind with spacious rooms and uninterrupted, stunning sea views.

September – Stretch out your summer with a cheeky weekend on the White Isle at the laidback and lovely Can Lluc. Dance the night away at one of Ibiza’s famous closing parties, safe in the knowledge that the hotel’s inviting pool and Balinese beds beckon for long days spent lounging.

December – Inspire some serious Instagram envy with a pre-Christmas week in Barbados at Cobblers Cove. With its pastel pink exteriors, palm-filled gardens and spectacular beachside location, this is the spot for some much-needed sunshine and vitamin sea.

View more boutique hotels for sun-seekers here.

Culture Vulture

Whether you’re a history buff or a lover of the written word, we’ve got you covered:

February – Kick off the year with a serious culture fix with 2 weeks in Vietnam & Cambodia at Anantara Hoi An Resort and then Anantara Ankor Resort. Enjoy the picturesque riverside location and the city’s French influences in Hoi An before flying over the border into Cambodia to explore the breath-taking temples of Angkor Wat, the seventh wonder of the world.

June – As 2018’s European Capital of Culture, there’s no better time to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valletta and the newly opened The Saint John is a sleek and stylish stay.

October – Get your literary fill with a weekend in Cheltenham for the world famous Cheltenham Literature Festival. There are no better places to stay than the chic and inviting No. 131 or No. 38 – from the cool and contemporary interiors to the buzzing bar at 131, these are the places to see and be seen.

December – Spend a long weekend Christmas shopping in Florence and enjoy a cosy stay at the gorgeous JK Place. Set on the beautiful Santa Maria Novella square, this hotel could not be better placed to explore: with the festive markets in Piazza Santa Croce less than a 15-minute walk away and plenty of pretty presepe (nativity scenes) in the churches along the way.

View more boutique hotels for culture lovers here.

Budget Boutique

Having a tighter budget doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style with these savvy picks:

January – Start your year with a long weekend in the ‘City of Light’ and a stay at the newly opened and very lovely Hotel Basss. With interiors inspired by graphic designer Saul Bass and some of the friendliest service in town, this is a very affordable pick for your stay in Paris.

April – Lisbon seems to be the city on everyone’s list this year and, one of the cheapest capitals in Europe, it offers great value to boot. Bag yourself some serious design bang for your buck with a stay at the art-filled and elegant 1908 Lisboa Hotel, in the city’s up-and-coming Intendente neighbourhood.

June – With olive groves, beaches and charm aplenty – though yet to acquire the price tag of Tuscany – Puglia is a great part of Italy to explore for those on a budget. Book yourself in for a week at Cala Ponte Resort & Spa and enjoy exploring the best of the region, with the popular seaside town of Polignano a Mare a short drive away and Ostuni a little further on.

September – The wonderful Upham pubs do affordable luxury very well and their newest addition, The Thomas Lord, is no exception. Treat yourself to a weekend of long walks and good food in the Hampshire countryside with a stay in one of their luxury wood cabins.

View more budget boutique hotels here.


Gourmets will find more than enough to tantalise their taste buds, from Moroccan spices to suave Spanish delicacies:

February – The vibrant city of Marrakech tantalises the senses – with its sights, sounds, smells and flavours – and offers a culturally rich destination for a winter week away. Escape the mayhem of the Medina with a stay at the gorgeous Riad de Tarabel where you can delight in the chef’s stunning food before booking in for a cookery class to take some new skills home yourself.

April – From tapas to haute cuisine – Barcelona is a long-standing foodie favourite. Enjoy a long weekend at sleek and stylish boutique hotel, The One. Just off Passeig de Gracia there are a myriad of great restaurants nearby, not to mention the hotel’s own which serves delicious Mediterranean fare in an elegant setting or a simpler offering up at the buzzing rooftop bar.

June – There’s always a ‘new opening’ to try in London but the sultry and sophisticated The Mandrake is certainly the hottest in a while. With its dark walls and endless art, the style here is unequivocally cool. What’s more – with its Soho-setting and Hong Kong’s best Michelin-starred restaurant, Serge et le Phoque , on site – it’s a foodie’s delight.

September – Escape for a long weekend in Sicily with a stay at the charming Locanda Don Serafino . Boasting not one but two Michelin stars – the restaurant here really is something else and was in fact in situ long before the La Rosa brothers, Antonio and Giuseppe, decided to turn their hand to the hotel business. Suffice to say, you’ll be very well fed.

October – Continue in the Italian theme and head out for a week’s cooking course in Tuscany with a stay at Il Falconiere. If you’re less inclined to do it yourself, the restaurant is Michelin-starred and offers a wealth of dishes to whet your appetite. This is also the time of year for truffle hunting and you can enjoy visits to the nearby wineries and olive oil factories.

View more boutique hotels for foodies here.

Rest & Relaxation

Relax, and let your worries wash away with these chilled retreats:

February – Throw off the winter layers and warm up with a spa weekend in the Cotswolds at Cowley Manor. With its laid-back vibe and 50-acres of rolling parkland, this is a place to really get away from it all.

May – Treat yourself to a full-on unwind with two weeks in Bali at The Balé. Enrol on one of their wellness and holistic programs or simply find your spot by the pool and summon your butler to bring you a drink. Real life will be hard after this.

September – Retreat for a long weekend in Tuscany at Corte dei Papi. With stunning suites that offer your own private spa, this is a place to really pamper yourself and owner David and his team are on hand to satisfy your every need.

December – At 850m above sea level, there’s something a little otherworldly about Kurhaus Cademario Wellness & Spa. Escape here for a weekend of spa time, set to views of Lake Lugano and the surrounding Malcantone mountains and you’ll be hard pushed not to return refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to undo it all at Christmas.

View more relaxing boutique hotels here.

Hotels for the Hyperactive

Can’t stand the idea of lounging about? We’ve got you sorted, from Alpine skiing to exploring the unspoiled natural beauty in Corsica:

February – For those that like the active life, little beats a weekend skiing in the Alps and La Ferme du Lac Vert offers the perfect base from which to do it. Owners Rob and Lucy have succeeded in creating a cosy and inviting chalet with log fires, plush sofas and a fun ice bar for all your ‘après’ needs.

May – As spring gets into full swing, head up to the North of England for a long weekend walking in the Yorkshire Dales. Nestled between the Dales and the Lake District, the lovely Hipping Hall is the perfect jump off for walkers – welcoming you home with delicious food and the comfiest of beds at the end of a hard day’s hiking.

June – Enjoy a summer break in Corsica with its world famous hiking trails and wonderful sea swimming spots. And, set in the exclusive and unspoilt Cap Gorse area in the north of the island, Castel Brando offers a lovely boutique retreat from which to explore – just 100m from the crystalline Mediterranean and with bikes and kayaks for hire.

September – As the hefty heat of summer subsides, head to Tuscany for a week’s golfing at Argentario Golf Resort & Spa. Boasting an award-winning 18-hole course designed by the architect David Mezzacane and the professional golfer Baldovino Dassù it’s an impressive and appealing spot for even the most accomplished golfer. Add the three tennis courts, jogging trails, gym and pool and you’ll be pleased to retreat to the spa for a hard earned sauna and steam at the end of the day.

View more boutique hotels with activities aplenty here.

Fun for all the Family

These hotels are perfect for families, with plenty to do for both you and your little adventurers:

February – Pack up the kids and head off to the sunshine with a week in Morocco. Set just outside the centre of Marrakech, the cool and contemporary Fellah Hotel has plenty to keep small hands busy: from the expansive pool to the working farm complete with donkeys to feed.

April – Enjoy the great outdoors with a few days in the New Forest where Chewton Glen offers the perfect base from which to explore. Surrounded by 130-acres of parkland and gardens and just a few minutes walk from the sea, there’s an indoor and outdoor pool along with a luxury spa: perfect for a bit of ‘me-time’ too.

August – Run by the lovely Paolo and Philip, Fontelunga in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, offers a wonderfully friendly family escape. Enjoy days spent by the pool or head out to explore the surrounding region with Florence, Siena, Orvieto and Assisi all within a one hour drive of the hotel.

October – Catch the last of the summer heat with a week in Cyprus at the luxe and lovely Almyra. Cleverly conceptualised, this boutique spot offers the sleek and sexy feel of a design hotel yet welcomes the children with open arms – boasting an indoor playroom, outdoor adventure space and a babysitting service for those nights you fancy dining à deux.

View more boutique hotels for families here.


Happy New Year and happy holidaying!

Liz fancies herself as a somewhat intrepid explorer and has travelled across Asia, the Americas, New Zealand and Europe (although she’s still entirely lost without Google Maps…). With a passion for exercise, a sincere love of food and a penchant for adopting the local animals, you’ll most likely find her hiking up a mountain, tucking into some local delicacies or feeding carrots to a windswept pony.