It’s all about boutique hotels…

Move over big, overly boujee, commercial hotels. Heritage and boutique hotels are in now, and with a side of history, they’re even better. Perhaps the most enduring charm of boutique or heritage hotels is how you can travel into the past or into another culture with all your modern comforts in tow. The hotel bears the wear of time in the bones of the structure and the promise of tomorrow in the flat screen TV. Balance, eh?

This summer, as you plan to embark on travels to lands beyond yonder, bear in mind these beautiful properties with the magical touch of the human story and the wealth of culture from many years past. Take me there now.

Kurula Bay in Sri Lanka

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This porperty is located on the breathtaking Koggala Lake, the island’s largest and most scenic natural lagoon. Kurulu Bay sits on a private jungle estate on the southern shores of Sri Lanka’s Ahangama. This is a space for modest luxury and conscientious hospitality, deviating from the excessively fancy and allowing residents to connect with nature, themselves and the world around them. The barefoot escape focuses on slow living, well-being, serenity and accentuating the natural beauty of the carefully preserved Kurulu House.

There are 14 cottages and suites, newly constructed to reflect the new in contrast to the 1960s Florida meets tropical Bawa modernism of the pre-existing property. It’s also a haven for art and wellness enthusiasts, hosting yoga and wellness retreats all year around.


Pazziella Garden and Suites in Capri

pazziella capri

This beautiful, quaint property was originally a private villa from the 1900s and has now been converted into a 25-suite boutique hotel with all the right touches of Italian heritage. The historical charm and modern luxury come together to make the perfect stay – a step into the true culture of Capri with all the modern comforts. This is a true sanctuary, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the perfect spot to take a break, relax and recharge yourself. The construction is that of true Capri style and comes with the traditional Italian hospitality that will make you fall in love with the place.

It’s all sunny white walls and blue tiles – with surrounding gardens and a pool. The hotel is just a short walk from Capri’s main piazza which means you can pop in for a bit of culture crawling and exploration during your break.


Wanosato in Japan


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Wanosato, located in the heart of Gifu prefecture, close to Hida-Takayama, is a traditional Ryokan or Japanese inn found in hot-spring resorts, and housed in a 160-year-old quaint and majestic Gassho-zukuri thatched-roof house, in the authentic praying hands style. The minka (house of the people) has the traditional praying hands style of roofing, and besides these wonderful authentic elements, there is also the surrounding forest, a bedrock and a cypress public hot spring bath. Wanosato is a true time capsule, and combines the modesty and serenity of a retreat like this with modern luxury.

The property is a 20-minute complimentary shuttle ride from JR Takayama Station, and off the beaten track from the usual big city exploration that one does when visiting Japan. Head here for a change and experience a different side of the Land of the Rising Sun.


Buahan in Bali

This Banyan Tree escape is as unique as it gets in the world of boutique hotels and situated in a breathtaking, largely untouched part of the Balinese landscape not known very well. This part in the heart of the jungle is hidden behind layers and layers of all-expansive flora and fauna and makes for an escape like no other. Buahan is located in the small namesake Indonesian village, and features a ‘no doors, no walls’ concept. Basically, you’re staying in an open air cabana surrounded by miles of infinite greenery, truly becoming one with nature. There are 16 such open-air balés, and you can enjoy a farm-to-table dining experience at the Open Kitchen, sip on local inspired cocktails at the Botanist Bar, and recharge at the Toja Spa.

This is one place where you will truly be in the midst of nature, but with all the comforts of a five-star location. Bali, but with a twist.


Life House, South of Fifth in Miami


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Life House South of Fifth may be unlikely choice if you’re going to America, but it has layers of rich history dating back to the time of the Tudors. It was originally a Tudor home, discovered by an artist who converted it into an eclectic, airy, coastal haven – a personal beach cottage complete with a quaint cafe and a charming wine bar. The space has stunning beach elements, the quintessential whites and blue stripes, with foliage and the lots of art, colour and texture. The hotel is located in the South of Fifth neighbourhood, hence the name, and while the area around the hotel evolves with upscale eateries, residences and hotspots, the hotel is frozen in time. So close to the Atlantic Ocean, it stays true to character as the time travelling escape it is. Simple, beachy and beautiful.


Samode Haveli in Jaipur


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Probably the most historically rich of all the boutique hotels in this list, this was built 225 years ago as the fabled residence of the rulers of the Samode, a region in Jaipur, India, this palace has been maintained in all it’s royal glory even now. The entirety of the family home has been converted into a boutique, heritage hotel, and everything screams Rajasthani history, from the architecture to the furnishings and the interiors to the exteriors. The royalty of this once princely state had, well, royal taste, and the ornate, lavish quarters are now the rooms of the hotel.

The hotel is still occupied by the descendants of the dynasty in some capacity, who chose to convert their home into a heritage hotel, and is a traditional haveli or mansion made into an urban oasis, complete with gardens, courtyards and a pool. Not only is the build age-old, so is the regal hospitality.


La Sultana in Marrakech

This is a beautiful slice of Morocco and with loads of history too. The property of the La Sultana in Marrakech is not just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, right in the heart of all action waiting for you to explore, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture is perhaps the most authentic Moroccan build, and allows one to hide away right in the city when desired and spring back into the busy bazaars, museums, royal palaces and souks of the kasbah. Inside the stunning, oriental space, you can sample authentic Moroccan cuisine, rooms and suites with terraces, and an Argan-infused spa.

The exotic ambience extends not only to the spa, where traditional Moroccan natural treasures are used to give you the most relaxing time, but also to the rest of the hotel, with high vaulted ceilings, intricately carved woods, marble and copper that speak of the hotel’s rich heritage.


The Cellars-Hohenort in Cape Town

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Fancy a vineyard – we have one. The Cellars-Hohenort is the South African escape you’re looking for, perched in the midst of nine acres of stunning gardens filled with camphor trees, roses and the good-old wine-making produce. This property is an old 17th century manor, oozing elegance and the rustic beauty of a countryside retreat. With over 2,500 flowers to make up the surroundings, it has a true farmhouse feel.

The country estate is not just a taste of the rural life – it’s poised with luxury and fine dining and even finer wine, which the hotel is quite famous of having cellars and cellars of. The collections are top notch and so is everything else. Add the beautiful Table Mountain views, and you’re far, far away from the noise of the city.


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