Small Luxury Hotels of the World has welcomed three new boutique hotels to its luxury collection in July. With a contemporary Madrid city-centre gem, laid-back luxury vibes in a Caribbean escape and a lavish retreat in the heart of the capital of Laos, there is something to please all independently minded travellers at SLH.
French Coco: Tartane, Martinique
Rooms from AUD441 per night based on two sharing
This brand new all-suite hotel, opening in July 2016, is the first SLH hotel in Martinique and offers guests a relaxed yet luxurious Creole experience. Located on the north east coast of the island, French Coco sits in the lush grounds of the Caravelle Peninsula nature reserve, a marvellously unspoiled, protected haven, famed for its tropical flora and wildlife. The 17 elegant suites are decorated in raw and natural materials, with soothing shades that bring the outdoors in. After spending the day barefoot on the beach or exploring the charming fishing village of Tartane, guests can enjoy French-style Caribbean-inspired cuisine made with organic, seasonal produce, straight from the hotel’s gardens at the French Coco restaurant. This hotel prides itself on its concierge service and attention to detail; making sure every stay at French Coco is unique and personal.
Insider tip: If you’re visiting French Coco for a romantic getaway book the Suite Creole or Suite Caraibes, both of which boast a private pool and secluded seating area for guests to relax in privacy.
The President by Akaryn; Vientiane, Laos
Rooms from AUD544 per night based on two sharing
Opening in October 2016, this brand new boutique hotel brings a new level of luxury to the historic city of Vientiane. Originally built as a gift to the Laotians by the Chinese government, this hotel artfully balances traditional Laotian designs with French neoclassical influences. The President has the privilege of being located right in the heart of Vientiane’s most exclusive area. It sits in between the striking Parliament House and the Presidential palace and opposite the Chou Anouvong Park – where you’ll spot locals practicing Tai Chi in the morning and tourists enjoying a beer in the afternoon sun. The 32 spacious rooms and suites boast high ceilings, marble floors and huge windows, many with views of the expansive manicured grounds and the ‘English country-house’ inspired garden maze. The Ayurah Wellness Spa is kitted out for top-to-toe indulgence with exclusive Linda Meredith products and therapies, which again combine the best elements of eastern and western treatments. There are four dining spaces, offering a constantly evolving menu of Mediterranean cuisine, gourmet French fair, traditional Laos delights and a high quality international buffet with a stunning view of the temple.
Insider Tip: Just 5 minutes’ walk down the Mekong River from the hotel is The Spirit House. This lively bar and restaurant in a traditional Laos wooden house is a great place to enjoy the sunset with a backdrop of the river, while sipping quirky cocktails and sampling delicious Vientiane cuisine.
Hotel Único: Madrid, Spain
Rooms from AUD392 per night based on two sharing
Despite its location in the lively Salamanca area of Madrid, once you step inside this converted 19th century palace the mood is calm, peaceful and relaxing. It’s the perfect springboard for a day of historic sightseeing or luxury retail therapy along Madrid’s Golden Mile. The hotel features a private courtyard garden and 44 soundproofed rooms and suites. The Marble mosaics, ornate staircase and high ceilings, paired with Art Deco flourishes, create a quirky and contemporary atmosphere with an aristocratic charm. The hotel’s crowning jewel is its two-Michelin starred restaurant, Ramón Freixa, one of Madrid’s best restaurants, making Hotel Único a culinary must-visit. On Sundays, guests can enjoy an innovative brunch menu in the courtyard, start off with a strawberry-mint detox juice and follow up with glazed lamb shank or a tuna carpaccio with wakame salad, accompanied by chilled Cava and rounded off by a selection of macarons, truffles and other deserts. Afterwards guests can unwind at the hotel’s spa, enjoying wellness treatments by skincare brand Natura Bissé.
Insider Tip: After exploring the designer boutiques on the Golden Mile, pop by the Mercado De la Paz to purchase some traditional Spanish produce and enjoy a drink and a light meal in one of the market’s rustic tapas bars.