Ghent’s attractive secret
About 15 years in the past, whereas residing within the Netherlands, I spent a protracted weekend in Ghent, Bruges’ bigger however, to my thoughts, extra interesting sister. The style-hunting issue on this canal metropolis is excessive, from brocante and vintage-jewellery sellers to under-the-radar milliners. But I’d come to see a tiny visitor home I’d heard about, referred to as The Verhaegen. It’s tiny solely within the sense that its rooms quantity simply 4; and to name them “rooms” does the huge, pied-à-terre-style suites on this 1760 palace with its personal enclosed courtyard gardens an injustice (the “Suite années ’40” measures 70sq m).
It was acquired in 2004 by inside designers Marc Vergauwe and Jan Rosseel, who set a few several-years-long restoration and ornament mission that has resulted in a few of the prettiest, most authentic lodge interiors I’ve come throughout. Pedigreed antiques combine fortunately with trendy French and Dutch designs; contemporary flowers fill areas with color and scent; breakfast is served in an enormous eating room and drinks within the drawing room (each may also be taken among the many neat field hedges of the classical backyard). Book the two-bedroom household suite, with its grand king-sized mattress and two twin beds, for those who’re on the town to induct little ones into the genius of the brothers Van Eyck (or the fun of properly-cooked frites). For one thing a bit extra up to date, with self-catering in thoughts (assume small kitchens and work areas), Vergauwe and Rosseel have simply opened a second, three-room B&B, Atelier d’Arthur, throughout the backyard. From €195, theverhaegen.com
Mexico, small and suite
The founders of the fragrance-lifestyle line Coqui Coqui hail from France, however their lifelong love affair with all issues and locations Mexican has resulted within the model being inextricably related to that nation. They are additionally its uncontested masters of micro-scale hospitality: witness the Coqui Coqui one-suite assortment – their single, sigh-provoking personal lodging subsequent to the Coqui Coqui ateliers in Valladolid, Merida and Izamal. Just inland from Tulum is their five-suite Coqui Coqui Cobá Papholchac Residence & Spa.
Half destroy, half Arcadian idyll, it’s unfold throughout a pair of stone towers, with three small however beautiful swimming pools, communal eating room and library, a bar and the promised spa, the place native botanicals and clays function within the wraps and oil massages. What you received’t discover: televisions, aircon, or friends in uninterruptible communion with their units. What you’ll find: pretty pouches filled with Coqui Coqui scents, robust on tropical notes of vanilla and white flowers, as your welcome amenity. From about £330, coquicoqui.com
Rural model – and privateness – in Sicily
Sicily’s Val di Noto has a lot to advocate it: splendid baroque cities, sand seashores, quick access to Etna’s wineries and the gleaming travertine squares of Ortigia (and in addition, handily, Catania’s worldwide airport). 13 years in the past, Seven Rooms Villadorata opened within the Palazzo Nicolaci amid the frothy, scrolled- and entablatured facades of Noto, and set a brand new model tone for the world. In 2015, its proprietor, Cristina Summa, opened Country House Villadorata, a rambling inn on what was as soon as an olive mill, 5 kilometres outdoors of city. Its eight rooms and 5 suites are unfold throughout three residences, and share residing and eating areas.
The renovation is a reasonably trendy one – much less majolica, extra groovy job lamps and butterfly chairs (and one very up to date new eco-suite, with cement flooring and sustainably sourced timber cladding) – however the charms are in what the Country House delivers from the land: its natural Officine Villadorata line consists of house-produced oils, soaps and extra. And the perfection that’s Calamosche Beach is a straightforward 10-minute drive away. From €549, countryhousevilladorata.it
Johannesburg suffers unjustly as a consequence of southern Africa’s nice wilderness choices – typically seen, and thus skilled, as a stopover or gateway as an alternative of a vacation spot in its personal proper (a disgrace, given its dynamic contemporary-art and meals cultures). Those similar transient safari-goers typically default to the large full-service accommodations right here, lacking a clutch of small, considerate locations whose opposing scale means you get a unique take fully on the town.
One of the smallest is AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, within the lush northern suburb of Atholl. In impact, AtholPlace is 2 discrete homes on one property, with 4 and 9 bedrooms respectively, every of which is designed to be taken over (since individuals are inclined to safari in teams or households, that is ultimate). The up to date Villa’s 4 bedrooms are all on the primary flooring, whereas downstairs are a lounge-bar, indoor-outdoor lounge, and backyard with a personal pool and a dialog “pit”, lit by braziers of a cold July or August night. The galleries and outlets of Sandton are a brief journey away; likewise the busy cafés and eating places of 4th Avenue in Parktown. Athol Villa from €1,500 an evening for eight friends, morokuru.com
Lisbon’s house-hotel perfection
And lastly to Lisbon, and a definitive and unassailable permutation of the small-is-beautiful mannequin. Santa Clara 1728 is much from an unknown: opened in 2017 by João Rodrigues – the TAP pilot turned entrepreneur-hotelier, and founding father of the singular Silent Living assortment of Portuguese accommodations – it has earned accolades to spare for its superlative mixture of excessive design, easeful atmosphere and completely convincing home-from-home welcome (go forward, stroll into the kitchen to ask for a platter of chilly cuts and cheese – or choose up a knife and begin chopping herbs with the sous cooks; each are completely condoned).
The six suites are masterclasses in infusing previous areas with up to date spirit, the work of laurelled architect and frequent Silent Living collaborator Manuel Aires Mateus. The 18th century meets the twenty first softly, with pure, tactile supplies – stone, wooden, clay, lime, linen – in elemental tones. I don’t assume I’m ever getting over the toilet in my suite, whose large window and standalone stone tub confronted the cupola of Santa Engrácia and, past, the green-grey expanse of the Tagus. Everyone breakfasts at one lengthy refectory-style desk; friends learn and sip cocktails within the riad-like inside courtyard, the place mild and shadow play throughout bright-white inside partitions. In a metropolis that’s reckoning with an more and more mass, and invasive, type of tourism, the Santa Clara is a distillation of serenity. From €550, silentliving.pt