Boutique Luxury City Hotels

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Written by
Emily Opie & Joyce Choi

There's something special about a city break and immersing yourself in bustling urban life.

Sometimes, though, you just want to get away from it all - without getting too far away from it all.

An extra helping of luxury helps you navigate the quirks, habits and daily rituals of a new city with ease.

This is our pick of the world's most charming luxury city hotels, whose character will tempt you right in to the beating heart of any city.

Colonial cityscape
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
Fashion forward
Legado Mitico
Design gem
The Silo
The pool at The Silo, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, SOuth Africa

1) The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

This hotel is a true beacon of modern design, occupying a well-earned place on Cape Town‘s skyline. The brainchild of prominent British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick (whose iconic works include the Cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games), each of its 28 individually designed rooms combines cutting edge style with comfort and luxury, as well as incredible views of the Atlantic, Table Mountain and Cape Town’s stunning cityscape from the 18-foot windows.

The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

When you’re not enjoying the 360 degree panoramic views from the restaurant, champagne bar and glass swimming pool located on the rooftop, or sampling the cafe, piano bar, spa and fitness centre, you can find the stylish cultural institution that is the MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa directly below the hotel, whilst the V&A Waterfront on which the hotel is located also offers a wealth of shops, restaurants and bars.

Interior view of the restaurant at The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa
Pool, Fasano Sao Paulo, Brazil

2) Fasano Sao Paulo, Brazil

Located just off the famous shopping street Oscar Freire, the Fasano Sao Paulo is a truly superb hotel, with understated, sleek design and flawless service. The pool has a view across the sprawling city.

Restaurant, Fasano Sao Paulo, Brazil

The onsite restaurants are excellent (the Fasano family started out in high-end dining), and the spa is arguably the best in the city.

Interior, Fasano Sao Paulo, Brazil
Atrium zone horizon shot, Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

3) The Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Some of the most stylish accommodation to be found in Bangkok, the Siam hotel’s 39 suites are a triumph of bold contemporary design with Thai, Colonial, Jazz Age and Art Deco accents.

Infinity Pool, Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Relax in king-size beds or at the hotel’s stylish Bather’s Bar next to the infinity pool, perfect for sipping a cocktail as you look out over the Chao Phraya River.

Bathers Bar, Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand
Mantlepiece, Villa Spalletti Trivelli, Rome, Italy

4) Villa Spalletti Trivelli, Rome, Italy

This grand, aristocratic 19th century villa is steeped in antiques and art, the library is listed and lounge areas are characterised by a dark wood, old world opulence. Peaceful formal gardens provide such a calm retreat from the hustle and bustle of Rome that you’d be forgiven for forgetting the villa’s central location between the Via Nazionale and the Quirinal Palace, with the Colosseum just a 15 minute walk away.

Interior, Villa Spalletti Trivelli, Rome, Italy

The 12 rooms are warm, welcoming and stylishly modern, with the villa’s elegant historic charm seeping through every design element. Expect large beds clad in Fiandra linen sheets and alpaca or cashmere throws, vast marble bathrooms and, of course, a well-stocked minibar.

Exterior, Villa Spalletti Trivelli, Rome, Italy
Rooftop terrace, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

5) Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A possible contender for our favourite hotel in Mexico, the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende is just divine. In keeping with the colonial style of San Miguel de Allende, the hotel features archways, courtyards and columns

Terrace, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

It also benefits from being right in the heart of the city, just four blocks from the central plaza. The rooftop tapas bar is the stand-out highlight, with glorious views across the enchanting city.

Interior Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Macq 01 Waterfront Suite, Tasmania, Australia

6) Macq 01, Tasmania, Australia

Nestled in the heart of the harbour in the charming city of Hobart is the superbly Tasmanian boutique hotel that is MACq 01. Each of its 114 rooms and suites is linked to a real character central to the story of Tasmania, from heroes to villains and everyone in between. These bright, airy rooms feature private balconies overlooking the Derwent Estuary or historic Hunter Street, and the hotel is threaded with pieces of history, tales and fables from throughout Tasmania’s vibrant history.

Macq 01 living room, Tasmania, Australia

Drink in the magnificent views of the Hobart waterfront from the restaurant, choose from a superb drinks menu at the hotel bar (from cocktails to fine wines), and revel in the cultural life of this thrumming port city, with the famous Salamanca Market, the Museum of Old and New Art and a whole variety of superb restaurants and bars.

Aerial view of Macq 01, Tasmania, Australia
Gardens and seating, Kensington Place, Cape Town, South Africa

7) Kensington Place, Cape Town, South Africa

A small but perfectly formed, exclusive boutique hotel in Cape Town, Kensington Place has only eight suites. Although it’s near Kloof Street, the slight distance gives the hotel a really calm and serene vibe, making it perfect for some downtime in between explorations of Cape Town.

Breakfast patio, Kensington Place, Cape Town, South Africa

There’s a small outdoor pool surrounded by leafy vegetation, and the interior is decorated with shots of bright colours, plush fabrics, and polished wood, with the large windows and white walls making the suites airy and bright.

Bedroom interior, Kensington Place, Cape Town, South Africa
Library, Legado Mitico, Buenos Aires, Argentina

8) Legado Mitico, Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Buenos Aires’ fashionable Palermo Soho district, the Legado Mitico is one of our favourite hotels in the Argentine capital. Each of its chic, sophisticated rooms is dedicated to a famous name, from Evita to Che Guevara.


The hotel also features a leafy patio and a sundeck with a Jacuzzi, as well as flat screen televisions, comfortable king size beds and beautiful period antique pieces.

Library interior, Legado Mitico, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Exterior view, 137 Pillars Chiang Mai, Thailand

9) 137 Pillars Chiang Mai, Thailand

Taste the Old World of the Orient in intimate modern luxury at this charming boutique hotel, with its lavish features, garden views, contemporary interiors, walk-in closets, Victorian bathtubs and open-air showers.

137 Pillars Chiang Mai, Thailand

Surrounded by lush, exotic grounds and an infinity pool with a ‘living garden’ wall, this makes a gorgeous base from which to explore the cultural capital of north Vietnam.

137 Pillars Chiang Mai, Thailand
Aerial view of the courtyard, Judita Palace, Split, Croatia

10) Judita Palace, Split, Croatia

In a prime location next to the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace, this charming five-star heritage hotel is the perfect base from which to explore medieval Split. Dating back to the 16th century, the Palace occupies four stories and showcases architecture from the Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance periods.

Interior, Judita Palace, Split, Croatia

Each room features exposed stone walls, parquet flooring, elegant furniture, luxurious bathrooms and superb attention to detail, not to mention ultra-attentive service.

Interior, Judita Palace, Split, Croatia
The beautiful art deco style entrance hall at Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires, Argentina

11) Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Buenos Aires’ Recoleta district, Hub Porteno is a discreet and exclusive hotel, with only eleven rooms: quite at odds with some of the grand old hotels in this fashionable area of the Argentine capital. The restored building is stunning, and furnishings are original antiques or produced by local artisans.

Bedroom interior, Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Foodies won’t have to go far either: the restaurant Tarquino is one of the city’s best for excellent Argentine cuisine.

Cafe interior with living wall, Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Breakfast laid out at Hulbert House, Queenstown, New Zealand

12) Hulbert House, Queenstown, New Zealand

The sheer opulence and Victorian elegance of the stately Hulbert House in Queenstown is only made better by its highly contemporary comforts, up-to-date luxuries and modern amenities. Vibrant interiors pay tribute to its antiquity, and an air of old-world extravagance pervades the bold, fresh design of the villa.

Hulbert House bathroom interior, Queenstown, New Zealand

Within walking distance of some of Queenstown’s most popular cafes, restaurants and shops, and just 450m from the banks of the vast Lake Wakatipu, this is a superb spot to retreat to after a day’s exploration and adventure.

Hulbert House bedroom interior, Queenstown, New Zealand
Exterior view of The Saxon, Johannesburg, South Africa

13) The Saxon, Johannesburg, South Africa

A top-class boutique hotel in Johannesburg’s affluent Sandhurst district, the Saxon is not only famed for being Mandela’s bolt-hole while he wrote ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, but also for its impeccable service, the spa – one of Joburg’s finest – and its gorgeous, über-chic decor.

Its 24 suites are contemporary with definitive African influences and impressions throughout. The overall effect is one of a deluxe boutique that never fails to remind you of the vibrant character and culture around you.

Exterior view, The Aubrey, Chile, Santiago

14) The Aubrey, Santiago, Chile

The original luxury boutique hotel in Santiago, The Aubrey is based in the chic Bellavista district. An old, restored colonial mansion, it has a heated outdoor pool with a built-in Jacuzzi and one of the best Italian restaurants in Santiago.

Stylish interior at The Aubrey, Santiago, Chile

Decoration is a subtle and stylish melange of traditional style and modern luxury design pieces, whilst the surrounding historic area is filled with cosmopolitan restaurants, bars, shops and galleries.

Swimming pool, The Aubrey, Santiago, Chile

15) The Rajmahal Palace, Jaipur, India

Though the city has grown up around it over the last 300 years, the Rajmahal, originally built as a private rural retreat for the Maharaja of Jaipur’s wife, has retained its air of opulent escapism. Still owned by the royal family of Jaipur, it boasts a whole host of royal guests, and has been sumptuously and boldly restored by designer Adil Ahmad.

Raj Mahal, Rajasthan, India

Intricate thematic wallpapers, luxurious fabrics, palatial rooms, marble stair cases, an art deco pool and a whole host of superb bars and dining options make this an incredible base from which to venture out into the stunning environs of the famous Pink City of Jaipur.

Exterior and grounds, the Rajmahal Palace, Jaipur, India
Pool, Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

16) Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In the colonial neighbourhood Santa Teresa, this boutique country manor-style hotel is based in the hills overlooking the city, and has a beautiful pool, sun-flooded lounge terrace, and light, airy rooms with balconies.

Exterior at night, Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

For those who have nightmares about the huge hotels that reside on Rio’s beachfront, the Hotel Santa Teresa is the perfect antidote.

Exterior during the day, Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Exterior view, Villa Samadhi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

17) Villa Samadhi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Just ten minutes outside busy Kuala Lumpur, Villa Samadhi is an enviable city escape. Thatched roofs and palm trees keep the vibe tropical, but the fittings are all luxe, with private plunge pools and balconies set around a central lagoon pool.

Spacious and lavish guestrooms with large beds, walk-in wardrobes, oversized plunge tubs and private balconies lie side by side with gorgeous Asian antiquities in the villa’s sumptuous decor.

Pool, Villa Samadhi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Pool, Villa Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

18) Villa Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

Spread over two converted colonial homes dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, Villa Bahia is not only a beautiful hotel, it’s also got a stellar location right next to Salvador’s famous church, Igreja de Sao Francisco, in the Pelourinho district.

Interior, Villa Bahia, Salvador, Brazil

The rooftop terrace is one of our favourite places to hang out after a busy day exploring the city’s colonial old town.

Exterior view, Villa Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
Staircase, Palacio de Los Patos, Granada, Spain

19) Hospes Palacio de los Patos, Granada, Spain

Split across two buildings, one a renovated 19th century palace and the other strikingly modern, this hotel is a gorgeous blend of old and new with bright, airy interiors, a luxurious spa and a superb restaurant.

Lobby, Hospes Palacio de Los Patos, Granada, Spain

Best of all, it’s located in the centre of the beautiful and historical town of Granada, close to the beautiful Cathedral, the wonderfully preserved Moorish fortress, and the world-famous Alhambra Palace.

Fountain, Hospes Palacio de Los Patos, Granada, Spain

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