So, you’re planning a city break and want to stay somewhere fab (great location, great rooms, great style) but sadly haven’t yet won the lottery? No worries. We’ve trawled through the top-rated hotels in your favourite destinations and come up with some little beauties that tick pretty much all the boxes.
1. Hotel 7, Dublin – stay from £70
Opened in summer 2018, this may be a relatively new addition to Dublin’s hotel scene but it’s made a big impression in a small time. On the outside, it’s a handsome period affair, converted from a Georgian townhouse in a conservation area north of the River Liffey. Inside, it’s all 21st-century modern, with smart TVs and Nespresso machines in the bedrooms, allergen information on the restaurant menus and a choice of craft beers and gins behind the bar. You can walk from here to Temple Bar in 20 minutes and literary attractions such as the Dublin Writers Museum, Irish Writers Centre and James Joyce Centre are practically on the doorstep.
2. The Hoxton, Amsterdam – stay from £120
What’s not to love about the Amsterdam outpost of The Hoxton? It has buzzy communal areas, a good casual restaurant and interiors that mix vintage, contemporary and quirky to attractive effect. Then there’s the prime location on the Herengracht, smartest of the city’s canals and easy walking distance from all the central attractions. As is the Hoxton way, they keep prices down by ditching unnecessary frills and undesirable extras (so you won’t find a hotel pool or expensive minibars) and concentrating instead on all-important basics such as comfortable beds, smart bathrooms and friendly service.
3. Posada Terra Santa, Palma – stay from £130
Palma’s hotel scene has come on in leaps and bounds over the past decade or so and this boutique hideaway at the heart of the old quarter is one of the best recent-ish additions. A handsome conversion of a 16th-century mansion, Posada Terra Santa has just 26 rooms, all of them beautifully elegant and serene. There’s a rather nice roof terrace where you can soak up the sun and take a dip in the plunge pool, an attractive cellar restaurant serving up Mediterranean, South American and Asian fusion food, and a small wellness area with another dinky little pool, a sauna and a treatment room.
4. Urso Hotel & Spa, Madrid – stay from £144
This chic boutique hotel has a central but untouristy location in between residential Chamberi and the trendy barrio of Chueca and Malasana. Behind the grand neoclassical exterior of the Urso Hotel & Spa is a calm and ordered world. Striking original features like the antique mahogany lift and beautiful stained glass are teamed with a neutral contemporary colour palette, and walking through the public areas is like stepping into the pages of a glossy design mag. The bar and restaurant menus feature produce from the Barceló market just over the road and there’s a basement spa with a hydrotherapy pool, steam room and a range of treatments using Natura Bissé and Sisley products.
5. White House Hotel, Istanbul – stay from £111
If the name makes you think you’ll be getting a monochrome urban look, think again. The White House Hotel takes its design cues from the Ottoman Empire, so there’s a fair bit of bling going on, with throne-like armchairs in the bedrooms and lavish use of gold leaf throughout. Doesn’t sound hip enough for you? Look at the bigger picture – the location puts you within easy walking distance of many key attractions (including the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar), there are knock-out views from the roof terrace and the hotel gets consistently stellar reviews from previous guests.
6. Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore – stay from £133
In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, Singapore came joint first (along with Paris and Hong Kong) as the world’s most expensive city. Resign yourself, then, to the fact that good hotels don’t come cheap – but that’s not to say you can’t find a bargain, or treat yourself to a night in something a little more upmarket. The highly-rated Six Senses Maxwell in Chinatown is made up of several heritage shophouses given a glamorous 21st-century makeover by French architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia. Rooms are luxurious, there’s an excellent in-house library of 3,000-plus books and one of the city’s best hawker centres is just over the road. And – nice touch – they have an ice-cream cart that’s free for guests.
7. CitizenM Times Square, New York – stay from £189
For those with access to a magic money tree, there’s no end of fabulous (but alarmingly expensive) places to stay in New York. For the rest of us, stuck in the real world and limited by budget, things are a tad trickier. Hurrah, then, for citizenM Times Square. Its guest ratings are high, it has a cool rooftop bar and central Midtown location (handy if you’re planning on catching a few shows), and it comes with all the citizenM staples: fun décor, friendly staff and rooms that may be small but have super-comfy beds, power showers and a MoodPad to control TV, temperature and lighting.
8. Hotel Britania, Lisbon – stay from £69
The Hotel Britania is just off Avenida da Liberdade, the grand Champs-Elysées-style boulevard that runs through central Lisbon, earning it a big tick for location. It’s no slouch on the character front either, having preserved all the original Art Deco features dating back to its opening in the 1940s. Expect acres of marble, lashings of lacquered wood and gleaming chrome, and a bar that wouldn’t look out of place as a Poirot backdrop. Rooms are a good size and continue the retro style but come with added mod cons such as wi-fi, flat-screen TVs and Molton Brown goodies in the bathroom.
9. Kvosin Downtown Hotel, Reykjavik – stay from £144
Base yourself in Kvosin Downtown Hotel and you’re in prime position for making the most of a Reykjavik city break. The hotel, housed in a renovated 1900s building, is about as central as it gets, facing the cathedral, just round the corner from the parliament building, and super-handy for all kinds of bars, shops and restaurants. The interiors have Scandi-chic good looks and the good-sized rooms have Icelandic toiletries in the bathroom, artworks from local artists on the wall and, in most cases, a kitchenette that will come in handy if you want to save money on the odd meal out.
10. Le Relais Montmarte, Paris – stay from £134
If you loved Amélie, there’s every chance you’ll love Le Relais Montmartre. The hotel is in the middle of the villagey neighbourhood of hilly cobbled streets, pretty old houses and unexpected windmills that served as the film’s location, and the bar that Audrey Tautou’s character worked in (Café des Deux Moulins) is just round the corner. The bedrooms are cosy but comfy and have a country-hotel charm, with floral fabrics, traditional furnishings and painted rafters. Downstairs there’s a lounge with an open fire and arty coffee table books and a tiny terrace where you can have breakfast when the weather co-operates.
Now you know where you’re staying, book your flights below:
All flight and prices mentioned in this article are estimates of the cheapest prices based on Skyscanner’s flight search tools. These are subject to change and were correct at time of writing on 23 April 2019.