In ten years of owning a travel company I've found that clients fall into two very distinct camps. For some, the hotel is a mere utility - a roof over their heads at night while they pack endless activities into busy daytime schedules. For others, it's only about the hotel, and the thought of actually doing anything brings them out in a cold sweat that can only be remedied by another chilled glass of rosé. I know which camp I'm in, and after years swanning around the world staying in fabulous hotels and lodges (all in the interests of research, you understand), here's my list of the loafiest best luxury hotels in the world.
Hacienda san Rafael, Andalucia, Spain
Andalucia gets pretty scorchio so the locals are well versed in the finer details of loafing - think siestas, sangria (thirst quenching) and shady courtyards - and nowhere does it better than one of our all time favourite hotels, the Hacienda san Rafael. For what it's worth, Seville and Jerez - two of the finest cities in Europe - are within easy reach but when in residence we tend to do precisely zip.
Azura Quilalea, Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Loaf around in your elegant thatched villa, or at the pool, or on the beautiful white sand beach, but if for some strange reason the mood should take you, grab a mask and snorkel and wander into the gin clear water to snorkel above one of the finest house reefs anywhere in the world, just 30 foot from the beach.
Casa Angelina, Amalfi Coast, Italy
From one casa to another, this time on Italy's drop dead gorgeous Amalfi Coast. As with most of this coastline, Casa Angelina is built at the top of a dramatic cliff face with the beach below. The hotel's glass-front makes for a spell-binding theatre as you watch boats gently dancing their way to Capri amongst the waves.
Amanzoe, The Peloponnese, Greece
The Peloponnese is my hot tip for coolest new place to visit in Europe, and Amanzoe fights off some stiff competition from other excellent loaf-friendly places to stay in this wild, woolly and completely beautiful part of Greece. Amanzoe means 'peaceful life' in Sanskrit/Greek and that's pretty much what's on offer here, with every one of the 36 villas having it's own pool. Pricey but nicey.
Uxua Casa Hotel, Trancoso, Brazil
The Brazilians have elevated the art of loafing to a higher plain, and nowhere better than at this laid back hangout in Bahia. The Uxua Beach Lounge is a (gentle) ten-minute walk away, where guests can lounge on sofas beside the warm waters nursing a perfectly crafted Caipirinha cocktail.
Padaste Manor, Muhu Island, Estonia
A more leftfield choice but definitely one for an indolent's bucket list, Padaste Manor is a super romantic bolthole on the Baltic. Best spots for top class loafing? The outdoor hot tub and the state-of-the-art private cinema, where guests can lie back and enjoy classic movies.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Hard to pick from the squillions of spectacular island resorts that make the Maldives arguably the finest loafing destination on the planet, but I'm plumping with Soneva Fushi. The ultimate barefoot luxury paradise introduced the concept of 'no news, no shoes' in a concerted bid to make its stressed out, over-worked guests really kick back and relax. It worked then and still does to this day.
Crillon le Brave, Provence, France
You could pop to the weekend antiques market in nearby l'Isle sur la Sorgue; you could go wine tasting in some of the Rhone vineyards around the hotel, or you could just laze around in the pool looking at the distant Mont Ventoux - the gateway to the Alps and killer stage of the Tour de France - wondering what on earth possesses those batty cyclists.
The Chedi, Muscat, Oman
The delicious Chedi feels more like Thailand than Oman. Immaculately designed gardens - all running water and zen symmetry - abound and the pools demand to be lain next to.
Oberoi Lombok, Lombok, Indonesia
Activities on offer include snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, sailing and sea kayaking but all you really need to know is that after a full day's activity the sun beds are super plush and comfy.