Independently run, few rooms, bespoke interiors, personalised experiences and impeccable service - just a few of the reasons to pick a boutique hotel for your holiday. Yes, the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a destination are the stuff that treasured holiday memories are made of but the hotel (or lodge, or tented camp, or treehouse, or houseboat) can, and should, make the trip even more memorable. Whether you're heading out to a remote part of the desert, exploring a new city or simply want to flop by the pool, the place you rest your head at night is a crucial part of the holiday experience. And here are six of our favourite boutique boltholes for 2017…
Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan
Perched high in Bhutan's eastern Himalayas, overlooking the Gangtey Valley and its 17th Century monastery, is Gangtey Lodge. The hotel combines traditional Bhutanese dark wood and textiles with chic mod-cons in the form of free-standing roll top baths with spectacular views across the valley, inside-out woodburners and plush leather sofas. Guests are greeted with a song and a glass of mulled cider (just one of the many personalised touches) and the hotel's secluded location is perfect for exploring the history and tradition of the surrounding area.
Leeu Estates, South Africa
Leeu Estates, sister hotel to another Original Travel favourite, Le Quartier Francais, opened last summer and offers guests sleek, contemporary accommodation in one of South Africa's most exclusive wine regions, Franschhoek. Surrounded by vineyards, manicured gardens and fynbos (natural shrubland), accommodation is sprawled throughout the estate, giving guests plenty of privacy. Both the spa and dining experiences are second to none at Leeu Estates, which is also home to a rather impressive collection of art and sculpture.
Sublime Comporta, Portugal
Sublime Comporta is the embodiment of sophisticated, minimalist elegance and has the double whammy of being located in one of the more undiscovered corners of Europe - Portugal's Comporta region on the south-west coast. This chic boutique is concealed by pine trees and overlooks a completely undisturbed beach so lazy days can be spent lounging on the beach, indulging at the spa, enjoying peaceful walks and dining on the freshest of seafood.
4x4 Desert Safari, Oman
Blessed with soaring mountains, sweeping coastline and incredible desert scenery, Oman is the ideal location for a short(ish) haul adventure. And it doesn't get much more adventurous than heading out to camp on a 4x4 safari in the vast expanse of the Wahiba Sands. We have the inside track on the very best private luxury camps dotted throughout the desert so by day you can explore the famous fort at Nakhl, the many wadis in the area and the iconic Jebel Akhdar mountain, and by night you will relax in Arabian-style tented camps, complete with richly coloured textiles and spectacular views.
Phum Baitang, Cambodia
The team at Phum Baitang in Cambodia have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure this 45-room hotel feels like an authentic khmer village, while maintaining all the modern creature comforts you would expect from a five star boutique hotel. Its stilted wooden villas, set throughout luscious green gardens, are crafted from local materials while inside it's all polished wooden floors and handmade headboards. Not only does the hotel feel like a relaxing sanctuary, but it is ideally located for exploring the famous Angkor temple complex and the lively atmosphere of nearby Siem Reap.
Chable Resort & Spa, Mexico
Wellness is the name of the game at Chable Resort and Spa on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. All of which is tailored to each individual guest, depending on whether you're looking to bust the stress, detox from the daily chaos or get fit. The hotel uses everything from yoga to Maya healing techniques, guided walks and biking to help guests relax and rejuvenate. Accommodation comprises 38 casitas and two villas which sit in lush gardens and utilise the original 19th Century walls of the working hacienda, so the hotel feels all at once like a futuristic retreat and a traditional Mexican hacienda.