World's Best Boutique Hotels
We scoured the globe until we found the 31 best new hotels for under $150.
A night at the two-room Millers64 is like visiting your cool cousins. Sisters Shona and Louise Clelland bought and renovated an 1890s row house last summer, taking care to retain details like the turquoise tiles framing the fireplace. Inspired by their 11 years of living and traveling in Malaysia and Thailand, the Clellands added accents such as pewter washbasins from Phuket. Louise uses local ingredients for her Scottish breakfasts, which feature homemade apricot jam. The sisters live on the third floor with their mom, Sally, and are happy to point you to their favorite sites, like Holyrood Palace. millers64.com, from $133 with breakfast.
The glass-paneled Lánchíd 19 hotel embraces its location right on the Danube River. At night, the façade comes alive with a colorful light installation, and the rooms on floors four to seven offer unobstructed views of the river. Named after the Chain Bridge, the 2-year-old hotel also has a transparent lobby floor, which allows you to see the excavated remains of a medieval water tower below. Fun design elements are sprinkled throughout the 48 rooms: a magnetic chessboard mounted on a wall, or a platform bed separated from an orange-tiled bathroom by a sliding glass door. designhotels.com/lanchid, from $101.
The Circus Hotel in the Mitte district is the grown-up alternative to a popular hostel that shares its name, just across the square. The 60 individually designed rooms have blue, tangerine, lime, or hot-pink accents, and all have dark-oak floors and flea-market finds like vintage glass vases. The organic restaurant, Fabisch, is named after the family that once owned the 19th-century building. Netbooks and iPods preloaded with local artists like German indie rockers Sportfreunde Stiller are on loan at the front desk. circus-berlin.de, from $111.
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Kui Buri, Thailand
Impersonal tropical resorts are a dime a dozen in Thailand, which is why X2 Kui Buri is so refreshing: The staff greets you by name, and chefs are happy to go off-menu and customize meals. The first of four resorts in a growing regional chain, X2 Kui Buri has 23 villas spread across four acres of virgin beachfront on the Gulf of Thailand. Each villa has a terrace and garden, and most have a private pool. The exposed rock in the walls was mined from local quarries, and a peaceful walkway connects the rooms to the pool, the open-air restaurant, and the beach, where candlelit dinners complement the fiery sunsets. x2resorts.com, from $148 with breakfast.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Most guests come to see the Angkor Wat ruins about four miles away, but the experience of staying at Viroth's Hotel is itself a historic treat: The property is in one of the few remaining examples of New Khmer Architecture, a modernist style that thrived here in the 1960s. Two years ago, owners Kol Viroth and Fabien Martial converted the boxy, two-story villa into a seven-room boutique hotel with a saltwater pool, a rooftop hot tub, and an open-air spa. Each of the rooms has a beige duvet covering a white queen-size platform bed, a woven mat on the gray Khmer tile floor, and dark-brown drapes that open onto a private balcony. viroth-hotel.com, from $90 with breakfast.
Owner Pylin Jane Sanguanpiyapand grew up in a family that has sold Sherwin-Williams paint in Thailand for decades, so it makes sense that the 31-year-old went color crazy in 2007 when creating the Seven hotel. The six guest rooms each use distinctive shades of yellow, pink, green, orange, blue, and purple in the bedding and murals. A red-themed communal space serves as the seventh room, an all-purpose reception area, bar, art gallery, and breakfast nook. sleepatseven.com, from $88 with breakfast.
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The fact that the year-old Maison d'Hanoi Hanova Hotel lies in the Old Quarter is both a design challenge and opportunity. The newly built 55-room structure occupies a "tube house"—a traditional type of architecture with a narrow 19-foot-wide façade—requiring a resourceful use of space. Skylights, circular mirrors, and silk lamps maximize airiness, while the redwood floors, scarlet walls, and gray-silk headboards lend an authentic old-world feel. Double-glazed windows help block out the motorbike traffic below, and the city's best tailors are steps away on Hang Gai, or Silk Street. hanovahotel.com, from $140 with breakfast.