2020 is just over a month away, bringing with it a whole new holiday allowance. The hip hideaways experts at i-escape asked their guests to vote on where their dream hotel destination would be for the year ahead: the places like-minded travellers should be getting excited about.
Over 4,000 people cast their vote and the winners are in. Michael Cullen, editor in chief at i-escape commented, “The results showed some of our favourite places being honoured which we are thrilled about with Costa Rica and Greece really standing out as popular destinations for next year with two category winners for each country.
We chose the shortlisted properties based on our own customer feedback this year, as well as picking properties which were really showcasing innovation and stand out experiences as this could mean best way to experience Asia or best city experience depending on category type.
Greece still offers great value in Europe even with a weaker pound with its landscape, history and culture all adding up to make it feel a little bit more ‘exotic’ compared to the more familiar Spain/France/Italy.
And, for those wanting to go a little further and really pack in some incredible experiences including wildlife, rainforest and white sand beaches, Costa Rica remains much more below the radar than busier Mexico and a cheaper alternative than much of the Caribbean,” he added.
There are eleven winners in total, with the awards divided into best escapes by region and by experience, including best beach, city, family, wild, budget and rental.
Highlights included Puri Ganesha Villas, a perennial favourite for i-escape guests, taking the top spot for Best Hotel in Asia. Located on the unspoilt north coast of Bali, far from the tourist hordes, this is a place unlike anywhere else on the island. Bold and charismatic owner Diana von Cranach’s four beachside villas are delightfully unpretentious in design, filled with treasures from her travels.
There was no surprise in the Best Hotel in Africa category with Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island taking the honours. Combining island simplicity with supreme style, this has to be of the world’s coolest places to unwind with the diving and watersports being a huge draw.
Heading over the pond, the winner of the Best Hotel in the Americas and Caribbean was bestowed to Oxygen Jungle Villas nestling in the rainforest on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, overlooking the spectacular Playa Uvita. This is one of the planet’s most biologically diverse regions, close to the Marino Ballena National Park and its world-class whale-watching and snorkelling.
Best Hotel in Europe went to Anemomilos Boutique Hotel on the Greek island of Folegandros. Spacious rooms are built in a Cycladic style and the breathtaking Mediterranean views were undoubtably the main draw here.
And, back at home, Best Hotel in the UK went to Linthwaite House Hotel in the Lake District. A big tick in the box for this Edwardian hotel’s recent £10m refurbishment. Its 14 acres of gardens, woodland and rolling lawns, as well as soul-stirring views and elegant dining from Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan securing its poll position.
Best Beach Hotel was won by Onar, Greece on Andros the northernmost Cycladic island and a truly underrated gem.
Venice Boutique Apartments in Italy was voted Best City Hotel, a trio of self catering apartments housed in a historic waterfront Palazzo.
Best Family Hotel was won by Ekies All Senses Resort, Greece, a paradise for parents and children alike set on a sandy beach with calm, shallow waters on the peninsula of Sithonia, Chalkidiki's 'second finger'.
There was a clear win for Pacuare Lodge in the Best Wild Hotel category. Offering a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure, hidden in the depths of the Costa Rican rainforest this carbon neutral lodge sits on the bend of a river and is accessed via a thrilling raft journey. Guests are totally immersed in nature, waking gently to the sounds of the rainforest staying in rustic yet luxurious cabins.
Best Budget Hotel went to the gem of a B&B that is Hidden House, in the ancient town of Stari Grad on Hvar’s blissfully quiet north shore in Croatia. Its informal and fun atmosphere being the main draw for people to check into one of the four cosy bedrooms offering incredible value for money.
And, last but in no way least, the Best Rental award was won by The Positano Hideaways. These charming apartments actually received the most votes of any category winner. No surprise as a stay here offers an intoxicating panorama of the cobalt-blue Mediterranean Sea across Positano.