Little luxuries

From a manor in the UK’s Lake District to a villa in Spain’s San Sebastian, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) unveils five new properties across the globe.

13 July 2022


Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) is a community of independently minded travellers and independently spirited hotels.

They have personally visited, verified and vetted every single one of their 520 hotels in more than 90 countries – each one is anti-chain and anti-same.

With just fifty rooms on average, SLH properties are able to offer secluded, discrete options with the highest standards of luxury and guest wellbeing.

From rustic fishermen’s huts and woodland treehouses to rainforest retreats, alpine chalets and desert-style dude ranches, no two stays are the same in our characterful collection of intimate spaces in unusual places.



Aristocratic Spanish villa

Hotel Villa Soro in San Sebastián, Spain, opened in April 2022. A former aristocratic villa, Villa Soro was originally designed in the late 19th century and is one of few heritage properties in San Sebastián.


Hotel Villa Soro includes a grand central staircase, spacious guest rooms, a striking wood-panelled bar, open fireplaces and a stained-glass window from the historic chapel. The main house has fifteen guest rooms and is home to a large guest salon complete with a roaring log-burning fire, honesty bar, and a Maison Assouline curated library.

The villa’s former stables are adjacent to the building and house a further ten rooms, some with their own private garden. Contemporary touches are incorporated throughout with sleek furnishings in muted tones, a variety of textured finishes and playful checkerboard bathrooms.

There’s an interplay of restored antique furniture and an impressive collection of modern Spanish art by Iñigo Manterola, Jose Cháfer and Eduardo Chillida. The Eguzki Bar and Garden is a great place to unwind with cocktails and small plates.


SLH Insider Tip

The hotel enjoys a vibrant location in Barrio de Gros, giving a great choice of Michelin-starred restaurants (Arzak, Mugaritz), cult pintxos bars (Ganbara, La Viña), local markets, and cultural institutions (Museo San Telmo, botanical gardens), all within walking distance.


Beachside Croatian escape

Palazzo Rainis Hotel & Spa in Novigrad, Croatia, opened on 11 April 2022. Set on the shores of Croatia’s sparkling Istrian coast is a reconstruction of the former Villa Rainis built in the style of a neo-Renaissance Venetian palazzo.

The hotel’s elegant rooms, including the palatial Bel Etage suite, feature delicate wrought-iron balconies, parquet floors and sophisticated, handpicked furnishings. Choose from two wings – one with classical architecture or another featuring a modern style.

Top Croatian chef Tom Gretić is responsible for the menu at the fine-dining restaurant Chemistry, while the bar Potions serves the best Croatian and Istrian wines, liqueurs and spirits. Both names are a nod to the original owner’s 63-year career as a pharmacist.

Known for its historic fishing villages and seafood, wander down Novigrad’s centuries-old streets or soak up the lively atmosphere at the harbour where fishermen gather with the catch of the day.

Make a day trip to historic Poreč, home to the famous Euphrasian Basilica and its Byzantine mosaics. The peaceful seaside destination is also the perfect complement to bustling Dubrovnik, a far more popular Croatian hot spot — visit both on your next trip to the Dalmatian Coast.


SLH Insider Tip

This corner of Croatia is a food lover’s paradise: Istria is renowned for prosciutto and excellent goat cheese, local “Boškarin” cattle, famous fuži pasta and, of course, the truffle. Ask the friendly hotel staff about wine- tasting and truffle hunting tours.

Cycladic-style resort

Get swept away at Summer Senses Luxury Resort in Paros, Greece, a luxurious hilltop resort sitting above the famous Punda Beach that blends local Greek charm and hospitality with fine-dining, serene spaces and far-reaching sea views. Laid out to resemble a Greek village, the resort overlooks the Aegean Sea with views across to neighbouring Naxos.

The hotel’s quiet outdoor spaces make for peaceful meandering from one lagoon-like swimming pool to another, while the shallow lounging pool is perfect for families with children.

Relaxation is guaranteed in Summer Senses Luxury Resort’s contemporary rooms and suites, featuring natural materials such as wood and marble, minimal design and captivating views.

Opt to overlook the hotel’s fragrant gardens or the Aegean Sea, choose a private pool for extra luxury, or a terrace to sun gaze from your suite. Just a short wander from the resort, Punda Beach delivers a veritably Cycladic dose of soft sand and clear water.

Beyond the beaches, Paros is Greek island perfection, wherever you turn. Explore the cobbled streets of tiny villages, watch fishing boats bob as you dine in the harbour tavernas of Piso Livadi, and soak up charming Paros’ authentic atmosphere.


SLH Insider Tip

Every space at Summer Senses is luxurious, but Galazia Hytra really ups the ante. A collaboration with the Michelin-starred Hytra in Athens, it fuses the best local produce with fine dining flair, for out-of-this-world Greek gastronomic enjoyment under the stars.


Nature stars in China

Stepping into Yangshuo Jora Hotel in Guilin, China, is a little like walking into a classical Chinese painting. Located in one of the top scenic spots in Yangshuo, guests are greeted by the golden radiance of sunrise backed by the mist-tipped Karst mountains every morning.

The emphasis at Yangshuo Jora is on the perfect fusion between people and nature, about finding healing in natural luxury, offering guests a retreat from urban distractions.

This area of China advocates a calmer, quieter way of life, reflected in Yangshuo Jora’s guest rooms emphasising simplicity and sophistication, gifted with mountain vistas or Lijiang River views. Around the hotel, there are plenty of spots to curl up with one of the hotel’s 500 books, with genres ranging from architecture, autobiography, and design to science-fiction.

Advocating the concepts of green and healthy and local ingredients, Shishan Restaurant integrates Chinese culinary heritage with traditional Western or Japanese flavours, enhanced with relaxing views of the pine forest that sits in front to whet appetites.

No journey to Yangshuo would be complete without exploring its dream-like natural landscape – be sure to pack your camera as you cycle through rice fields, past bamboo boats drifting along the river, towards the Karst limestone rock formations that this classic countryside region is most famous for.


SLH Insider Tip

Wind down for the day at the hotel’s complimentary tea time from 8 til 9 pm at the cosy Kong Tea Room. Accommodating only eight guests at a time, appreciate the collections of tea potteries in the room while the tea master brews tea according to guest preferences or seasonal highlights.


Lake District manor house (pet friendly)

The latest addition to SLH’s growing UK portfolio, Rothay Manor at Ambleside in the UK features 23 rooms from £240 per night including breakfast. The Ambleside retreat boasts chic country-style décor in each individually designed room, cocooning guests with sumptuous furnishings, opulent fabrics and luxury amenities.

This month, the now-23-room property reveals eight new stunning suites in The Pavillion, completing the hotel’s extensive five-year renovation.

Half of the new suites have private courtyard gardens and are dog friendly. One has a hot tub, and another is fully accessible. Well-behaved canines are catered to throughout the hotel, with many rooms providing dog beds, towels and treats. They are also welcome to dine with their families in the hotel’s casual eatery, the Brathay Room.

The hotel’s 3 AA Rosette restaurant serves up a decadent menu fusing Japanese and Scandinavian style cuisine, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. It’s headed by Executive Chef Daniel McGeorge, familiar to some in the UK as he was named the Champion of Champions in the BBC’s Great British Menu just last year.

There are plenty of activities for guests besides taking in the unbeatable vistas of lakes, mountains, and forests on the local guided walks. Choose from a local foraging experience to indoor rock climbing or explore further afield riding on beautiful Friesian horses.


SLH Insider Tip

Make sure to take the short walk to Todd Crag, where you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells. It’s short and steep but worth the effort.



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