Hotel reviews & recommendations

20140326-084242.jpg Since becoming a member of the Luxury And Boutique Hotels’ review team, and then becoming their Contributing Editor, I’ve been lucky to stay in some pretty spectacular hotels.  While the hotels are all described in more detail in the location-specific section, a quick description and links to the reviews and hotels themselves are below (organized by continent, then country).

Except the hotels marked *, my stay was hosted by the hotel and/or the tourism commission.  However, all views are my own and I do not allow hotels, PR firms or tourism commissions to review or approve my text.

Interested in having your hotel featured on  Please click HERE for more info or contact me at Johanna (@)




Chefchaouen blue city Morocco Johanna Read

The blue city of Chefchaouen, Morocco

  • Marrakech
  • Riad Joya: my perfect introduction to Morocco in this elegant and quiet riad (Marrakech medina).
  • Riad Due: Italian and Moroccan hospitality with unique decor (Marrakech medina).
  • Villa des Orangers: the perfect combination of laid-back luxury and service; a Relais & Chateâux hotel (Marrakech Kasbah).
  • La Sultana: opulent and luxe, with a beautiful hammam (Marrakech Kasbah).
  • Dar Housnia: feels like staying in your own riad with your aunt in the kitchen (Marrakech medina).
  • Riad Dar One:  roses, a great breakfast and high rooftop views (Marrakech Mellah).
  • Rabat
  • The Repose Luxury Riad: a riad in real Moroccan neighbourhood with delicious vegetarian home cooking (Rabat Salé).
  • Villa Diyafa: a high design oasis of luxury, modern and sumptuous; don’t miss the spa or the restaurant (Rabat, embassy district).
  • Fès
  • Karawan Riad: a design-focussed riad by travellers for travellers (Fès medina).
  • La Maison Bleue: one of the original boutique hotels in Morocco (Fès medina).
  • Palais Amani: Amani means wishes or desires, and Palais Amani will grant your desire for a beautiful night’s sleep in an old palace (Fès medina).
  • Dar Roumana: one of the best restaurants in town and one of the friendliest riads (Fès medina).
  • Riad Nùmero 9 and Restaurant Nùmero 7: a restaurant where you can spend the night! (Fès medina).
  • Dar Seffarine: great for solo travellers and others liking delicious communal meals, in a spectacularly restored riad  (Fès medina).
Namibia dunes Johanna Read

Just another Namib Desert dune, Namibia

  • Riad Tizwa Fès: breakfast on the roof of this family-friendly riad will start your day perfectly, and it will end perfectly cuddled up by your fireplace (Fès medina).
  • Riad Fès, a Relais & Chateâux hotel for when you’re looking for luxury (Fès medina).


  • *Ongava: in a private game reserve near Etosha National Park, you can explore via Landrover or watch the waterhole while sipping sundowners on the veranda.  Review.

South Africa


“The tablecloth” floating above Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

  • *The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, a family-run hotel affiliated with the luxe Red Carnation group, just outside Cape Town. Review (TravelEater).
  • *Thornybush Game Lodge: in their private reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park, this resort offers twice-daily game drives and excellent dining (plus bathing in your outdoor clawfoot bathtub watched by antelopes and sometimes even elephants!) Review.


  • Tunis
  • Golden Tulip Carthage: an enclave of exclusivity and security with a fab health spa and hammam and several restaurants to choose from (Gammarth Bay, Tunis).
  • Dar El Marsa: a lovely boutique hotel opposite the beach, with a superb spa and dining, rooftop pool and great service (La Marsa, Tunis).

One of La Badira’s pools, Hammamet, Tunisia

  • Hammamet
  • La Badira: an arty Leading Hotel of the World with two of th emost beautiful pools I’ve ever seen (Hammamet).
  • The Orangers Beach Resort: an ultra-exclusive section of the resort will open in 2016, until then you’ll be very happy in your private villa (with butler, of course) next to the soft sand  (Hammamet).


  • Gately Inn, a lovely boutique hotel in Entebbe, 10 minutes from Uganda’s main airport, with affable hosts, great food and coffee too. Their sister resort is in Jinja, called Gately on Nile.

Getting off the zipline at Superfly Ziplines, Whistler, BC, Canada




Halfway up Whistler Mountain, Whistler, BC

  • The Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
  •  Review of Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, a fly- or boat-in resort on the BC mainland near the north of Vancouver Island; one of the Magni7icent Luxury Wilderness Lodges of Canada.
Brooklyn Bridge NYC  Johanna Read

The Brooklyn Bridge, New York, New York

  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Review of The Mettera, A small luxury hotel on Edmonton‘s Old Strathcona, voted one of the Top 10 Coolest Neighbourhoods in Canada.
  • Review of The Varscona, a European-style boutique hotel, also in Old Strathcona in Edmonton.


  • Guanajuato (San Miguel de Allende)
  • Forthcoming: Review of Live Aqua Urban Resort San Miguel de Allende
  • Quintana Roo (Cancun area)
  • Forthcoming: Review of TRS Coral Hotel, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, (Puerto Mujeres, north of Cancun)
  • Forthcoming: Review of Grand Palladium Puerto Mujeres (Puerto Mujeres, north of Cancun)
  • Review of Grand Residences by Royal Resorts, a member of Leading Hotels of the World (Peurto Morelos, between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen)
  • Review of Hotel Xcaret Mexico (just outside Playa del Carmen)


Faces, Recoleta Cemetery. Photo by Johanna Read Small pic

Decor in Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires


Costa Rica

  • Forthcoming

El Salvador 





Just a small portion of Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil


Brazil flag small Johanna Read

  • Tivoli (Sao Paulo) (forthcoming)


  • Quito
  • Boutique Hotel Café Cultura: A hacienda style hotel filled with roses in Quito. Review for
  • Mansión del Angel: Feel like you’re in a Venetian palace in this boutique hotel near Quito’s historic centre.  Review for
  • Swisshôtel Quito: A modern hotel with a fantastic spa in the business district of Quito. Review for
  • Casa Gangotena: The most luxurious hotel in Quito, right in Plaza San Francisco.  Review for
Perfect sunrise, Galapagos. Photo by Johanna Read

Perfect sunrise, Galapagos.

  • Baños
  • Luna Runtun Adventure Spa: A boutique hotel on the side of a volcano, with hot pools overlooking the pretty town of Baños.  Review for
  • Destiny Hotel: A modern place to relax after seeing the waterfalls and zip lines around Baños. Review for

Ecuador, Galápagos Islands

  • Haugan Cruises: A top luxury pick for seeing the Galápagos Islands.  Review for
  • Isla Isabela
  • Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel: spectacular views of the white sand beaches of Isla Isabela, and the place to stay if you dream of having sealions play with you while you snorkel.  Review for



Llamas at Machu Picchu

  • The Sacred Valley
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu: an ideal base in Aguas Callientes for your Machu Picchu trip, but leave time for your ceviché and pisco sour cooking lessons! Review for
  • Tambo del Inka (Urubamba, Sacred Valley): A spectacular hotel (and a member of Starwood’s Luxury Collection) in the Sacred Valley, with its own train station to Aguas Callientes and Machu Picchu.  Review for
  • Lake Titicaca
  • Taypikala: Stay right on the edge of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Review for
  • Lima
  • Casa Inca Boutique Hotel: A historic former residence near the cliffs in Miraflores, Lima. Review for


Montevideo Johanna Read small


Melia Paradisus Varadero wedding chapel. Photo by Johanna Read




  • Forthcoming: Review of Sandals Montego Bay
  • Forthcoming: Review of Sandals Royal Caribbean (Montego Bay)

Turks & Caicos


Buddha statues in Luang Prabang, Laos

5.  ASIA 

Cambodia (Siem Reap, the base for Angkor)


One of my favourite hotels, Heritage Suites Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Park Hyatt Siem Reap: big-city luxury in Siem Reap, plus impressive support to organizations helping to rebuild Cambodia. Review for
  • The RiverGarden Hotel: a small boutique with an excellent kitchen, cooking school and street food tour. Review for
  • Sojourn Boutique Villas: a villa resort just outside of Siem Reap in a tiny village; Sojourn’s owners do more than most other hotels combined to help the local community. A destination spa and cooking school too!
  • Amansara: while they were too full to host my stay, I got to experience their restaurants, spa, several activities and toured the resort.  This is the most exclusive place to stay in Siem Reap.  More.
  • Angkor Miracle Resort and Spa: a big resort on the road to the airport with a giant pool; very popular with groups. Review for

Posing for photos in Phoenix, Hunan, China

  • The One Hotel Collection. Three micro hotels: the three-room Hotel Be and one-room The One Hotel, both off Pub Street (but surprisingly quiet), and The One Villa Angkor, just outside town. Review for


Laos (Luang Prabang)


Hôtel de la Paix, on the grounds of an old prison, Luang Prabang, Laos

  • Hôtel de la Paix: the most luxurious of all the  LuangPrabang hotels I stayed in.
  • The 3 Nagas: sister to Hôtel de la Paix and with the best food in town. Review for
  • Mekong Riverview: a boutique hotel that has thought of everything for guests’ ease and comfort. Review for
  • Villa Maly: a very French hotel just outside the UNESCO zone with a pool. Review for
  • Le Sen Boutique Hotel: modern minimalist with all the conveniences, including a pool and a gym. Review for
  • Apsara Rive Droite: on the opposite bank from the UNESCO zone via a two-minute ride in the Apsarian Queen. Review for

Indonesia (Bali and Gili Trawangan)


Spectacular Villa Sungai, Bali, Indonesia

  • Bali
  • Overview of Bali (TravelEater)
  • Villa Sungai: in a real Balinese village in the south of Bali, Villa Sungai is one of the finest hotels in the world. It won Luxury Travel Magazine’s 2013 best overseas boutique property and is one of’s top 8 worldwide hotels. This  luxe and discrete resort can be thought of as two private homes,  Villa Sungai and Sungai Gold.  You can book the entire resort or just half.
  • Chapung SeBali: just outside of Ubud near the village of SeBali, this luxe eight-suite villa hotel features immense villas with private pools. Review for
  • Mahagiri Villas: in the eastern town of Sanur, a villa hotel designed for privacy — have breakfast delivered to eat beside your private pool! Review for
  • Pondok Ayu: also in Sanur, a five-room boutique hotel very popular with families and returning guests. Review for
  • Villa Kresna: in a quiet spot (two in fact — there are separate hotel and villa locations) near the beach in busy  SeminyakReview for

Wilson’s Retreat, Gili T, Indonesia



Pantai Cenang beach, Langkawi, Malaysia


Street art, George Town, Penang, Malaysia




Dragons and pagodas, outside Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Chiang Mai
  • De Lanna Boutique Hotel: right in the centre of the old city of Chiang Mai, but still quiet. Review for

*Windstar Cruises

  • Even for the adventurous, sometimes a cruise is the holiday you need. Different places to explore every day, and you don’t have to repack your bag until you’re ready to leave.  I’ve been on two cruise lines, and I adore *Windstar.  “An I-so-need-to-relax-vacation” (TravelEater)
  • Another luxury cruise line that sails around the world on its one motor sailing yacht and additional super yachts: Ponant Cruise, for New Jetsetters.


2 responses to “Hotel reviews & recommendations

  1. We’ve been to many of the hotels you recommend and we agree with what you say about them. We’ll be back to see where you have been when we plan our next trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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