January blues be banished – it’s time for hotel lovers the world over to raise their glasses to the winners of the Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Awards… And the first to be popping corks will be Provençe’s art-packed escape, Villa La Coste, named Best Smith Hotel 2018 – the judges and the public alike swayed by its elegant design, artistic endeavours, first-class fare and creative caché.

The globetrotting panel of travel-savvy judges – including fashion designer Jenny Packham, jewellery designer Lucy Folk,  photographer, illustrator and founder of Atalier Dore, Garance Dore, illustrator, Angelica Hicks, presenter, journalist and co-restaurateur Magdalena Roze, TV judge and design guru Neale Whitaker and chef Tom Aikens – have also crowned a further 11 boutique beauties in a range of other categories, from World’s Sexiest Bedroom, Coolest Creative Hub, Local Hero to Best Date-Night Bar and, for the first time this year, Best Smith Villa to show-off an ever-growing collection of private group getaways.

With winners dotted around the world – from the Chilean desert to the Japanese mountains; Icelandic backwaters to Manhattan avenues – it’s a ready-made holiday hotlist for the new year.

‘As a travel club, we like to do things a little differently – our awards are a chance to champion those one-of-a-kind places that have made a real impact on us. This year we’re celebrating 12 of the world’s best stays with incredible stories to tell. If you’ve ever asked us for travel tips, consider this our ultimate must-visit list for 2018 (featuring our villa collection for the first time). We hope it inspires a memorable year of adventures. 

– James Lohan Co-founder, Mr & Mrs Smith

Best Smith Hotel

Villa La Coste Provence, France

‘As the only category voted for by the public, Best Smith Hotel is a serious accolade. Villa La Coste is new on the boutique-hotel circuit but has since become a firm favourite. With it’s cutting-edge design, arresting architecture and amazing art collection, it’s a very well-deserved winner – one of the most impressive boltholes on our books.’

– James Lohan Co-founder, Mr & Mrs Smith

Best-Dressed Hotel

Le Roch Hotel & Spa Paris, France

‘Having spent nine straight nights in this hotel during Paris Fashion week, I must say I wanted to stay nine more. Its location is perfect, the decor is elegant, it’s chic yet cosy and the service was perfect.’

– Jake Rosenberg Founder, The Coveteur

World’s Sexiest Bedroom

Soneva Jani, Maldives

‘One button on this retractable roof stands between you and post coital stargazing. Did I mention you’re lying on a bed in the middle of the ocean? If that’s not sexy I don’t know what is.’ 

– Olivia von Halle Fashion designer

Best Date-Night Bar

Roxy Hotel NYC, US

‘The cocktail list is impressive at the Roxy: the perfect harmony between cool and laid-back. The lounge area makes you feel like you’re in someone’s living room yet when the jazz starts playing you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.’

Laura Jackson Presenter and author

Best Gourmet Getaway

Zaborin Niseko, Japan

The food from Yoshihiro Seno is as pure and as well thought out as the hotel. He draws from his own experience of ‘kaiseki‘ and ‘washoku‘ techniques and makes good use of local produce including his own grown ingredients. Guests are in for a delightful journey in taste.’

Tom Aikens Chef and author

Most Spoiling Spa

Les Sources de Caudalie Bordeaux, France

‘As if having developed an exceptional product range wasn’t enough, this spa nails a holistic approach with treatments that really deliver.’ 

– Nick Shelton Founder, Broadsheet Media

Best Smith Villa

Annandale Scrubby Bay Pigeon Bay, New Zealand

‘Seclusion is the new opulence, so this remote villa – situated on a lake in an extinct volcano, with working farm and superb eco credentials – is truly off-the-grid. The ultimate good-for-the-soul retreat. (Plus: cashmere pyjamas!)’

– Lee Tulloch Travel Editor, Vogue Living

Best Pool with a View

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa Atacama Desert, Chile

‘This really is an escape from it all. The mountainous landscape looks almost lunar, and is so peaceful you could be forgiven for imagining yourself on another planet altogether. I think the natural wood and furniture design sits in harmony really beautifully with the landscape around you – it embraces it rather than trying to fight it. Fab.’

Lauren Laverne Broadcaster and founder of The Pool

Above & Beyond

Chamba Camp Thiksey Himalayas, India

Absolutely magical eco-friendly glamping in palatial tents with panoramic vistas of mountain-top monasteries by the foothills of the Himalayas in Ladakh.’

Johannes Pong Travel writer

Best Family Hotel

Taylor River Lodge Crested Butte, US

‘If you are an adventure family that loves the outdoors but wants to experience a holiday where you also feel looked after, treated and the workload is non existent, this is the place. An incredible location this is truly the perfect scenario for the whole family to connect to each other and the unparalleled landscape that is Colorado.’

– Sheree Commerford Founder, Captain & The Gypsy Kid

Coolest Creative Hub 

Public NYC, US

‘The clue’s in the name: Public is truly a hotel for the people. It dispenses with hotel frills to focus on the communal – the co-working lobby space, the city-spying rooftop bar, the multicultural kitchen, the local-loving boutique, the basement nightclub – and has rightly become a honeypot for creative types as a result’ 

– Richard MacKichan Editor, Mr & Mrs Smith

Local Hotel Hero

Dedon Island Resort Siargao Island, Philippines

‘Not only is this place perfect for completely unwinding in paradise, they also take great care in making sure their carbon footprint is minimal by using solar power, composting, growing their own produce and reducing the use of plastic materials. Additionally, the owner of the hotel has a foundation to support local community projects, therefore everything on the hotel property is crafted by locals – how cool is that?’

Phoebe Dahl Founder and CEO, Faircloth + Supply

Source: Mr and Mrs Smith