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The TOP hotel count down continues 5-1!

Number 5- The Viceroy, Santa Monica, California

You know those scenes at the beginning of CSI Miami- everyone under the age of 35, tinkling laughter, fake tan, big shades, illuminated pool and uber-cool decor? That’s exactly what this place was like on a Friday night. Except it was LA, not Miami, and there were no murders that I heard of.

Sunset from our ocean front room



Number 4- El Dorado Royale, Mexico

Named after a failed British soap opera, this 5* adults only, all inclusive resort with in-room Jacuzzi and golf carts for guests too lazy to actually use their feet was a great place to spend Christmas and New Years.

Couple of drawbacks- I got an electric shock from the Jacuzzi (lucky I just dipped a toe and didn’t just plunge right in) and the erosion busting sandbags just out from shore weren’t too picturesque (I think they were a temporary measure but looked alarmingly like beached, sunburnt Whales). But the plus sides were plethora of scrumptious eateries (could I eat any more cerviche? Fondue? Thai?), pool side fresh juice cafe and martini bar (where I discovered dirty martinis taste like petrol). Being just down the road from Playa del Carmen, Tulum and a natural water park were pretty handy. Otherwise it was just a question of relaxing and enjoying all the free stuff. It being our first experience of all inclusive, that didn’t get old in the whole 2 weeks.

View from our Balcony



Number 3- Ruffles Lodge, Queensland, Australia

It’s a bit like Raffles, see? This is where we spent my last birthday. Luxury bungalow overlooking the rainforest- check; private plunge pool- check; luxury spa treatment- check; infinity pool overlooking the rainforest and distant coast- check. Unseasonably cold temperatures which meant exploiting the pools we had paid for was less of a pleasant experience than we might have hoped- check! The food was yummy, friendly staff, a dog that followed us home. We actually drove the golf cart on one occasion, although again, there was no need for it unless you were incapable of dragging your stuffed carcass 50 meters downhill after the sleep inducing 3 course breakfast. Which we were.

Pool with a view!



Number 2 – The Scarlet

The most recent trip and back to the UK for a lovely spring break to the evocatively named ‘Scarlet hotel’. This place is pricey, no doubt about it, but lush. The rooms look out over the wide bays and wild surf of the Cornish coast, the bath is carefully positioned so you can see both the view and the TV, the decor was stylish and ethos eco-friendly. Which meant that instead of normal hot tubs on the cliff top they had what looked like giant tea cups heated by roaring wood burning fires. There was something vaguely cannibalistic about the guests shedding their dressing gowns, easing into the murky soup and remaining submerged until lightly poached.

Sunset at the Scarlet



Number 1 – Asya Premier, Boracay, Philippines

The title has to go to the Asya Premier, Boracay, Philippines. What can I say? The hotel was on its ‘soft opening’ which was the only way we could afford it. It meant that they hadn’t properly flung open their doors yet, and the staff were still standing around scratching their heads for a lot of the time, unsure how to best serve the 4 guests (us and our mates) who were the only residents. The cutlery had never been used, the beds not slept it. The cliff top wooden villas were amazing, with phenomenal views across the bay. The food was delicious, the decor stylish and modern. Even if it had been full the perfectly circular freshwater pool was so huge it still would still have felt empty. More affordable but still cool and splendid is the original Asya hotel down the road. That’s where we stayed until we fell for the ‘come and look round our sister hotel for the day’ ploy. After that there was no turning back, we were headed to luxury-ville, and a 4 night stay that I defy you to beat. But have fun trying- we will!

The giant swimming pool

Sunset on our last night

Sunset from our balcony


If you are looking for more detailed reviews of the above hotels then check our new site www.luxuryandboutiquehotels.com

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