Time for the monthly round-up of new additions to Mr & Mrs Smith’s boutique hotel collection. Do try to restrain your excitement. We’ve been focusing on Europe this month; Barcelona‘s been on our hitlist for a while now – it’s one of our most popular destinations for short, luxury city breaks, presumably thanks to the combination of delicious tapas, Gaudi’s Gothic architecture and the nightlife that pulses through the city. Our own dynamic duo of Katy and Mary were in town not long ago, scouting out some sincerely superb stays.
First up, Murmuri. Understated, elegant interiors by British style queen Kelly Hoppen, astounding Asian-Med Fusion food, and an excellent location in the heart of Eixample. We’re smitten. Then there’s the arty, laid-back Hotel Pulitzer, which is quite literally topped with one of the best cocktail bars in the city. Away from the centre, beside the lofty heights of Tibidabo, Barcelona’s only two-Michelin starred eatery, ABaC Restaurant & Hotel, where we spent so long sampling the seven-course tasting menu we almost forgot to spend time in the rooms. Which, luckily, are pristine.
Launching a new Barcelona collection did present a problem, however. Mary discovered some of the most mind-blowing city pads we’d ever seen. All well and good, but the difficulty was how to classify them. These gorgeous apartments had all the stylish luxury and superb service you’d expect from a boutique hotel, but were, in essence, self-catering apartments, so, after umming, ahhing, hmming and erming for a good day or two, we decided that on the whole, the nine sexy pads were more suited to our Smith & Friend’s self-catering collection. So, I’m delighted to introduce Destination BCN – all the smart designer gorgeousness you’d want from a Barcelona boutique hotel, plus the advantage of being able to cook your own food. Have a read of Mary’s review.
Before leaving Spain behind, we’ve also added Casa La Concha, a hilltop villa hotel in Marbella perfect for a peaceful coastal getaway with friends – the ideal spot to escape that buzzing beachside bling for a while.
Aline and Amber have been sunning themselves in Italy, returning a-gush with praise for two fabulous farmhouse hotels in rustic Puglia. Masseria Cimino, an archetypal Pugliese rustic hideaway handily positioned on the edge of a golf course, and Masseria Torre Maizza, cool and contemporary whitewashed affair, complete with cookery school and an Aveda spa boasting one of Italy’s top five therapists, Sergio Scutteri.
Marrakech gets more Smith love this month too, with two new medina riads added – Riad Due and Riad Azzar – thanks to Maggie and Peggy’s Moroccan adventure late last year, and also a remote villa retreat, Villas Fawakay, en route to the Atlas Mountains.
Finally, back home in London, we have San Domenico House – Masseria Cimino’s glitzy Chelsea-based little sister, and out in Northhamptonshire, Oundle Mill – infant sibling to perennial Smith favourite Tuddenham Mill. Oundle only has two rooms at present, so get in fast.
Oh, and post-finally, I couldn’t let this post go without mentioning Milliken Creek Inn, an enchanting waterside B&B in the Napa Valley, with an organic spa, huge hydrotherapy tubs and daily visiting vintners eager to share their wares. Cheers to that.
Next month, we’ll be turning our attention to New York and some other Stateside hotspots, and, although I don’t want to give too much info at this point, I’ll just say that there may be some big names in the bunch. Any guesses?