High Road House, London: hotel of the week

We’re craving some au courant beats in quintessentially cool-Britannia surrounds: step up hip boutique hotel High Road House: the retro-chic members’ club in West London's laid-back Chiswick…

Hotel of the week: The Olde Bell Inn

Welcome to week three of our celebration of the greatest, goodest and gorgeousest of the Smith boutique-hotel collection. (In case you’ve missed our first fortnight, we’ve already covered a fabulous Portuguese farmhouse in Alentejo and a superb self-catering cottage in Norfolk). This week, we’ve been wondering, ‘if we fled the Smith offices in London, and ran away to the countryside for a few days, where could we get to a) quickly and b) with a guarantee of glorious surroundings, fantastic British food, and a chic-yet-informal atmosphere?’ There’s only one answer – let’s hear it for…

The Inn Thing 3: Love a duck

The Crown Inn, AmershamLast week, Mr & Mrs Smith’s production queen Jasmine (who sorts out the printing of our books and all the lovely pictures on our site and arranges hotel reviews and, ooh, about six million other things) and I headed into the darkest depths of the Metropolitan line to Amersham, Buckinghamshire. It’s a sleepy satellite market town on the fringes of the Chilterns; one of those places that you half-recognise at every turn because of the fact that it’s routinely called in to play the role of ‘sleepy satellite market town’ in film. A role, I should add, that it performs with aplomb.

I’ll confess now that mooching around the Home Counties commuter belt is not my preferred means of disporting myself on a Thursday night, but when there’s an Ilse Crawford-designed boutique hotel to check out and the promise of a roast duck dinner, I’d happily fly Ryanair to Tasmania.

Brazilian boutique beach chic

Bahia, BrazilJust yesterday, we launched our October collection, and (as promised last month) beefed up our Brazilian boutique-hotel selection in the process. Not content with just three luxury city hotels in Rio, which we had previously, we dispatched the intrepid Laura and Katy to the beach-lined state of Bahia to uncover the finest in coastal comfort, shore-side chic and palm-shaded luxury. Returning with capirinha-giddy tales of jungle adventure, high-drama capoeira performances, scuba delights and private plane rides, our hotel hounds didn’t disappoint (but then, it’d be pretty hard to fail when your mission is essentially ‘go and sample the luxuries of a tropical beach paradise’). Thanks to a combination of their sophisticated tastes, their impeccable Smith sense, and some darn fine note-taking abilities, we now have five heart-stoppingly beautiful boutique resorts in our collection.