the first time i had ever heard of a boutique hotel was the early aughts. the concept was a buzzing part of the zeitgeist right there with juicy track suits, blogs, and mary kate and ashley sightings. after staying at the charming home hotel in the cool palermo neighborhood in buenos aries, i vowed never to go mainstream again.
why can these little spots be so great? because they give an experience: the books in the lobby curated by the owners, the staff that you get to know and learn about life in this place, the attention to detail that's not manufactured, homemade focaccia in the morning that's made from scratch by the owner's grandmother, special design elements, like the vintage french wallpaper in the bedrooms of hotel hotel, restaurant recs that feel personal and off the radar... they all add up to an experience of immersion in a place. (20 years later, i do see the value in the occasional, reliable big hotel stay but that's another story!)
here's a hit list of hotels to screen shot, all seemingly as relaxed as they are luxe. we're sharing 7 that are meant to scratch the summer getaway itch, and, of course, packing recs for each.
book a stay at san canzian in croatia
book a stay at the claremont hotel in maine
book a stay at glebe house in devon, england
book a stay at capelongue bonnieux in provence, france
shop the zanzibar dress in olive bloom
book a stay at chateau voltaire in pairs
shop the capri dress in alpine floral
book a stay at hotel san fernando in mexico city
book a stay at ryokan roka in naoshima, japan
book a stay at la bionda in begur in spain
shop the oaxaca dress in azure ikat