Mr & Mrs Smith: The World’s Boutique Hotel Specialists

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Have you heard of Mr & Mrs Smith? No they are not Brad and Angelina but Brits James and Tamara Lohan who founded the award-winning Mr & Mrs Smith hotel website, booking service and free-to-join travel club that specializes in finding the world’s most inspiring boutique hotels.

Now with offices in London, New York and Melbourne, Mr & Mrs Smith has a detailed website and has published nine coffee-table guidebooks. Its hand-picked and anonymously reviewed collection features 900 of the world’s most stylish stays.

And what about the name, Mr & Mrs Smith? Well, they are all about great escapes with your other half — a wink to couples everywhere, especially those who fancy checking into a fabulous hotel under this classic dirty-weekend pseudonym. In a nod to the changing times, however, they have added a Smith Family range of hotels too.

There are some wonderful places to stay around the world provided you know where to find them. Thanks to exhaustive research and anonymous hotel reviews, Mr & Mrs Smith offer peace of mind that their hotels are the best in class and, what’s more, they also guarantee the best available room rates.

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The Mr & Mrs Smith website also offers everything you need for your hotel stay. They tell you the best room to ask for, the best cafes, bars and restaurants nearby and even the special things to do in the neighborhood, whether it is the best beach or best local boutique.

I have stayed in many Mr & Mrs Smith properties and without exception they have offered a stellar experience, both in terms of the hotel as well as the adventures I enjoyed where the hotel was located.

The Rectory Hotel in the Cotswolds

As an example, when I was looking for an atmospheric hotel to enjoy with my family in the English Cotswolds, I found 11 very distinctive listings on the Mr & Mrs Smith website and their pithy descriptions of each property’s amenities and atmosphere meant easy decision making.

The Rectory Hotel caught my eye, because it had a pedigree but was family friendly, plus it offered a great restaurant, heated outdoor pool and that most English of charms: a walled garden. Best of all, we weren’t going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it. I also sourced everything for a perfect stay from the website’s overview of the Cotswolds, which offers insider tips on what to do, such as picnicking in the national Arboretum, where to buy the best antiques, and even the best drives and walks.  What sealed the deal was the candid and humorous first-person review that helped flesh out what an experience of staying at the hotel might be like.

The Smith Awards

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Fogo Island Inn. Image by Alex Fradkin.

For their 10th birthday last November, Mr & Mrs Smith launched their first Smith awards to celebrate how far boutique hotels have come over the years. Nearly 50,000 people from all over the world as well as a panel of 36 prominent judges voted for their favorite Smith hotels, including best-dressed hotel, hottest hotel bar, best spa hotel, best hotel restaurant, best hotel for families, the greatest outdoors hotel, best newcomer and overall best Smith Hotel 2013. In effect, it’s a rock-solid hot-list of the world’s most desirable hotels.

I can certainly personally vouch for many of the award winners.

The Best Smith Hotel 2013, Post Ranch Inn, is a minimalist haven of redwood, glass and steel perched on a cliff top above California’s vertiginous Big Sur coastline.  And its restaurant offers the very best of California cuisine which admittedly has to compete for attention with some of the best views in the world.

Best newcomer, the sleek contemporary 29-room Fogo Island Inn, is an inspired non-profit initiative in a ‘faraway from faraway’ place, a remote outer island off the coast of Newfoundland. It is committed to sustaining local traditions, such as quilting, lobster boil ups and berry picking amongst the caribou, by finding exciting new ways to enjoy old things.

Best hotel restaurant, Alain Ducasse’s La Bastide de Moustiers evokes the very essence of Provence in a 17th century country house. Sourcing its produce from an expansive kitchen garden right outside the back door, its meals are a distillation of all that is pleasurable about French cuisine without the pretense, heavy sauces and overly fastidious creations. If you would like to learn more, check out my blog post on La Bastide de Moustiers.

And, the greatest outdoors hotel, the cliff-hugging Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island sets the benchmark for Australia’s luxury wilderness lodges. For more details see my blog post on Southern Ocean Lodge.

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Master gardener and chef at La Bastide de Moustiers

Sue Gough Henly

Sue Gough Henly is award-winning travel writer and photographer whose bi-line has appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, The Guardian, The Toronto Star and all the major Australian publications. Her travel blog, Genuine Journeys, is full of insider tips on the best places for authentic experiences and luxury splurges. She is also the author of Australia’s Best Places travel app. When she doesn’t have sand between her toes or a pack on her back, she writes about food, wine and culture.
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2 comments to Mr & Mrs Smith: The World’s Boutique Hotel Specialists

  • Jenny Owens  says:

    Thanks so much for alerting me to Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels. What a wonderful resource for boutique hotel lovers.

    • Sue Gough Henly  says:

      It sure is a terrific resource. So glad you liked the post.

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