Boutique B&B is much more than just travel industry jargon – it’s the only way to describe the sort of place that’s personally owned and run, and where a handful of beautifully decorated rooms and a generally intimate feel count for more than any number of lavish facilities. And here are five of the best of them from across the continent…
Casa Honore, Marseille
Marseille, in case it needed any more pointing out, has been firmly on the up for some time now. And there’s no better symbol of its cool makeover than Casa Honore. A former print factory – with no sign – tucked away in the narrow backstreets surrounding the Vieux Port area, it’s got ‘find’ written all over it. Inside there’s a lovely leafy courtyard, four rooms, heaps of stylish interior know-how (the owner Annick Lestrohan also owns a nearby interior design store) and a general feeling of satisfaction amongst the guests for having found such a fabulous little place.
Read our full Casa Honore review
40 Winks, London
There aren’t too many places in London like 40 Winks. Its two solitary rooms are a showcase for the design talents of owner David Carter, and from the battered leather chair and darkly painted wood panelling to the boudoir-like tasselled lamp shades and indulgent claw-foot baths, the entire place is a paean to the virtues of lavish, eccentrically assembled shabby chic.
Read our full 40 Winks review
Pension Edelweiss, Marseille
There’s something of a London bus-like tendency to stylish boutique B&Bs in Marseille. First there was nowhere worth the name, then several places come along at once with Pension Edelweiss following in the footsteps of Casa Honore and Le Vieux Panier. Here, too, the owners have form, aesthetically speaking: David was once a set designer and Bernadette owns a vintage furniture store – a combination of talents that’s been brought to bear on a place that just drips retro chic.
Read our full Pension Edelweiss review
Friendly owners aside, the secret of 94DR lies in the way it gives its guests a stylish modern take on the Edinburgh/Scottish experience. A smart Victorian terrace of high ceilings and tiled floors, the house itself has still got just a little of the mid-century guesthouse to it, while there are Tunnock’s tea cakes and wool blankets in the rooms (each of which is named after a different whiskey) and trout fish cakes rolled in oatmeal for breakfast. At the same time, though, they’ve also (mercifully) gone easy on the tartan in their beautifully put together interiors.
Read ELLEuk’s full 94DR review
Casa de Madrid, Madrid
Like Casa Honore (above) the clue is in the name – ‘casa’. This beautiful Madrid bolthole is the home and cherished display cabinet of the assembled antiques, curios and books of owner Doña Marta Medina. There’s nothing vogue-ish about the place – with its swirling murals, high ceilings and opulent soft furnishings, the feel is of a grand aristocratic residence, a slice of old Spain – and while it’s not cheap, it is very, very special indeed.
Read ELLEuk’s full Casa de Madrid review
Looking for somewhere just a little bit larger and luxe-ier than our pick of the best boutique B&Bs in Europe (that still doesn’t cost the earth)? Check out our selection of the best budget boutique hotels. Or see all our places to stay.