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Our little black book of enchanting places


Bold & beautiful places to stay

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Lounge, The Painswick, GloucestershireYes, we know neutral décor is soothing, tasteful and whispers luxury. It’s just that sometimes we long for a bit of colour – a dash of scarlet, say, or a dab of tangerine. So if, like us, you fancy getting away from taupe, mushroom and greige occasionally, here are five hotels guaranteed to brighten the spirits.

The Painswick, Gloucestershire

Owned by the Calcot Collection (Calcot Manor, Barnsley House, Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland, The Village Pub), The Painswick is a new country-chic ‘restaurant with rooms’ in the buzzy, hilltop town of Painswick. And glory be – it isn’t decorated in 50 shades of neutral. Instead, Calcot Collection’s interior designer Nicky Farquhar, in collaboration with fellow designer Cathy Birtles, has come up with a contemporary design that is strong on colour yet still very much in keeping with the fabric of the house and the surrounding area. There are six schemes across the hotel’s 16 bedrooms, incorporating an array of colours balanced by the hotel’s signature teal. Expect a pop of orange in the lounge and bright zigzags in the restaurant. From £99 per night (excluding breakfast) on selected dates during the first 100 days of opening, subject to availability; or from £119 per night.Bedroom, The Oberoi Udaivilas, RajasthanThe Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan

Spread over 50 acres on the banks of Lake Pichola, Udaivilas is a Marmite hotel: you either dismiss it as a Disneyesque conceit or you think it’s one of the most fabulous hotels you’ve ever seen. I’m in the latter camp. It helped that my room opened directly onto a 73m semi-private pool which nobody but me ever used. But mostly I loved the décor, which mixed dark, Colonial-style furniture with contemporary Rajasthani furnishings in vivid orange, scarlet, lime and aqua. It’s a heart-lifting scheme I’ve been trying to replicate at home ever since, but it never looks quite right in London. From around £700 per night.Bedroom, Anse Chastanet, St LuciaAnse Chastanet, St Lucia

While some hotel exteriors in the Caribbean are painted in pretty pastels, their interiors remain resolutely free of colour. A few years ago, after 10 days of white, white and more white, I was thrilled to arrive at Anse Chastanet to find rooms swathed in Madras check fabrics in blue, red and yellow, with vivid paintings on the walls. This is what you want your Caribbean hotel room to look like. When the hotel opened its sister property, Jade Mountain, things got even brighter, with coloured tiles edging the private plunge pools and vivid fabrics on the beds. Definitely two of the most colourful hotels in the islands. From around £489 per night.Bedroom, Circa 39 MiamiCirca 39 Miami, Florida 

Circa 39 is a four-star boutique hotel in Miami’s up-and-coming Mid-Beach area. The hotel was renovated in 2014 when it acquired a ‘retro travel’ theme, incorporating vivid colour, prints and textiles throughout. In the ‘island style’ guestrooms, white furniture and solid wood floors are enlivened by pops of orange, aqua and lime; while the pool area is a mass of carefully clashing stripes and florals. Even the cobalt beach loungers are accessorised with scarlet towels. About as far from neutral as it’s possible to get. From around £150 per night.Pool, The Oitavos, PortugalThe Oitavos, Portugal 

I’ve written about The Oitavos before but given that it demonstrates the most daring use of colour I’ve ever seen in a European hotel, it would be remiss not to mention it again. The aim of its designer, José Amaral Anahory, was to create a building that reflected its seaside environment – so it’s blue. Blue carpet rolling through the public rooms, blue terrace, blue pool deck, blue bedroom floors, blue baths, basins, light switches, electrical sockets… It’s a bold scheme that wouldn’t work under grey skies, but bathed in bright Portuguese sunshine it's a rhapsody in blue. From around £130 per night night.


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