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August debuts: Basque beauties, Catalan castles and Sardinian spas

It’s that time again when we reveal the new hotel debutantes we’re inaugurating into Smith society. We’ve combed the beaches of San Sebastián, searched the coastal charms of Empordà and scoured the heavenly excesses of the Hamptons to bring you the very best of the boutique-hotel world this August…

Movie-mad Astoria7 in San Sebastián lets you stay with a film star in a city where there’s more Michelin stars per inhabitant than anywhere else in the world. What’s more, if you head to this Belle Epoque beauty in September, you’re almost guaranteed a star-spot as the International Film Festival sets up camp in the city. Not far away, sing along to the Sound of Music at Arguibel in the Basque Country fishing port of Guéthary – all that timber and greenery gives a very Swiss-Alp feel.


Sticking with mountain ranges, we traversed the Pyrenees on our boutique-hotel trail and found a grand old castle close to the Costa Brava cliffs in Empordà. The majestically mediaeval Castell d’Empordà is just east of Girona, in the Catalan countryside. And if a city break is more your thing, be tempted by ME Madrid – a hip urban hangout hiding behind an imposing 20th-century façade in the centre of the capital.

If you have frazzled nerves to soothe, retreat into the hillside spa at Petra Segreta Resort in Sardinia. This peaceful old farmhouse sits in a whitewashed hamlet on the Costa Smeralda, close to the beaches of Olbia.

And over in the Hamptons, vacation with high society while there’s still time. Stay at family-friendly East Hampton Point, a collection of suites and self-catering holiday cottages with its own marina. There’s also the 1770 House, a vintage clapboard villa with classic colonial charm.

Petra Segreta

More jetset jamborees await near St Tropez – we’ve discovered a lively boutique hotel with its finger on the party pulse: Kube Hotel is Miami-like and minimalist, with three fabulous bars to choose from.


In Britain, our Edinburgh collection has a new friend – the Chester Residence may look vintage from the outside, but inside it’s sleek and modern all the way. And it’s just a short way from the action on Princes Street. Book fast if you’re heading up for the Fringe Festival.

Next month, we’ll be staying in the very bonny Scotland and revealing a special boutique retreat waiting in blissful isolation in the Trossachs. We’ve also ventured to Cornwall and Hampshire, and Spain gets another look-in, too. Oh, and there’s a couple of Texan treats in store as well. Stay tuned…

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