Though we love the elaborate amenities that large hotels and resorts afford, when winter hits, our hotel tastes turn toward the cozy and intimate. Whether it’s a roaring fireplace, a comfy library, a toasty hot tub, or a homey guestroom, the charming touches at some of our favorite boutique hotels make us feel snug as a bug.
If you’re planning a mid-winter getaway, check out these 10 stellar boutiques in London, Paris, New York, and Beijing, where the small-scale lodgings, warm service, and cozy features keep the cold (and the hustle of the city) at bay.
Coziest Feature: In-room fireplaces
The Skinny: This 15-room guest house offers deeply romantic and ultra-vintage Victorian suites complete with working fireplaces, velvet upholstery, handpicked antique furnishings, marble baths, and Old-World-esque sitting rooms. There’s no lobby and the friendly staff goes home after hours, so you feel like you’re staying in a private home.
38 E. 4th St.
Coziest Feature: Afternoon tea in Lady Mendl’s
The Skinny: You’ll be greeted by deep sofas ringing a crackling fire in the lobby at this charming bed and breakfast tucked away in a pair of 1834 brownstones. The coziness continues in rooms featuring fireplaces, four poster beds, and period antiques, and in the quaint Victorian-themed Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon.
56 Irving Pl.
Coziest Feature: Cocktail hour in the Monkey Bar
The Skinny: This elegant, European-style 1920s hotel once popular with the likes of Tennessee Williams, Ava Gardner, and Joe DiMaggio displays all the historic charm and genteel social graces of a private members-only club. Public spaces are immaculately restored to their original handsomeness, while guest rooms are a mix of classic luxury with endearingly quaint features like fireplaces and solariums. Up the coziness at dimly lit Monkey Bar, the onsite restaurant that dates back to the 1930s.
60 E. 54th St.
Coziest Feature: Subterranean spa
The Skinny: Ensconced in a 16th century cloister, this hotel exudes classic French country charm. Outside, a cobblestone path leads to an antique door framed with colorful flowerboxes; inside, the grainy wood floors, lush carpets, and antique furniture and paintings keep things feeling deliciously Old World. Head underground for the sumptuous spa, located below the 13th century stone vaults.
3, rue Christine
Coziest Feature: Inviting décor
The Skinny: The well-traveled owners of this Rive Droite boutique have lovingly assembled an eclectic array of exotic treasures from around the world (Persian carpets, Syrian ceramics, Chinese wall hangings, and ornate Parisian antiques, among others) to create a cozy cosmopolitan vibe. The quiet side street location makes for a delightfully homey, tranquil escape from the rush of the nearby grands boulevards, while the refined lounge is ideal for fending off chilly weather with a cocktail.
8, rue Frédéric Bastiat
Coziest Feature: The Library
The Skinny: While the hotel’s Oscar restaurant is a buzzing magnet for the Bloomsbury media set, the hotel itself is quiet and low-key, almost hideaway-esque, and known for its discretion. The colorful, modern Kit Kemp interiors (the hotel is part of the Firmdale group) keep things cozy with comfortable furnishings, and The Library is a warm space for getting a bit of work done or relaxing with a drink from the Honour Bar.
15-17 Charlotte St.
Coziest Feature: Hot chocolate in the Drawing Room
The Skinny: Comprised of three interconnected red brick townhouses on a quiet Chelsea street, the hotel exudes an inviting British formality with rooms (many with fireplaces) loaded with Victorian antiques. Perks like complimentary afternoon tea, evening champagne, and nighttime hot chocolate, as well as private access to Cadogan Gardens, impart a homey, intimate feel.
24-26 Cadogan Gardens
Coziest Feature: Sitting-room fireplaces
The Skinny: With antique furnishings and period fittings in the bathrooms, The Rookery is a trip back to the 18th century (but with modern conveniences). Cozy, charming touches abound, from the rustic breakfasts (think baked-on-premises croissants) to fireplaces in the sitting rooms to the conservatory that opens up to a courtyard garden.
12 Peter’s Lane
Coziest Feature: Dukes Bar
The Skinny: Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, this peaceful boutique retains an intimate feel despite having 90 rooms, owing to the traditional British décor (suites named after various dukes!) and serene public areas like the charming courtyard. Also, Dukes Bar is a huge draw: With a warm, clubby feel, the petite lounge is the perfect spot for a martini or a nightcap.
St James’s Place
Coziest Feature: A warm, aromatic bath in the onsite Aman Spa
The Skinny: Set about 45 minutes outside of Beijing’s center, this intimate boutique is housed in a secluded series of pavilions next to the Summer Palace, once a guesthouse for the Empress Dowager’s personal visitors in the 18th century. The Ming Dynasty setting puts a unique spin on coziness, with period details like wooden screens and bamboo blinds in the guestrooms, Chinese calligraphy classes in the Library, and private access to the Summer Palace itself.
1 Gong Men Qian Jie