High Praise

The boutique hotels that received this year’s highest ratings represent an impressively wide range of styles, sizes, ages, and locations.

Tablet users are known for being a sophisticated and discerning bunch — in the hotel world, there’s no higher praise than theirs. So when they speak, we listen. If they tell us a hotel is no longer cutting it, we’ll remove it from the site. And when they say a hotel is damn near perfect, we pay particular attention. The ten hotels below fall into the latter group — in the past year, they’ve received the highest possible ratings from verified Tablet users. In other words, they’re the best of the best, according to the people who matter most.


Amsterdam, Netherlands

Zoku - boutique hotel in Amsterdam

Zoku is all about urban efficiency — but, especially in Amsterdam, that doesn’t mean sacrificing style. Tablet customer Desmond said “It was the perfect combination of style, comfort and a sense of home,” and Ben added: “The brand, personality, and the entire experience is thoughtfully designed to the last detail.” And the noble and effusive Sir Peter had this to say: “A GREAT IDEA…loft suites superbly designed and equipped…perfect for overnights OR long stays with everything one needs and a superb roof restaurant/bar!!!”


Thompson Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Thompson Chicago - boutique hotel in Chicago

The Thompson hotels are well known for boutique style and accessible luxury, and the Thompson Chicago is no different. Scott’s review sums it up: “Fantastic location, impeccable service, tasty food, comfy rooms, and a hip vibe. What more could you ask for?” Jennette speaks up for the cat people among us: “This hotel is actually pet friendly! Not just service animals or certain breeds. They made my cat and I feel very welcome.” And Zita got straight to the bottom line: “Rooms are the most perfect hotel rooms I’ve stayed for that price.”


Domaine de Biar

Montpellier, France

Domaine de Biar - boutique hotel in Montpellier

It’s hard to argue with a lovingly restored estate set amid more than 120 acres of bucolic meadows, farmland, old-growth trees, and vineyards outside Montpellier on France’s Mediterranean coast. We’ll let Adam make the case: “We have just spent a superlative 3 days at the magnificent Domaine de Biar. Actually, magnificent is not a big enough word to fully capture this hotel. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Waking up to horses neighing off in the distance is very nice. The property and rooms were truly outstanding. 20 points on Tablet is well deserved. We will be back one day.”


Faena Hotel

Miami Beach, Florida

Faena Hotel - boutique hotel in Miami Beach

Alan Faena is visionary enough on his own, but with Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin at the drawing board, the Faena Miami Beach is something else. “The decor and attention to branding detail is impeccable. The rooms were beautiful and very high quality,” says Stacey, while Simeon adds “Everything from the decor to the staff was phenomenal. A very unique hotel experience with old school flair but modern amenities.” Chris was a fan as well: “Beautifully designed with impeccable service and food.”


Pepoli 9

Rome, Italy

Pepoli 9 - boutique hotel in Rome

Pepoli 9 is a guest house rather than a traditional hotel, with only six suites, ranging in size and price, each given personality-driven Italian names that describe their unique space and design. “This was the loveliest guest house. The rooms were spacious and eclectic/beautifully designed,” said Kelly, and Alex cited “Great rooms and a lovely location, in walking distance from the coliseum and yet a neighborhood feel.” Frank concurred: “There is so much to like about this hotel: tasteful design and decoration, friendly/multi-lingual staff.”


Los Poblanos

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Los Poblanos - boutique hotel in Albuquerque

Los Poblanos is a working ranch where lavender grows abundantly in the fields — and finds its way into everything from in-room bath products to the artisanal cocktail menu. Tablet customer Judy was won over: “Rooms are spacious and perfectly appointed. The grounds are a green oasis in the middle of the desert,” while Ashley noted “Absolutely gorgeous grounds with friendly staff and unbelievably good food at the restaurant.” And for Megan, it’s all about the flowers: “I love how each room is unique and has its own art collection. The beds are heavenly and the lavender scent relaxes everyone on the property.”


Rosewood Beijing

Beijing, China

Rosewood Beijing - boutique hotel in Beijing

This impossibly lavish luxury hotel is designed around two main elements: exposure to China’s rich cultural heritage, and plush apartment-style accommodations. Jenny “Loved the look and feel. The room size was great and had everything we needed for a comfortable stay,” and Ilana said “I think I found my home in Beijing! Amazing hotel with great service at a great price. Spa is wonderful and I am a spa snob but this exceeded all my expectations — ask for Melody, she brought my shoulders back to life.”


Seven Rooms Villadorata

Noto, Italy

Seven Rooms Villadorata - boutique hotel in Noto

Set in the historic heart of the Sicilian town of Noto, Seven Rooms Villadorata was once the home of royalty. “An elegant restoration of a beautiful and important palace in the centre of Noto,” said Stuart, while Saul added “A much better looking hotel than the photos suggest, we really liked the appearance and atmosphere.” Elena is a fan as well: “Giovanni and Cristina, and absolutely every staff member, provided outstanding service. Attentive, caring, and hospitable don’t even begin to cover how wonderful is the Villadorata team!”


The NoMad

New York City, New York

The NoMad - boutique hotel in New York

We were thrilled to see this one open, just up the street from our offices, and were not surprised when it became one of the most popular hotels on Tablet. “Reception desk and other staff were very friendly and helpful. As a Tablet Plus member I was automatically upgraded and there was a nice bottle of Bordeaux to welcome me,” says Joy, and Patricia loved designer Jacques Garcia’s work: “Great atmosphere. Room was very beautiful and cool. Had a real European feel.” And Mary sums it up: “Wonderful renovation of an historic building. Convenient location. Extremely gracious and helpful staff.”


The Dewberry

Charleston, South Carolina

The Dewberry - boutique hotel in Charleston

An outlier among outliers, the Dewberry is our best-rated hotel this year. “Absolutely beautiful design and craftsmanship. Amazing bar. Cordial, welcoming staff,” said Stephanie, while Michael noted that “The decor is mid-century modern and a refreshing change from the typical Charleston southern classic decor.” And Nancee speaks for all of Tablet’s guests when she says “Everything about The Dewberry exceeded my expectations. The staff was top notch. Both the public and private space was well thought out and flawlessly executed. The location was perfect – close but not too close to the sites and sounds of historic Charleston.”


Honorable Mentions

Of course, there were far more than just 10 hotels that received rave reviews from Tablet users in 2017. Here are a few more of the many Tablet hotels that you found to be absolutely extraordinary:

The Beekman — New York, New York
Domaine de Fontenille — Lauris, France
Ett Hem — Stockholm, Sweden
Haymarket Hotel — London, England
JK Place Roma — Rome, Italy
Krone Hotel Restaurant — Regensberg, Switzerland
Park Hyatt — Dubai, UAE
The Press Hotel — Portland, Maine
Soprarno Suites — Florence, Italy
South Congress Hotel — Austin, Texas