Top hotels in the world’s most underrated cities

They don’t get the high level of attention as much as their neighbouring capitals, but these lesser-known cities are starting to come out from their rival’s shadows and emerge as some of our favourite destinations. We’ve hand-picked a few of the most exclusive hotels which not only elude notes of luxury and elegance, but are all perfectly located within each city ensuring you make the most of these underrated destinations.

Johannesburg – The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa 

The past decade has seen Johannesburg redefine itself. South Africa’s largest city is no longer just a gateway to safari, but worth a stay in its own right. Check into the five-star Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, an oasis in leafy Sandton boasting renowned restaurants, a world-class spa and ultimate privacy. Its hushed calm is the perfect respite in between bouts of exploring Johannesburg’s historical landmarks, vibrant regenerated neighbourhoods and internationally-recognised art scene.

San Sebastian – Maria Cristina Hotel

With its Belle Époque architecture, beachside location, verdant green countryside and delectable food, San Sebastian makes for a fabulous under-the-radar romantic getaway. Undeniably grand and elegant, the Maria Cristina hotel is the perfect base to explore this charming city. Rooms and suites provide a peaceful atmosphere, with sparkling crystal drop chandeliers and glass-enclosed rainforest showers, and the hotel even has an on-site cookery school for the ultimate foodie experience.


Taipei, Taiwan – Villa 32

A city once choked in smog, Taipei is now spoilt in its endless plains, ancient hot springs and spectacular mountain surroundings. Such a mystical landscape deserves a special property to stay in, and we’ve found it. Secluded within Beitout’s renowned hot springs, Villa 32 epitomises the definition of luxury and relaxation as much as it blends into its luscious natural surroundings. With only 5 rooms to choose, guests can expect luxury amenities of Hermes cutlery and L’Occitane skincare within light and airy Japanese interiors that reflect the natural geothermal energy swirling beneath their feet.


Chile – The Singular Santiago

Situated within the glittering, famous neighbourhood of Lastarria, guests can simply step outside The Singular and find themselves in the best spot to explore Chile’s mesmerising capital. Unique in its location, Santiago faces the Pacific coastline with the Andes as its backdrop, creating an ever-changing cultural oasis steeped rich in artistic culture architectural influence just waiting to be explored. Despite its central location, the five star property manages to emanate a peaceful, tranquil atmosphere – exactly the type of indulgence needed after a day exploring this giant metropolis.

Merida – Casa Lecanda

Just a 2.5 drive away from the resort-clogged city of Cancun will transport you to the region’s cultural capital: Merida. Over the last few years this colonial gem has seen a growing number of visitors fall under its spell and it’s no surprise why. With streets lined with pastel hued colonial buildings and contemporary local art – the city holds a sophisticated ambiance against magical Mayan ruins. Behind the striking neoclassical façades of Mérida’s city streets, the stately boutique hotel Casa Lecanda has now been restored to its former glory, offering guests an intimate sanctuary of elegant patios, warm terraces and swaying palms from the hustle and bustle of Merida’s city streets.

Perth – COMO The Treasury 

With its endless stretches of gorgeous beaches, booming coffee culture and Aussie laid-back vibe, Perth is a must-visit destination when crossing over to the land of the down-under. The city is currently witnessing a huge population increase, making it an exciting time to discover and explore this West-coast hotspot. For a truly historic stay, head over to The COMO Treasury.  Situated within Perth’s revitalized historic district, The COMO Treasury strikes the perfect balance between antiquity and modernity; the prior in its sophisticated interiors and the latter with its world-class cuisine and spa. We can’t think of a better antidote to the wild West Coast landscapes that lie just beyond.

Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato. Black Tomato is an award-winning luxury travel agent and part of The Black Tomato Group, with partner brands including Studio Black Tomato, The Black Tomato Agency and Epic Tomato.

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Comments (2)

  1. Ravi kumar says:

    Many World’s best hotels, featuring the most amazing places to stay in destinations including Europe, Asia, Indian Ocean, Africa, Americas. Exceptional hotels listed. Thanks

  2. Jennifer Fuller says:

    I wish I’d known about Villa 32 when I visited Taipei last year. The hubby and I were looking for a private resort-like accommodation close to the city, and this one sounds exactly what we were looking for. Though I wasn’t looking in the Beitou area. We ended staying at a nice Airbnb which offered the privacy we wanted. We’re planning a trip there again and Japan maybe 3rd quarter or so of 2021. Hopefully, we will be able to travel with less worry about our safety by then. Although, Taiwan is one of the countries that have controlled the spread of the virus very well.

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