The Hotel Guru's mission is simply to find and review THE best places to stay around the world.

We only include independent reviews of hotels that we are happy to recommend. To do this, we have commissioned over 100 travel journalists (the Gurus) to find the best places to stay in countries, cities and regions they know well. Not just hotels, but luxury B&Bs, gastropubs, hip hideaways, charming inns, farms and other wonderful places.

We provide various ways for you to book these great places to stay - sometimes direct, sometimes via good value booking partners like booking.com.

Please do let us know about a hotel, B&B or wonderful place to stay you think we should include, because the aim of this site is to be your one stop shop for wherever you want to stay in the world.

Happy hunting !

Hugh Graham-Watson - email hugh@thehotelguru.com

Head Guru

Meet the gurus

We are a small group of well-known hotel critics, founded by Sunday Telegraph columnist Fiona Duncan and Former Charming Small Hotel Guides series editor Leonie Glass.


  • Fiona Duncan

    Fiona Duncan

    Fiona's expertise on hotels began In 1986 when she and her husband Andrew Duncan launched the Charming Small Hotel Guides, and she became, along with her great friend and colleague, Leonie Glass, series editor and principal author of the series, travelling all over Europe to find and describe lovely, individual, personally run hotels. In 1998 she contributed her first travel article to the Sunday Telegraph, for which she has since written regularly, beginning her weekly column Hotel Guru In 2006.

  • James Dunford Wood

    James Dunford Wood

    Founder of Europe's first boutique hotel booking website, Travelintelligence.com, in 2000 (bought by Travelzoo in 2013), James is a director and co-owner of The Hotel Guru, and co-founder of Ometria. James has spent much of his life travelling: from early voyages across the sands of the Sahara and up the Niger to Timbuktou, to one of the last of the 'Magic Buses' to run the route from the Charing Cross Road to Delhi, from jail in Morocco to the snows of Kilamanjaro. He has a passion for hotels and places to stay of character, and has reviewed nearly 1000 in the past 15 years.

  • Hugh Graham-Watson

    Hugh Graham-Watson

    Good food, in fact haute cuisine, used to be the driving force behind forays away from home; hotels were just a place to rest before the next gastronomic feast, but as the years have passed, the joy of a comfortable bed, a decent bathroom, an enviable location and excellent service have acquired significantly more weight, as has Hugh. He has written for the Sunday Telegraph and founded the Ski Club of Great Britain's Chalet & Hotel Guide. He now is responsible for the Hotel Guru and lives in Scotland.

  • Lulu Townsend

    Lulu Townsend

    Lulu has lived in France, Spain and Italy and speaks all three languages. Shopping, eating and watching her girls play tennis are her favourite hobbies. She founded boutique hotel website Chic Retreats in 2002 and since then her passion has been to unearth little hidden gems and hotels which are privately owned and privately run. She is known as the boutique hotel guru. She has written and reviewed for luxury lifestyle titles including House and Garden, Tatler, Suffolk Magazine, Dossier, Sainsbury's Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, Spa.Kitchen and has her own monthly travel column in Bury and West Suffolk magazine.

  • Mary Lussiana

    Mary Lussiana

    Mary Lussiana has loved hotels for as long as she can remember - and written about them for more than 20 years. Not even five years on the other side of the fence, as Public Relations Manager at a Leading Hotel of the World (the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw) put her off. Now living in Portugal with her husband and two youngest children, she continues to travel and write on hotels, food and spas for a variety of publications, including Condé Nast Traveller, House and Garden, Harper's Bazaar, The Times and the Sunday Telegraph.

  • David Atkinson

    David Atkinson

    David is an award-winning, full-time freelance writer based in England's Northwest. He writes widely for newspapers and magazines from The Observer to Wanderlust, covering all aspects of travel from green to business via family and likes emerging destinations. He has lived in Japan and South America, travelling extensively in both destinations. More recently he has been contracted as author of the Lonely Planet guide to Wales and judged the National Tourism Awards for Wales.

  • Leonie Glass

    Leonie Glass

    Leonie has been a travel writer and editor for more than 25 years. After three years at Hutchinson, working first for a fiction editor then editing educational books, she moved to Mitchell Beazley, where she edited the American Express Pocket travel guides and met Fiona Duncan. After the birth of her first child, she went freelance and became, with Fiona, principal author of Duncan Petersen's Charming Small Hotel Guides.

  • Marcus Waring

    Marcus Waring

    After reading English at Worcester University, Marcus travelled through Asia and Australia before completing a Postgraduate in Periodical Journalism at the London College of Communication in 1999. He worked as a staff writer for two travel websites before going freelance in 2001. He has since written travel features for a wide variety of UK papers, magazines and websites including The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, the Independent on Sunday, the London Evening Standard, the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Wanderlust, Marie Claire, easyJet, Summit Hotels, Expedia.com and thisistravel.co.uk.

  • Nicky Swallow

    Nicky Swallow

    Nicky Swallow has lived in Florence since 1981 and has been writing about Florence, Tuscany and other Italian regions for over 10 years. Having travelled widely throughout Italy and specialising in articles about hotels, food and restaurants, she is a regular contributor to the Time Out guides Italian titles, is the editor of the Charming Small Hotel Guide to Tuscany & Umbria and is author of the Insideout guides to Milan, Florence, Naples and Cape Town.

  • Louise Brealey

    Louise Brealey

    Louise divides her time between writing (about travel, film, art, music, theatre, fashion, literature, architecture, TV and interiors), editing (sections of various magazines including Premiere UK, Total Film and Wonderland) and acting (most notably on TV in the BBC’s Bleak House and Sherlock, and on stage for Sir Peter Hall). She has interviewed hundreds of celebrities from Liv Tyler to The Pet Shop Boys and is the co-editor of the Charming Small Hotels Guide to France.

  • Louise Tickle

    Louise Tickle

    Louise Tickle is a Gloucestershire-based freelance journalist whose activity and wildlife travel writing for publications including The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent on Sunday, Elle, Coast, BBC Wildlife and BBC Countryfile has encompassed testing out a luxury bootcamp in Crete and sea kayaking in the Outer Hebrides to tracking otters on Shetland and learning to sail catamarans in the Caribbean.

  • Pip Usher

    Pip Usher

    After living in London, New York and Beirut, Pip has made Bangkok her home - for now. A writer by trade, she has contributed to Monocle, ELLE, Brownbook, GOOD, Vogue.com and others. Prior to journalism, she enjoyed a career in advertising that included many a boozy lunch, but these days, she's more likely to be found doing yoga and dreaming of the day that she can own a dog.

  • Heidi Fuller-Love

    Heidi Fuller-Love

    From food reviewer for Asia Life in Cambodia, to trainee gaucho on a farm in Argentina, food, travel and lifestyle writer/photographer Heidi Fuller-Love regularly contributes features and photos to 68+ publications around the globe and travels the world reporting LIVE from different destinations each month for her award-winning city/country guide show for British Airways inflight radio. <br /> <br /> Based between Greece and France (and spending five months a year on the road), you can rest assured that Heidi is a sucker for good beds and has a rigorous sense of what’s required from a good sleepery.

  • Kat Parr Mackintosh

    Kat Parr Mackintosh

    Kat has been lucky enough to work across a range of fields - including the performing arts, broadcasting, publishing and web search - and to have lived in a lot of different places. But almost all her roles have included travel or writing, and the very best of these have included both. She recently completed her MA in Screenwriting, but is a bit distracted by the idea of turning her final film into a children's story...

  • Laura Griffith-Jones

    Laura Griffith-Jones

    Travel editor and writer Laura Griffith-Jones has been hooked on travel since her first major adventure, to India, aged 17. Since then, she's taken every opportunity to explore the world, journeying throughout Central America, Asia and Africa. She's lived in London, Paris, Cape Town, Zambia, Uganda and, most recently, Mumbai, where she has been working as Managing Editor of Conde Nast Traveller India.

  • Sarah Empson

    Sarah Empson

    Sarah has been editor in chief at The Hotel Guru since 2010, and has the pleasure of commissioning, writing and editing content, and selecting the hotels that we recommend. She has had the travel bug from a young age, but there are many more destinations and places to stay still to be discovered! When she's not checking out the newest openings, she loves tennis, skiing, cooking and long walks with the family lab.

  • Megan Lambert

    Megan Lambert

    Born in Cape Town before moving to the UK, Megan's passion for travel developed at an early age. Since then she has traversed Asia and Europe and lived in Spain and Australia. Home has been India for the last four years, during which she has travelled to all corners of the country and contributed to The Times of India, Vice magazine, Travel + Leisure, and SUITCASE magazine to name a few.

  • MacKenzie Kassab

    MacKenzie Kassab

    After leaving New York and a career in public relations, MacKenzie set off to see the world. She got as far as Beirut, Lebanon, where she ended up spending eight years with a pen in her hand. MacKenzie was editor of Time Out Beirut and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, Vogue.com, Nylon, Condé Nast Traveller Middle East and more. Now back in the U.S., she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and young daughter, the only person who relishes taking off her shoes in airport security lines.

  • Helen Pickles

    Helen Pickles

    A travel writer and feature writer, Helen lives in the north (of England) which makes her properly appreciate the merest flicker of sunshine, and she doesn’t mind travelling big distances to find it. While she likes exploring a city’s nooks and crannies, she can also do lazy very well. Hiking across hills or testing the softness of sand are both fine with her. She writes travel and other features for many UK nationals, including the Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Times, Guardian and Condé Nast Traveller. She also writes for the Alastair Sawday guides.,

  • Caroline Townsend

    Caroline Townsend

    Twenty years living and travelling in the Far East and a career in design journalism gives Caroline the important Guru credentials of being a lover of unique hotels and a stickler for interesting and stylish interior detail. Caroline now lives with her family and 2 ill-disciplined hairy Dachshunds in Scotland from where she runs the well-known mail-order company Mandarina Shoes - and of course continues her travelling adventures.

  • Matthew Brace

    Matthew Brace

    Matt is a British award-winning travel writer and hotel reviewer, the author of five travel books (including Hotel Heaven) and a former foreign correspondent for The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Times and others. He is also a published photographer. During the past 20 years Matt has lived and worked as a writer, editor and communications advisor in Australia (Sydney, Brisbane and now Canberra) and Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

  • Robin Gauldie

    Robin Gauldie

    Robin Gauldie has been a compulsive traveller all his life. As a hairy student, he hitch-hiked all over Europe, Morocco and Turkey. After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1976, he worked as a reporter on local newspapers in Scotland and London before joining the pan-European travel industry newspaper Travel Trade Gazette Europa in 1979...

  • Marc Harris, Tanzania Odyssey

    Marc Harris, Tanzania Odyssey

    MD of Tanzania Odyssey is also a Director of ATTA, (The African Travel and Tourism Association), and is a grizzled guru in the world of African Safaris. Marc started Africa Archipelago in 1996, arranging safaris throughout East and Southern Africa, but began to specialise in then lesser-known Tanzania itineraries. This led to the creation of Tanzania Odyssey in 2000, a focused, specialist company providing the very best itineraries and safari support in Tanzania.

  • Helena Hamlyn

    Helena Hamlyn

    Travel has always played an important part in Helena’s life – from sailing in Suffolk to an overland journey from Nepal to Tibet. She worked in travel PR, working for a number of UK hotels as well as tour operators and tourist boards, and now works as a freelancer. She has lived in Turin and Montpellier, and now splits her time between London and Suffolk. Favourite destinations to date include Tibet, the Languedoc Roussillon region of France, Namibia and anywhere that’s by the sea!

  • Meredith Santonelli

    Meredith Santonelli

    Meredith is a lifelong traveler with a passion for great small hotels - city, tent, or yurt and everything in between. As an American living in Shanghai, she takes every opportunity to explore Asia and the varied regions of China. Previously Meredith reviewed hotels and designed trips for a boutique travel company in NYC.

  • Adam Jacot de Boinod

    Adam Jacot de Boinod

    Adam Jacot de Boinod is a British author, most famous for his works about unusual words. He has written three books, the first two (The Meaning of Tingo and Toujours Tingo) looking at words that have no equivalent in the English language and his latest book (The Wonder of Whiffling) looking at unusual words in English. <br /> He worked on the first series of the television panel game QI. He then began to investigate languages, examining 280 dictionaries and 140 websites. This led to the creation of his first book in 2005, The Meaning of Tingo, a book featuring words which have no equivalent in the English language, “tingo” being a word from the Pascuense language of Easter island meaning, "to borrow things from a friend's house, one by one, until there's nothing left". He then wrote up a follow-up book entitled Toujours Tingo in 2007. In 2009, de Boinod wrote The Wonder of Whiffling, a book about unusual words in English. <br /> He is now a freelance journalist writing about language, cultural comparisons and travel.

  • Colin Donald

    Colin Donald

    Colin Donald is a business and arts journalist who has travelled and worked widely in the US and the Far East. He was business editor of the Sunday Herald in Glasgow, and Tokyo Correspondent for Business AM, as well as contributing regularly to newspapers in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan where he was also associate professor of international relations at Baiko University, Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi-ken. His favourite things in life (family apart!) are exploring new places and getting excited about food, architecture and meeting new people.

  • Clare Mann

    Clare Mann

    Clare spent her childhood in Nigeria, Switzerland and Germany and ever since has had an incurable wanderlust. Her favourite destinations are Ladahk, Society Islands, Los Angeles and Cambodia. Clare worked as Travel Editor for London Portrait Magazine in the 1980s and has been a regular contributor for The Sunday Telegraph travel for the last eleven years. Clare lives in Suffolk with her three children.

  • Charles Marsden-Smedley

    Charles Marsden-Smedley

    Charles Marsden-Smedley has 30 years experience designing museums and exhibitions from his studio in Covent Garden. He was a contributor to the City Secrets guide book series, published in the US, and has had articles published about his travels, illustrated with his photography. He travels extensively for both work and pleasure, and always seeks out hotels with character.

  • Clemmie Vandeleur

    Clemmie Vandeleur

    Clemmie spent her teenage years living in Serbia, which provided a springboard to the adventures of Eastern Europe; skiing in Bosnia, swimming off the Dalmatian Coastline of Croatia and Montenegro, and exploring the chequered history of Yugoslavia through roaming the villages of the former bloc. She studied History at Bristol, followed by an MSc at the School of Oriental and African Studies, which led her to the concrete jungle of Bombay to pursue work in the development sector. She's has travelled extensively through India; from the jungles of Kerala, to the mountains of Kashmir, and most places in between. Constantly on the hunt for the next dosa, she can can advise on all things edible as well as where you might stay to find such local delicacies.

  • Vicki Power

    Vicki Power

    London-based journalist Vicki Power has interviewed hundreds of actors and written about television in a long career for UK broadsheets, tabloids and magazines. Visits to film sets in far-flung destinations for work has ignited a wanderlust that won’t be ignored, and she’s developed a second career in travel writing to enable her passion to flourish. She needs little excuse to pack a bag and has developed a keen sense of what makes a hotel special.

  • Colette Bett

    Colette Bett

    Born in Singapore to parents who have lived in Africa, Europe and Asia, Colette is always looking for horizons new. A career as a TV producer in the world of Advertising has provided experience in the U.S.A. Canada, Eastern Europe and South Africa, whilst working, hotels had to fit the spec to comfortably host celebrities, or be efficient and cost-effective for crew. Now living in Angus, Colette spends her time helping with editing and running social media for The Hotel Guru.

  • George Pownall

    George Pownall

    George Pownall was a film-maker and freelance writer for many years. Shooting his award-winning documentaries took him round the world and to every corner of Britain, staying in hotels varying from the palatial to the downright disgusting. An enthusiastic cook, and after all these years, still an enthusiast for a good hotel, he is married to a food journalist.

  • Maud Sampson

    Maud Sampson

    Maud's passion for travelling has led her to live in various places across the world, including Melbourne, Kolkata, Dublin and Edinburgh. With a zeal for authentic local knowledge, she has used both work and study as an excuse to explore new places. After working as Travel Editor of Trinity News she wrote for various publications including The List before going freelance.

  • Laura Campbell

    Laura Campbell

    Laura has been writing about style and interiors for over 20 years. She worked at Vogue in the early 90s then joined The Daily Telegraph, helped launch In Style in the UK in 2001 before going freelance. She’s had columns in The Times and ES Magazine and has contributed to the Financial Times including How To Spend It, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, US Vogue, You Magazine, Livingetc and the Telegraph Magazine. Growing up in Scotland, she likes the contrast of wilderness and city life and after stints in Paris, NYC and Gloucestershire, is now based in London. A self-confessed detailist and foodie, she loves nothing more than researching an area and finding new places to explore and experience. Travels have taken her all over Europe, throughout America, SE Asia, Australia, Africa, India and sailing across the Pacific.

  • Antonia Windsor

    Antonia Windsor

    Antonia Windsor is a freelance journalist specialising in travel - and all the subjects necessary to write about a place: food, arts, culture, environment and global development issues. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, Observer, Financial Times, Executive Travel, Food and Travel and many other print and online publications. She currently blogs about London for Expedia and about life as a travel writer with two small children.

  • Daisy Finer

    Daisy Finer

    Daisy currently lives in London but claims her head is always somewhere else. "I was lucky to grow up with parents who adored traveling and wanted to share their experiences with me and my three brothers," she says. "Now I'm hooked and get itchy feet if I stay still too long." Fortunately, she has a husband and young daughter to keep her busy and contented when grounded.

  • Leon Beckenham

    Leon Beckenham

    After an extended stint in Mexico and various other corners of Latin America, Leon returned to London and to staff writer jobs on assorted travel websites. His travel writing career was later put on hold due to accidentally becoming a musician after joining a band in the noughties. With the best part of a decade touring under his belt, he returned to the world of travel writing with gusto and – having stayed in more than he could remember – honed in on hotels. He has since reviewed over a thousand to date for all manner of online publications. Having upped sticks from London to Palma de Mallorca, he has also explored the Balearic Islands extensively and, of course, knows his way around many of its hotels.

  • Gabriele Civiliene

    Gabriele Civiliene

    Gabriele Civiliene worked for eight years in Lithuania for UK publisher Pearson Education in their sales and marketing department, with responsibility for the Baltic States. At the same time, she continued to teach English at Kaunas Technology University. Passionate about language, she also speaks Russian, Polish and some Spanish as well as her native Lithuanian.

  • Libbla Kelly

    Libbla Kelly

    Libbla has been travelling the globe for a fair few decades and is delighted to be able to share her travel wisdom. Over the years her business life has taken her to The Far East, Australasia and America’s East and West coasts. Having worked in the retail sector in marketing primarily, she has stayed in many cities in Europe and the UK. Libbla says “Life is about sharing experiences…. and laughter with friends”.

  • Simone Topolski

    Simone Topolski

    Simone Topolski has been travel-writing since 2002, when she started writing city features for independent fashion magazine All Access. While continuing to work in retail management she completed a journalism post-grad in 2005 and continued to write for various magazines including W9 and Yoga & Health. She finally took the plunge and went full-time freelance in May 2006 and has written for various publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Time Out, The Intelligent Traveller magazine and Wanderlust.

  • Tristam Templer

    Tristam Templer

    Tristram's passion for foreign cultures was sparked by a trip around the world at the age of 19. He then went on to study English at Newcastle University, and so began an insatiable interest in books and literature. Since leaving Newcastle he has worked primarily in sales, promotions and marketing, whilst still managing to squeeze in a couple more long-haul trips.

  • Milly Graham-Watson

    Milly Graham-Watson

    Milly trained at the Grange Cooking School near Frome and has always had a passion for good food and travel. She spends most of her time in London working for a sustainability consultancy but tries to escape to new locations most weekends. With much of her childhood spent in Paris and a gap year in Texas, Milly has been a keen guru traveller from an early age!

  • Louise Farquhar

    Louise Farquhar

    Travel writer Louise Farquhar has hiked, biked, skied and horse-ridden her way through some stunning country. After graduating from Glasgow University with a law degree in 1993 Louise embarked on a series of adventures which provided the fuel for many stories published at home and abroad...

  • Sonja McGinn

    Sonja McGinn

    Sonja began her career in the mid 90’s as a secondary school teacher in London teaching Science and Physical Education (Sonja was an international swimmer and simply adores nice pools and spas!) swiftly climbing to Head of Faculty. All the holiday-time associated with teaching allowed Sonja months to travel extensively around the world, from journeying across China on a third-class (“hard seat”) train to reclining on a 5-star beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands!

  • Lincoln Seligman

    Lincoln Seligman

    Lincoln read law at Oxford, then worked as a shipping lawyer for seven years before becoming a full time artist and sculptor, with his first show in New York. He specialises in mobile sculptures for contemporary buildings around the world, including Cathay Pacific's headquarters in Hong Kong. In the course of his work and travels he became determined to enjoy the inevitable hotel life, and has put a great deal of thought into what makes a good hotel and what doesn't – and why. For over thirty years he has travelled extensively, particularly in India, the Far East and the USA, always on the look out for great places to stay.

  • Michael Osborne

    Michael Osborne

    With degrees in Economics and Classics, Michael Osborne has been an accountant, bath resurfacer and headmaster. Now he has a tangential relationship with education and writes book reviews for The Economist. He enjoys remote places and has walked considerable distances in many lands. Forty years ago he described himself on his passport as an itinerant and was happy to rough it. Today he prefers a greater degree of comfort and staying in hotels that are charming, peaceful, individual, friendly and good value.

  • Lucy Simon

    Lucy Simon

    Lucy’s passion for travel and hotels began on a six-month backpacking trip to South and Central America in 2002. Since then she has worked as a PR consultant and freelance journalist, contributing to idFX magazine and the Spectator as well as her own blog. Her background in interiors has given her a keen eye for the aesthetics of her surroundings. Originally from Yorkshire, Lucy loves the English countryside as well as exploring more foreign terrains: with recent trips abroad including India, Dubai and America, she is always looking for new destinations and adventures.

  • Alexander Duncan

    Alexander Duncan

    The older son of Fiona Duncan and her husband Andrew (publisher of the Charming Small Hotel Guides), Alexander spent much of his youth staying in some of the world's most charming hotels with his parents and has now taken to writing about them himself. Aside from this, he pursues his main job as a freelance videographer. You can see his work at www.alexanderduncan.co.uk. Alexander is also a keen photographer and often contributes images to his parents’ publications.

  • Geraldine Keith

    Geraldine Keith

    Geraldine Keith has written extensively on both travel and interiors, having worked in the past on the staff of a successful London magazine, Portrait, and now on Life magazines for various towns in Hampshire where she now lives. She loves traveling when not looking after her family and has spent three months in India, at the same time garnering reviews for the Hotel Guru website.

  • Sarah Howard

    Sarah Howard

    Sarah likes to combine roughing it with mountain hikes, followed by a hot bath and a bit of luxury, in some of Africa’s most dramatically located lodges. For some 20 years she has followed the growing tourist industry in Ethiopia, staying in many of the new lodges and encouraging new guides for visitors. She is author of CultureSmart! Ethiopia (Kuperard). With a childhood in Kenya, she studied African History and Social Anthropology at SOAS. Rather than informing her about Africa, she reckons it more usefully taught her how to ask questions and make friends with the locals. She has worked on archaeological digs, archived and listed documents pertaining to African history, written about the place, and now illustrates its plants from her home in Scotland. She ensures her mind is kept fresh with frequent visits, always seeking out good local food and beds with a view.

  • Stephen Brown

    Stephen Brown

    Stephen Brown lives between Edinburgh and Mallorca. He was born in Hong Kong and spent the first 6 months of his life living in the Peninsula hotel on Kowloon side. He travelled and grew up in the golden age of BOAC, Pan Am & TWA and has loved travel and hotels ever since. He has worked in 5 star London Hotels, including the Westbury and Grosvenor House. A hotel owner and a self catering owner in Scotland, he has worked in the travel & hotel sector for 40 years and is always on the lookout for great places to eat & stay. He is a keen golfer and fly fishing instructor (UK Salmon & Trout Association).

  • Ros Lovell

    Ros Lovell

    Born in England, Ros developed her travel bug at an early age and moved to the Far East (for a year) in 1987. The possibilities for discovery proved to be irresistible and she is still there, living in Singapore. The hospitality industry is firmly in her blood, having worked for several hotel groups over a 20 year period, both operationally and in the advertising and marketing arenas. She now feels she’s earned her stripes and enjoys reviewing them instead.

  • Rachel Mills

    Rachel Mills

    Rachel runs the translation division of leading literary agency Peters Fraser and Dunlop, representing writers all over the world, a career which combines her passions of reading and travel. A horror of soulless 'business' hotels has led to years of seeking out individual and characterful places to stay.

  • Peter Lloyd-Jones

    Peter Lloyd-Jones

    The delight, and sense of purpose I experience when visiting museums and interesting cultural sites was deeply embedded when I spent three years as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy Schools of Art in London in the 1980’s .I always travel with sketchbook and easel and whenever possible my mission is to reflect and record observations through my own artistic practice. Hotels that facilitate visits to cultural centres are my choice particularly if they are clean, quiet and reasonably comfortable. My studio is in Gloucestershire and I exhibit my work predominantly in London. www.peterlloyd-jones.co.uk

  • James Patterson

    James Patterson

    Canadian born, James Patterson is a writer, musician and extensive traveler who has been long listed for the CBC Short Story Prize. What drives his travel and his writing is finding the common in the unknown and the unknown in the common. He divides his time between Canada, Scotland and Portugal.

  • Richard Balls

    Richard Balls

    Richard spent 30 years running his family’s chain of bars and restaurants in London, and has a very thorough understanding of the complexities of the hospitality business. He has travelled extensively through the principal wine districts of the world, and has a great interest in food and drink and its relation to nature and national cultures. He lives in East Anglia with his wife, Charlotte, who has run her own ski travel business.

  • Charlotte Luxford

    Charlotte Luxford

    Charlotte has a keen passion for the arts and all things cultural, in particular, hunting out undiscovered finds whether it be a tiny restaurant in Paris or a quirky guesthouse in Malta. She has a penchant for interior design, architecture, literature, art, photography and good food, which is reflected in her written work. Charlotte currently lives in Kent and holds the position of editor at local lifestyle magazine Vine in Sevenoaks. She loves to get away at any opportunity, however, and is always looking for new destinations to enjoy and share with others.

  • Michelle Tchea

    Michelle Tchea

    Michelle is is the founder of Chefs Collective and PopINtel Luxury Group. A bestselling author on luxury travel and gourmet food experiences, she is a born and bred Aussie with an affinity for seeking out passionate hoteliers and chefs. Chefs Collective is her fourth book, following her bestseller My Little SoHo Kitchen. She loves breakfast buffets, hotel slippers and pipping hot saunas.

  • Tine Gregory

    Tine Gregory

    Born Danish but grew up in Ghana, Pakistan, Singapore, the US and Germany. Managed to continue her love of travelling and living abroad together with her English husband and children in postings in Singapore and Hong Kong for 18 years. Now residing for the first time as an adult in Denmark, and very much enjoying exploring Scandinavia and the rest of Europe.

  • Julia Pearson

    Julia Pearson

    Jules has her fingers in many pies. For the past 10 years she’s worked in travel industry communications across a variety of clients, agency and in-house, plus she runs her own London lifestyle website and is also a freelance writer. She's the master of spinning plates. Her love for travel was cemented when she spent 12 months backpacking around the globe in 2007, starting with a safari in Kenya she hopes one day to relive. Since then she's mastered the art of maximizing her holiday allowance to go on many trips - from Columbia to Mexico, Burma, Wyoming, Copenhagen, Oslo and more whilst traveling for work has taken her to Portland, Oregon, LA, Rome, Amsterdam, Paris for weeks on end and New York where she recently lived for 7 months. She now works in trends tracking and creating new hospitality brands which means when it comes to the guest experience, she's all about the details.

  • Florian Watson

    Florian Watson

    Florian’s thirst for travelling started when he was 18 when he ventured around South America for 6 months. Visits to China, USA, the Middle East and numerous European countries followed and hopefully it will only continue. Hostels or just a hammock were sufficient then and the number of places visited was top of the list rather than any focus on comfort. Now, with a young family, there are less hammocks but the thirst for travel is still there. Next on the bucket list is South Africa and surfing anywhere!

  • Alasdair Glass

    Alasdair Glass

    A keen traveller from a young age, Alasdair has explored various parts of continental Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and China. He read Classics at Cambridge, and took advantage of the long holidays to go travelling. His excursions included inter-railing around Europe, a rugby tour of Australia and a Mandarin course in Chengdu, Southwest China. After a year spent teaching, he is now studying law, as well as planning a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. He is a keen rugby player and skier, and still has a long ‘to do’ travel list.

  • Saskia Walker

    Saskia Walker

    Born in Hong Kong and raised across five continents, Saskia has long felt the pull of places new. She read History at Cambridge, before diving into projects that brought her joy – namely bookshops, startups, travel mags and non-profits. Extended travels in Europe and Southeast Asia preceded a move to Sri Lanka, where she now splits her time between devouring books and taking the fight to Dengue Fever.

  • Gavin Don

    Gavin Don

    A career in finance, energy and entrepreneurship, along with an eccentric love of slow travel, has taken Gav to some hundred of the world’s two hundred countries, and to thousands of its hotels (most great, some far from great). Still spending one night in three in a hotel somewhere, Gav is passionate about a peaceful night’s sleep and a hotel window that opens.

  • Jenny Fowler

    Jenny Fowler

    Jenny has travelled the world in search of diverse natural environments and cultural experiences, along with great scuba diving destinations. The quest has seen Jenny staying everywhere from sand-swept desert camps to barefoot luxury island getaways. When not underwater, Jenny loves to research the sights and activities where she is staying. A keen photographer, she writes illustrated features for consumer magazines as well as travel and diving publications.

  • Charles Braithwaite

    Charles Braithwaite

    Charlie is an avid traveller whose itchy feet and nomadic nature has led him to spend time busking through Europe, teaching in Argentina, working for a wine company in the South of France and studying at university in Canada. Working for The Hotel Guru has only served to further exacerbate his explorative nature - much to his delight but to the detriment of his bank account!

  • James Henderson

    James Henderson

    Caribbean expert James Henderson is an independent travel journalist writing for the Telegraph and the Financial Times, including its luxury magazine How to Spend it, as well as being series editor of the Definitive Caribbean Guides'

  • Jane Egginton

    Jane Egginton

    Jane Egginton is the author of over 40 travel guide books for publishers such as Michelin, Thomas Cook and Reader’s Digest. Jane provides copy for newspapers such as The Guardian, Sunday Times and The Observer and currently has her own blog on the Huffington Post. Jane writes about travel destinations around the world, but her favourites are Britain and Brazil. Specialising in luxury, she focuses on writing about her favourite things: food, wellness and yoga.

  • Minna Sharpe
  • John Sampson

    John Sampson

    A recent history graduate from Trinity College Dublin, John has spent time living in cities such as Dublin, Vienna and Edinburgh. His natural appetite for travelling has taken him to a diverse range of places including Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. John's writing pursuits have seen him involved with a number of student publications and more recently Unlimited Media.

  • Anna Hextall
  • Madeleine Harper

    Madeleine Harper

    Mad has a thirst for travel, inspired first by childhood holidays in Mallorca and then her first foray beyond Europe on a gap year trip to Sri Lanka and India. Having now visited more than 55 countries, Mad continues to explore the world and delights in discovering new, idyllic places to stay. Her most recent sojourn was a five month trip round Africa where she indulged her passion for wildlife and scuba diving. After 11 years spent living in Spain, Mad is now based in Brighton on the south coast. Mad was a full-time journalist for many years and has contributed numerous hotel reviews and travel articles to local and national newspapers.

  • Malcolm Orr-Ewing

    Malcolm Orr-Ewing

    Malcolm has been involved in travel guidebook publishing for 45 years and was until recently Publisher of Signpost - the UK hotel guide established in 1935. <br /> Before that his then company won the Queens Award for Export Achievement two years running for work in the Middle East, he co-published leisure guides with Visit Britain (then called BTA) and he was publisher of the PATA Asia-Pacific Business Travel Guide from 1990 until 2000. He travels widely in the UK and overseas and counts bridge and ski-ing among his interests.

  • Stephanie Reed

    Stephanie Reed

    Steph is a trained journalist and has worked in PR and social media marketing for over ten years. This includes promoting travel companies, such as tour operators, tourist boards and hotels, and she now has her own London-based business managing social media channels for them. Steph adores exploring the world and has so far visited over 40 countries. Some of her favourite destinations include New Zealand (where she spent her recent honeymoon!), Greece and Peru.

  • Jean McEvoy

    Jean McEvoy

    Jean started backpacking as a teenager round Europe and has been hooked ever since. A degree in History of Art further fuelled her interest in different cultures and languages, which led her to teach English in the UK and Hungary. Having perpetual itchy feet has clashed with other commitments and she recently took a career break to be able to tick off some places from her extensive must see list. She is happiest exploring ancient sites from the Valley of the Kings to the temples of Angkor and zipping round cities on the back of a scooter.

  • Honi Loudon

    Honi Loudon

    Trained as a Social Anthropologist and Geographer, seeing and understanding the world around us has always been uppermost in Honor's priorities. Always keen to see around the next corner, over the next hill and just along the cliff path, Honor has done a lot of solo travelling finding "It makes you talk to the person sitting next to you on the bus or at the chai stand when you get off". She has recently completed a research degree in South Asian Development at Edinburgh University and consults for an NGO working to improve women's rights in rural Himachal Pradesh. India is the focus of her travels at present but, she says, "I really want to explore Pakistan - such a stunning country and amazing history, but a little difficult at the moment!" Honor is particularly interested in good places to stay for women on their own as well as finding places which are sustainable and resonating local culture - "I cant bear cliches, the ubiquitous orchid on the pillow; its got to feel like a real place that belongs to someone!"

  • Iain Morrison

    Iain Morrison

    Following an illustrious rubgy career, both at International and club level, Iain has spent the last couple of decades writing about the sport that he loves. He has been chief rugby correspondent for Scotland on Sunday, The Sunday Herald and The Scotsman, and as well as writing for the sports sections, he has also contributed many travel and lifestyle features. He is now a freelance journalist writing for a variety of both online and print media, and splits his time between Fife and Islay (where he can indulge his passion for both whisky and the great outdoors).

  • Alexander Dessain

    Alexander Dessain

    From a young age, Alexander has lived to travel, so far his endeavours have led him to throughout most of Europe, south-east Asia, Africa and South America. Whether as a backpacker during his uni holidays or more recently whenever he gets a chance to escape, he has always strove to find charm and originality no matter his budget. Following his graduation with a BA in History from Trinity College Dublin, Alexander set out to explore South America, where he still remains. He is currently based in Sao Paulo.

  • Ailsa Anderson

    Ailsa Anderson

    Ailsa acquired a taste for travel from an early age, growing up in New Zealand and frequently travelling back and forth to Britain, exploring exotic locations along the way. Now living and working in London, she enjoys the buzz and variety of city life and is always on the look out for new and unique experiences. She has passion for design and interiors and really appreciates quality and attention to detail. She is always planning her next adventure, be it a city break, countryside retreat or jungle trek. Recent highlights have included backpacking around Mexico and road tripping in the Deep South of America.

  • Hannah Nicholson

    Hannah Nicholson

    Hannah has loved to travel since a young age. Since leaving university she has worked and lived in Madrid, Singapore, and London, where she currently lives. She has travelled extensively through New Zealand, Japan and Sri Lanka and is looking forward to exploring more great places. In her free time, she loves playing tennis, running, skiing and cooking.

  • Gabriel Power

    Gabriel Power

    London-based journalist Gabriel Power has long had a deep fascination for all things travel, taking a break after graduating in order to circumnavigate the globe on a round the world trip. Having stayed in every type of accommodation in over 50 countries, Gabriel has an innate knowledge of what makes a perfect stay, and is always looking for the next great hotel.

  • Rachel Roberts

    Rachel Roberts

    Childhood holidays spent in the UK’s Costa del Bucket and Spade left Rachel with a deep longing to explore beyond the delights of Blackpool’s illuminated promenade. A journalist for 25 years, published in titles including The Telegraph, The Scotsman and You magazine, she’s fulfilled part of that dream by visiting destinations such as Finland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Mumbai and Canada, with not so much as a Kiss-Me-Quick hat in sight. She’s stayed in every type of accommodation (from overnight trains weaving across India to glass igloos in Finnish Lapland), so knows and appreciates a great hotel when she finds one.

  • Penelope Anstice

    Penelope Anstice

    Penelope is an artist and painting tutor with a rich history of solo travel, particularly to India, Nepal and SE Asia, always with the aim to paint the beautiful and the unexpected. These days she prefers to travel in the company of others and to stay in places which have a quirky and authentic charm. With a keen eye for the original touch, she has stayed in a huge variety of hotels, some of which she has enjoyed reviewing for The Hotel Guru.

  • Stretch Graham

    Stretch Graham

    Stretch Graham is a semi retired consultant who has lived in Japan, Australia, Switzerland and Hong Kong and has a weakness for a good hotel.

  • John Ovans

    John Ovans

    John is a writer and editor based in Hong Kong – formerly Shanghai and Beirut, where he worked for the cities' respective Time Out editions, in roles that have enabled him to experience the nitty, gritty, beautiful and bizarre of his adopted home towns. He likes to travel, whether to marvel at historic ruins in the Middle East or to ride Hello Kitty ferris wheels in the middle of the Chinese mountains.

  • Andrew Graham-Watson

    Andrew Graham-Watson

    Andrew’s main business activity is advising discerning central Asian families on strategies to enable their children to apply successfully to leading schools and universities in the UK and North America. This involves extensive travel from visiting the Hawai’i Preparatory Academy to chatting to exasperated parents in a Uzbek lap-dancing restaurant. He is always on the look out for hostelries, large or small, with top quality management and restaurants with innovative chefs.

  • Tom Fleming

    Tom Fleming

    An aspiring travel writer/ hotel reviewer with a first-class degree in English Literature and Journalism. Currently living and working in London, Tom is a web editor at Duncan Petersen Publishing Ltd, who is always thinking about his next holiday destination.

  • Nadia Walford

    Nadia Walford

    Nadia has worked in luxury travel PR for five years across a number of clients ranging from boutique hotels and five-star chains, to safari and spa operators. Her passion for travel began at an early age with camping trips to France, foodie trips to Spain, and sailing trips in Burma. Nadia adapts well to new environments and feels most at home when she has her backpack on. She has hiked through South and Central America, and South East Asia; worked in Madrid picking up the language and sampling the best of the city’s tapas; and taught English in Bangkok, making friends with the locals. Nadia’s love for travel has led her to her current role where her artistic flair provides her with creative PR skills and a genuine passion for exciting new destinations, beautiful hotels and spas, and more affordable, off the beaten track locations.

  • Poppy Empson

    Poppy Empson

    Poppy was born in London and brought up in Scotland, and has had a thirst for travel and other cultures from a young age. She studied French and Russian at Oxford, and used her Erasmus year to travel around and sample diversity, from former Soviet nations to the heart of the EU in Brussels, where she currently lives. She is looking forward to finding more great places to stay as she continues to explore Europe and beyond.

  • Fi Troughton

    Fi Troughton

    With a mix of family life in Scotland and expat life in Asia and Middle East since 1987 I have travelled extensively and experienced a wide range of hospitality from basic huts in the Philippines in the 80's to the glitz of the best of Dubai today with a bit of Europe and Africa thrown in from time to time. Mother of 4 adventurous travellers I am always looking for quality, atmosphere and value with a touch of quirkiness if possible. Personal preferences include Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling, Scarista in Harris and Park Hyatt in Dubai for their incredible Friday Brunch.

  • Mick Empson

    Mick Empson

    Mick has travelled extensively both in a personal and business capacity. He worked at British Airways Air Miles in the travel business, and later at TradeDoubler where he managed teams in 19 countries across the world. Outside of work, he is a keen park runner and a ‘Saturday afternoon’ cook. Mick is married to the Editor in Chief of The Hotel Guru and is happy as ‘bag carrier’ when Sarah is reviewing hotels across Europe and the Caribbean. As a day job, Mick is a software entrepreneur.

  • Sophie Barling

    Sophie Barling

    Sophie Barling caught the travelling bug aged 18 in Ecuador, where she spent five months teaching and exploring. That first trip also seeded a lasting passion for all things Latin – from South America and Spain to the original land of the Latins, Italy. During a four-year Classics degree at Oxford she even attempted, under duress, to speak Latin – with mixed results. Though Italy (ancient and modern) will always be her true love, there have been some Celtic moments, too: straight after university she drove round Ireland (anti-clockwise) for the Rough Guide, and she likes a Guinness just as much as an Aperol spritz. Sophie worked at Condé Nast Publications for seven years, and is now a freelance writer specialising in interiors, art and travel; she has been published by magazines including Condé Nast Traveler, Suitcase Magazine, Country Life and Architectural Digest, and is a regular contributor to The World of Interiors.

  • Emily Townsend

    Emily Townsend

    Emily was brought up in the Far East and educated in Scotland and the United States. She has recently moved back to Asia where she is working on a documentary series about Vietnam sponsored by NatGeo. She is determined to seek out some of the country’s most stylish hotels along the way.

  • Anna Townsend

    Anna Townsend

    Anna was born in Hong Kong, her childhood was spent in a variety of countries throughout South East Asia. Anna is no stranger to intrepid travelling and backpacking. Currently studying History of Art at Leeds University she has just come back from a year abroad in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Anna brings a fresh, young outlook on the trendiest places to stay across the globe. Most remarkable adventure to date – a week’s trekking through the Himalayas in Bhutan!

  • Charles Villiers

    Charles Villiers

    Since sequentially selling out of two successful business ventures he co-founded, Charles has motored extensively across and around Britain and Ireland in order to see his racehorses run, and sometimes win, on exhilaratingly exciting occasions, which has necessitated staying in numerous superb hotels around the British Isles - some of which he has reviewed for the Hotel Guru.

  • Iain Perkins

    Iain Perkins

    Iain has lived in 9 different countries, including North Africa, Malta, England, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Australia and Canada, and travelled to over 45 others in the course of his 29 years in the upscale Cruise Ship industry. He currently resides in Vancouver, Canada, dividing his time between his cruise ship passion, his interest in technology, and of course, travel. Other interests include ocean salmon fishing off the West Coast of British Columbia, and competitive tennis wherever he travels. Iain has been a guest speaker at numerous travel industry forums and shows in North America, and always prefers local charming hotels on his travels.

  • Darren Taffinder

    Darren Taffinder

    Darren Taffinder is a British writer. He writes regularly on parenting and travel for publications including The Sunday Telegraph, Handbag.com, All About You, Go Mama Today, and Food & Travel Magazine. Currently, he lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

  • Richard Webber

    Richard Webber

    Living on the edge of Exmoor, Richard is a journalist who writes for many national papers and magazines, including Sunday Telegraph, Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Mail, Sunday Mirror and Real Travel.

  • James Jayasundera

    James Jayasundera

    James Jayasundera is Founder and Managing Director of Ampersand Travel in London. Of Sri Lankan and English descent he was brought up in Rome and has been travelling throughout Indian subcontinent and South East Asia all his life. Although he loves his comfort he is not blinded by five star luxuries – his motto is “luxury is in the experience” and it is that indefinable quality that makes something special which he is always on the look-out for.

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