Here are three of our favorite boutique hotels. Two “Parkers” in California and a “tearful” one in Portugal:

The Parker Hotel in Palm Springs

The Parker tries oh-so-hard to be cool, and it makes it most of the time.  From the bright pink shirts of their valets to the funky décor, every detail is about being different.  It works for us.  What we really like are the awesome gardens and the privacy of the rooms.  The service is solid and the food top notch.  Although a bit large to be a real boutique, the scale and layout make it seem much more intimate.

The Parker Hotel

The gardens at the Parker

Understated façade at the Parker hides super hip (some would call it garish) interiors.

The Fess Parker Inn in Los Olivos:

The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, Los Olivos

The Fess Parker Wine Country Inn is very similar to Ponte Vineyard Inn.  Fess Parker, famous for portraying Daniel Boone in the 60s, purchased and remodeled the old Grand Hotel in Los Olivos in 1998.  Ten years earlier he had built and established Fess Parker Winery and Vineyards in Santa Ynez.  The hospitality addition seemed a natural to him, since he already had experience with his hotel in Santa Barbara.

Typical Room at Fess Parker

The hotel is small, with only 21 rooms and suites and has a nice little spa, pool and a very good restaurant. Mr. Parker often ate there and for good reason: great food and service.

Expensive but worth every nickel if you are visiting the Santa Ynez wine country.

Lastly, a foreign favorite.

The Quinta das Lagrimas in Coimbra, Portugal:

Quinta das Lagrimas entrance. Classic Portuguese architecture.

This hotel is very interesting and has a very sad story, thus the name: “Villa of Tears”.  The Villa, once a royal palace, is where Prince Pedro of Portugal and his lover, Inez de Castro, lived their illicit and badly hidden affair.  She was later killed by orders of Pedro’s father king Alfonso IV.  She bore Pedro four children and was crowned queen, posthumously, when Pedro became king.   Read more about the story and the villa here.

A more detailed description of Ines’ story and the background of her murder is here (quite a story and worth the read).

The murder of Ines de Castro

The living room. Very plush.

The rooms in the new wing are very simple in pink

Each of these hotels is unique and expensive but well worth the money. Each has a story, and management that actually cares how the place looks and feels.  Although we cannot match the tragic story, the Hollywood background, or the super-hip interiors of these hotels, we are proud of our little boutique hotel where you can wake up surrounded by vineyards.

See you soon…