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Our pick of new and under-the-radar places to stay

Spring break

Our pick of the new and under-the-radar small hotels, villas and privately owned B&Bs

Our pick of the new and under-the-radar small hotels, villas and privately owned B&Bs

Sophy Roberts | April/May 2016

CALIFORNIA

At Saddle Peak House (pictured above), it feels as if you’re sleeping in the desert, yet it’s only 30 minutes from Santa Monica by car, driving up Topanga Canyon to a plateau looking over the Pacific. Designed by Michael Sant, the house catches the breeze when Los Angeles is heating up below. With floor-to-ceiling windows and strong horizontal lines, it has a clean mid-20th-century aesthetic. The shades of steel, glass, stone and wood match the tones of the rocky desert, with punches of colour provided by vintage and modern furnishings. Mobile-phone coverage can be inconsistent. The house has a separate studio for two (always rented with the main house). welcomebeyond.com; from $125 per person per night based on eight sharing

BALI

Stone House is a good-value B&B in Ubud, made up of three stand-alone suites in the semi-walled garden which crackles with the croak of tokay geckos. Longhouse is the most secluded, with a deck that extends over the jungle. Sky View combines carved wooden windows with whitewashed walls and Cycladic zaffre-blue stairs. Making it has been a labour of love for Walker Zabriskie, an American furniture designer who has fashioned it from salvaged Indonesian hardwood. There are planks from old piers and antique Javanese palace walls. Breakfast is banana pancakes, spicy eggs and coconut water. stonehousebali.com; from $170 B&B for two

MOROCCO

Dar Ahlam, a converted kasbah in the Skoura palmeraie, is a hotel that Alice Daunt – travel agent to difficult film-makers and captains of industry – uses often (though she suggests that impatient clients pay for helicopter transfers from Marrakech rather than make the four-hour drive). It’s her fail-safe favourite for early spring sun. This candle-lit kasbah marks the end point to a six-night circuit of three new lodges from the same French owner. The first house overlooks a valley of argan trees, close enough to the Atlantic for a beach picnic; the second is a pair of adobe houses in a palm grove; the third has sweeping views of the mountains surrounding the village of Aoujou. maisonsdesreves.com; from €5,000 ($5,435) per person (based on four or more sharing), for a six-night all-inclusive trip staying in the three new lodges and Dar Ahlam

KENYA

Richard’s Camp somehow makes you forget you’re paying for it. Sleeping eight in four tents, it has comfy sofas, coloured glasses and basket chairs hanging from sausage trees. Just outside the Mara National Reserve, it’s beside a hippo pool flanked by kopjes where lions sun themselves on rocks. For the upcoming wildebeest migration, at its most dramatic in July and August, Richard Roberts is planning a satellite camp on the banks of the Mara River or up in the Kipeleo Hills. richardscamp.com; from $716 per person per night, including full board and game drives

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