About us


At Chic Retreats, we’re passionate about boutique hotels and luxury villas – independently-owned properties where the owners and their carefully selected teams really care about the guests and the service is truly personal.

Naturally, exactly the same principle applies to us at our Fitzrovia HQ in London. So to help you put a name to an email and face to a name, please allow us to introduce ourselves...



Lulu Townsend, founder and managing director

I live in Suffolk, where I was brought up, with my long-suffering husband and two tennis-playing girls, 11 and 9.

I love hotels and I love to be creative. I have always been fascinated in and passionate about hotels and having worked in my parents’ hotel in Italy I got the hotel bug very early.

It was in my garden shed in 2002 that I started up Chic Retreats; an affordable marketing platform for small hotels. Twelve years on, Chic Retreats has gone through a few changes and some re-branding, but still remains the best online guide for personally selected boutique hotels, luxury villas and B&Bs.

Forget ratings, rosettes and stars; they are irrelevant when it comes to authentic experiences. What good is a minibar in a room if the service is awful, the towels are thin and the room is dirty? A great stay in a hotel is not only about a beautiful room, but also about the people behind the scenes and front of house who provide really memorable service.

Contact Lulu on


Amir Azulay, CEO

I was born in Israel, raised in South Africa, schooled in Paris, have lived in Manhattan and currently reside in London, so I really do have travel in my DNA. Tech is my passion and boutique hotels my obsession. I am happily married with two young boys, and I love to golf, ski, read and spin (on a bike, that is).

It’s such an exciting time to be involved with online travel, especially in the boutique sector, where location, personal service from devoted owners and authentic food effortlessly trump gyms, saunas and all-you-can-eat buffets. As more boutique hotels and luxury villas seek to attract customers online, Chic Retreats will play a pivotal role in providing them with the technology to be able to do so. There’s never a dull moment at Chic, and that’s the way we like it.

Contact Amir on


Costas Mavroudis, DireCtOR OF OPERations

I have always had a great passion for all things digital. I started out as a software engineer in the late 90s and moved quickly into operational delivery as well as digital strategy and marketing.

My primary focus for over 16 years has been helping companies grow their businesses by making the best use of cutting-edge mobile, web and big data technologies. These include companies such as American Express, Lloyds TSB, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Jetstar, Marks & Spencer, McDonald’s and ITV Broadcasting.

I also have a very keen personal interest in the London startup scene and have been a part of some truly amazing projects. I also won the Google Startup Programme in 2014 which is a nice bonus!

I think Chic Retreats is an absolutely fantastic business where I get to make use of all aspects of my experience and help create the most innovative experience in online travel.

Contact Costas on costas.mavroudis@chicretreats.com


Mike Putman, strategic advisor to the board

When I was growing up my mother was in the travel industry, and she and my father insisted that my sister and I travel with them. To say travel is in my blood is a fair statement. For the past six years I’ve travelled around 70% of the time, often taking my three children. Whether I’m travelling or not, my second passion is golf. Generally, if I’m travelling for more than a couple of days, my sticks go with me.

I started my career with a single travel agency almost three decades ago, and grew that first venture into one of the largest privately held travel agencies in the American Southeast. Since then, I’ve acquired an in-depth knowledge of nearly every facet of the industry.

In 1995 I founded one of the first online travel companies, 11thHourVacations.com and built it into one of the largest online sellers of complex travel. In 2001 I sold this venture to OneTravel.com and took a strategic position as Senior Vice President of OneTravel. I currently have several business ventures but spend most of my time consulting other growth companies in the travel space.

Chic Retreats initially attracted me as the premier research and booking tool for boutique hotels and luxury villas. As someone who has travelled the globe, I have always preferred independent hotels, and there was no better place to find these. I then had the good fortune of meeting Amir, who is quite the orchestrator of this well-run operation.

We ended up hitting it off well as our passion for luxury travel and commitment to serving the customer unconditionally are fully aligned.


Lech Buszczynski, head of development

I have been playing with html since I discovered the Internet in 1995. I used to be a video games developer but at a certain point I decided that developing websites was what really made me love my job so that's what I have been doing for the last 15 years. Making websites is an amazingly dynamically developing technology, so I still enjoy my work as much as when I started.

I am married, got two daughters and we all love to travel by car throughout Europe. That way we discover places that may not be so popular but are certainly very special. Our favourite destinations are Montenegro, Hungary and Croatia. I am a fan of heavy metal music and I enjoy doing weight lifting to compensate for the hours I spend at the screen.

Soon I started to have ideas about how I could improve the travel experience of people like us, so a few years back I helped to create a site called The Travel Editor and I’ve been in the travel business ever since. I see Chic Retreats as a service that provides travellers with inspiration to visit some of those special places that one remembers one’s whole life.

Contact Lech on


Claudia Salvatore, head of product

I am Italian and I have lived and worked in different countries, an experience I’ve always loved. I now live in Kilburn, north-west London, and I really enjoy the ‘Mediterranean’ atmosphere there, which reminds me of home.

My biggest passions are travel, food and people and as I have worked for individual boutique hotels in the past, it is a pleasure to now be part of Chic Retreats.

What drives me the most is achieving results and satisfying my clients, most of whom I know personally (so no pressure there…) I am always looking for a new challenge. Routine does not sit well with my personality, but with my job every day is different, so it works out perfectly!

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Anna Dixon, head of reservations

I've been in retail travel since I was 20 – that’s over 15 years of managing travel agencies big and small. My particular areas of expertise are Europe and North America, having travelled extensively there.

I am currently based in Yorkshire, but have lived all over the UK as well as in Vancouver, Canada, and I have a well-travelled 9-year-old son who I take with me wherever I go.

I particularly enjoy family time, camping trips, unique boutique hotels and short breaks in the UK – and I’m also a big ice hockey fan! In fact I love to travel whenever and wherever possible; my aim is to feel like a local. A holiday is not a holiday unless it's three weeks or more (I’ve been known to stay for a year). Friends and family are usually surprised if I come back when planned...

I truly believe that holidays are important and can even be life-changing. So as the creator of holidays for Chic Retreats members, I understand it’s vital that I get it right.

Nothing pleases me more than to hear the excitement in a client’s voice as they book their trip or have them tell me how wonderful it was when they return.

Contact Anna on


Lindsay Scholl, head of operations

Being South African, I need sun on my skin and sand between my toes as often as I can get it. Living in London, however, (or the mud island as I call it) I get very little of either! Thus started my love of travel and the challenge to visit as many beautiful beaches as I can possibly get to.

As much as I love sea, sand and sun I am a city girl through and through. I love the hustle and bustle of London and thrive on all the craziness surrounding me, so a city break is just as much fun.

I am fortunate enough to combine my love of travel with my passion for delivering great service as part of a fantastic, hard-working team at Chic Retreats.

I have a very active toddler who keeps me busy pretty much all of the time out of working hours, but when I do find a spare moment I enjoy baking, being active and spending time with family and friends.

Contact Lindsay on


Radek GaLczyNski, designer and photographer

I’ve been a web and graphic designer for quite a few years now, working with many different clients across a range of projects, and I’ve always enjoyed the diversity of my work. I’ve also gained a lot of experience which I can draw on while working for Chic Retreats. I get huge personal satisfaction out of the success of our re-launched website and the commercials we’ve created.

A few years ago I discovered a passion and a talent for professional photography. I now specialize in property, interiors and product shoots. I have found this is the best job for me, ever created.

Even better is to combine photography with my other favourite passion – travelling. I have loved travel since my parents showed me the finest places in Europe, and now I’m trying to visit them once again with my very own family.

Chic Retreats is a place where great images and amazing travel come together. That’s why I feel so happy to be part of the team. I’m looking forward to the future.

Contact Radek on radek@galczynski.com


Unique benefits such as complimentary dinner or spa treatment

This is in addition to the usual boutique hotel benefits of complementary early check in, late check out, room upgrade when available and welcome drink


Best Available Rates guaranteed


Expert travel support from real people

"Live like a local" personalised recommendations

Hosts who ensure a memorable stay

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