There are lots of reasons why small hotels are making a big comeback in post-pandemic travel – fewer rooms equals fewer guests, which means you’ll feel well cared for in a more relaxed, home-from-home setting. The smaller the hotel, the more intimate and authentic the atmosphere, where you’ll see the same friendly faces each time you return. Family-run properties put their heart and soul into every experience, and tend to have a deeper connection to the local people and place. So when it comes to guaranteeing quality over quantity, staying small is the way to go – and they don’t come much smaller, or more stylish, than these bijou boltholes with under ten bedrooms.
The smallest hotel in our portfolio is made up of just four beachfront suites, styled after a traditional Caribbean palapa. With open ocean views in front and palm forest behind, each suite on Calala Island is completely private – not that privacy is in short supply on this castaway, Robinson Crusoe-style island, where you’re truly in a world of your own. Almost everything is included here – and the friendly team is on hand to shape your stay exactly as you wish.
Built by local craftsmen to resemble a Norman hamlet, suites at Le Domaine d’Ablon are unique, quirky and put privacy centre-stage. Pick ‘The Dovecote’ and sleep under a cathedral-like vaulted wooden ceiling. In ‘La Grange’ you can soak in a cast-iron tub and curl up in your own elegant lounge. Choose the two bedroomed ‘Cottage’ and spend convivial evenings by the fire – and days relaxing in your own box-hedged garden. Wherever you lay your head, you’ll wake up to verdant gardens, fragrant orchards, and wildly beautiful countryside.
From the moment you arrive at Bluefields Bay Villas, you’ll be welcomed into your very own pristine corner of paradise. Each expansive villa faces the aquamarine sea on the waterfront, so you’re guaranteed the best views in the house and can sail, kayak or snorkel straight from your private deck. Take a dip in the just-for-you pool, tuck into tailor-made menus cooked in your personal pavilion, and stroll along the sandy beach just steps away from your villa, cottage, or residence.
While dedicated followers of fashion shop in the flagship boutique below, a true boutique retreat waits above the iconic Via dei Condotti – Fendi Private Suites. Originally an aristocratic residence, the world’s first Fendi hotel now houses just seven impeccably polished bedrooms behind Lepanto marble doorways. Guests come here for the privacy, as well as the high fashion facilities of course. The walls are lined with Karl Lagerfeld photographs, the shelves dotted with aesthetically-pleasing books, and the bathrooms stocked with Fendi-branded soap, slippers, linens, and robes. This is where the style set come to hide away.
Hidden in the heart of the lush forest by the South Yangtze River, serenaded by the chimes of the tower bells of nearby Liuhe Pagoda, Vallie Hotel feels like a picturesque romantic escape from another era. Once homes for local tea farmers, the restored buildings blend beautifully into the tree-filled landscape. Minimalist furnishings, white linens and exposed wooden beams make each generously-sized room a calm and relaxing space. All rooms come with 24-hour heated private pools filled with water from the nearby Hupao Tiger Spring, and some also feature private courtyards and living rooms if you’re looking to spread out.
Resting on the pink sands of Barbuda’s as-far-as-the-eye-can-see coast, Barbuda Belle is only accessible by boat. This beautiful Caribbean retreat is made up of just a handful of private wooden residences, each set up for the ultimate in beach luxury. The cabana-style bungalows take their design cues from the tropical setting: rustic and elegant, yet with all the hallmarks of contemporary comfort. The surrounding 62 square miles of beaches and mangrove forest are yours to enjoy, so you can do as much – or as little – exploring as you like from Barbuda Belle.
This Cotswolds chic countryside retreat sits in the 400-acre Farncombe Estate, just a saunter away from the postcard-worthy village of Broadway. The bedrooms at Foxhill Manor are brimming with character, whether it’s a roll-top tub (or two), or a pillow-stuffed window seat. The ‘whatever you fancy, whenever you fancy’ motto invites you to help yourself to cake and cocktails in the elegant Drawing Room, and snacks from the Pantry. There’s a real ‘kick your shoes off’ atmosphere here, as guests are effortlessly made to feel at home.
Restored patterned tiles, walls soaked in art, traditional Maltese wooden balconies and contemporary private terraces with breath-taking views. Welcome to Casa Ellul, a 19th century palazzo which perfectly captures the traditional style of a Valletta townhouse. The individually decorated suites are as spacious as they are stylish, where modern artworks and cutting edge design stand alongside original antiques and period features.
Wake up in the Wild West in the cosy wooden cabins at Rawah Ranch, nestled in the rugged Laramie River Valley. Each of the lodge-style rooms immerse you in the comforts of luxury mountain living, with handpicked wooden furniture and furnishings that hark back to the region’s indigenous and wild frontier past. After a day of horse-back adventures channelling your inner cowboy, curl up around a crackling fire and swap stories over a Colorado gin fizz.
A small and perfectly formed Tulum retreat set to a soundtrack of waves lapping the shore, Mezzanine is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience. With so few other guests you’ll feel like you have the place to yourself, and be made to feel instantly at home – from the welcome margarita on arrival to a piping hot tea or coffee waiting outside your room each morning. Spend the day in a hammock beside the pool, or stroll along the beach for a dip in the warm waters.
Size does matter, which is why we hold the keys to some of the world’s most luxurious small hotels. Join our complimentary INVITED club today to receive 10% off every booking plus benefits.