When it comes to accomodations, size matters, but "bigger is not always better when it comes to luxury hotels,” says Kristen Korey Pike, founder and CEO of top travel agency KK Travel Worldwide. Indeed, there’s a certain charm to a mountain lodge kept quiet with only a handful of suites, or a string of cozy cottages each with a prime ocean view. Travel + Leisure consulted with advisors across the world—including many from our own A-List of power agents—to find the best small luxury boutique hotels from the French Riviera to the Chilean desert.
Among these 21 charmers, you’ll find a London hotel so impeccably refined it has earned the approval of the British royal family. Centuries of elegance and grace has defined one Kyoto ryokan as perhaps the best in its class across the country. From its perch overlooking the Amalfi Coast, one five-star family-owned hotel makes guests feel at home—but with limousine and helicopter service. Robert deNiro’s urbane Manhattan hotel is all charm without pretense. And a cliffside South African property boasting 11 stylish suites feels more like your own decadent beach house than a luxury resort.
Beyond that, you’ll find a wealth of fabulous beachside haunts, chic urban hideaways, and countryside chateaux on this list that spans the globe. Many thanks to travel experts who contributed advice, including Kristen Korey Pike; Andrea Malis with Camelback Odyssey Travel; Bobby Zur, founder of Travel Artistry; Valerie Ann Wilson, co-owner of Valerie Wilson Travel; Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited; Ginny Caragol, executive director of leisure for Valerie Wilson Travel; Kate Corey, founder of The Nomadic Souls; Stacy H. Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International; Anna McGarrity with Currie & Co Travels Unlimited; and Julie Falconer of A Lady in London.
And now, onto our favorite small but stunning oases of luxury.