Best Small Hotels

Top 20 International Small Hotels: Andrew Harper's Picks (Photos)

From Australia to Botswana and Italy to India, see the top luxury boutique hotels around the world.

I edit Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. We review hotels, restaurants, shops, and worthwhile attractions for a busy and selective audience. My editors travel anonymously and pay full rate. In other words, we are treated exactly as you might be.

 

Each year, we conduct a survey of our subscribers' favorite small hotels. Hideaway Report readers are some of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable luxury travelers in the world; they vacation an average of 35 days a year, and 33 percent plan to travel more in the coming year. Their favorite countries are Italy, France, and England, but I hear about travel plans ranging from Bhutan to Botswana. Every year, the survey offers some surprises in addition to perennial favorites. 

 

Check out our list of the top 20 international hideaways. Two of my personal favorites — Ireland’s Ballyfin Demesne and Zarafa Camp in Botswana — made it onto the list for the first time.

 

Also, please enjoy this free download featuring the best beach resorts, city hotels, family escapes, food and wine properties, golf destinations and spas.

Grand Hotel à Villa Feltrinelli

Grand Hotel à Villa Feltrinelli - Gargnano, Italy

This spectacularly restored and graciously staffed neo-Gothic villa-hotel is set amid tranquil grounds fronting the picturesque western shores of Lake Garda, two hours east of Milan.

Southern Ocean Lodge

Southern Ocean Lodge - Kangaroo Island, Australia

The 21 spacious oceanview suites in this refined, environmentally-sensitive lodge afford sweeping coastal views of South Australia's Kangaroo Island.

Singita Boulders Lodge

Singita Boulders Lodge - Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

This superb luxury lodge rests on a private tract of riverfront land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, bordering the unfenced boundary of South Africa's Kruger National Park.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso

Las Ventanas al Paraíso - San José del Cabo, Mexico

A casually elegant residential resort adjacent to the Cabo Real championship golf links, Las Ventanas is a longtime Harper favorite.

Huka Lodge

Huka Lodge - Taupo, New Zealand

This intimate European-style country house hotel is set along the willow-draped banks of the Waikato River near dramatic Huka Falls and Lake Taupo.

Amansara

Amansara - Siem Reap, Cambodia

This tranquil villa enclave, located 10 minutes from the ruins of Angkor Wat, is set on the grounds of a grand guesthouse that once belonged to King Norodom Sihanouk.

The Wakaya Club & Spa

The Wakaya Club & Spa - Wakaya Island, Fiji

The longtime Harper favorite Wakaya Club is an extraordinary resort on a remote 2,200-acre private island of pristine lagoons and shell-strewn beaches.

Le Sirenuse

Le Sirenuse - Positano, Italy

This glamorous and patrician hotel is built around a palatial 18th-century villa overlooking Positano's colorful harbor.

Lizard Island

Lizard Island - Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia

Lizard Island is a sophisticated resort on a remote 2,500-acre island ringed by white-sand beaches.

Amandari

Amandari - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Amandari is an exquisite sanctuary overlooking Bali's Ayung River Gorge, near the artists' village of Ubud.

Aman-i-Khás

Aman-i-Khás - Ranthambhore National Park, Rajasthan, India

A fanciful, tented enclave in one of India's premier wildlife-viewing parks, Aman-i-Khás features 10 Mughal-style air-conditioned canopied lodgings.

Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp - Selinda Reserve, Botswana

This classically-styled safari camp sits in Botswana's private 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve, overlooking picturesque Zibadianja Lagoon.

Hotel Splendido

Hotel Splendido - Portofino, Italy

This chic and cosmopolitan resort overlooks Portofino's picturesque yacht harbor from dramatic cliffside grounds.

Hotel San Regis

Hôtel San Régis - Paris, France

This sophisticated and cozy hotel, tucked off the Avenue Montaigne, retains the intimacy and comforts of the private 19th-century townhouse it once was.

Relais Christine

Relais Christine - Paris, France

Relais Christine is a tranquil 49-room hotel occupying a 16th-century mansion on a quiet side street close to the Seine and the Pont Neuf.

Mombo Camp

Mombo Camp - Okavango Delta, Botswana

A lavish enclave in Botswana's Okavango Delta, Mombo Camp faces a picturesque floodplain in an area teeming with wildlife, including a large leopard population.

Maroma Resort and Spa

Maroma Resort and Spa - Riviera Maya, Mexico

Maroma is a romantic and restful Yucatán getaway set on a 200-acre jungle estate fronting a long white-sand beach.

La Scalinatella

La Scalinatella - Capri, Italy

This villa-like hotel has a peaceful garden setting off the Via Tragara promenade, a short walk from Capri's best shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin Demesne - County Laois, Ireland

This recently restored 1826 Regency mansion is widely regarded as one of the architectural gems of Ireland.

Buckland Manor

Buckland Manor - Worcestershire, England

This charming 13th-century manor house-hotel is 30 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon and the Royal Shakespeare Company.