Choosing a tiny hotel will certainly ensure you with that extra attention (or in the case of The 404 in Nashville, extra privacy), as well as more authentic, creative amenities. We’ve rounded up a dozen with incredible appeal—from elephant rides on a private beach in Sri Lanka to complementary Apple TV in Chicago to archery practice outside a restored Airstream trailer from the ‘50s.
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Little Island Lighthouse in Vesterålen, Norway
If visiting an old European lighthouse, going whale-watching and gazing up at the Northern Lights are on your bucket list, check into Norway’s Little Island Lighthouse, which lets you do all three in a single day. Upon arrival, the caretaker will lead you to the lighthouse’s separate residence. The accommodations come with a guest library and two bedrooms that can each sleep three. In addition to watching the pods of Orcas break the surface from the cliff, a trip in summer also means exploring the island’s super cool, underground cave.
Iniala Beach House in Phuket, Thailand
Akin to vacationing in a curated art collection, this personal beach home was expanded and reimagined in 2013 by the biggest global names in art and design. It includes three villas and a penthouse option for rent.
From the Collectors Villa, where the Campana Brothers of Brazil created sculptures made of thousands of broken tea cups, to the Carpenter’s Chamber filled with its magnificently carved wooden bed by Irish artist Joseph Walsh, no two spaces are alike. However, every one comes with a spa treatment room and a personal infinity pool. Bonus: all of that furniture and art is for sale.
The Gideon Ridge Inn in Blowing Rock, North Carolina
A few miles beyond the historic, mountain town of Blowing Rock, in the pristine nature of The Blue Ridge Mountains, the 10 rooms of The Gideon Ridge Inn feature four-poster beds, fine Swiss soaps, ultra-plush bedding, and French doors that beg to be opened to let the cool morning air flow in off the stone porches.
Casa Noble Villas in Tequila, Mexico
What’s better than sipping fine tequila at its source? Knowing you are only feet from your own personal hacienda for the night. Casa Noble has become synonymous with producing a great spirit, but they are quickly becoming as famous for their attention to design detail and warm hospitality at the adjoining four distillery villas. Expect terra cotta floors, rock-wall murals, hand-woven blankets and traditional artwork.
Topia Inn in Adams, Massachusetts
There’s a lot to love at this quirky B&B, which that celebrates a separate culture in every room. The Moroccan room at Topia Inn is the collaboration of a video producer and a costume designer. Featured: gleaming tile floors, rich tapestries and a massive spa tub with air-jets and chroma-therapy. Meanwhile, in the Aloha room, the floating bed, surrounded by immense clay flowers, is the focal piece. What’s more, down the road you’ll find Mass MoCA, America’s largest contemporary art museum, plus an 11-mile bike path along rivers, lakes and the mountain passes.
Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, California
This fun retreat offers nine fully-restored Airstream trailers from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, plus a funky little cabin to rent. Amenities include archery, a swimming pool, and Ping Pon. This year, there’s also The Sideshow, a newly acquired, vintage trailer that formerly served as a traveling one-man circus. Within: a ceiling that resembles a big top and compartments where the owner once kept his curios and potions.
Tcherassi Hotel & Spa in Cartagena, Colombia
A restored, 250-year-old colonial mansion in the heart of Cartagena features seven stately bedrooms, with designs curated by famed Colombian fashion designer Silva Tcherassi. She’s used original wood and stone alongside her modern fabrics, and added accents like the vertical, 3,000-plant garden, three swimming pools and an Italian-inspired restaurant. The 1,200-square-foot Gazar room in particular offers the ultimate in opulence, boasting a private rooftop pool, sun deck and sweeping views of Cartagena.
The Villa at Taprobane Island in Sri Lanka
You’ll have to rent the entire island to stay in one of the five bedrooms in this 1920s mansion. The $2,200-a-night price comes with 360-degree ocean and shoreline views from sprawling porches, home-cooked Indian cuisine by a private chef and elephant rides on the beach sunset.
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