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Heavenly Hotels With Less Than 20 Rooms


Most Nine Muses Travelers tend to eschew larger hotels and resorts and prefer more intimate, distinctive, boutique properties that feel "of the place." The list below takes that notion to the next level and features only properties with fewer than 20 rooms - all with exceptional amenities. These also offer great opportunities for a buy-out, meaning you and your small group (family, friends, etc.) can take over the whole property just for yourselves! The list contains an array of styles too including lodges. Enjoy!

Excerpt below from 10/14/2022 Virtuoso article by the Editors can be found HERE.

Pikaia Lodge | Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador | Rooms: 14

A rare land-based option in the pristine Galápagos Islands, this eco-lodge practices the sustainability it preaches. Guest rooms showcase local materials (lava stone, teak, bamboo), and solar power feeds the island’s electricity grid. Environmental bans on food imports have forged a clever kitchen that produces its own cheese, vinegar, and baking yeast, and serves Pikaia-grown coffee. There’s a good chance you’ll see a giant tortoise amble by outside during breakfast: After seeding the reclaimed cattle ranch with 12,000 endemic trees, the lodge established a reserve to protect the island’s unofficial mascot. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily, a complimentary massage for two, and more.

Dar Ahlam | Skoura, Morocco | Rooms: 14

This palm-fringed oasis near the Sahara, a five-hour drive from Marrakech, is no mirage – owner Thierry Teyssier prefers the word “fantasy.” Staff fulfill wishes with style: A rest stop with cushioned kilims surprises hikers, a massage awaits in an olive grove, and a picnic spread is laid out next to nearby ruins. Guest rooms in the nineteenth-century casbah are ornate and whimsical, bedecked in bright Moroccan textiles and tiles – fitting given that Dar Ahlam is Arabic for “house of dreams.” Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a complimentary massage for two.

Imanta Resorts | Punta de Mita, Mexico | Rooms: 12

Our new favorite way to whale-watch: while sipping café con leche on one of the balconies of Imanta’s three-story, pagoda-like Tree House. All rooms at the secluded resort on Mexico’s Pacific Coast are set in the jungle, but the Tree House, which can sleep a family of five, is the only one with a private beach, reached via a trail hidden beneath a spreading fig tree. Take a detour to one of three waterfall-fed private pools on the way to the shore. Virtuoso amenities include breakfast daily and one complimentary dinner for two.

Musha Cay | The Exumas, Bahamas | Villas: 5

David Copperfield’s private archipelago is no illusion. The luxe, exclusive-use retreat maxes out at 24 guests, housed in five villas ranging from a two-bedroom beachfront bungalow to a 10,000-square-foot mansion with a pair of kitchens, a private sauna, and a wraparound porch. The retreat is popular for weddings and family reunions, with plenty of options for celebrating: Spread out on one of 40 private beaches, set sail on a 28-foot catamaran, or enlist the staff to create a treasure hunt for the kids. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and an autographed David Copperfield memento.

Tutka Bay Lodge | Kachemak Bay, Alaska | Rooms: 5 The decision to leave Anchorage and open a remote fly-fishing lodge in 1982 has evolved into a rewarding family business for wilderness guide Carl Dixon and his wife, chef and cookbook author Kirsten Dixon. They own and operate the remote Winterlake Lodge near Denali National Park, and Tutka Bay Lodge, a coastal escape near Homer. Kirsten passed her love of cooking to daughter Mandy Dixon, who returned home in 2008 after a stint with chef Thomas Keller in Napa. (The pair’s older daughter, Carly, teaches yoga and leads fishing excursions at the lodge.) Kirsten and Mandy oversee Tutka Bay’s culinary program, which includes a team of chefs and a cooking school.

La Posta Vecchia | Palo Laziale, Italy | Rooms: 19

Rome, of course, is filled with ruins, but only guests of La Posta Vecchia have access to the treasures at the hotel’s private museum. On display: hundreds of relics and mosaics recovered from the 200 BC villa that used to exist where La Posta sits today. The other treasure at this seaside estate – a 40-minute drive west of the Eternal City – is the cuisine of chef Antonio Magliulo, who grows most of the produce for The Cesar restaurant in his organic garden. Guests can combine artifacts and antipasti with a private dinner in the museum. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 resort credit.

Morgans Rock | San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | Bungalows: 18

There’s plenty of room to explore at this 4,000-acre escape, a combination laid-back beach lodge and all-out nature reserve. Start the day at the property’s working farm, collecting eggs and pressing homemade tortillas for breakfast, then head out on a monkey safari or kayak tour through the estuary. Daybeds hung from ropes underscore the tree-house feel of the resort’s rustic bungalows and villas, which are perched above a mile-long private beach. After sunset, the surf often sparkles with phosphorescence. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and private airport transfers.

Islington Hotel | Hobart, Tasmania | Rooms: 11

There are some striking views of Mount Wellington here, if you can take your eyes off the interiors. A stay at this 1847 Regency-style property may feel like a slumber party in a museum, albeit one with custom-made beds and a wine cellar. From Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney paintings to Han dynasty porcelain and eleventh-century Buddhist statues, art fills every room, including some of the private guest spaces. An adjoining glass conservatory opens onto the gardens, a sunny setting for tasting local Coal River Valley pinot noirs. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Virtuoso Life. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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