The World's Best Small Hotels

A master list of the world's most luxurious yet intimate and humble hotels, inns, and guest houses.

John Edward Heaton
OF 109

Antigua, Guatemala: Quinta Maconda

You have to push owner John Heaton hard to get a room at Quinta Maconda—he prefers to rent out the whole house. But push you must, because if you are traveling to Guatemala, this is the only hotel that really counts. Heaton, born to American-French parents, has led a globe-trotter’s life that’s taken him from chalets in St. Moritz to yam houses in Papua New Guinea. He has a collector’s eclectic taste, with every antique—some of real value, others perfectly put together by his eccentric eye—layered on to create the moody four-bedroom residence in an 18th-century townhouse in Guatemala’s cobblestoned former capital of Antigua. The food is crafted by a local cook, who serves up cold avocado bisque and glazed pork loin under candlelight at a table crowded by colorful religious artifacts. The rooms aren’t luxurious in a conventional marble-clad sense, and the maids don’t speak a word of English. But the right client will connect by osmosis with Heaton’s vision—and never forget his little piece of paradise with enough cinematic punch to seduce the likes of Francis Ford Coppola and Ashley Judd. Rooms start at $145; 5a Avda. Norte, 11; 866-621-4032; quintamaconda.com.