The World's Best Small Hotels

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

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North Island, The Seychelles: North Island

When North Island opened in 2003, the former copra plantation won numerous awards, so regulars were dubious when one besotted client snapped up the island property seven years later. But under the new ownership, the resort hasn’t shown a glimmer of new-blood glitz, with the 11 rustic beach villas booked by the kind of couples who like their snorkeling remote and cocktails strong. (William and Kate holed up here for their honeymoon.) Your private butler can arrange anything from dinner on the beach to a diving trip to a movie night for kids. Often described as a Robinson Crusoe retreat, North Island is all about a kind of unimaginable privacy in a paradisiacal land. Villas start at $3,282 a person per night; 248-4/293-100;