Once upon a time, staying in a small hotel meant a chintzy room and a forgettable breakfast, or a grotty motel at the side of a motorway. But now, unrestrained by the shackles of corporate do’s and don’ts, a new wave of young, energetic entrepreneurs are revamping the concept, to create diminutive accommodation in quirky buildings, character packed private houses and fantastic locations. These are smart and pocket friendly places to stay-with 3 rooms or less-where the intimate scale is enhanced by a delicious dose of atmosphere and chutzpah. So here’s a round up of 5 of these mini gems around the world.
1. THE OYSTER INN, Waiheke, New Zealand
This little inn on the island of Waiheke, 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, had caused quite a stir since its launch in 2012, as it creates more of a lifestyle experience than a hotel. A jaunty yellow 1970’s VW van meets guests from the ferry and deposits them outside an old building that was once the island’s newspaper office. The buzzy bar and seafood restaurant serves up lovely dishes such as snapper on clam-and-corn chowder.
The vibe is totally Hamptons-esque, yet the fresh, airy design in all 3 bedrooms are so perfectly kitted out, that you may feel the need to restyle yourself.
2. DE WATERZOOI, Ghent, Belgium
The ancient city of Ghent, is steeped in history, and this two-bedroom B&B wears it’s heritage lightly and with flair. The owners have carefully preserved vestiges of the 11th and 16th century chapels that stood on site, and the characters of the traditional Flemish townhouse that replaced them, creating the most tranquil and beautiful interiors. The cosseting suites takes up a whole floor, overlooking Gravensteen castle on one side and the city’s medieval spires on the other. The rooms are stuffed with thoughtful additions that give it a homely feel. In the morning, cheeky sparrows squabble in the courtyard olive trees as you attack a gargantuan breakfast of French toast with Liege syrup, cheeses and homemade yogurt.
3. LITTLE ONGAVA, Namibia
This place is for anyone who likes the idea of safari more than the early-morning reality. Little Ongava, a 3 villa hilltop retreat, deep within Namibia’s arid Ongava area is an alluring spot. The parched landscape of the reserve and the lodge’s stilted vantage point makes wildlife spotting a breeze. The spacious thatch-roofed, rock-hewn villas are dispersed for privacy and to make the most of the location. Outdoor showers, day beds, private plunge pools and glass enveloped bathrooms all overlook the sprawling landscape.
4. CENTRAL HOTEL & CAFE, Copenhagen, Denmark
The central hotel and cafe that opened in June 2013 claims to be the smallest hotel in the world! But what it lacks in size it makes up in charm. And there’s oodles of it. The rooms, though small are cosy and comfortable and sits above an equally tiny cafè. The common room is a place where the guests can socialise. The overall effect is that of sleeping in a classic ocean-liner cabin.
5. HONOR and FOLLY, Detroit, USA
A decade ago, you could stand in the cellar of this cosy, vintage-chic inn in downtown Detroit, and see birds flying through the dilapidated roof. Today, this 2-bedroom lodging of exposed brick, wooden rafters and stained-glass windows. You’ll find colorful, ceramic crockery in the well- equipped guest kitchen, cuddly wool blankets stacked on rocking chairs and delicate light sculptures, hanging above antique beds. Like an old fashioned carriage house, the inn sits atop a great BBQ, that adds up to it’s resplendant charm. Leaving this hideaway won’t be easy.
The trend of micro hotels is still new in Asia, especially in South-Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Thailand. I do hope that this absolutely gorgeous concept will soon catch up in India, so we have a reason to holiday every month! But right now all you globe trotters out there, pack your bags and check out these amazing stays.