Small Luxury Hotels: The Future Of Luxury Stays?

Time to downsize?

A longstanding debate that can be applied to multiple categories and scenarios is whether bigger really does mean better. While we’ll let you formulate your own opinions to this topic for the majority of subjects, when it comes to luxury hotel stays in the wake of the year that has been 2020, it seems smaller could actually provide more pleasure.

This ‘smaller is better’ notion is epitomised by the following photo of San Montamo Resort & Spa – one of Ischia, Italy’s hidden gems.


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Early morning massages at @sanmontanoresort 💆‍♀️

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It’s also backed up by research gathered by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), a “desirable community” that curates a selection of some of the most luxurious and independently-owned hotels around the world and makes them available to equally independently-minded travellers. SLH currently has 520 member hotels – with each having 50 rooms on average – covering some 90 countries.

SLH has just launched a ‘Stay Small, Stay Safe’ initiative which provides a set of exceptionally high standards to its hotels that will see them having to offer guests the utmost in health and safety during these challenging times.

These guidelines have been devised in partnership with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) – an organisation “composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic thread analysis,” which has its own GBAC Star rating, which serves as trustworthy recognition that a hotel is safe to stay in.

SLH hasn’t just implemented these guidelines on a whim; they come in the wake of a survey passed around its customers which found that 90 per cent of them would “feel more comfortable staying in a small independent hotel.”


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While the big-name chain hotels should have the money to pull out all the stops to keep their reputation intact – although some have already fallen from their usually high placings for the last word in luxury – it seems many travellers (at least, those loyal to SLH) believe that hotels with smaller crowds pose a lower risk to their health right now. Not all of SLH’s 520 member hotels have opened their doors just yet, that number currently stands at 230. However, many anticipate opening within the coming months.

Within those hotels open right now, not all of them currently hold the GBAC Star accreditation either, so to help filter out those deemed extra safe, SLH will soon launch a dedicated ‘Stay Small, Stay Safe’ section on its website, to make the whole process of booking and being informed of a hotel’s individual COVID precautions that bit easier.

Jean-Francois Ferret, CEO at Small Luxury Hotels of the World said: “Travellers are yearning for a change of scenery and have already begun to cautiously book their next adventure, and with these new measures, SLH can confidently reassure each guest of a worry-free stay.”

“The ability to be flexible and adapt is crucial at this time, and our intimate member hotels can do so in a thorough and bespoke way. We look forward to welcoming guests back to our outstanding properties warmly and safely.”

Perhaps then, the smaller guys can have the last laugh in 2020.

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