Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today (May 22, 2017): My favorite luxury hotels & resorts in the world.
The question I am asked the most is the simplest: “what is your favorite hotel in the world”. It’s somewhat difficult to answer that question, since I prefer to rank hotels in different categories according to the experience they offer, whether it be a city break, a romantic getaway, a wilderness experience or a beach holiday. Nevertheless, there are a few luxury hotels that left such an overwhelming impression on me, that I rank them amongst my most memorable travel experiences ever. So, here you go: this is my top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful and amazing luxury hotels (and I highly recommend to put them on your bucket list).
There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel in the comments section, or take my poll below.
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10. ROSEWOOD LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Rosewood London, currently the finest five-star hotel in London, is situated in one of the UK capital’s most historic thoroughfares, High Holborn. Blending English heritage with contemporary sophistication, the palatial building that houses the hotel has been sensitively renovated to create an ultra-luxurious hotel with the ambience of a stylish London residence. Guests arrive through an archway that opens into a grand Edwardian courtyard, in a little oasis of tranquillity unique among London luxury hotels. It is the perfect start to a memorable stay in a timeless heritage hotel, set just steps from Covent Garden. Rosewood London offers its guests true urban sanctuaries, with 262 rooms and 44 suites that are among the largest in London.
9. SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY, OMAN
Six Senses Zighy Bay is an ultra-luxurious “hidden gem”, located on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula, only a scenic two-hour car journey (but a world apart) from Dubai. The setting of this beautiful indigenous village-style resort with its private marina is spectacular, with dramatic mountains on one side, and a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. The resort gives the feeling of exotic remoteness, yet offers every comfort, easy accessibility and barefoot luxury beyond imagination. The accommodations are inspired by traditional Omani houses and feature high indigenous-style ceilings, colorfully cushioned living area and cloudlike bed made with unbleached cotton sheets topped with your choice of ergonomic pillows. All villas have a private pool, where guests can refresh within the privacy of high cobblestone walls.
8. MANDARIN ORIENTAL BODRUM, TURKEY
With an idyllic location in Bodrum’s secluded Paradise Bay, two private beaches, a range of fabulous gourmet restaurants, a world-class spa and a choice of stylish rooms, suites and villas, this unique 6-star resort will seduce even the most discerning traveler and invite you to lie back, relax and savour the moment. The first beach resort of the Mandarin Oriental hotel group is so phenomenal that it makes the nicest 5 star resorts look like a cheap motel. It’s my preferred luxury hotel in the area because of its beautiful minimalist esthetics and gorgeous beach. If you are in need of a luxurious beach break around the Mediterranean basin, then stop looking as this is as exclusive a getaway as you can imagine!
7. PARK HYATT SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Seated majestically on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, Park Hyatt Sydney perfectly personifies contemporary harbourside luxury with its coveted location between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Reminiscent of an exclusive harbourside residence, Park Hyatt Sydney offers intimate surrounds with architecture, art and design that reflect the Australian landscape. Highlights include 155 spacious guestrooms and suites with contemporary interiors and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to private balconies, some with stunning views of the Opera House. There’s a lot to love about Sydney’s most luxurious hotel, but the jewel in this hotel’s crown is the outdoor rooftop heated swimming pool, with spa, private sun-deck, cabanas, and magnificent views of the Sydney skyline.
6. FOUR SEASONS RESORT THE NAM HAI, VIETNAM
Embellishing heritage with Four Seasons flair, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai is a harmonious ode to coast, culture and community in Vietnam’s UNESCO-strewn centre. Along a seemingly infinite stretch of sand – hailed by Forbes as one of the best beaches in the world – a strand of sophisticated, visually striking villas lines the dramatic beachfront. Inspired by 2,500 years of history, The Nam Hai’s architecture and interior design present a dramatic play on wind and water inspired by ancient feng shui philosophy and the grandeur of the Tu Duc royal tombs of Hue. All of the 100 private retreats are elegantly finished with Vietnamese lacquer and diaphanous silk, reflecting the soul of Vietnam’s cultural heartland and illuminating the spirit of all who visit. Once a fishing village – with a historic temple preserved on site – the Resort presents an authentic connection to the region through inspiring on-site activities, from a cooking academy and earth-attuned spa to exhilarating water sports and cultural excursions.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (upgrade on arrival, daily continental breakfast, resort credit, early check-in and late check-out).
- Review: coming soon (summer 2017)
5. ROYAL MALEWANE, SOUTH AFRICA
Royal Malewane is a luxury safari lodge with only 7 one- to six-bedroom villas, located in Thornybush private game reserve on the western border of the Kruger National Park. The lodge, which has Bill Gates, Bono and Elton John among its repeat guests, exudes the romance and beauty of a bygone age while offering every modern comfort and convenience. Here, the classic safari experience is unsurpassed with unrivaled Big Five game viewing and the country’s most qualified guiding team, who will provide detailed insights into the complex and fascinating ecosystems of the South African bushveld. Guests can also indulge in sensual treatments at the tranquil waters of Royal Malewane’s Bush Spa and enjoy nightly feasts under the African stars.
4. AMAN TOKYO, JAPAN
Occupying the top six floors of the recently-built Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo is an urban sanctuary high above the atmospheric whirl of tradition and modernity that epitomises Tokyo. The hotel draws its design inspiration from traditional Japanese residential structures, with classic Japanese materials such as timber, Washi paper and stone blended to great effect with modern technology and luxurious fabrics. The hotel is managed by Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, and has 84 rooms and suites, all with unique layouts, magnificent city views and every contemporary convenience. Each room has a large furo, a deep soaking tub intrinsic to the Japanese ritual of bathing. There is also a continuous reference to nature, from the hotel’s inner garden in the phenomenal lobby, to the fabrics and art incorporated into the design.
3. SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND
Remote yet accessible by a 90 minute flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, phenomenal Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s 4th largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. One of the most exclusive resorts in the world, Soneva Kiri offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, environmentally friendly design and unforgettable, authentic Thai experiences. The 36 resort villas (including 11 private residences) are amongst the largest in the world. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies, and impeccable service courtesy of private butlers. Highlights include the open air cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate & ice cream parlour, the children’s den and the spectacular Treetop dining pod.
Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking at Soneva Kiri.
- Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
- Other accolades: Soneva Kiri also features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful luxury hotels in Thailand, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the world’s most remote luxury hotels, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family resorts, and luxury hotels with private airports.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Thai tapas on arrival, and a 30 minute spa treatment for two).
- Review: read here my review of Soneva Kiri.
2. NORTH ISLAND, SEYCHELLES
North Island has a reputation as world’s most exclusive hideaway. The insanely beautiful island has only 11 opulent hand-crafted villas overlooking the pristine, powder-white sands and turquoise waters of the Ile Du Nord eco-reserve. Raised off the ground to catch the cooling Indian Ocean breezes, all villas open up onto your private garden and the beach. Plunge pools and outdoor showers provide the finishing touches to your private sanctuary. The island’s lounge and dining areas, scenically located health spa and gym, library and dive centre, and a rim-flow swimming pool are all built into a granitic outcrop. Keep an eye out for Brutus, the island’s 160-year-old tortoise. The resort was the decor for honeymoon of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
1. SONEVA JANI, MALDIVES
Inspired by a word that means wisdom in Sanskrit, Soneva Jani is located on Medhufaru island, which is part of an uninhabited five-island cluster in the Noonu Atoll. The Maldives’ most exclusive hotel, and my absolutely favorite hotel in the world, is fringed by pristine beaches, blanketed with lush tropical greenery, and surrounded by a 5.6 km (3,4 mi) lagoon of crystal clear waters with uninterrupted 360° views of the Indian Ocean. Currently, Soneva Jani features 24 water villas and one beach villa, although additional beach villas are planned at a later stage. Each one of the 24 water villas is superbly designed and has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze.
Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at Soneva Jani at the time of booking.
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