Todamo / Shutterstock
Todamo / Shutterstock
Todamo / Shutterstock
Booking the right accommodations is an important aspect of vacation planning, and with good hospitality being a common value throughout the world, the competition is fierce no matter where you go. If you can afford your dream vacation, not a dollar will go wasted on good concierge service, world-class amenities and a good night’s sleep on the finest bedding. These hotels exceed that and are total Instagram fodder thanks to stunning visuals such as ornate furniture, impressive frescoes, intimidating lobbies adorned with gigantic chandeliers and top amenities such as luxurious spas, grand golf courses and award-winning restaurants. While there are many high-quality hotels throughout the world, these places have attained a certain amount of fame thanks to their beauty and luxury.
Raffles Hotel is an icon of Singapore, one of the most famous hotels in one of the safest cities in the world. Fine dining restaurants offer Singaporean, Indian, French and Mediterranean cuisine, and the brand new spa provides a variety of holistic and restorative treatments. The rooms and suites are spacious and have a historic, colonial vibe, and the hotel’s shopping arcade has more than enough specialty boutiques for guests to peruse.
Named for its baccarat crystal chandeliers and decorative accents, Baccarat Hotel is a modern Manhattan hotel with Parisian flair. All of its 100-plus rooms and suites are decorated with baccarat crystal as well as baccarat’s signature crimson shade, giving it a bold yet sophisticated vibe. The luxury of every stay is apparent in the pleated silk walls and white marble floors, as well as one of the best hotel pools in America and a private collection of art from Paris scattered throughout.
This utterly romantic hotel in one of the most romantic cities in the world is set right along Venice’s Grand Canal, giving guests a fantastic view outside as well as inside. It’s that interior where breathtaking frescoes and grand furnishings make visitors truly feel they’re living a life of luxury. Stay in a gorgeously decorated room with a view of the canal or the hotel’s private garden, dine on delicious Italian cuisine in the high-end dining rooms and get a rejuvenating treatment at the hotel’s three-suite spa.
La Mamounia is not only a Marrakesh icon, but also an example of everything that’s great about the city. The palatial hotel is a gorgeous display of Arab and Andalusian architecture, and its gardens are filled with fragrant rose bushes, orange trees, palm trees and cacti. La Mamounia’s restaurants serve Moroccan, French and Italian cuisine, and its bars offer cocktails and spirits in charming settings. Indulge with Middle Eastern-influenced spa treatments, take a dip in beautifully decorated indoor or outdoor pools, or enjoy a game of tennis on the clay courts.
The Peninsula Paris/Yelp
The haute couture style of the Peninsula Paris’ 200 rooms emphasizes chic living in one of the most fashionable cities in the world. Just steps from the Arc de Triomphe and with a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower from its rooftop, it’s the perfect place to stay to see some of the bucket-list European landmarks. Enjoy fine dining in the exquisitely decorated dining rooms, as well as access to the largest luxury hotel spa in Paris.
Jade Mountain is among the gorgeous mountain retreats that will take your breath away. And you can really get away, too. In addition to the truly stunning views, there are designated areas with no televisions, radios or even landline phones to distract from the beauty that surrounds the resort. Guests have access to infinity pool sanctuaries, fine dining, two beaches and opportunities for water sports, tennis, yoga and other fitness activities.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay is made up of 147 amazingly picturesque villas with separate thatched-roof pavilions, most of which have gorgeous gardens, a sun terrace and a private pool. Join the resort’s high priest on a tour of the oceanfront gardens filled with hundreds of shrines to appreciate even more of the surrounding beauty.
Courtesy of Sandals
One of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, Sandals Grenada Resort & Spa offers a tropical getaway full of romance and relaxation. The resort is made up of four villages, each with its own distinct vibe. Guests of all four villages can take advantage of three freshwater pools and two river pools, as well as 10 restaurants with world-class dining. Stay in one of the award-winning Skypool suites, with access to an infinity plunge pool that makes one feel as though they’re suspended in the air.
Located on Lake Geneva (locally known as Lac Léman), the Beau-Rivage Palace is a stunning luxury hotel with an intimidating façade that’s particularly picturesque when lit up at night. The exterior is matched by the gorgeously opulent interior, with the hotel containing 168 rooms, including 34 suites. Guests can also dine at the hotel’s two-Michelin star restaurant by famous French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.
Istanbul is one of those places a person should see at least once in their life, and what better place to stay in the former capital of the Ottoman Empire than a former Ottoman palace? Guests of Çırağan Palace can stay in one of 279 rooms and 20 suites in the main hotel section or 11 suites in the imperial palace section. The hotel’s multiple restaurants and bars provide a high-class atmosphere, and its luxury spa offers authentic Turkish baths. The infinity pool — heated in the winter — opens out in front of the Bosporus for a breathtaking view, and guests can also find Turkish handcrafts and top brand items at the hotel’s shopping arcade.
GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock
The Venetian Macao is modeled after its sister resort in Las Vegas and has 3,000 suites. The gambling area is massive, with more than 2,000 slot machines and 500-plus gaming tables. Just a stay in one of its opulent suites will make you feel like a high roller, and the hotel’s four outdoor pools and spa pool heighten the sense of luxury. Sands Shoppes, the shopping complex within the hotel, is the largest indoor shopping mall in Macau, with 850 duty-free shops. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s even an artificial canal that runs between the storefronts where guests can catch a gondola ride.
Amangiri is tucked away in the Colorado Plateau on a 600-acre plot with spacious suites and private homes, all with stunning views of — and a matching aesthetic to — the surrounding canyon. Indulge in locally sourced meals in the main dining room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, and Navajo-inspired spa treatments at the 25,000-square-foot Aman Spa. Almost equal distance from Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, this place is certainly among the relaxing spa resorts worth the splurge.
Seeing the amazing palaces, temples and floating markets of Bangkok is one of those experiences every traveler should have, and the Mandarin Oriental located on the Chao Phraya River should be on your shortlist of lodging options. Stay in one of more than 393 rooms and suites featuring rich décor and furnishings and offering fantastic views of the city or river. Eleven great restaurants and bars provide world-class cuisine and entertainment, and the Oriental Spa — located a short boat ride from the hotel — offers treatments using a combination of traditional Thai and modern Western methods.
Looming over the Saint Lawrence River, the historic Fairmont Le Châtea Frontenac is the crown jewel of the Old Quebec neighborhood, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most underrated tourist spots in the world, Quebec City has a French flair that is even more emphasized at this stunning, Château Style hotel which has over 600 guestrooms and suites, all the pinnacle of European luxury. Some of the suites have been named in honor of their famous guests, such as Celine Dion, Queen Elizabeth II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
This famous five-star hotel, located in the affluent Mayfair district of the West End, has long hosted visiting royalty, royal guests and the rich and famous. Famous guests include Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Brad Pitt and Mariah Carey, not to mention members of the British, Greek and Norwegian royal families. It should be noted, however, that there’s good reason for Claridge’s being the hotel of choice for the upper echelon of society: luxury and glamour is apparent in every detail. The building’s décor is well-known for being a fine example of art deco, and the hotel’s afternoon tea is an excellent chance to experience the best of British culture.
Courtesy of JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Located on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, 7 miles off the coast of Cambodia and 43 miles off the coast of Vietnam, JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa used to be a 19th-century French university. Today, the five-star hotel is situated on Khem Beach and has beautiful rooms and beach villas painted and decorated in bright or pastel colors, each with ocean views and Vietnamese decor.
The iconic sail-shaped building of the Burj Al-Arab is one of Dubai’s most recognizable sites, standing on a man-made island that can be accessed via a private bridge. The interior is just as impressive, with about 1,790 square miles of 24-carat gold leaf and more than 24,000 square miles of Statuario marble used throughout the hotel. Rooms feature rare eiderdown duvets (with the feathers taken from abandoned eider duck nests in Iceland) and an option of 17 different types of pillows, while guests also have access to a 1,120-square-mile artificial beach and multiple options for fine-dining.
The iconic centerpiece of Atlantis, the Royal is built to look like the lost city of Atlantis rising back up from the sea. In addition to guest rooms with French balconies providing lovely views of the hotel’s terrace or the ocean, there are five types of suites, all of which feature Bahamian decor and plush bedding. The Royal is linked to another one of the resort’s hotels, The Coral, via the largest casino in the Bahamas, and guests also have access to gourmet dining and some of the best beaches in the world.
Courtesy of Tierra Patagonia
Enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of Chilean Patagonia at Tierra Patagonia, located on Lake Sarmiento on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park. Its innovative architecture and wooden interior complement the earthy surroundings and breathtaking views of nearby mountains. Guests can enjoy some of the finest Chilean wines along with traditional Patagonian cuisine, as well as the Uma Spa, which includes an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath and indoor swimming pool with hydro-massage jets and cascades.
A medieval castle turned five-star hotel, Ashford Castle is one of those magical spots in Ireland that offers beauty, history and luxury all in one. Built in the 13th century by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke, it passed through different hands over the many centuries — including those of the Guinness family of beer fame — before being bought by a hotelier in 1939. Guests can stay in one of 83 opulent rooms and suites (as well as the hotel’s Hideaway Cottage), dine on top-tier Irish cuisine and explore about 350 acres of woodland.
Sun City is a resort made up of four hotels, but the Palace of the Lost City is the most opulent of them, emulating an African palace. Lush gardens and hiking trails surround the palatial hotel, which has an ornate pool in front of it where guests can lounge on plush poolside chairs with poolside attendants. Frescoes, mosaics and fountains adorn the hotel, and its 338 large suites feature cushy furniture and bedding, some with marble finishes and amenities such as saunas and Jacuzzis.
Catching a cliffside sunset in Santorini is one of those life-changing experiences for any traveler, and it’s in the village of Oia that you can experience one among the famous blue domes and pure white buildings so synonymous with the Greek island. Canaves Oia Sunday Suites has a fantastic view of the Instagram-worthy beauty here, with eight suites facing the Aegean Sea, as well as Santorini’s volcano and caldera. Each suite is decorated with handmade furniture and has its own courtyard, and the master suite is especially notable for its private veranda featuring an outdoor heated infinity pool surrounded by sunbeds.
A more recent addition to the MGallery Hotel Collection by Sofitel, Hotel de la Coupole adds high-class French touches to the hill tribe culture of northwestern Vietnam to bring guests an experience that has authenticity as well as luxury. The French haute couture of the 1920s and ‘30s inspired the decor of the rooms and suites, each with balconies and colorful elements representing the local culture as well as luxury products and bedding. This French Indochina influence also extends to the spa, where guests are offered personalized massages, spa treatments and wraps using traditional Vietnamese practices.
Since its debut over 110 years ago, the Plaza Hotel has led the competitive New York hotel industry, offering guests the chance to stay in spacious guest rooms and suites decorated with gold fixtures, commissioned artworks and top-quality furniture and bedding. This 19-story luxury hotel is a historic landmark and has been featured in too many books and films to count, making it one of those famous movie locations you can actually visit.
The Ritz Paris has long been a favorite of the Parisian elite and the rich and famous such as King Edward VII, Ernest Hemingway, Marcel Proust and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fashion giant Coco Chanel lived there for over 30 years, and Princess Diana had her last meal at the hotel. Today, its opulent rooms and suites are the height of sophistication, and the dining is among the best in the world.
For 90 years now, the Peninsula Hong Kong has been renowned as one of the top luxury hotels of the Far East. Its modern yet classic rooms are the picture of elegance, and the hotel’s gourmet restaurants offer French, Cantonese, Japanese and Swiss cuisine among other specialties. In addition to a state-of-the-art spa featuring Chinese techniques and a heated indoor pool with breathtaking views of the city skyline, guests are also treated to the ultimate luxury in the form of a shuttle service consisting of Rolls-Royce Phantoms painted in the hotel’s signature Peninsula Green.
The Lanesborough has a distinctly British vibe in its elaborately decorated rooms and suites, each of which has 24/7 butler service and in-room tablets. Many people come to the hotel just for the fine dining at its restaurants — particularly the Michelin-starred Céleste — and award-winning afternoon tea room. The Lanesborough Club & Spa also provides all guests access to the gym, hydro pool, saunas and steam rooms.
Chiang Mai, located in the northern part of Thailand, is one of the most exciting travel destinations in the world, but a stay at the Four Seasons Resort here is full of calm and utter relaxation. Stay in one of four pavilions, a private pool villa or one of the many private residences for a getaway full of exclusivity and luxury. The rooms have plush interiors with elegant, traditional Thai decor, and guests can relax in infinity pools with picturesque views of the surrounding rice terraces.
Situated on the shores of Lake Como, Villa d’Este was built to be the summer residence of a prominent Italian cardinal in the 16th century before it was converted into a hotel in the late 1800s. Its 152 rooms house antique furniture and modern amenities, and the surrounding 10 hectares of park grounds contain four private villas for guests who can afford a bit more exclusivity. Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert De Niro, Madonna and Ralph Lauren are reportedly just some of the famous guests who have stayed at Villa d’Este, bolstering Lake Como’s status as a celebrity vacation hotspot.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos/Yelp
Spacious and ornately decorated guestrooms are available at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, as are multi-room suites, and all have a plunge pool as well as ocean views and private terraces. In addition to two other pools and a kids pool, guests also have access to a saltwater spa pool and spa treatments inspired by Mexican folk remedies, the ocean and the lunar cycle. If that weren’t enough, fresh guacamole is delivered to the room daily. A property of one of the most renowned luxury hotel chains in the world, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is one of those hotels really worth the splurge.
More from The Active Times: