Every year, travelers and travel professionals go in search of that perfect hotel experience. They admire the views, order room service, and raid the mini bar. They check out the spa, chat up the concierge, and chill out in the lounge. Then, they rate their experiences, creating Hot lists, Gold lists, Readers’ Choice lists, and Top 10 lists of all kinds. We’ve scoured those lists looking for the best of the best, and now we bring that best to you.
So here they are (in no particular order), seven top hotels from around the world:
Nestled on a promontory between a forest of pine trees and the untamed Pacific Ocean, this Relais & Chateaux property (pictured above) is consistently at the top of every list. And as one of Travel & Leisure’s top storm-watching destinations in the world, it’s the only hotel on our list that is best visited in bad weather. If you miss the spectacular storms, spend the day outdoors and then visit The Pointe restaurant, where you will find locally sourced cuisine, a Wine Spectator–approved wine list, and a 240-degree view of the Pacific. End the evening gazing out your room’s floor-to-ceiling windows from the comfort of your soaking tub.
With its ideal location—in the middle of everything—the Mandarin Oriental has been the center of Hong Kong culture since it opened in 1963. The hotel was completely renovated in 2006 and now boasts all of the standard luxe amenities, while still retaining its sense of history. The real draw for this hotel is its 10 excellent restaurants and bars. Rather than choosing just one, start with a taste of Cantonese cuisine at Man Wah, explore the Michelin-starred Pierre, and then satisfy your sweet tooth at the Mandarin Cake Shop.
Visitors can’t say enough about this stunning hotel located on a private quay against a mountain backdrop on the Cape Town waterfront. Cape Grace received TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice awards in the Luxury, Best Hotels, and Service categories for its charming individually decorated rooms, high-tech amenities, and knowledgeable staff. The award-winning South African restaurant Signal offers monthly “Wine and Dine” evenings from May to November.
This resort, with its unparalleled view of the Grand Tetons and the Snake River Valley, made Condé Nast Traveller’s 2013 Gold List and earned the top spot on US News and World Report’s “Best Hotels in the USA” list. Amangani (which means “peaceful home”) offers a taste of the real American West with its redwood construction, regional artwork, and locavore cuisine. Spend the day skiing or exploring Yellowstone National Park and then treat your tired muscles to a spa treatment and a swim in the heated outdoor pool.
Winner of the Global Luxury Hotel category at the World Luxury Hotel Awards, the Tower Club at Lebua offers five-star luxury at three-star prices. The hotel overlooks Bangkok from the 51st to 59th floors of the city’s State Tower and features the world’s highest open air bar, Sky Bar, suspended on the 63rd floor. Among the many dining options, try The Dome, which is headed by Executive Chef Dominique Blais and has been recognized by Condé Nast Traveller.
Four Seasons resorts are synonymous with luxury, and this is one of the best, voted TripAdvisor’s 2013 top hotel in the world and US News and World Report’s best hotel in Hawaii. Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, swim with the manta rays, and commune with your inner hula dancer at this island paradise. Take some time out from your beach-sitting to enjoy a deluxe treatment at the universally raved-about spa.
This restored 1778 sugar plantation has been honored by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and every other travel organization you can think of. Sitting among the coconut palms, the 36 guest cottages have sea-facing balconies or patios. Leave the rest of the world behind (cable TV available only in the restaurant lounge), while you enjoy participate in island activities, watch for Vervet monkeys, or just relax in a beachfront hammock. In the evening, retire to the Great House restaurant for an upscale Caribbean meal followed by cocktails and live music.
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Featured image by David Stanley [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons