Some say your choice of accommodation on holiday doesn’t matter given you’ll only be sleeping there. But this couldn’t be more untrue. Staying in an opulent hotel is an experience in itself, an experience that everyone deserves at least once in their lifetime. These are some of the world’s most luxurious hotels worth aspiring to stay at.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Umm Suqeim 3, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Said to be the world’s only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah — or “Tower of the Arabs” — in Dubai is situated on an artificial island and stands at a staggering 321 metres. Mimicking the sail of a ship, the hotel is one of the most recognised buildings on the Dubai landscape.
Arrive in style via a private helicopter or get picked up at the airport in a Rolls Royce. The complex offers exceptional privacy as only guests and those who have made a reservation at the restaurant can approach the island. The entry is separated from the city by a gate and a checkpoint controlled by private guards. It really sets the tone for the calibre of your stay.
The hotel is no stranger to luxury, with an interior decorated with around 1800 square metres of 24-carat gold leaf and the world’s largest Swarovski crystal ceiling. Guests in the suites can enjoy a world-class butler service, shoe shines, and pick from nine different types of pillows.
As well as being an extravagant hotel, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hosts multiple stunning restaurants and bars, with Al Muntaha and Al Mahara definite standouts. The location of these restaurants couldn’t contrast more, with Al Muntaha situated 200 metres above the shimmering Persian Gulf and Al Mahara only accessible by a simulated submarine voyage.
Opt for classic and fine French cuisine at Al Muntaha with imperial beluga caviar, Angus carpaccio, and veal on offer, or authentic Italian seafood fare at Al Mahara.
The Ritz London
150 Piccadilly, London, England
A symbol of high society and grandeur, The Ritz London is London’s most iconic hotel known for its historic elegance, impressive suites, and impeccable service. Stay in the legendary Trafalgar Suite that played a role in the film ‘Notting Hill’. Lavishly decorated in rich tones, the suite reflects the Naval victory of The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Partake in London’s best dining experience at the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant. With its sparkling chandeliers, towering marble columns, and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the calm oasis of Green Park, the Ritz Restaurant is considered one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world.
Indulge in a slice of Britain’s tea tradition with an afternoon tea experience in the former ballroom. Savour a selection of finely-cut sandwiches and freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Renowned for its tea selection, there are 18 different loose-leaf blends to choose from. Or, sip a glass of bubbles to add some sparkle to the celebration.
Continue exploring Europe with a yachting vacation on board The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Combining the affluent lifestyle of The Ritz-Carlton brand and the casual freedom of a yachting vacation, each of the three yachts offers personalised service, elevated dining and a grand experience.
Journey through the mesmerising waters in a luxury Northern Europe and Baltic cruise, relax in the warm waters of the Caribbean, or experience unbound beauty, culture and cuisine in the Mediterranean.
The Plaza Hotel
768 5th Ave, New York, NY
A backdrop to notable films including ‘Home Alone 2’, ‘Sleepless In Seattle’, and ‘The Great Gatsby’, The Plaza New York lies in the most fashionable residential section of New York City — Fifth Avenue and Central Park South.
Go all out with a stay in the lavish Royal Suite and take a private elevator to get there. Enjoy the fully-equipped and private fitness room, a separate library, and white glove butler service. Perhaps stay in the one-of-a-kind Tower Room that features a round master bedroom under a soaring 23-foot exposed brick turret ceiling.
Grab some afternoon tea at New York’s quintessential afternoon tea destination, The Palm Court. The interior is inspired by the lush greenery of Central Park and incorporates potted plants, ceiling-high palm trees, and custom furnishings. Be mesmerised by the room’s signature feature, an elevated stained-glass dome.
Relax, recharge, and rejuvenate at the Guerlain Spa with a customised and unique skincare and spa experience. Committed to the new generation of prevention-based health care, The Plaza Fitness Center offers cardio, strength, and Technogym products for a customised and engaging workout.
Four Seasons Private Island Maldives At Voavah
Accessible via seaplane, the Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah is the world’s first exclusive-use UNESCO hideaway. The resort is the epitome of privacy with one single entry point, 24-hour on-site security and patrols, CCTV, and night-vision cameras. With the whole five-acre island to yourself, you can host anything from a wedding or birthday celebration to inner-circle concerts, access launches, or even a mini Coachella. No neighbours mean you can have the music up as loud as you please.
Stay in the Mezzanine Suite with views overlooking the water, the Water Villa perched above the lagoon, or the Beach Villa nestled along Voavah’s sandy shores. All offer indoor-outdoor living and a private pool which you can dive right into from the master bedrooms.
Partake in adrenaline-filled ocean activities and dive with sharks, snorkel with manta rays, kitesurf, and ride a jet ski. Or, opt for something a little more laid back with a cruise on the island’s 19-metre yacht, Voavah Summer, perfect for a sunset cruise, island hopping, dolphin watching, and snorkelling. After, relax at The Ocean of Consciousness Spa, indulging in one of their customised treatments inspired by the five pathways to consciousness: truth, wise choices, love, peace, and compassion.
10 Av. d’Iéna, 75116 Paris, France
Overlooking the Eiffel Tower and River Seine, the Shangri-La Paris blends European grandeur with traditional Asian hospitality.
Each of the rooms and suites has been designed in a French-meets-Asian style, dominated by a Rococo colour scheme with pastels, gold, and ivory white colouring. Revel in the commanding views of the Eiffel Tower or Avenue d’Iéna.
When it comes to dinner, opt for a relaxed experience at La Bauhinia and enjoy grilled sea bass, tofu pad thai, or scallops with lemon and seaweed. For a more authentic culinary journey, head to Shang Palace – France’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant – and grab tantalising Asian delights of roasted whole Peking duck, hot and sour seafood soup, and homemade rice noodles.
Escape the urban city at Chi, The Spa — a sanctuary designed around a vast swimming pool — and discover a holistic and personal approach to well-being through treatments focused on rebalancing the body and mind. The Health Club overlooks the swimming pool and offers cycling and cardio-training machines, treadmills, and a strength-training machine.
Taj Lake Palace
Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India
A jewel floating in the middle of Lake Pichola, Taj Lake Palace is made of marble locally sourced from Rajnagar. It became world-renowned after the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ was filmed there.
The location offers breathtaking views of the neighbouring City Palace, Aravalli Hills, Jag Mandir, and Machla Magra Hills. The rooms either have views of Lake Pichola or the stunning lily pond and are adorned with traditional Indian silks and dark teak furniture.
Have a meal at Neel Kamal for authentic Rajasthani and Indian dishes or the seasonally open-air Bhairo for contemporary European delicacies. In the evening, indulge in signature martinis, cocktails, and spirits at the bar, Amrit Sagar.
Be treated like a royal at the Jiva Spa with treatments curated from the ancient wellness heritage of India and the lifestyle and savoir vivre of Indian royalty.
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore
A landmark of modern sophistication, Marina Bay Sands includes three towers topped by the Sands Skypark — a 340-metre-long skyway that encompasses the world’s largest infinity pool.
All rooms are the pinnacle of decadent comfort and style, boasting unparalleled views of either Gardens by the Bay, the city, or the Port of Singapore. Positioned on the uppermost floors and by invitation only, the Signature Collection offers the greatest level of privacy, elegance and comfort, complete with personal butler service.
With over 45 restaurants, there’s no shortage of food options available to guests. Choose from casual western dining, Asian fine dining, and Italian. Or, indulge in a meal at Michelin Star restaurant CUT by Wolfgang Puck or two Michelin Star restaurant Waku Ghin by Tetsuya Wakuda.
Spend a day at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and browse through luxury brands Dior, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Bvlgari, and Versace. All shopped out? Catch a music act or see a film at the Sands Theatre.
Ashford Castle Dr, Leaf Island, Cong, Co. Galway, Ireland
Expertly blending its 800 years of history with five-star luxury, Ashford Castle is situated in a spectacular 350-acre estate.
One of the castle’s premier features, the Reagan Presidential Suite, was used by US President Ronald Reagan when he visited Ireland in 1984. Boasting an original fireplace, an antique George III-style four-poster bed, authentic portrait art, individually-sourced antiques, and spectacular views of Lough Corrib, the suite embodies elegance and history.
Surrounded by private gardens and offering lakefront views, the Hideaway Cottage is all elegant comfort and privacy. Formerly a boathouse, the cottage has been lovingly restored and includes reclaimed materials from the castle, hand-crafted parquet flooring, and a blue Murano glass chandelier.
The accommodation is matched with high-brow activities such as horse riding, falconry, archery, golf, clay shooting, fishing, and lake cruising. Looking for something more relaxing? There’s even a spa that offers massages, body wraps, waxing, and facials with personalised treatments for each guest.
West Corniche Road, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Stretching more than half a mile and located on a pristine private beach, Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi showcases the finest Arabian hospitality. It’s landscaped and decorated with no less than 8000 palm trees, 1002 twinkling chandeliers, and more than 30 tonnes of gold.
Each room is furnished to the highest level of comfort, offers 24-hour butler service, and has captivating views of the city, garden, or the Persian Gulf. For a full regal experience, opt for one of the 5000-square-foot Palace Suites that were originally designed with heads of state in mind.
The hotel is home to some of the city’s best restaurants. Dine on exquisite family-style Italian cuisine at Talea – think spaghetti carbonara and truffle bruschetta – and contemporary Chinese at Hakkasan.
Surrender to serenity and experience true tranquillity and rejuvenation with retreats that merge traditional and modern spa techniques at The Hideaway. Treatments draw on the rich history of healing practices from around the globe and are inspired by the philosophies of nature.
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