It is not easy to come up with a list of the best hotels in the world, but as we have done in years past, this is the time of year when we wrap up our year of travel in review. These lists represent the ‘cream of the crop’ our lived travel experiences, be it hotels, restaurants or spas.
The best hotels we have visited are exceptional properties not only because they are beautiful but because we found important elements like the service, food, locations and hospitality to be among the highest quality we have found worldwide. If you want to learn more about some individual hotels please click on the hyperlinked title.
Ritz Carlton Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
If you love nature in all of its forms and aren’t quite interested in leaving the comforts of home behind this is the desert resort of your dreams. We spent several nights at this one of kind property just an hour and a half from Dubai. It has fantastic restaurants, an indulgent spa and villas with a private pool and exclusive views of the desert. Animals can be seen in the morning and millions of stars at night right from the comforts of your modern “tent.”
This property is nestled amidst some of the most coveted real estate, fashion trending and high living in the entire USA. The reputation has been stellar from day one and we visited soon after its opening to find a property that has lavish interiors, state of the art facilities for wellness and a rooftop pool worthy of Hollywood glamour. This is one of the newest and most hospitable spots in the US and it was a thoroughly enjoyable stay, more like it are needed in that market!
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The capital city of the UAE is a blend of futuristic city developments, panoramas of the beautiful Gulf and many cultural landmarks. The Four Seasons sits at the heart of this in the upscale Galleria complex on Al Maryah island. Not just a posh address, the hotel has magnificent displays of art, marble, carpets and other forms of décor. Rooms are modern, with spectacular views and comfortable, chic trimmings. We can’t say enough about the spa, a fantastic space for wellness and relaxation that is just as inviting as the room.
St. Regis Langkawi, Malaysia
One of the finest hotels in Malaysia (and it has many great ones) the St. Regis has the feeling of exclusivity from the moment we arrived. A balcony with views of the private cove and bay, excellent massages and one of the best breakfast displays we have ever seen in a hotel period. The resort has many of the rituals St. Regis is known for and it sits on one of the most scenic spots of this idyllic island.
Raffles Jakarta, Indonesia
Entering to the Raffles feels like walking into an artistic dreamscape. The lobby is richly decorated with colors and artwork that reflect the Indonesian penchant for opulence and grandeur. The staff are incredibly proactive, each one stepping forward to ensure you have intuitive service from the first moment of your stay till the last. The spa has amazing deals in off peak hours and seasons and the quality of the treatments is world class.
The tranquil expression of the lush countryside is what has drawn us back to this property time and again. It has everything one could want in terms of service and comfort. The hotel team communicates well and everyone goes above and beyond to make guests feel treasured. The panoramas are amazing and it creates a feeling of being dropped in the heart of wild nature. Rooms are heavenly but its hard to stay in with so much beauty outside in every direction.
In a country of so many lavish hotels it is difficult to say which is best, but then you have Conrad, beautiful in all its aspects. From the careful service to the incredibly well appointed rooms, to the delicious meals served in the restaurants (one of the best Burrata’s we’ve ever had). It is indeed one of the best Conrad hotels in the world.
Being one of the top hotels on a high end vacation island like Mauritius is no small feat, but once we arrived to the Oberoi it was easy to see why it takes the cake. It has a feeling of exclusivity where you feel like the entire island and the sea are completely yours. The thatched roof open air restaurants and bars, along with the tropical isle themed villas create an atmosphere of far, far away. There is a large staff to client ratio which means there is always someone nearby to assist with whatever your relaxed heart desires.
In Istanbul’s newest district this hotel has risen rapidly become an institution in the city. We’ve returned again and again for the indulgent spa with its excellent assortment of treatments. Upgrades have been given regularly and the service is very intuitive. If you want a hotel that is a destination in itself, this place fits the bill.
Four Seasons Johannesburg, South Africa
Jo-berg is a city of parks, buildings, highways and people. It can be massive and overwhelming and the Four Seasons is the perfect anecdote to provide you a blissful escape with spectacular city views. We found sitting out on the top restaurant veranda overlooking the city’s parks and buildings to be one of the most memorable views in South Africa. The hotel has a high sense of class and distinction, but its never pretentious.
This property that takes a lot of effort to reach, but once you are there it is a retreat in the middle of the Himalayas. We have been several times and it is always peaceful, the air is clean and the traditional Indian hospitality shines at its best. The L’Occitane Spa is superb and the on site restaurants are of great quality. Hiking the nearby hills is one of the most rewarding experiences in nature.
This property is a one of a kind gem. It is founded around the theme of a fictional university campus and so has a quirky but inviting atmosphere wherein you feel transported back in time to a colonial institution of higher learning. All the while we were just steps from the nicest body of water on this fantastic tropical island known as Emerald Bay for its beautiful green waters. The hospitality standards in Vietnam are exceptional and JW Marriott properties here are some of the best run that we’ve seen in the entire brand.