We just debuted our top experiences among the hotels we stayed at in the past year last week.
The “best value” category of “The Exceptional List” is equally important for us to share, because finding great service and stellar hospitality for agreeable prices captures the definition of value. We have found in our experience that these hotels outperform the status quo of their market or brand designation and here’s why for each one:
Nobu Manila, Philippines
From the moment we checked in we sensed this boutique hotel was a collaboration among perfectionists.Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert DeNiro and Meir Teperare lovers of fine food and luxury accommodations and this first of its kind boutique style property matches their expertise. It is part of the modern City of Dreams Casino and shopping complex in Manila, so it is surrounded by entertainment, restaurants and leisure. The room was inviting and comfy and the pool deck a beautiful and relaxing space.
It feels like every inch of coast in Mauritius is home to one resort or another, so competiton and standards are high. We really enjoyed the Westin because while it is a large resort with many rooms, it is spread out enough and takes care of its SPG guests with perks that many resorts don’t bother with. Most of all we loved the lounge on the property. It is clean, well-attended and gives an air of prestige. The rooms feel newly renovated, there are excellent balconies and even a fresh garden where herbs and vegetables are grown for use in the hotel kitchens. The hotel puts a strong emphasis on wellness and provided us free equipment both indoors and out to achieve our healthy lifestyle goals.
Hilton Madrid Airport, Spain
Unlike most airport hotels this one is memorable and honestly a solid option for any length of stay in Madrid. The Hilton offers a complimentary shuttle to the airport and select city destinations, the rooms are fashionable, comfortable and the hospitality (in the several times we have stayed here) is always on point. It never feels impersonal and the hotel could easily pass for a luxury address in Plaza del Sol (downtown). We’re headed back quite soon in fact!
Elite Hotel Adlon Malmo, Sweden
This property was a Renaissance Hotel when we stayed, so we cannot speak to the rewards or status perks that it may offer now, but surely it is a great value option in what is otherwise a very pricey market. It had a beautiful lobby and large, clean rooms with comfortable beds. The décor was a blend of traditional Scandinavian elements like hard wood floors and trim mixed with more modern trappings. The location was right in the heart of scenic, pedestrian Malmo and just a few train stops from Copenhagen Airport.
Aloft Jakarta, Indonesia
After a long flight and crossing the urban, concrete jungle that is Jakarta, the Aloft felt like an excellent abode from which to adjust to the busy city. As a skyscraper it offers great views of the surrounding neighborhood while being completely soundproof. The breakfast buffet included many fresh fruits and vegetables, the pool deck was intimate and cozy while the Aloft vibe or fresh and modern was evident throughout the hotel.
Marriott Bogota, Colombia
From the smart, modern decor, to the ever smiling staff, handy hotel shuttle and one of the best Spas in a Marriott we’ve seen anywhere, the Marriott Bogota is a special place we’ve selected to stay at many times. It honestly feels a lot more like a JW Marriott property with the wellness facilities, attention to detail and layout. Either with points or payment the hotel is a great value for money and an ideal location equidistant from the city and the downtown.
Courtyard Escazu San Jose, Costa Rica
For those who know San Jose well, the downtown does not have a lot to offer compared to the magnanimous beauty of the rest of the country. That’s why this hotel in one of the most trendy suburbs of San Jose is a great call. It is quiet and relaxed yet within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. It has many great amenities like free wifi and parking, a pool deck and spacious rooms. It feels so much like home it would be great for a long term stay as well, that’s always the feeling we get here.
The Waldorf Astoria Panama
It isn’t often that such a distinguished brand name lands on this list, but the Waldorf Astoria in Panama is normally a very accessible property. It sits right in the heart of the financial center just steps from the Pacific Ocean. It lacks nothing of Waldorf’s signature services and has its own unique character and charm. The pool and views were spectacular and the rooms fit for royalty.
JW Marriott Suhar Mumbai, India
This JW is just steps from the Mumbai Airport and it is not only practical, majestic and hospitable, but it comes at incredibly affordable rates. We found here one of the best wellness facilities we have seen, with the relaxation areas open 24 hours. The hotel captures all the luxuries and friendliness of Indian hospitality along with the feeling that the room is a place for serenity and tranquility.
JW Marriott Quito, Ecuador
Upon arrival we could see that this JW Marriott was one of the first in a previous generation of hotels. The style and grandiosity of the building match a different aesthetic, but looks don’t tell the whole story. We found an excellent lounge with delightful food services throughout the day. The staff were accommodating and helpful, the rooms had been renovated and the location of the hotel is optimal for exploring the fascinating colonial treasures this town has to offer.