‘Coûte que coûte’ goes the punning family motto of Sir Charles Coote, for whom the opulent Ballyfin estate was conceived in the early 19th century. ‘No matter the cost’ is how this loosely translates, proving as apt an adage in the 21st century as it was then. Many millions of euros may have been lavished on this stately pile in County Laois, both in its original construction and, more recently, its painstaking restoration. For the architectural historian, the house is a head turner – the culmination of Regency craftsmanship brought together in lusciously modelled plasterwork, scagliola in varying colours, stained glass and staggeringly intricate parquetry. For the sybarite, the house is a place of comfort and grandeur, not least in the Gold Drawing Room where walls are hung with lustrous silk and vast windows frame views of the 28-acre lake. Bedrooms are also decorated with rich fabrics and wallpaper, fine antiques, fresh flowers from the garden, art and books – a fabulous amalgamation of Anglo-Irish panache. New this year is Ballyfin’s 21st room and first standalone property: the tiny Gardener’s Cottage overlooking, to the rear, the walled gardens, which supply Ballyfin’s kitchen with organic fruit and vegetables. The grounds are made for strolling in the complimentary wellies, with grottoes and rockeries, a folly and a fernery, a rose garden and an aviary. There is no finer Irish-country house experience. By Pamela Goodman

With a flotilla of boldfaced big-hitters hugging its sunny shores, Dubai isn’t exactly short of luxury digs. But what makes the newly opened Bulgari stand out is its location on its own seahorse-shaped manmade island, and its low-slung layout, a pleasing retort to the city’s ubiquitous canyons of skyscrapers. This is down to the group’s Milan-based architects, who anchored the hotel so it separates two bays: one an oh-so-quiet stretch of beach lined with villas; the other a super-smart marina with a sweep of restaurants and the Bulgari Yacht Club – a first for the brand. Structures are topped with layers of coral-like latticework; other marvellous textures that draw the eye include backlit green onyx, black granite and woollen Beni Ourain rugs from Morocco, picked out with covetable objects from B&B Italia and Flos. The city centre thrums on the other side of a 300-metre bridge, but with six bars and restaurants at the hotel, there really is no reason to cross it. La Spiaggia is a poolside crowd-pleaser that flips out wagyu beef burgers during the day, while in the evening, a Negroni from the oval Bulgari bar is a punchy aperitif for oysters and bottarga risotto at the neighbouring Niko Romito restaurant. The wow factor, though, is provided by the immense spa, with its ice fountains, hammam and an indoor pool – lined with a mosaic of real gold tiles, naturally – that has far-reaching views of the sea and the Dubai cityscape through floor-to-ceiling windows. The sense of contented wellbeing isn’t limited to the spa. In a land of hyperbole, this is understated perfection that thinks big. By Lauren Ho
For travelers who put a premium on luxury, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia delivers. Recent visitors said the staff's attention to detail makes guests feel like royalty. And the 156 rooms and suites aren't too shabby either: Accommodations feature views of the hotel's inner courtyard or the Vancouver cityscape, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso coffee makers and complimentary Wi-Fi. The bathrooms are just as impressive with rainforest shower fixtures and heated floors. For extra pampering, treat yourself to a visit at Sense, A Rosewood Spa. When hunger sets in, the swanky Reflections: The Garden Terrace (open during the warmer months), serves cocktails and small plates. Meanwhile, Hawksworth Restaurant features a formal atmosphere and a menu with locally inspired cuisine. But when just drinks will do, kick back at the 1927 Lobby Lounge, which borrows its name from the building's original construction in 1927. You'll find this Rosewood outpost in downtown Vancouver at the corner of Howe and West Georgia streets (around the corner from the Vancouver Art Gallery).
Seeking to venture across the border to visit our neighbors in the USA? Have an urge to splurge in Vegas, experience the wonder that is the Grand Canyon or bask in the Miami sun? Whether you feel like jumping in the car for a long road trip there or prefer the convenience of flying, book your hotel reservation online at Travelocity. There you can find all the best hotel deals, read customer reviews, compare rates and even find out a little about your chosen destination. We make it easier for you select the best hotel accommodation for your leisure or business trip.
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The No. 1 Best Hotel in Los Angeles has been a fixture on the Hollywood entertainment scene for years. A haven for celebrities and the inspiration behind The Eagles' hit song "Hotel California," this Beverly Hills property exudes Old Hollywood glamour inside its guest rooms and suites. All accommodations offer garden or city views, Bang & Olufsen televisions, minibars and marble-accented bathrooms with separate showers and bathtubs. Guests are also treated to chic on-site amenities like an outdoor pool with underwater music, a polo-inspired lounge and a spa that hosts complimentary yoga classes. (Courtesy of The Beverly Hills Hotel)
This fashionable hotel earns acclaim for its elegant design and prime location in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. The No. 4 Best Hotel in Chicago boasts exceptional customer service, an indoor pool, a spa and a health club. Accommodations within the Waldorf Astoria Chicago are dressed in stylish gray tones and contemporary furnishings. (Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Chicago)
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