If you are travelling for vacation, figure out which attractions or landmarks you want to see and book a hotel that is within close proximity. Although hotels near attractions might cost a little more, you may find that spending those extra few dollars is worth the convenience. You can even find hotels that align with your interests. For example, if you are looking for a relaxing vacation, a spa hotel may be the perfect choice for you. 

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The area of Nishishinjuku is arguably the best place to stay in Tokyo since it has a lot of budget hotels in Tokyo to choose from. One of my favourites is the APA Hotel & Resort Nishishinjuku-Gochome-Eki Tower since it combines business with pleasure. All rooms come with free WiFi, a desk, flat-screen tv, private bathroom, and mini-fridge. In addition, there’s a seasonal outdoor pool, and an Akashi Onsen (artificial hot spring). Nishi-Shinjuku Station and Nishi-Shinjuku are a 1-minute and 15-minute walk away respectively.
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Filling the top floors of a 58-story financial district building, the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong's location is one of its strongest selling points: Its prime location, right at the heart of the city's commercial center, means guests have easy access to high-end shopping and the Metro, plus, it's just a quick walk to the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower. As you might imagine, the cloud-level rooms, described by guests as large and luxurious, have perfect views of the Huangpu River and the city's ever-evolving skyline.
That tiny-island locale is one reason Beth Blair loves Sunset Key Cottages, another top 10 contender. Its air of exclusivity is “magical, and I could go on and on about the top-notch service and views,” says the Minnesota travel blogger. But something else won her heart: “The pastry baskets that arrive every morning at the front door are a wow factor,” she says. “There's nothing more relaxing than sitting on a beach-facing patio, sipping hot coffee and nibbling on freshly baked muffins.”
Located along the stunning blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the hacienda-style Krystal Vallarta is a tropical oasis of calm, peace and serenity. Ideal for family vacations, this modern resort will keep younger guests entertained at Kamp Krystal, which features an indoor playground with a ball room and a new children’s pool with a waterslide. While the little ones have a blast at the kids club, parents can relax by the resort’s sparkling infinity pool overlooking the turquoise waters of Banderas Bay, or head to lively downtown Puerto Vallarta and explore the Malecón Seafront Promenade. Great for visitors who enjoy outdoor dining, the resort’s seaside restaurant affords breathtaking views of Banderas Bay. A wide range of delicious dining options, from elegant Japanese dishes and other international cuisine to fresh seafood and classic comfort foods from the beachfront snack bar, are sure to keep everyone happy.
Viengtai Hotel, located in the old town of Bangkok close to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun across the river, is a classically designed three star property.The popular tourist streets Khao San and Soi Rumbuttri are walking distance from the hotel meaning inexpensive restaurants, shops, massages and tailors are in plentiful supply, and of course the invigorating nightlife for which Khao San is famous.There is no skytrain station in the area, but the nearby ferry pier can transport you along the river and you can interchange at Saphan Taksin Station.The 200 renovated guestrooms are contemporary classic in design with a warm colour scheme of soft yellow and pale wood. Read More...
Montage Laguna Beach occupies a prime swath of real estate along the Southern California coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In addition to enjoying the large beach area, guests can lounge poolside, shop at the in-house boutiques, enjoy spa treatments and eat gourmet meals at one of three on-site restaurants. And with excellent service and rooms with superb views, it's easy to see why the property claims the No. 6 Best Hotel in California honor for 2017. (Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach)
Just three blocks from the mighty Mekong River, surrounded by gilded Buddhist temples, and in the upscale heart of the city center, Villa Maly has a coveted address in Luang Prabang. The two-story house, awash with white paint and deep wood accents, feels like entering the home of your chicest Laoation friend—that is, if your friend were a grandson of a 19th-century Lao king. (And, actually, it was Prince Khamtan Ounkham who built the house in 1938, and prominent French nouveau details are a nod to the years he spent studying in France.) Belly up to the Maly Bar for cocktails and light snacks, or enjoy a D.I.Y poolside barbecue with marinated meats and vegetables; and don't forget to make use of the hotel's complementary bike rentals while you're at it.
Take your pick of chic, business, or luxury hotels at discount prices on CheapOair.ca. If sitting poolside with a tiny umbrella in your drink, or a hotel with a conference room, is what you're seeking, explore discount hotel deals on CheapOair.ca. Because it’s so easy to find a cheap hotel deal on CheapOair.ca, making a reservation actually saves you more money to spend on shopping, skiing, or hiking at any of your favorite destinations!
Moevenpick Phuket is a place to go to unwind, to simply relax and absorb the peace and calm that pervades this beautiful environment.Parts of the generous grounds are evocative of a well-maintained English botanical garden and even though they are spacious and winding, guests simply need to follow the orchids to get to the beach.The resorts spa is a model of classic lines and offers some of the best treatments to be had on the island along with couples-friendly suites.Gourmets will appreciate the international dishes to be enjoyed here and steak lovers especially love El Gaucho - Moevenpicks beefy South American outlet. Read More...

Music producer Chris Blackwell, who introduced the world to Bob Marley back in 1973, also founded this oceanfront island hideaway a few years later, based around the clifftop villa where Ian Fleming wrote all his Bond novels. In the decades since its reach has grown and grown. There’s no sign at the entrance, which is part of the low-key charm. It’s easy to see why many music and film stars make their way here: this is a sweet spot with a very independent flavour, a world away from the oversized all-inclusives, and more honed than Blackwell’s companion hotel, Strawberry Hill, in the Blue Mountains. Couples tend to hole up in the wooden beach huts; families and friends take over the massive villas; industry bigwigs feel right at home in Fleming’s former house, which has three bedrooms and a personable, clued-in staff. There are a few nods to 007 – black-and-white photos of Bond in reception plus novels and films on loan – but GoldenEye is mainly about Jamaica, a sensibility found in the blazingly coloured fabrics, breezy breakfasts on the verandah with cups of Blue Mountain coffee, and heaps of tropical fruit. The sheltered bay for morning swims is just a few paces away across immaculate sands. It says everything that Blackwell still lives here (guests have been known to unwittingly roll up to his villa and ask for a drink, which is always obligingly provided). And why would he leave? He gets to enjoy a highly original hangout that is entirely of his making. This is that rare beast: a hotel that balances heritage and hip and gets away with it. By Nigel Tisdall
Niagara Lodge & Suites C$ 41+ Super 8 by Wyndham Niagara Falls North C$ 41+ Days Inn by Wyndham Niagara Falls Lundys Lane C$ 49+ Glengate Hotel & Suites C$ 49+ Quality Inn & Suites C$ 51+ Thriftlodge Niagara Falls at the Falls C$ 51+ Howard Johnson by Wyndham Niagara Falls C$ 52+ Travelodge Niagara Falls Bonaventure C$ 52+ Days Inn by Wyndham Niagara Falls Centre St. By the Falls C$ 55+
There’s a bit of an 'Alice in Wonderland' feel to the Faena, and this carries through into the rooms—particularly with the smaller accents and pieces of furniture you’ll find yourself “discovering” as your stay progresses. Outside, the hotel makes the most of its 100,000 square feet of private white-sand beach, and if you find yourself asking, "Did I just see a golden woolly mammath skeleton in a glass cage?" the answer is yes—you can thank artist Damien Hirst for that one.
Moevenpick Phuket is a place to go to unwind, to simply relax and absorb the peace and calm that pervades this beautiful environment.Parts of the generous grounds are evocative of a well-maintained English botanical garden and even though they are spacious and winding, guests simply need to follow the orchids to get to the beach.The resorts spa is a model of classic lines and offers some of the best treatments to be had on the island along with couples-friendly suites.Gourmets will appreciate the international dishes to be enjoyed here and steak lovers especially love El Gaucho - Moevenpicks beefy South American outlet. Read More...
This former 17th-century convent mixes elements of its past (exposed wood ceilings, beautiful arched walkways) with modernity in a very graceful way: Rooms are either contemporary or colonial-style, and while the newer ones offer views of the pool or the Caribbean, colonial suites have antique furniture and overlook the Old Town or interior gardens. To play at being pious, check out Restaurant 1621, once the Clarist nuns’ dining room, which now serves French-inflected cuisine.
The Greenwich Hotel has claimed the No. 1 Best Hotel in New York City honor for 2017. This trendy Tribeca property (owned by actor Robert De Niro) earns nods of approval for its unique accommodations, which feature Moroccan-tiled bathrooms and fine Tibetan silk rugs, among other amenities. The Greenwich Hotel houses an Italian restaurant, a spa and a tranquil indoor pool. (Courtesy of The Greenwich Hotel)
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There are plenty of hotels on Santorini with giddying views – the most desirable places to stay teeter on the rim of a 300-metre cliff that plunges into the flooded volcanic caldera. But none have the spare, ethereal bone structure of Perivolas. Rooms are sculpted from brushed concrete, pressed into arched doorways and barrelled ceilings with the builders’ bare hands. Bright hits of pink and purple – a sprig of bougainvillaea, a heap of floor cushions – bring the cool white interiors and black volcanic walls into sharper focus. This fierce purity defines every detail at Perivolas, a family dream that materialised in the early 1980s and is still run with great passion and precision by the Psychas clan. The line-up here is scant but special: a hushed restaurant beside a pool almost indistinguishable from the blue horizon, where the chef cures, smokes and ferments local ingredients into artful yet unfussy dishes; and a small, soulful spa streaming with natural light. It takes confidence to leave so much out of a five-star hotel, but Perivolas defines luxury differently than most hotels on the island – or anywhere else for that matter. One of the things that draws devotees back season after season is the fact that time seems to stand still here. Sure, discreet additions might appear, such as the purpose-built gym, lap pool and yoga studio last year. But while the rest of Santorini is engaged in an unseemly scrum for more tourist dollars, life at Perivolas remains blissfully unhurried, unflashy and yes, unspoiled. By Rachel Howard
The Covent Garden Hotel might sit in the heart of theatre-land, but it’s no drama queen. It lets other divas in town take the curtain calls. Instead, this place goes for the slow burn, revealing itself subtly and demurely. But when it does, you realise it’s a beauty. Take the first-floor Drawing Room, lined in maple wood, shiny as toffee, which originally came from the now demolished League of Nations building near Trafalgar Square. Here too are delicately limbed parlour chairs with 18th-century needlepoint embroidery and a grand old writing desk, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and holding numerous little drawers that surely concealed secret notes over the years. The honesty bar just off the nook of a library is as well stocked as a house party, meaning that nightcaps can be as late as you like. Settle into the yellow and red sofa in front of the log fire, kick off your shoes (it’s not frowned upon) and soak up the elegant yet cosy surroundings. Just as lovely is the fourth-floor Terrace Suite, up among the rooftops and chimneys of London like a Mary Poppins eyrie. Parrots peck at blousy dusty-pink flowers on the linen upholstery of the sofa and over-sized headboard and purple and teal ikat-print curtains frame the windows. In the morning, watch the sunrise over the Shard from the little wooden deck. There’s a deep bathtub for soaking in, and lavender-and-eucalyptus bathroom lotions by RikRak (a bespoke Firmdale range) that smell so good you’ll be sniffing your arm for the rest of the day. Many new names have landed in London recently, but this trouper still holds its head up high. By Grainne McBride
The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organicarchitecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views (that are sometimes obstructed by the pervasive fog that the area is known for) and many feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better show them off. Rooms also have wood-burning fireplaces, radiant floor heating, outdoor showers or hot tubs, private decks, and organic bath products and linens -- but no televisions or alarm clocks as the hotel strives for a peaceful environment. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel's cliff-top pools are stunning; and free amenities (such as yoga and stargazing) are abundant.

This elegant Art Deco tower piercing the blue Californian skies on Sunset Boulevard has long been a landmark of the city, home to Hollywood greats since its arrival in 1931, courtesy of architect Leland A Bryant. In those days it was Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner – and John Wayne, who apparently kept a cow on his balcony to ensure fresh milk for his coffee. Now it’s shiny again after a multi-million-dollar renovation, and 21st-century stars are coming here just for a night or to grab a drink in the see-and-be-seen Tower Bar on the notorious Sunset Strip. No photographs. No phone calls – it says on the bottom of the menu firmly while maître d’ Gabé Doppelt discreetly juggles regular guests such as Jennifer Aniston with those who prefer dim lighting or need private corners for tête-à-têtes. The spicy tuna tartare is nearly everyone’s favourite; the seared scallops with black leek and truffle sauce a close second. The 81 bedrooms are done up in dusty pinks and browns with dazzling bathrooms clad in metallic gold wallpaper designed by fashion illustrator Donald Robertson, and there’s a Joanna Vargas spa for those red-carpet moments. The newly refreshed outdoor terrace overlooking the small but beautiful pool is one of the loveliest spots – in a city with a strong alfresco game – for a breakfast of mashed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, or simply to relax for an hour or so, taking in the spectacular views of LA and basking in that brilliant golden sunshine. By Mary Lussiana
Closer to home, we saw familiar, boutique favorites, such as Vermont’s culinary mecca Twin Farms; Montana’s rustic-luxe Triple Creek Ranch; and Big Sur, California’s adults-only Post Ranch Inn — accessible again now that Highway 1 has recovered from last year’s mudslides — all make the list this year. C Lazy U Ranch, a family-friendly dude ranch in the Colorado Rockies, is making its World’s Best debut — and it managed to crack the top 100. “As someone who has been fortunate enough to travel to 86 countries, I can say that C Lazy U ranks at the very top of the list,” said one devoted fan. “The accommodations and activities are excellent.”
With a stay at Prince Palace Hotel, you'll be centrally located in Bangkok, within a 10-minute drive of Wat Saket and Wat Ratchanadda.Featured amenities include a business center, limo/town car service, and express check-in.Planning an event in Bangkok?This hotel has 31731 square feet (2948 square meters) of space consisting of conference space and a meeting room.Free valet parking is available onsite. Read More...
Reachable only by boat or seaplane, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is located on a private island where wild key deer roam. It includes 30 luxurious suites, many with private oceanfront verandas. A favorite getaway for celebrities, it provides a secluded place to unplug from the world (use of technology is discouraged) and experience a romantic vacation in a lush, tropical environment.
The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore is the No. 1 Best Hotel in Baltimore, wooing guests with its waterfront location in Harbor East and its luxurious amenities. The property is home to a spa, the traveler-approved restaurant Wit & Wisdom and an outdoor heated pool with stunning views of the Inner Harbor and downtown Charm City. Lodgers can also admire the city vistas from their spacious accommodations, which are equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore)
It’s easy enough to sweep the Dominican Republic into that category of Caribbean island better left for spring-breaking American college kids. But then you’d miss out on the otherworldly stretch of beach along its remote northern shore, with excellent surf breaks, royal palms growing to the edge of the sea and this delightful, Celerie Kemble-designed hotel. In the light-filled clubhouse, which doubles as lobby, bar and dining room, ice-cold Mojitos are handed out as welcome drinks. Slatted shuttered doors lead to a wraparound verandah, past the pool that blends into the sweeping lawn, and through grounds wild with creeping bougainvillaea, which keep things from feeling too manicured. The nine guest cottages reference the Dominican Republic’s lacy Victorian-era gingerbread architecture, with its white lattice woodwork and pastel yellow doors. Inside, they are a maximalist’s dream of high-back wicker chairs, ikat pillows, and pink-and-green tile floors – all assembled in Kemble’s Palm-Beach-by-way-of-Bali style. There’s not much to do but go the beach, ride bicycles around the estate, and maybe, one morning, take out a boat to navigate through the nearby mangrove forest to an offshore reef for snorkelling. On returning there’s time for a late breakfast at the clubhouse: poached eggs on thick toast, homemade yoghurt with local honey. Alternatively, a few minutes up the beach there’s a shack serving whole lobster and tostones, and frosty Presidente beer. Who cares that it’s 10am? By Rebecca Misner
Situated about 25 miles north of San Diego, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa is a little off the beaten path. But even with its removed location, the resort is a hit with guests, thanks to its carefully manicured gardens, Mediterranean-style rooms and suites and fine dining at Veladora. The No. 1 Best Hotel in California wows visitors with its top-notch service and many luxury amenities, including a tennis facility, an expansive fitness center and two outdoor heated pools and hot tubs. What's more, the resort organizes daily complimentary activities (think: tequila tastings and lawn games) for guests. (Courtesy of Rouse Photography)
Famed artist Lon Megargee created the Hermosa Inn in the 1930s as an escape for his friends before opening its doors to outside guests. Today, the Paradise Valley resort and its 43 hacienda-style casitas attract both vacationers on the hunt for peace and quiet, and foodies, too. Lon’s, the on-site restaurant, incorporates Southwestern techniques like smoking and wood-grilling into its New American cuisine—try the ever-popular Himalayan salt-seared Ahi Tuna, served with cilantro, pickled onion, and ceviche sauce, and pair it with one of the more than 500 wines in the cellar.
Every so often a game changer comes along. Six years later than scheduled, this country-house hotel finally opened in September 2018, an 18th-century manor whose estate is vital to its very core. The land has been enthusiastically pressed back into service – albeit with a new, biodynamic twist – both as bountiful supplier and as a playground for anyone staying here. A river and arboretum planted by 19th-century head gardener William Wildsmith unfold beyond the Georgian pleasure garden, rolling into crop fields and farm pastures which guests are encouraged to explore. There is further acreage inside: a private dining room, drawing and morning rooms, a leather-clad screening room. Designer Ben Thompson’s layering of soft colours, texture and assiduously polished antiques with contemporary craftsmanship has created a refined earthy feel. Of the 45 bedrooms, six are suites, including the bold Ochre Room with its chocolate marble bathroom, the sleek off-white Panelled Room, and the Long Room, with a log fire and its own terrace. Skye Gyngell, formerly of café-turned-Michelin-star-sensation Petersham Nurseries, heads up its two restaurants: Marle and casual, brick-clad Hearth. She brings the farm-to-fork ethos in evidence at her London restaurant Spring but here in her rural domain, the ingredients (peach leaves, perhaps, for subtly flavoured ice cream) can be plucked to order from a walled orchard yards, not counties, away. In the absence of your own stately pile, this estate’s return to authentic, productive life is the closest you can get to lording it up. By Sally Shalam

There’s a lot happening at the Raffles Jakarta—but it’s still a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of this busy capital city. Sitting in Jakarta’s Golden Triangle, a monument- and memorial-laden area in the southern edge of the city center, the hotel hugs the upscale Lotte Shopping Avenue and the Ciputra Artpreneur Center, an art gallery and theater complex. Let the bellman in the spiffy getup take your bags and usher you in to the marbled lobby, which also pulls double-duty as an art gallery: Works by Hendra Gunawan, an Indonesian artist, line the walls with bursts of color in an otherwise glossy, cream-colored space. Other standouts include the Writers Bar—a spinoff of the hotel’s famous Singapore outpost—which celebrates Jakarta’s art, literature, and history, and the guest rooms' floor-to-ceiling windows.
Pacific Club Resort is a luxurious and affordable option in the heart of Phuket.Pacific Club Resort is a secluded destination on Karon Beach, but it remains a short walk from a number of local restaurants, bars, and shops that can keep every guest entertained and full.Phuket International Airport is 27.8km away from the hotel and cultural exhibits like Phukets Big Buddha or Jungcelon Shopping Centre are nearby and one of a kind.40 rooms and a 4 star rating comprise this unique resort.Each of them has been specifically designed to be more modern, stylish, and inviting than any other hotel in the region. Read More...

Situated on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana offers elegant, adults only getaways along stunning golden-sandy shores. During your stay, savour gourmet cuisines, artfully-prepared cocktails and stunning oceanviews while doing as much or as little as you’d wish. Delight in thrilling water sports or escape to the spa offering pampering treatments for a small fee. Afterwards, luxuriate on a comfortable beach lounger or delight in afternoon hors d’oeuvres served poolside with fresh towels and wait service. When it comes time to grab a bite to eat, choose from a variety of dining options including Dorado, Hideaway’s main restaurant serving à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the most notable features of this boutique-style resort are the lavish accommodations, with preferential suites featuring Royalton premium DreamBeds™ with high thread count sheets. Guests can also upgrade to Diamond Club to enjoy added amenities such as butler service, a selection of in-suite liquors, upgraded room service and exclusive reservations at the resort’s esteemed à la carte restaurants.

After three decades, this wine-country pioneer, balanced on a hillside overlooking Napa Valley, remains a favourite. Even for jaded souls who think they've seen it all, the light-filled rooms - just 52 of them, mostly intimate, Mediterranean-style stucco cottages - are a delight. With French doors, private terraces and fireplaces, they're designed for comfort, privacy and relaxation. An olive grove shades the grounds, and a large sculpture garden makes for a pleasant walk to and from the main house, pool and Michelin-starred restaurant. Dinner on the patio is a must: choose from chef Robert Curry's seasonal menu - the excellent roast pork belly, kampachi sashimi and seared tuna with fava purée are standouts - and say yes to head sommelier Kris Margerum's thoughtful wine pairing. The massive spa has a central courtyard lined by hammam-style sauna and steam rooms, outdoor showers and hot and cold plunge pools. A leisurely afternoon here is a treat, not least because of the sunshine-soaked views.
The St.Regis Bali has a gorgeous beachfront extending from Geger Beach, just south of the Nusa Dua peninsula.Its collection of suites, villas, and excellent restaurants, as well as its ballrooms and state-of-the art meeting spaces make it a resort apt for both business and leisure.Well-trained butlers are ready to assist you with virtually all your needs during your stay and offer that touch of genuine opulence that you get at St.Regis.An expansive blue lagoon serves as a centrepiece surrounded by lagoon villas, each boasting a wealth of Balinese art and inspired designs.These villas are romantic and perfectly suit honeymooners, who find a specially prepared flower bath upon arrival plus sweet fruit, dipped in chocolate fondue. Read More...
This LEED Platinum-certified boutique property in Yountville, California, is dedicated to protecting the environment while providing a high-end experience for travelers. Not only does the No. 2 Best Hotel in Napa Valley place guests close to the area's vineyards and top-notch restaurants, it's also home to its own highly praised "field-to-fork" eatery, Lucy. Travelers also rave about Bardessono's rooftop pool, accommodations and spacious bathrooms. (Courtesy of Bardessono)
Reserving a place to stay for your holiday doesn't need to be excruciating. Expedia can save you time and money when booking your stay at an accommodation in United States of America, so you can spend your time making the most of your adventure and not stressing out about busting your budget. So why wait another moment to book your travel plans? Enter your ideal travel dates now to view the best deals on stays in United States of America!
‘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
‘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

When Indian hotels do opulent, they really do opulent. And every inch of this palatial spot in the calm, tree-lined boulevards of Delhi’s Diplomatic Enclave is gilded, mirrored, plumped, embroidered and topped with not-a-petal-out-of-place flower arrangements (14,000 blooms are delivered daily). But while it channels the vibe of the grand residence of a globetrotting Maharaja – huge Murano chandeliers from Venice, hand-woven carpets from Turkey, intricate Rajasthani miniature paintings, sandstone elephant statues carved in Qatar (no wonder if cost hundreds of millions to build) – it was actually all brand spanking new when it opened in 2011, so also has a stealthy undercurrent of techie and green credentials. The 260 gold-hued rooms and suites are some of the largest in the city, treatments at ESPA spa draw on India’s ancient Ayurvedic traditions and the whole hotel is stuffed with so much contemporary Indian art that there’s a dedicated guided walk to take it all in, past Seema Kohli’s layered storytelling canvases, Satish Gupta’s lotus murals and Laxma Goud’s bronzes. An army of ultra-attentive staff fall over themselves to open doors, take bags and present garlands. And at the restaurants (there are four, and two bars), the menus are equally extravagant: hand-cut black truffle fettuccine in black truffle sauce at Italian Le Cirque; lobster nerulli curry at Indian Jamavar; sashimi made with cuts direct from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market at Japanese Megu. A new species of grand hotel, and hugely influential. By Fiona Kerr
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