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.
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.”
Viceroy Bali presents luxurious villa accommodation in the cool upland and cultural heartland of Bali, Ubud.The five-star resort makes good use of its natural surroundings, perched on a verdant valley overlooking one of the legendary rivers in Bali.Guests are welcomed to the calm and serenity of the hotel grounds, and enjoy a stay that is close to nature and away from the hubbubs of modern life.The resort is a 90-minute transfer from the Ngurah Rai International Airport in southern Bali, while the hub of Ubud, where a collection of must-see landmarks, art galleries, museums and rows of fine restaurants are found, is only a 15-minute transfer away. Read More...
On paper it shouldn’t work. An entire Puglian village, built from scratch. A reimagining of townhouses and a square, a colonnade of shops, villas dotted around the grounds, a little farm area with horses and chickens and rabbits. How could it possibly be anything other than pastiche? And yet… at the grand old age of 10, Borgo Egnazia has carved a name for itself as one of the loveliest places to stay in all of Italy. It is dreamily beautiful, the way the harsh Mediterranean sun hits the mellow tufu limestone from which the buildings have been honed, the shock of bougainvillea that has crept up every wall, the softness, the shadows, the dusky lanes between the hotel rooms. It is of course a hotel, but feels far from formulaic. Rooms are soaring and elegant, cool stone underfoot, mini posies of dried lavender on shelves, huge linen cushions and sun-trap terraces. They are retreats in themselves, some with their own little kitchens, others with swimming pools, or sea views from the rooftops. The restaurants are smart, with the most covetable traditional Italian splatterware plates and bowls, and food made straight from the fields you see around you: broccoli, tomatoes, aubergines, pasta made with the local semolina flour, very good olive oil. There is the sweetest children’s club you’ll ever stumble across, and a supremely cool beach hangout, and a spa that is mesmerising and magical. At night the entire place is lit by citronella lanterns, smoking into the warm air. Sometimes a bonfire crackles in the central square. A deeply special place. By Issy von Simson
Now a cozy boutique hotel, Hotel Nena is set within a two-story former estate—and a stay here does actually feel like you've just entered the home of a longtime friend. Rooms (there are just six) are beautiful, with thoughtful details like handpainted tiles in the bathroom, exposed stone walls and wooden beams, and even fireplaces. Nena’s Instagram-worthy rooftop pool offers expansive views of San Miguel de Allende and the bar, built around the trunk of an ancient tree, attracts guests and locals alike. Nextia, the on-site restaurant, serves modern Mexican cuisine and is considered one of the best restaurants in town.
Cusco’s architectural heritage of Incan stone walls topped with colonial white stucco is echoed in this 16th-century building on a square steps from the main plaza. With just 11 suites, La Casona has the intimacy of a private home, with a grassy courtyard encircled by rooms on two levels, though the building’s colonial charms come with smart modern touches such as iPods and iPod speakers. Inside, a grassy courtyard is surrounded by rooms on two levels. Owners Denise and Joe Koechlin have fussed over every antique- and craft-strewn square foot of the place, and exquisite pillars, retablos, and benches have been sourced from all over Peru, including Pre-Colombian textiles and murals. The excellent restaurant—don’t leave without trying the quinoa pancakes—delivers a generous helping of Andean hospitality.
Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a relaxing getaway set in the desert on the outskirts of Phoenix. Guest rooms here boast vibrant, jewel-toned decor, soaking tubs and hand-selected furniture. The No. 2 Best Hotel in Phoenix invites travelers to unwind at the spa, sample Mediterranean fare at the on-site restaurant and admire views of Camelback Mountain from the comfort of the pool or a cabana. What's more, guests rave about the friendly and accommodating staff members. (Courtesy of Royal Palms Resort and Spa)
Honestly, the Hotel Graphy Nezu is one of those cheap hotels in Tokyo that gets overlooked due to its location. What turns people off is the fact that the closest JR station in Ueno is a 12-minute walk, but Nezu station on the Chiyoda line is just a 3-minute walk away, so I’m not sure what the fuss is about. As for the hotel, it’s fantastic! It’s a residential-style hotel so there’s a shared kitchen, dining room, fitness space, and lounge area which is great for meeting people. The rooms are spacious and you have the option of getting a private bathroom (rooms with shared bathrooms cost less). This is one Tokyo hotel that really gives you a chance to interact with others without having to stay at a hostel.
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...
A new breed of Las Vegas luxury, with 392 elegant rooms and some of Vegas' best service, the Mandarin Oriental is a quiet haven on the glitzy Strip. The hotel lacks the characteristic excess that many people come to Vegas for (including a casino), opting instead for a more restrained approach: a beautiful spa, two fine dining restaurants, a peaceful pool, meeting space, and the rarest of Las Vegas features -- serenity. But the convenient City Center location means easy access to all the excess you want.
With seven swimming pools, a 28,000-square-foot spa and an epic beachfront location on the Kohala Coast, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is the No. 1 Best Hotel in Hawaii. Accommodations embrace the locale, with bright colors and Hawaiian art. Plus, many rooms include furnished terraces and outdoor lava rock showers. This Four Seasons outpost also organizes special experiences for guests, ranging from private luaus to mixology classes. (Don Riddle/Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)
This Ritz-Carlton outpost in northern Virginia underwent extensive renovations during the summer of 2016, updating its guest rooms, suites and Club Lounge – and its investment paid off, according to guests and experts. The No. 2 Best Hotel in Virginia, The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner attracts business and leisure travelers alike. The hotel is home to an indoor pool and an expansive spa, plus it's connected to the upscale Tysons Galleria shopping center. What's more, travelers can hop on the metro's Silver line for a short ride into the District of Columbia. (Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner)
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A Canadian glamping experience like no other. Accessible only by air and water, the coastal rainforest and glacial lakes on this tip of Vancouver Island make quite an impression on guests landing by float plane on Bedwell Sound. A horse-drawn carriage waits to whisk them off to the log-cabin cookhouse, as if at the start of a James Fenimore Cooper novel, for a glass of blanc de noir and salmon tartare. The waterfront tents are tents in name only – safari-style, with vintage oil lamps and a cast-iron fireplace, a spacious bathroom with heated floors and an outdoor shower. There’s a tent for the piano, and even one for a billiards table. The whole set-up here is determinedly relaxed, like a summer camp for outward-bound adults. It draws folk from all walks of life, who share a headstrong attitude to wilderness adventure, heading out in all weathers in rubber boots and good spirits for heli-fishing and wildlife spotting. An ocean safari on a lightning-fast Zodiac boat is the best way to spot bald eagles, sea lions, grey whales, sea otters and solitary black bears digging up crabs on the beach. Or go foraging with the chef, picking spruce tips, wild blackberries, salal berries and mushrooms for dinner. Clayoquot has been open since 2000, and the family of its founder are fiercely committed to protecting Clayoquot Sound’s eco-system, putting millions into restoring the salmon-spawning grounds. It’s the sort of place that will reset your compass for a long time. By Amber Gibson
This year, 27 of the top 100 hotels in the world are in Asia — the most of any region. They include an atmospheric hotel with a restored Qing dynasty courtyard in the city of Chengdu, China (the Temple House); two honeymooners’ havens in the Maldives (Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru), and an immaculate, palatial resort overlooking the Taj Mahal in Agra, India (Oberoi Amarvilas). “Uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal give this hotel its own iconic status,” said one reader, while another raved: “The stuff of legends.”
The title of No. 3 Best Hotel in Maui belongs to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Offering views of Molokai Island from its perch on Maui's northwest coast, this 54-acre Ritz-Carlton resort wows visitors with its top-notch customer service, its spacious accommodations and its nature-focused excursions. Travelers can choose from off-site experiences like whale watching and coastal hikes, while guests also have access to two golf courses, a spa and two pools at the resort. (Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua)
The striking pale yellow Ocean House looks like a massive Victorian mansion. The grand hotel was originally built in 1868 and has undergone extensive renovations to maintain its stately grandeur. The No. 1 Best Hotel in Rhode Island, the property offers impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean along with New England-style accommodations outfitted with wooden furnishings and pastel decor. Ocean House offers several luxury perks and amenities, including the Mercedes-Benz driving program, an award-winning spa, a wine and culinary arts program and more. (Courtesy of Ocean House)
Flanking the northern base of Blackcomb Mountain, The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler prides itself on its picturesque surroundings, upscale lodging and first-rate service. Previous visitors recommend booking a mountain-facing room. Although they're pricier than other accommodations, these rooms come with cozy comforts such as designer bath products, flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. You'll also find an abundance of activities to choose from: Wintertime yields skiing and sleigh rides, while summer offers opportunities to hike and whitewater raft. And at any time of year, you can lounge along the heated outdoor pool, rejuvenate with a Canadian maple syrup and brown sugar scrub or enjoy wine tastings. In the evening, sip a cocktail at the on-site bar or sample prime slices of tenderloin at Sidecut Modern Steak + Bar (recent visitors mention that meals here are pricey, but worth every penny). Recent guests were thrilled with the exceptional service at this Four Seasons property, but thought the parking fees were a tad high.
In a city awash with much-loved legends – the Cipriani, the Danieli, the Gritti Palace – it takes something special for a newcomer to turn heads. But Aman, which splashed down here in 2013, as ever, had a trump card: Palazzo Papadopoli. Not only is this 16th-century confection right on the Grand Canal, just past the Rialto Bridge – which guests whizz under in the hotel’s glossy Riva to arrive at the palazzo’s jetty flanked by cerulean bricole – but it has also been home for the last two centuries to the Arrivabene family. Proper Venetian aristocracy, the current count and countess (Giberto and Bianca) still live here with their five children in a sprawling apartment at the top of the building. Beneath it, the first-floor piano nobile – redesigned, along with the whole of the palazzo, in the early 19th century by master of rococo Michelangelo Guggenheim – is a breathtaking, silk-draped, gilded space lit by enormous Murano glass chandeliers. The 24 bedrooms have been slotted into many of the palazzo’s original spaces, so they are all unique. But the opulence does not compete with Jean-Michel Gathy’s minimalist B&B Italia furniture. The Clooneys settled on the Alcova Tiepolo room, with precious frescoes above the bed and a hand-painted Chinoiserie sitting room, for their wedding night. Outside are two private gardens – another rarity in Venice – one of which butts up against the canal’s edge, and soon to be home to a teppanyaki restaurant. This is hands down the most splendid hotel in Venice. By Fiona Kerr
To some readers, a great hotel room is merely the place where you rest up between memorable meals. This plush country-style inn has an English country home vibe—it was decorated by a London set designer— but many guests initially came for the menu, created by inn founder and James Beard Award-winner Patrick O’Connell. Indeed, the inn won the survey for the best hotel dining in America: it has a 14,000-bottle wine cellar and a French-influenced menu featuring “munchies” like foie gras with pear butter, or a Tin of Sin with American Osetra caviar and peekytoe crab. The hotel also tied at No. 1 in the U.S. for service, with such attentive amenities as afternoon tea, kitchen tours, and three housekeeping visits for your room per day.
Tucked away amid North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, the Old Edwards Inn and Spa is reminiscent of a European lodge, complete with an exposed stone and brick facade, cozy fireplaces and Victorian-era furnishings. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and wins the distinction of the No. 1 Best Hotel in North Carolina for 2017. Along with its historical designation, the Old Edwards Inn provides guests a relaxing retreat with multiple pools and whirlpools, a spa, a theater room, a golf course and several restaurants. (Courtesy of Old Edwards Inn and Spa)
A favorite among professional and leisure travelers alike, this luxury hotel has an inside edge on other hotels by truly coddling its guests. Why should you have to wait until 3 p.m. to check in? The Peninsula Beverly Hills will make your room available to you whenever you need it – even from the moment your plane lands at Los Angeles International Airport. Do you need to hold onto your room until 8 p.m. on your last day? No problem – The Peninsula also allows you to check out whenever is most convenient for you. And the first-class treatment doesn't end there. This hotel on South Santa Monica Boulevard is also known for its sumptuous garden villa suites (which come with complimentary fruit selections, flat-screen TVs, and large marble bathrooms), its rejuvenating Peninsula Spa and the mouthwatering fare served at the on-site see-and-be-seen restaurant, The Belvedere. Recent guests describe the hotel as "perfection" ... but at a price: room rates here are on the expensive side.
Though hardly a secret, it is surprising that more people are not raving about this handsome hotel set in Victorian buildings in elegant South Kensington. It’s quintessentially English, with excellent food and service; the bar, too, is impeccably sleek and takes its cocktails seriously. It has some of the most charming and comfortable public spaces (that sequence of sunlit sitting rooms along the Queen’s Gate side) of any small hotel in the city, and two of the loveliest suites, the Knightsbridge and the Brompton, which can be connected to become a single mega-apartment. Apart from which, what is there to recommend the place? Well, there is the endlessly diverting art on the walls, which displays an eclectic mixture not only of periods and genres but also of seriousness and whimsy. And then there are the camellia-motif carpets, extending in all directions once you ascend above the ground floor. These ought to be frightening but are, on the contrary, delightful, so perpetually spring-like they cannot but put a spring in your step. The Kensington was the first Doyle Collection property to launch in London (followed very closely by the Marylebone; the Bloomsbury, the most recent arrival, was also an instant hit). Yet it is, if not the best, then the warmest and cosiest, the most genial and the most versatile, of the lot. By Steve King
Sitting on the sand of a Georgia barrier island, this 1928 grande dame is a readers’ favorite for its country-estate aesthetics: Turkish rugs, overstuffed chairs, and marble baths (as well as an old-school Sweet Shop, home of the pecan-covered Gold Brick Sundae). That stately ambience helped secure its No. 4 ranking in the business hotel category: its generous meeting space has hosted a G8 Summit, and offers downtime at three championship golf courses (including Seaside, designed in 1929 by famed architects Harry S. Colt and Charles Alison). It also scored well for multi-generational travelers, thanks to the less formal diversions of bingo nights and low-country boils on the beach.