John Steinbeck certainly chose a beautiful spot to hole up while writing his famous piece on Positano for Harper’s Bazaar in 1953. Positano was just a quiet fishing village then and he described the Sirenuse as ‘an old family house converted into a first-class hotel, spotless and cool’. While still spotless and cool, the summer villa is a lot more upscale these days, immaculately run with huge charm and a maniacal eye for detail by Antonio Sersale and his wife Carla. The handsome ox-blood red building is crammed with precious antiques (starting with a rare 18th-century palanquin in the reception hall), many of them collected by Antonio’s late father Franco, and the white bedrooms have tiled floors from Vietri and balconies with grandstand views. But it’s the small details – the cloth-bound copies of Steinbeck’s article and the pretty beach baskets in the bedrooms, the crisp Frette linens and Eau d’Italie bath goodies – that kick things to another level. Positano is a bit of a madhouse nowadays, but you can avoid it altogether, dreaming away the hours on the pool terrace, booking a massage at the Gae Aulenti-designed Aveda spa or hopping on the hotel’s boat for a spin. In the evening, guests gather in the Champagne & Oyster bar before moving on to La Sponda restaurant to tuck into tonnarelli pasta with lobster and saddle of lamb with artichokes to the sound of guitar and mandolin duo Franco and Andrea. By Nicky Swallow
This destination retreat is stylish and savvy—and in the mountainous Paro Valley of Bhutan. Intimate, with 29 guest rooms, the design melds Bhutanese craftsmanship with signature COMO amenities—especially centered around wellness. You're in a prime location for hiking and exploring the natural wonders around you, not to mention trekking to visit nearby Buddhist temples. You can arrange a half-day hike to the Instagram famous Tigers Nest monastery, then come back to the spa's bathhouse, where you have the pick of two Bhutanese hot stone bathhouses, steam rooms, a pool, gym and yoga studio, and treatment rooms for a range of spa services.
Situated on the Walt Disney World Resort grounds, the No. 1 Best Hotel in Orlando-Walt Disney World features classic Four Seasons facilities, including a spa and gourmet restaurants, as well as over-the-top amenities like a lazy river and a championship golf course. Inside every room and suite, travelers will find modern furnishings, a minifridge and an LED television. Plus, all guests have access to the on-site Disney Planning Center, which can assist with theme park restaurant reservations, ticket purchases and more. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort and Don Riddle)
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
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.
From its seven pools to its Ka'upulehu Cultural Center, which hosts daily hula and ukulele lessons, the No. 1 Best Hotel in Hawaii - The Big Island provides guests a variety of ways to embrace all that Hawaii has to offer. At this Four Seasons outpost's five restaurants and lounges, visitors can savor sushi rolls and American and Italian dishes made with fresh seafood. Meanwhile, golfers can tee off at the oceanfront Hualalai Golf Course. And inside the 243 guest rooms, suites and villas, travelers will find natural elements like bamboo canopy beds, slate floors and bathrooms with granite accents. (Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai)
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)
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.
We’ve got a serious soft spot for any hotel that wears its eco-consciousness on its sleeve, and 1 Hotel South Beach does just that, from the organic bedding and reclaimed furniture to its sea-to-table Habitat restaurant. In addition to the five-star amenities and 600 feet of private beach, regular events—like sunset meditation and terrarium-building workshops—keep guests coming back.
The Bahama House is the millennial child of Harbour Island, and a fashionable one at that; a relative newcomer among a clutch of older hotels that have been around for generations. To be fair, this Bahamian outpost needed the provocation this slick upstart has brought. The unremarkable exterior along the main drag of Dunmore Town, with its buzzy street-life where roosters roam free and locals play dominoes at sundown, feels no different from the surrounding low-level houses. But inside the New Orleans-style courtyard, leafy vegetation conceals super-smart interiors. There’s more than a nod to an old-school Palm Beach aesthetic – beautiful patterned fabrics, bamboo mirrors and antique wicker chairs, Martinis made to perfection at the sunken bar and a discreet shaded pool providing welcome relief during the intense heat of the afternoon – but with an infrastructure that is reassuringly slick. There is no restaurant and yet the best food on the island is made to order by chefs whenever and wherever you want it. The hotel is part of Eleven Experience, a group that specialises in one-off adventure trips – if it’s kite surfing on wild beaches or fishing in secret coves that you want, or a beautifully curated picnic in an isolated seaside spot, you only have to ask. It’s the perfect vantage point, between the pretty harbour front with its pastel cottages and the unimpeachably perfect Pink Sands Beach, from which to people watch and experience this brilliant Bahamian find. By Vassi Chamberlain
Admittedly, the Shinjuku Granbell Hotel is the most expensive spot on my list of cheap hotels in Tokyo, but it’s easily the best place to stay in Tokyo since it’s located in the heart of Shinjuku. The hotel was built in 2013 and added new rooms in 2016, so it’s a pretty modern property. Rooms have free WiFi, a mini-fridge, toiletries, and an ensuite bath. There’s also a 24-hour front desk, coin laundry, free luggage storage, a rooftop bar, and a modern-style restaurant on the 12th floor. The closest subway is Shinjuku Sanchome which is a 7-minute walk while JR Shinjuku Station is just 10-minutes away.
This is an old-money place with intensely private guest cottages and suites, roaring fires and gardens bursting with head-sized hydrangeas. A living, breathing slice of Californian folklore, the 500-acre ranch has remained seemingly unchanged since Vivien Leigh married Laurence Olivier outside the hacienda in 1940, or when John and Jackie Kennedy checked in during their honeymoon 13 years later. But if the hotel's green-striped awnings, thick Oriental rugs and chintzy furnishings recall the 1950s, its heritage is actually far older. Originally a cattle ranch in the 19th century, then a citrus farm, San Ysidro has long welcomed guests (the ranch's appeal to celebrities was given a boost in 1935 when it was bought by suave English film star Ronald Colman and businessman Alvin Weingand). In the farm's former packing house is the Stonehouse restaurant, where skilfully cooked, old-school comfort food (steak Diane, baked Alaska) is served beneath a high, wooden-beamed ceiling or under twinkly lights on the terrace. There are 14 acres of wildly fragrant gardens filled with lavender bushes, lily ponds and eucalyptus trees, and 17 miles of wooded hiking trails to explore. Bikes are provided for rides to the beach. Later, you'll sleep soundly, surrounded by silence, in the protective embrace of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
As its name implies, ARIA Sky Suites overlooks the Las Vegas Strip from the top of the ARIA Resort & Casino. But recent visitors said that this property touts more than just panoramic views. The No. 2 Best Hotel in Las Vegas is home to one- and two-bedroom suites, penthouses and villas that offer up to 7,000 square feet of space and contemporary conveniences like stocked minibars, personal concierge service and loaner iPads or laptops. What's more, visitors have access to ARIA Resort's facilities, which include a spa, a nightclub and three pools, as well as private spaces designated for guests staying in suites, such as an art gallery and a private pool. (Courtesy of ARIA Sky Suites)
You’re unlikely to meet a milder, more softly spoken gentleman than Michel Reybier, owner of the La Réserve portfolio of properties. Yet if his hotels are anything to go by, it’s safe to say that passions of Byronic intensity rage beneath his soberly suited breast. Consider La Réserve Paris, the most beloved address in the French capital for fashion editors and the go-to for regular visitors to the city who want to feel like they’re staying in a private mansion. It has only 40 rooms in a fine hôtel particulier designed by Baron Haussmann for Napoleon III’s half-brother the Duc de Morny in 1854. Its position, on a quiet, tree-lined street moments from the Place de la Concorde, is propitious. Then you cross the threshold and – ka-boom! – it’s an explosion of colour and texture in the best way imaginable. There’s brocade taffeta, velvet drapes and silk wallpapers in the richest shades of emerald and ruby. No crevice has gone ungilded. The very walls inside the lifts are covered in cuir de Cordoue so supple you’ll have to resist the urge to place your cheek against it. The views and sense of space are staggering (larger suites face the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower) but Reybier, stealthy sybarite that he is, has ensured that even the smaller courtyard-facing rooms are no less sumptuous. They, too, come amply stocked with choice vintages of Château Cos d’Estournel. It so happens that Reybier owns that great Bordeaux estate as well. Try it. The claret is divine, though no more intoxicating than the hotel itself. By Steve King
You’ll notice that this list has a lot of hotels in Shinjuku because it’s honestly the best place to stay in Tokyo. The IBIS Tokyo Shinjuku is located steps from JR Shinjuku and offers rooms with free WiFi, an LCD Screen TV, and a private bathroom. Furnishings are simple, but you’ll still get a desk, mini-fridge, kettle, toiletries, and slippers. All front desk staff is fluent in English and will be able to assist you with your needs. There’s a checked luggage service as well as coin laundry. There’s a breakfast buffet available for an additional charge that serves western and Japanese items. The IBIS Tokyo Shinjuku is one of the cheapest hotels in Tokyo.
A good place to get one’s bearings when visiting Quebec City is the Citadelle of Quebec. It is only a short walk from most of the Old City hotels. Originally conceived by French colonists, and constructed by British forces, the fort has the perfect, and near impenetrable, defensive position atop the plateau. It has served to restrict entry to the important St. Lawrence River and formed the centrepiece of the town’s defensive structures. These include a circling stone wall which survives to this day, making Quebec City the only remaining walled city in the US or Canada. Despite being an active military installation, and an official residence of both the governor general of Canada, and the Canadian monarch (currently Queen Elizabeth II), tours of the site are available throughout the year. The citadel, along with the historic district of Old Quebec, is a designated World Heritage Site.
Some hotel stays are utterly forgettable—decent food, standard sheets, middle-of-the-road location. But some, you'll remember for the rest of your life. The following list of lodgings, ranked the 50 best hotels in the world by Traveler readers in this year's Readers' Choice Awards, happen to belong to the latter category. From a verdant valley in the middle of Bhutan to the well-tread steps of Santorini, Greece, these 50 picks have it all: inimitable style, discreet, but sharp service, destination restaurant-worthy food, and more. So read on—and get ready to book your next vacation. Counting down...
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Located in Cancun’s lively entertainment district on a stunning expanse of powdery beachfront is Krystal Cancun. This resort offers multiple opportunities for relaxation or adventure, whether that means lounging by the panoramic infinity pool or exploring downtown. Guests can choose to dine at one of the on-site restaurants, including the renowned Hacienda El Mortero restaurant serving delectable Mexican cuisines; or guests can take advantage of the Krystal Dine Out Program and dine at one of Cancun’s preferred restaurants. Those who like staying active can use the resort’s modern gym facilities or have fun out on the water with complimentary water sports at the resort marina. Stylish and contemporary, this resort offers the best of both worlds – the chance to experience the cultural heart of Cancun, alongside the natural bliss of a beachside haven.
Travelers are hard-pressed to find much to complain about at the Montage Kapalua Bay. Located on the northwest corner of Maui, this 24-acre property offers panoramic views of the beach and ocean. Visitors can spend their time on the water with activities that range from sport fishing to snorkeling. The resort also offers more adventurous pursuits like zip lining and helicopter tours, as well as traditional Hawaiian luau shows. Other activity options include shopping, golfing on two award-winning courses or playing a round of tennis at the hotel's courts. If you're looking to relax, you can enjoy the complimentary beach towels and chairs, take advantage of the poolside Hana Hou Bar & Sunset Patio or indulge in a spa treatment. Accommodations here are one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom suites and each come equipped with separate living and sleeping areas, and furnished lanais. Additional amenities include flat-screen TVs, in-room laundry facilities and bathrooms with separate tubs and showers. To top off their great experiences, recent guests said all staff members, from the pool attendants to the restaurant servers, went above and beyond to ensure they had a pleasurable stay.