Live the Italian dream on the Amalfi Coast, stay in a sky-high suite in Dubai or hobnob with the A-listers on Barbados’ trendy Platinum Coast. Here are 10 of the best push-the-boat-out hotels where fabulous fine dining and the VIP treatment await.
A treetop haven: Viceroy Bali
Perched on the edge of a gorge and cloaked in tropical greenery, Viceroy Bali has views to soothe the soul. Thatched villas have been designed to immerse guests in their surroundings – bag a Deluxe Terrace Villa to relax in an overwater balé that seemingly floats above the spectacular valley below.
With the serene setting comes a big focus on wellness; don’t miss a visit to the plush spa or try a sound healing session. Ubud is just a few minutes’ drive away, where you can go temple hopping, cycle through rice paddies and witness the antics of the long-tailed inhabitants of the sacred Monkey Forest.
All that glitters: Emerald Maldives
Emerald Maldives, a Leading Hotel of the World, is barefoot luxury at its best. Surrounded by a pale blue lagoon, you can easily spend all your time here snorkelling with tropical fish, dining by the water’s edge and gazing out to the Indian Ocean from your villa’s private deck.
If you can tear yourself away from the ocean views, head into the sanctuary of the spa for a hot stone massage or tuck into top-notch cuisine – our favourite restaurants include South American-style Amazònico, where you can savour sizzling meat fresh off the skewer, and the Beach Club Grill for boat-fresh seafood.
Gastronomy & golf: Constance Lemuria Seychelles, Mauritius
Another resort to clinch a Leading Hotel of the World title, Constance Lemuria is a Seychelles grand dame. Dining experiences in the resort’s four restaurants are worth the stay alone – gourmet delights range from sushi with a Seychellois twist in Takamaka to candlelit dining at The Nest, a romantic nook perched on rocks at the ocean’s edge.
Explore the spectacular granite reefs and local wreck sites on a scuba diving trip, sip a mango colada at the swim-up bar or tee off on the only 18-hole golf course in the Seychelles. Lookout for the local wildlife; scour the skies and you may spot a Paradise Fly Catcher, watch turtles nesting on the beach (seasonal) and encounter giant tortoises and colourful peacocks as you wander the resort grounds.
A window to the Taj Mahal: Oberoi Amarvilas, India
There’s no other hotel where you can enjoy such unparalleled views of the Taj Mahal than the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra. This is the closest hotel to the world-famous monument to love, whose romantic back story – a palatial mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal – is legendary.
The style is everything you’d hope for from a luxury Indian resort; inspired by Moorish and grand Mughal palace architecture, think white columns, gold domes and flowing fountains, along with Oberoi’s signature stand-out service. After a visit to the Taj, kick back by the pool or head to the spa for an Ayurvedic treatment. You can enjoy a stay at this hotel as part of our Opulent India with Oberoi Hotels itinerary, designed to guide you through the treasures of Northern India in true Oberoi style.
A stylish comeback: LUX★ Belle Mare Mauritius
LUX★’s flagship resort in Mauritius is back brighter than ever following a striking makeover. As a brand that’s known for its playful approach to paradise; you’ll find all the high-end specs of a five-star hotel, with a little extra flair. Expect little surprises such as the pop-up Cinema Paradiso for an impromptu movie night under the stars and grown-up treasure hunts to search for a secret message in a bottle that holds treats such as a complimentary bottle of bubbly or a romantic dinner for two. While away days lounging around one of the island’s largest swimming pools, restore balance at the LUX★ ME spa or head out on a boat trip to spot pods of wild dolphins.
An Italian affair: Palazzo Avino, Italy
Ravello, a medieval mountain town on the Amalfi Coast has pinch-me scenery and classic Italian charm. Live la dolce vita at Palazzo Avino, a former 12th-century private villa nicknamed the ‘Pink Palace’. Start the day with breakfast Bellinis, then head to the Clubhouse by the Sea for lunch and a freshening swim. After dark, delve into a menu of mouth-watering Italian fare in the Michelin-starred restaurant, Rosselinis, then round off the night in the Lobster & Martini Bar, which has a mindboggling choice of 70 Martini cocktails to choose from.
Toronto’s crown jewel: The Fairmont Royal York
In the heart of Toronto, The Fairmont Royal York has been a city landmark since 1929. This regal retreat is all about the grandeur, from its crystal-chandeliered lobby to the elegant Champagne Bar where Dom Pérignon is on tap..
After exploring the city – there’s direct access from the hotel to Toronto’s underground pedestrian network – refuel with a sumptuous afternoon tea or a dip in the indoor pool before returning to your stylish room. We highly recommend the Fairmont Gold Rooms which give you access to the 18th floor lounge with complimentary breakfast and evening canapés, as well as other added perks. Our Capitals of Canada by Rail Deluxe itinerary whisks you around Canada’s captivating eastern cities while staying in beautiful Fairmont hotels.
A tropical Thai paradise: Rayavadee, Thailand
Secluded between dramatic cliffs, coconut groves and the emerald-green Andaman Sea on a peninsula that can only be reached by boat, Rayavadee in Krabi is a one-of-a-kind resort. Sensitively designed to fit in with its spectacular setting, pavilion-style rooms are scattered throughout the lush grounds in the style of a Thai village. Magical moments here include the chance to dine inside a fairy-tale ‘grotto’ on the beach, restorative laps in the pool beneath limestone cliffs and hiking or island hopping in the otherworldly outdoors.
Next-level luxury: Atlantis The Royal, Dubai
This shiny new ultra-luxe resort is the sister of world-famous Atlantis The Palm and is every bit as iconic. Let’s start with the architecture: bold Tetris-style blocks that seem to defy gravity and add a new dimension to Dubai’s dazzling skyline. Then there’s the entertainment. With high-energy nightlife venues plus a rooftop infinity pool lounge featuring DJ sets, VIP cabanas and knock-out views, this is a place where the good times roll.
You’ll also get to eat at some of the finest restaurants in the world, like Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Nobu by the Beach. Sleep it all off in a spacious suite – bag a Sky Pool Villa and wake up with a swim in your own soaring glass infinity pool.
Hang with the Hollywood set: Sandy Lane, Barbados
This world-famous hotel on the island’s ‘Platinum Coast’ is the most exclusive address in the Caribbean. It’s good enough for The Beckhams, Vera Wang and Hugh Grant, and rumour has it that Jay-Z popped the question to Beyoncé on the beach. You’re in for the red-carpet treatment too – Sandy Lane’s service is next level, although, in true Bajan style, it’s refreshingly unstuffy. Sip cognacs with the high rollers in the Monkey Bar, work your way through a menu of delicious desserts at the indulgent Sunday brunch and unwind in the spa’s hydrotherapy pools.
This feature was created on 9th January 2024. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print.