Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today (January 26, 2015): top 10 most spectacular hotel lobbies in the world.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We all know that from first dates, but it also holds true with hotels. That’s why some of the world’s most luxurious hotels have transformed their lobbies into magnificent, highly instagrammable spaces that will knock you off your feet from the moment you arrive. So, forget boring reception desks, the world’s ten most beautiful lobbies go well beyond the norm, aiming to lure discerning travelers and impress them at first sight.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Share your favorite hotel lobby in the comments section, or take my poll below!
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10. BANYAN TREE MAYAKOBA, RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO
A harmonious blend of nature and luxury, the ultra-luxurious Banyan Tree resort on Mexico’s famous Riviera Maya coast takes the Caribbean lifestyle to new heights. Located within the gated resort development of Mayakoba near Playa Del Carmen, the hotel features 118 enormous guest villas that all come with a large, private pool. A massive pagoda is the centerpiece of the Banyan Tree Mayakoba’s main entry and open-air lobby, providing sweeping vistas of the villas, pool, golf course and beach in the distance. Asian influences are juxtaposed with Mayan-inspired furnishings among natural surroundings to induce a sanctuary for the senses.
- Hotel website: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
- Other accolades: Banyan Tree Mayakoba also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotel spas in the world, the world’s best family hotels, the best hotels & resorts in Mexico, and my favorite Banyan Tree hotels & resorts.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, $100 USD resort credit, preferential green fees at the El Camaleon golf course, 10% discount at the Banyan Tree spa, early check-in, and late check-out).
- Review: read my review of Banyan Tree Mayakoba here.
9. W RETREAT KOH SAMUI, THAILAND
Located on the idyllic shores of Samui island, the W Retreat brings the W’s bold trademark to Thailand. The 74 private pool retreats offer all the indulgence and luxury you could possibly ask for, and burst with contrasting colors, shapes, and textures in addition to ultra chic and cutting edge design. But the hotel’s real showcase is the amazing, semi-outdoor lobby with lotus pond, offering spectacular views over the shimmering turquoise Gulf of Thailand with distant islands on the horizon. In the evening, the lobby is wonderfully lit, and becomes a trendy yet intimate place to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.
- Hotel website: W Retreat Koh Samui
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD resort credit).
- Review: read my review of the W Retreat Koh Samui here.
8. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL GEORGE V, PARIS, FRANCE
There’s no shortage of luxury palace hotels in Paris but the Four Seasons Hotel George V may be the most entertaining one. Why? The grand décor of the lobby – with Florence chandelier, original tapestries and bronze sculptures – is only rivaled by the most spectacular floral displays of any hotel in Paris and probably the world. The designer, Jeff Leatham of Los Angeles, has become world-famous because of them. Superbly located in the heart of Paris’ most fashionable quarter just steps from the Champs-Elysées, the hotel is housed in a 1928 landmark building, and offers 244 luxury hotel guest rooms, an exquisite art collection and decadent fine dining with impeccable Four Seasons service.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons Hotel George V
- Other accolades: Four Seasons Hotel George V also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Paris.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, 85 euro spa credit, and during low season an added Virtuoso amenity to be determined by the hotel).
7. MANDARIN ORIENTAL BARCELONA, SPAIN
Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona has a superb address on the city’s most stylish boulevard – Passeig de Gràcia – near the Casa Batlló by Gaudi with its fabulous façade. The luxury hotel is housed in a converted 19th century bank building that now boasts a soaring white atrium and floating “catwalk” leading up to its cream-and-gold-colored lobby. Spanish born designer Patricia Urquiola plays with light and space with sliding crystal doors, mirrored ceilings, and intricate latticework. This bright and stylish design style is also omnipresent in the 92 rooms and 28 suites, which come with views either over Passeig de Gràcia or the landscaped interior garden.
- Hotel website: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
- Other accolades: Mandarin Oriental Barcelona also features in my top 10 lists of the most spectacular hotel rooftops in the world and Europe’s best hotel rooftops.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and one bottle of wine and selection of tapas for two at Banker’s Bar, once during stay).
6. BURJ AL ARAB, DUBAI, UAE
The distinctive silhouette of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, a glittering architectural marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, is more than just a stunning hotel – it is a symbol of modern Dubai. Despite its enormous size, the Jumeirah managed hotel holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 lavish bedroom suites. It is built to resemble the sail of a dhow, a type of Arabian vessel. Two “wings” spread in a V to form a vast “mast”, while the space between them is enclosed in the massive, 180 m (590 ft) tall lobby. The latter features a central fountain and a cascading waterfall with columns embellished with 24-karat gold leaf.
- Hotel website: Burj Al Arab
- Other accolades: Burj Al Arab also features in my top 10 lists of the most expensive hotels in the world, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, and luxury hotels with private helipads.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and a complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room).
5. TIERRA PATAGONIA, CHILE
Nestled in the southernmost part of Chile, Tierra Patagonia is a friendly, welcoming hotel, sitting on a bluff where the South American pampa meets Lake Sarmiento in splendid isolation. Interior architects Alexandra Edwards and Carolina diPlano aimed to bring the spectacular outside in at the property. The 37 double rooms and 3 suites envelop guests in warmth amidst the wilderness. Sharing a sprawling open layout with a cozy lounge and bar, the lobby is on my list because of the breathtaking view over the deep-blue lake to the jaw-dropping peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, the centerpiece of Chilean Patagonia and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
- Hotel website: Tierra Patagonia
- Other top 10 accolades: Tierra Patagonia also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most stunning indoor hotel pools, the best hotels in South America, and swimming pools with amazing views.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast for 2, and $100 USD spa credit).
4. AL BUSTAN PALACE, A RITZ CARLTON HOTEL, OMAN
Tucked away between the rugged Al Hajar mountain range and a pristine stretch of private beach, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, is a hidden jewel amongst Muscat hotels. From each of the hotel’s 250 guest rooms and suites’ private balconies, guests can gaze upon magnificent mountain, sea or garden views. Arab and art deco influences infuse the resort with an elegant ambiance, most notably in its majestic 38 m (124 ft) high, domed atrium lobby. With its gleaming marble floors, soaring pillars, gold clad walls and incense scent, the lobby’s design creates a mythical ambience, reminiscent of a cathedral or mosque.
- Hotel website: Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel
- Other accolades: Al Bustan Palace features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Oman.
- Review: read my review of Al Bustan Palace here.
3. RAFFLES SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE
First opened in 1887, and since then a destination in its own right, the 103-room Raffles Singapore epitomizes the romance of the Far East – an intoxicating blend of luxury, history and colonial ambiance that have earned it acclaim as one of the world’s finest hotels. Immortalized by writers including Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway and Alfred Hitchcock, the flagship hotel of the luxurious Raffles hotel group is the perfect place from which to explore Singapore. Liveried Sikh doormen usher guests through an ornate wrought-iron portico into the imposing and classic lobby that seems unaltered from the turn of the century.
- Hotel website: Raffles Singapore
- Other accolades: Raffles Singapore also features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Singapore.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, Singapore Sling on arrival, $100 USD resort credit, early check-in, late check-out, 10% off Raffles gift shop, and a complimentary 45 minute history tour).
2. FOUR SEASONS RESORT BALI AT SAYAN, INDONESIA
Voted #1 hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2018, Four Seasons Resort Sayan encapsulates Bali at its philosophical and soulful best: a sublime hillside haven where man, humanity and nature unite with purest intent. Guests arrive via a dramatic bridge, beneath which the Ayung River valley spreads its tropical arms. From the gravity-defying rooftop lotus pond, the elliptical lobby cascades down the hill to the sacred Ayung river, through an enchanting forest that cocoons just 60 suites and villas. The lobby’s design resembles a “rice bowl”: guests enter along a “spoon” (the footbridge) and pop out into the center of a “bowl” (the spherical main structure, with its sweeping, 180-degree valley views).
- Hotel website: Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Review: coming soon.
1. AMAN TOKYO, JAPAN
Occupying the top six floors of the recently built Otemachi Tower, Aman Tokyo is an urban sanctuary high above the atmospheric whirl of tradition and modernity that epitomizes Tokyo. Managed by the world’s most exclusive hotel brand, the new Aman has 84 rooms and suites that feature a mix of traditional Japanese architecture and the hotel group’s signature understated style. Beneath a 30 m (98 ft) high ceiling of white washi rice paper and surrounded by water and two meditative rock gardens, dramatic ikebana flower arrangements take centre stage in the 33rd floor lobby that gives way to spectacular views across the city.
- Hotel website: Aman Tokyo
- Other accolades: Aman Tokyo also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in Japan, the best Aman hotels in the world, the most exclusive in Tokyo, and my favorite luxury hotels in the world.
- Tip: enjoy complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
- Review: read my review of Aman Tokyo here.
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