Top 10: my favorite luxury hotels in the world

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (June 13, 2016): my favorite 10 luxury hotels in the world (so far).

For an updated list (2017), click here.

I get a lot of emails these days (somehow, a lot of fellow travel enthusiasts are discovering my blog). One of the question I am asked the most is “what is your favorite hotel in the world?”. It’s very difficult to answer that question, since it’s almost impossible to start comparing city hotels with ski hotels, or wilderness lodges with beach resorts. Nonetheless, some hotels made such an overwhelming impression on me that – after careful consideration – I did manage to compose a top 10 list of my favorite hotels, which – not surprisingly – are often managed by my favorite hotel brands in the world.

What are your favorite hotels in the world ? Leave a comment or take my poll below.

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Rosewood London, currently my preferred five-star hotel in London, is situated in one of the UK capital’s most historic thoroughfares, High Holborn. Blending English heritage with contemporary sophistication, the palatial building that houses the hotel has been sensitively renovated to create an ultra-luxurious hotel with the ambience of a stylish London residence. Guests arrive through an archway that opens into a grand Edwardian courtyard, in a little oasis of tranquillity unique among London luxury hotels. It is the perfect start to a memorable stay in a timeless heritage hotel, set just steps from Covent Garden. Rosewood London offers its guests true urban sanctuaries, with 262 rooms and 44 suites that are among the largest in London.


A stunning resort overlooking the Aegean Sea, the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum hotel is where dreams come true. With an idyllic location in Bodrum’s secluded Paradise Bay, two private beaches, a range of fabulous gourmet restaurants, a world-class spa and a choice of stylish rooms, suites and villas, this splendid resort will seduce even the most discerning traveler and invite you to lie back, relax and savour the moment. The first beach resort of the Mandarin Oriental hotel group is so phenomenal that it makes the nicest 5 star resorts look like a cheap motel. If you are in need of a luxurious beach break around the Mediterranean basin, then stop looking as this is as exclusive a getaway as you can imagine!


Located in the breathtaking rainforest near Ubud, COMO Shambhala Estate will immerses you in a positive, holistic and healing experience from the moment of arrival. It isn’t just a luxury resort. Nor is it just a top-notch health retreat. It’s a sumptuous combination of the two, staggered up the steep slopes of the sacred Ayung river gorge. Previously known as Begawan Giri, the estate has been beautifully revamped a couple of years ago into Bali’s best health retreat by the COMO hotel group, one of the world’s most exclusive luxury hotel brands. There are only 30 suites, housed in five shared residences, plus five Retreat Villas and four two- or three-bedroom Private Villas.



As sumptuous and romantic as the city itself Aman Venice – located within a phenomenal 16th-century Palazzo Papadopolion on the Grand Canal – is currently the most (ultra)luxurious property in the city and home to museum-quality treasures including Tiepolo frescoes, gilded ceilings and centuries-old leather wall coverings. More home than hotel, Aman Venice offers the rare privilege of space in the centre of the Floating City. High ceilings and spacious light-filled salons are joined by two mature outdoor private gardens and a small rooftop rarely seen in the city. With views to the hotel’s private garden or the Grand Canal, many of the 24 rooms and suites feature protected frescos and reliefs. The hotel belongs to the portfolio of Aman, the world’s most exclusive hotel brand.


Located on the picturesque south-western coastline of Mahé island, the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles offers guests an unrivalled luxury hotel experience in a natural jungle setting along a pristine stretch of beach in this island nations known as the best beach destination on earth. The resort’s villas, each with plunge pool and perched on a jungled hillside will challenge your notion of paradise. The exquisite ribbon of powdery-soft white sand is just a short stroll away, scented en-route by cinnamon trees and frangipani. As well as indulging in water sports, there’s a lovely swimming pool to relax by with poolside dining and refreshments readily available. The spa is a treat for all, located at the top of the hill and overlooking spectacular Petite Anse, with both adults and children welcome.



Jabal Akhdar, meaning “The Green Mountain” in Arabic, is part of the Al Hajar mountains range, one of Oman’s most spectacular areas. Set 2000 metres (6560 ft) above sea level, Alila Jabal Akhdar provides access to this magnificent landscape of untouched beauty. Overlooking a dramatic gorge and with views of the Hajar mountains, the hotel is perfectly positioned to explore the region’s renowned rugged landscapes, a haven for adventure travellers, nature lovers and those seeking an escape from the desert heat. The resort’s 78 beautifully appointed suites and villas are located within the main hotel building or arranged in individual clusters of four to six suites, generously spaced out around the clifftop to maximise privacy and uninterrupted views over the mountains and down into the gorges.


Southern Ocean Lodge is Australia’s first true luxury lodge, offering a unique and exclusive travel experience on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Floating atop a secluded cliff on a rugged stretch of coast, the lodge commands peerless views of the wild Southern Ocean and pristine surrounding wilderness. Come face-to-face with sea lions, kangaroos, and koalas at South Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island, called “Australia’s Galapagos” for its abundant wildlife. The lodge’s 21 eco-chic luxury suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the incredible view, sunken lounges that are perfect for relaxing, sandblasted limestone floors, and furnished outdoor terraces.



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. Aman Tokyo has 84 rooms and suites that feature a mix of the hotel group’s signature understated and minimalist style with traditional Japanese furnishings, such as washi paper sliding doors and a furo deep-soak bathtub. 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. The hotel’s phenomenal spa is a vast, light-filled sanctuary set high among the Tokyo skyline, and features a light-filled 30 m (98 ft) pool with panoramic city views.


A couple of Maldivian resorts – such as  Maalifushi by COMOOne&Only Reethi RahNaladhu and Gili Lankanfushi – could easily have made it in my top 10, since the Indian Ocean island nation is my favorite holiday destination, representing the epitome of luxury, with unrivaled, hyper-exclusive resorts taking up their own private island. But my personal favorite is Soneva Fushi, located in the stunning Baa Atoll island archipelago, a UNESCO World Biosphere. This is the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway, and while it is older than the more flashy, newly built Maldivian resorts, it has the incredible advantage that it is entirely surrounded by one of the globe’s most beautiful, soft sand, palm fringed beaches. Massive, Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom luxury villas and private residences are hidden among dense tropical foliage. In keeping with the castaway theme, many are built to resemble tree houses. All open to their own private stretch of sugar white sands, and most boast their own private seawater swimming pools.

In October, a new Soneva resort opens in the Maldives, Soneva Jani, and it probably will make it straight to the number one spot of this list next year, since it promises to be a revolutionary hotel, unlike anything ever seen before.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking when you decide to spend your holiday here (which I highly recommend).

  • Hotel websiteSoneva Fushi
  • Other top 10 accolades: Soneva Fushi also features in my top 10 list of the world’s best family hotels, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, and the best resorts in the Maldives.
  • Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via  Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, welcome Champagne with Maldivian tapas on arrival, one lunch for two, original handcrafted arrival and departure mementos, shoreline beach dinner, private sunset sailing by Dhoni at Baa Atoll, and a cooking class for two).
  • Review: click here to read my review of Soneva Fushi.


Welcome to my absolute favorite hotel in the world! Remote yet accessible by a one hour flight from Bangkok on the resort’s private plane, Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood, in the Gulf of Siam. More than twenty of the largest resort villas in the world and eleven private residences, are vast in scale. Located on the idyllic beach or sunny slopes in the rainforest, all have stunning infinity pools, impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers. Spectacular highlights include the open air Cinema Paradiso, Benz’ mangrove restaurant, the chocolate and ice cream parlour, and the incredible treetop dining pod.

Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking when you decide to spend your holiday here (which I highly recommend).

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1 Comment

  1. Many thanks for the recommendations! I have stayed in the Southern Ocean Lodge last year and it was amazing! The View is breathtaking.

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