Today (June 20, 2016): top 10 most impressive hotel arrivals.
Forget about the boring taxi drive from the airport to your hotel. Some hotels have created a transfer experience that is so spectacular and sometimes over-the-top, that you will be utterly impressed even before checking in. I hereby present you my top 10 list of the most awesome and exceptional ways to arrive at a hotel.
There is more information below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.
Hong Kong’s oldest hotel continues to set hotel standards worldwide, offering a blend of the best Eastern and Western hospitality in an atmosphere of unmatched classical grandeur and timeless elegance. In 1994, the original hotel was extended with a 30-storey tower, which is topped off by a private helipad that is used to transport VIP guests to and from Hong Kong International Airport in under 7 minutes. But you can also book a transfer in one of the hotel’s 14 long wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms, which were all acquired in 2006 (representing the largest single order placed with Rolls-Royce in the history of the company).
- Hotel website: The Peninsula Hong Kong
- Other accolades: The Peninsula Hong Kong features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Hong Kong.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, early check-in, late check-out, daily breakfast, and $100 USD food & beverage credit).
As the only wilderness lodge within Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, a stay at this exclusive lodge on the Kenai Peninsula is sure to be a unique and memorable Alaska vacation experience. Nestled within a Native-owned wildlife sanctuary on the edge of a protected lagoon, the lodge and guest cabins enjoy stunning views of Pedersen Glacier. The lodge is in a very remote location: it can only be accessed by a 2 hour boat trip, which doubles as a marine wildlife and glacier cruise with breathtaking scenery, killer whales and puffins all around you.
- Hotel website: Kenia Fjords Glacier Lodge
- Other accolades: Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge features in my top 10 list of things to do in Alaskan wilderness.
The distinctive sail-shaped 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. Connected to the mainland by a slender, gently curving causeway, there’s no better way to arrive at this iconic hotel than by a dedicated helicopter transfer service. A 15 minute birds-eye-view of the desert city’s glimmering skyline, culminates in a dramatic landing on the hotel’s helipad on the 28th level.
- Hotel website: Burj Al Arab
- Other accolades: Burj Al Arab also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most expensive hotels, the world’s most amazing hotel lobbies, and luxury hotels with private helipads.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities 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).
If a heli landing on Dubai’s most iconic hotel will not do it for you, there’s an even more outrageous way to arrive at a hotel about a 2 hour drive to the east of Dubai. There, on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. you will find one of the world’s most amazing hotels, a resort as spectacular as its setting, with dramatic mountains on one side and a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. For the ultimate arrival experience, the hotel’s guests can travel as a companion passenger with the Six Senses’ professional paraglider.
- Hotel website: Six Senses Zighy Bay
- Other accolades: Six Senses Zighy Bay also features in my top 10 lists of the best health spas in the world, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the best luxury hotels in Oman, and restaurants with views that match the food.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary 50-minute massage for up to two people, per room).
- Review: read here my review of Six Senses Zighy Bay.
Some resorts are so exclusive that they can only be reached by private plane. And so is Cheval Blanc Randheli, which uses an exceptional seaplane, exclusively designed for the Maison, to transfer its guests. Prior to take off at Male airport, a private lounge awaits guests to relax and freshen up. Aboard the plane, leather interiors and high technology equipment welcome passengers for a 40-minute panoramic voyage that will undoubtedly make a mark. Each guests receives a cooling kit, which includes towels, amenities and bottles of ‘Island Chic’ scented water.
- Hotel website: Cheval Blanc Randheli
- Other accolades: Cheval Blanc Randheli also features in my lists of the best new luxury hotels of 2013 and the top 10 best luxury hotels in the Maldives.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $150 USD food & beverage credit).
Situated on a private concession in Africa’s most incredible wildlife sanctuary, the magnificent Okavango Delta, this flagship lodge of the Wilderness Collection features the best the Delta has to offer in terms of outstanding design, excellent wildlife viewing and warm local hospitality. Getting there by air from nearby Maun is half the fun, since the light aircraft flies at low altitude over golden-grassed floodplains, framed by lush palm islands, that are inhabited by a staggering variety of wildlife which can be observed from a bird’s-eye perspective.
- Hotel website: Abu Camp
- Other accolades: Abu Camp features in my top 10 list of Africa’s most insanely beautiful safari lodges.
Soneva Kiri is Thailand’s ultimate luxury hideaway, surrounded by untamed jungle and pristine beaches, and offering palatial villas, authentic Thai experiences and mouth-watering organic food. The resort has its own secluded airport on a nearby jungle-covered island, which makes for a spectacular and personalized welcome. A 60 minute flight in the resort’s private plane will take you there from Bangkok, soaring through the skies over Thailand’s eastern seaboard and coast over the Gulf of Thailand.
Contact me to receive a complimentary room upgrade at the time of booking when you decide to spend your holiday at Soneva Kiri (which I highly recommend!).
- Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
- Other accolades: Soneva Kiri also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, and the resorts with the best private plunge pools in the world.
- Review: to read my review of Soneva Kiri, click here.
Laucala is one of the worlds most exclusive private island resorts, offering unspoiled wilderness of rainforest, mangroves, and beaches. Private aircraft are permitted to land on Laucala’s airport, with international procedures such as customs and immigration clearance organised on-island by request. Laucala Island’s private airport operates day and night, with the concrete airstrip suitable for jets with a maximum 40 t MTOW (aircraft type Falcon 900).
- Hotel website: Laucala
- Other accolades: Laucala also features in my top 10 lists of the world’s most exclusive private island resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, and the world’s most expensive hotels.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, and one 90 min spa treatment per person per stay).
One of the most spectacular ways to arrive at a hotel, is to fly in one before arrival! Four Seasons, a regular in my top 10 lists, has taken luxury to new heights – literally – as you can travel the globe and hop between their resorts aboard the custom-designed Four Seasons Jet, enjoying a flying hotel and exceptional service at every point of the journey. The Four Seasons Jet experience offers a variety of extraordinary itineraries that crisscross the globe and allow you to discover up to 10 international destinations on a single private journey.
- Hotel website: Four Seasons
There are several hotels in area surrounding Machu Picchu, but there’s only one luxury hotel within the protected sanctuary itself, on a mountain top literally a stone’s throw away from the walls of the mist-shrouded citadel. The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge offers its guests unparalleled access from early morning to late afternoon, when most of the day visitors and buses have left. And there’s nothing like the satisfaction of approaching Machu Picchu and the lodge on your own two feet via the famous 4 to 5 day Inca trail, which takes you through some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.
- Hotel website: Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
- Other accolades: the Inca trail features in my top 10 list of the world’s most epic trekking routes.
- Tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, and $100 spa credit).