Today (July 15, 2019): top 10 most impressive hotel arrivals.
Forget about the boring taxi drive from the airport to your hotel! Some ultraluxe hotels go the extra mile by creating a transfer experience so dramatic and sometimes over-the-top that you will be utterly impressed even before checking in. Here’s my top 10 list of the most awesome and exceptional ways to arrive at a hotel, ensuring the five-star treatment begins before you even set foot at the resort.
There is more information (with reviews and Youtube clips) below the slideshow. Think I missed one? Leave it in the comments or take my poll below.
Once the royal residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace is now one of India’s most luxurious hotels, with guests living like royalty in this thoughtfully restored palace. Rooms and suites are rich in color and such details as Hyderabadi embellishments and English frescoes. Guest can unwind by strolling the palace’s breathtaking Rajasthani Garden or basking in the heavenly Jiva Spa. To reach the main palace, guests leave their car transfers in a lot near the main gate, then board a horse-drawn carriage for a magical trot along the main colonnade to the hotel’s grand front entrance.
- Hotel website: Taj Falaknuma Palace
- Tip: get complimenary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, welcome amenity, Royal arrival experience, Champagne heritage walk of the Palace, and one lunch or dinner for two).
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: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD hotel 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, a glittering architectural marvel in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, is more than just a stunning hotel; it is an iconic symbol of modern Dubai. Offering only suite accommodation and unparalleled hospitality, 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 at 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: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and 50-minute massage for two people).
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. On Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, you’ll 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 from the mountain top to the hotel lobby.
- 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: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a 50-minute massage for two people).
- Review: read here my review of Six Senses Zighy Bay.
Located 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.
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 ton maximum takeoff weight (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, the world’s most expensive hotels, and the best luxury hotels in the South Pacific.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, and a 60 min spa treatment per person per stay).
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 by hiking the famous 4 to 5 day Inca trail, which takes you through some of the world’s most spectacular mountain 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: get comlipimentary VIP perkss when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and $100 USD spa credit).
One of the most spectacular ways to arrive at a hotel, is to fly in one before arrival! A regular in my top 10 lists, Four Seasons 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 Jet
Some resorts are so exclusive that they can only be reached by private plane. And so are the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani in the Maldives which both use a fleet of exceptional Twin Otter seaplanes, exclusively designed for Soneva, to transfer its guests. Prior to take off at Male airport, a private lounge awaits guests to relax and freshen up. Aboard the plane, seats upholstered in Soneva-purple Elmosoft leather and high technology equipment welcome passengers for a 30-minute panoramic voyage that will undoubtedly make a mark. Each guests receives a cooling kit, which includes towels, amenities, a bottle of fresh fruit juice, noise-cancelling headphones, and a tablet.
- Hotel website: Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani
- Other accolades: Soneva Fushi features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury resorts in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, the best family hotels in the world, the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches, and the best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling; Soneva Jani features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful resorts in the Maldives, the most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and my favorite hotels in the world.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks 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: read my review of Soneva Fushi here; and read my review of Soneva Jani here.