Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today: Top 10 best hotel suites & villas I’ve ever stayed in
Over the past two decades, I’ve been lucky enough to stay at some of the world’s most exclusive hotels. On several of these trips (some of them taken prior to the launch of my blog & YouTube channel), I was upgraded to a suite or villa. Some of these hotel suites were so exceptional that they stand above the rest, whether it’s because of the indulgent amenities or the uniqueness of the location. From the Maldives and Thailand to Vietnam and the Caribbean, here’s a round-up of the 10 most amazing hotel suites and villas I’ve ever stayed at.
There is more information (with reviews and YouTube videos) below the slideshow. What’s the best hotel room, suite or villa you ever stayed in? Leave a comment.
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10. JADE MOUNTAIN, ST LUCIA
Jade Mountain offers one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing and luxurious resort experiences, especially for honeymooners. The resort’s unique and impressive design, with individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool suites and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky, have wowed guests since more than a decade. With the fourth wall entirely absent, Jade Mountain’s 29 suites (called “sanctuaries”) are stage-like settings from which to embrace the full glory of St Lucia’s twin peaks, the Pitons World Heritage Site, and of course, the eternal Caribbean Sea. The hotel’s top suites are the Galaxy infinity pool sanctuaries numbered JC1, JD1, JE1. These are located on the south-west corner of the resort and enjoy the most commanding panoramic views plus biggest square footage and largest in-suite infinity pools.
- Hotel website: Jade Mountain
- Other accolades: Jade Mountain also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in the Caribbean, the hotel rooms with the best views, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best honeymoon resorts, and the world’s best resorts with private plunge pools.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and $100 USD spa credit).
- Review: read my review of Jade Mountain here.
9. QASR AL SARAB BY ANANTARA, ABU DHABI, UAE
On the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest sand desert – the Empty Quarter – beckons. Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara rises up from flame-colored dunes like a mirage, inviting adventure in the most luxurious of styles. Guests here traverse the Rub’ al Khali by camelback, dine under desert skies, and unwind with the Moroccan hammam and desert rose rituals at the resort’s impressive spa. Boasting exquisite comforts and opulent luxury, the resort’s three bedroom family villas lie on the edge of the desert, with unrivalled views of the shifting dunes. Regal indoor spaces open onto a terrace, private pool and garden beyond, with endless desert panoramas and spectacular sunset views. The villas’ bedrooms are furnished with bespoke pieces from local craftsmen, and the bathrooms include rain showers, oversized tubs and luxury spa services on tap.
- Hotel website: Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara
- Other accolades: Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara also features in my top 10 list of the best desert resorts in the world.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check in, late check out, and $100 USD resort credit).
8. AMANOI, VIETNAM
Amanoi is an ultraluxe retreat situated on a gorgeous golden sand beach overlooking spectacular Vinh Hy Bay in Vietnam’s Nui Chua National Park. The property offers total privacy in beautifully designed accommodations that are located in 31 pavilions, a number with private swimming pools, and five Aman Villas, including two incredible wellness pool villas – the first of their kind in Asia. The Thuy Lien Spa House (meaning Lotus Spa House in Vietnamese) borders Amanoi’s tranquil lotus lake while the An Son Spa House (meaning Peaceful Mountain Spa House in Vietnamese) affords serene vistas of the national park. Both provide guests with completely private facilities together with one or two beautifully appointed guest pavilions. Facilities include a double treatment room, a contemporary hammam or a wooden-clad Banya, a 15 m (50 ft) swimming pool, relaxation deck, outdoor dining area, steam room, cold plunge pool and Jacuzzi.
- Hotel website: Amanoi
- Other accolades: Amanoi also features in my top 10 lists of the best Aman hotels in the world, the 10 most fabulous luxury hotels in Vietnam, and the 10 most astonishing beach retreats in Asia.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary lunch for two).
- Review: read my review of Amanoi here.
7. NORTH ISLAND, SEYCHELLES
North Island Seychelles is the holy grail of luxury travel. The private island property features eleven palatial guest villas, all of them offering direct access to magnificent Anse d’est Beach. They are raised more than one meter (3 feet) above the ground to catch the cooling island breezes. Each villa features two air-conditioned bedroom pavilions: an incredibly spacious master bedroom and a second bedroom that can be turned into a study lounge. All villas also have an open-sided lounge (with sofa and dining table), an adjoining kitchenette (including a minibar that has to be the world’s most generous one), an outdoor plunge pool with roofed sala (to relax in the shade at midday when it is too hot for outdoor activities), and expansive outdoor deck which floats above the oversized garden, and an insanely beautiful, semi-outdoor bathroom that has the dimensions and feel of an ultraluxe bath house.
- Hotel website: North Island
- Other accolades: North Island also features in my top 10 lists of the best resorts in the Seychelles, the world’s most exclusive private island resorts, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s most expensive hotels, the world’s best honeymoon resorts, and Africa’s most astonishing beach retreats.
- Review: read my review of North Island Seychelles here.
6. MIAVANA BY TIME + TIDE, MADAGASCAR
Located on an idyllic island off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Miavana by Time + Tide is one of the most exclusive castaway escapes ever built in the world. There are 14 supremely luxurious beach villas, offering one, two and three bedrooms (I stayed at a two bedroom villa during my holiday). Space is no issue as these palatial hotel suites are enormous in size. And what’s more, they are dotted on the island’s western side along the magnificent beach, affording spectacular views of the ocean, mainland Madagascar (at the horizon), and the sunset. Each villa features a private pool, lush garden, stylish dining and living area, well-stocked kitchenette, master bedroom with ensuite bathroom, and a study room which can be converted into a children’s bedroom. Each villa also comes with its own bicycles and electric buggy to explore the island.
- Hotel website: Time + Tide Miavana
- Other accolades: Time + Tide Miavana also features in my top 10 lists of the most remotely located luxury hotels in the world, the world’s best hotels for a honeymoon, and the best things to see & do in Madagascar.
- Review: read my review of Time + Tide Miavana here.
5. SONEVA JANI
The scale of Soneva Jani’s villas is extraordinary, with both one bedroom (catering to couples and families with young children) and multi-bedroom villas (catering to larger travel parties) available. The 51 overwater villas are located along two jetties, which are connected to Medhufaru island, curving over the blue water like a snake. Each villa has a private pool and opens to its own stretch of lagoon, with some villas featuring slides going directly from the top deck into the lagoon below. Inside, there’s a spacious master bedroom with a kids’ sleeping area, open-air bathroom, glass-encased kitchenette, study room, walk-in wardrobe, living area with sunken seats, and an upstairs seating lounge and a dining sala. The highlight of the villas is the retractable roof in the master bedroom, which slides back at the touch of a button so that guests can lie in bed and stargaze.
Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Jani (e.g. resort credit, and two personalized Soneva experiences).
- Hotel website: Soneva Jani
- Other accolades: Soneva Jani also features in my top 10 lists of the most fabulous overwater villas in the Maldives, the best luxury resort in the Maldives, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and my favorite hotels in the world.
- Review: read my review of Soneva Jani here.
4. ROYAL MALEWANE, SOUTH AFRICA
Located in Thornybush private game reserve, Royal Malewane is one of South Africa’s most exclusive safari lodges. The lodge accommodates a maximum of 20 guests in the utmost colonial splendor of six Luxury Suites, two Royal Suites, and one Africa House. Elevated walkways connects all accommodations with the main lodge. During my holiday, I stayed in the hotel’s Royal Suite, which ranks among the most opulent villas that I’ve ever stayed at. The extravagantly proportioned villa featured a large living room with fireplace, and two separate bedrooms, each one with a Mahogany four-posters bed and an extravagant bathroom with a window-side Victoria bath. The villa was surrounded by a huge outside deck complete with crystal-clear pool and two thatched gazebos, so you could take the most of the surrounding wild beauty and enjoy the warmth of the African sunshine in complete privacy.
- Hotel website: Royal Malewane
- Other accolades: Royal Malewane also features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in South Africa, the most insanely beautiful safari lodges in Africa, the best hotels in the world, and the most exclusive safari lodges in South Africa.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. upgrade, free breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a complimentary one way transfer from HDS airport).
- Review: read my review of Royal Malewane here.
3. SONEVA FUSHI, MALDIVES
Soneva Fushi features massive, Robinson Crusoe-style, multi-bedroom luxury villas and private residences 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, some of them even featuring their own slides. One of the hotel’s most stunning suites is the four bedroom Jungle Reserve, located on the sunrise side of the island. The immense reserve surrounds you in nature while offering up caverns and terraces of luxurious space: three sumptuous bedrooms, huge open-air garden bathrooms, an indoor lounge with dining table for up to 10 and a separate outdoor sunken dining table just as large, an in-villa wine cellar, full kitchen, library, and your private spa suite with couple’s treatment room, gym, sauna and steam.
Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Fushi (e.g. resort credit and two Soneva experiences).
- Hotel website: Soneva Fushi
- Other accolades: Soneva Fushi also features in my top 10 lists of the best hotels in the Maldives, the best family hotels in the world, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, the best resorts in the Maldives for snorkeling, and the world’s most insanely beautiful hotel beaches.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, and $100 USD resort credit).
- Review: read my review of Soneva Fushi here.
2. CALILO, GREECE
Enjoying a remote location on Ios (Greek cyclades), Calilo features 32 uniquely designed suites, all featuring hand-crafted mosaics, scalloped tiles, driftwood-inspired chairs and waves of marble (most suites also have private pools). The hotel’s top villa is the “Sea of Smiles Suite”, named by its owner Michalopoulos for its focus on water. Located on the hill side of Calilo with panoramic views of the resort and beach, this incredible suite offers three bedrooms, each with palatial en-suite marble bathrooms with deep soaking bathtubs. The suite’s generous outdoor space included a dedicated sitting area, waterfall, natural rock shower, water pond and two swinging beds. To top it all, there’s a private swimming pool made from 65,000 pieces of marble.
- Hotel website: Calilo
- Other accolades: Calilo also features in my top 10 list of the best beach resorts in Europe.
- Review: read my review of Calilo here.
1. SONEVA KIRI, THAILAND
Hidden in the jungle, the Six Bedroom Sunset Ocean View Pool Reserve at Soneva Kiri stretches over a hilltop on the western part of the fabulous resort. Secluded away in an exceptionally peaceful spot, the Reserve towers over the sea, enjoys a serene atmosphere away from the buzz of the resort, but is only a short 5-minute electric buggy ride away from all the rustic-luxe facilities. The villa’s eco-chic design melts in with the spectacular natural surroundings and adds to the sense of being at one with nature. It features a cluster of pavilions, which are built using local materials, topped with a palm-leaf roof, decked out in stylish bright cushions, and decorated with simple but chic furniture. This is barefoot luxury at its best, albeit in a low-key and environmentally conscious way.
Contact me to get complimentary Soneva ambassador benefits at Soneva Kiri (e.g. resort credit and two Soneva experiences).
- Hotel website: Soneva Kiri
- Top 10 accolades: Soneva Kiri features in my top 10 lists of the most insanely beautiful hotels in Thailand, the world’s most amazing beach resorts, the world’s most outrageous hotel experiences, the best private plunge pools in the world, the world’s most beautiful hotel beaches, the world’s best luxury hotels, the world’s best family hotels, the world’s most remote hotels, the most astonishing beach retreats in Asia, and luxury hotels with private airports.
- Tip: get complimentary VIP perks when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. villa upgrade, breakfast, early check-in , late check-out, and $100 US resort credit).
- Review: read my review of Soneva Kiri here.
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