In a world full of luxury hotels, with unique vistas, fascinating surroundings, and interesting histories, it is very difficult to narrow it down to a list of five. It takes quite a lot of work and dedication to gain admission to that elite group of 5 star hotels. There are minimum requirements for the amount of staff, delivery of many types of services and hours of availability for these amenities. Many hotels offer all of those things.
But for service, exclusivity, luxury, and well-rounded enjoyment, these are the top 5 hotels in the world, in my book. Feel free to suggest you own favorites!
Four Seasons Hualalai at Ka’upulehu, Hawaii
Consistently rated as one of the most luxurious resorts in the world and run by the Four Seasons group, the Hualalai stands apart for service. From an amphitheatre with movies and activities for children to laundry rooms and a small, secluded snack bar known to “locals”, the Four Seasons Hualalai prides itself on its service and its location.
Sitting on the beach, one can watch dolphins swimming by. With two lounges, four restaurants and six pools there are many diversions, and a host of staff to bring fresh towels, spray you with water while sunning yourself, and point you in the direction of a variety of activities. Or if would prefer, lie in bed in a beach villa and just listen to the ocean.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
The Peninsula Group is famous the world over for its luxurious and opulent settings, but The Peninsula Hong Kong is one of a few luxury hotels noted for both its high level of 21st century sophistication and old world service standards. Consistently rated as one of the highest quality in service and delivery, The Peninsula boasts one of two helipads in Hong Kong and a fleet of custom “Peninsula green” colored Rolls Royces.
In April 2013, to celebrate its 85th anniversary, The Peninsula launched a $60 million update of existing fixtures to include even more high-tech and custom entertainment features for guests.
Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India
Set amid the man-made lakes of Udaipur, India, the Oberoi Udaivilas set a new standard for luxury among world class hotels. Adapted from a traditional Mewari palace, the Udaivilas offer suites with lake views, semi-private access to the pool, Victorian bathtubs and that unique combination of colonial and Indian architecture that brings to mind an era of pampering that only royalty could afford.
With world class restaurants, an onsite spa, limousine service to and from the airport and a city full of history at the doorstep, the Oberoi Udaivilas are a destination spot of complete indulgence.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok
Originally opened as the Oriental Hotel in 1879 as the first hotel built in Thailand. From and older style to the modern tower, the hotel boasts 393 rooms, many with views of the Chao Phraya River. With a colorful history of famous former occupants, it even has an “Author’s Wing,” where you can stay in the shadows of legends like Joseph Conrad, James Michener and Somerset Maugham.
Long recognized as one of the most luxurious hotels in Asia, it boasts amazing restaurants, one of the top rated spas of the world and the famous Bamboo Bar where one can sidle up to history and enjoy a cool drink while celebrity spotting or just relaxing.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
While it has been called the “world’s only 7 star hotel,” the management prefer the phrase 5 star deluxe accommodations. Built in the shape of a sail from a dhow, the Arabian ship that pushed trade through the entire Indian Ocean, the Burj Al Arab was for many years the tallest freestanding hotel on Earth. With it’s enormous atrium covered with the replica of a sail, it dazzles the eye upon the first entrance. One restaurant has a million gallon fish tank, but there are five more to choose from if that isn’t enough. There are cafes and a rooftop lounge, and guests are treated to 24-hour deluxe service as close as the touch of the telephone.
There are many wonderful hotels in the world, each with a unique vision and offering of services.
But these five all offer 24-hour care, beautiful views, options for secluded privacy, custom service including carriage, travel, concierge, and dining services. Each is a destination unto itself in a setting so unique, nothing else compares. And they all have the breadth to enchant a solo traveler, romance a couple on a honeymoon, or entertain an entire family.