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The Luxury 50 List 2015

Editor’s choice of Classiest, Most Exclusive New Hotels in the World

1. Ursulino Valletta

Malta

Explore the Maltese islands that are dotted with temples, cliffs, coves and diving opportunities. Staying at Ursulino Valletta makes the experience wholesome, not just because the view from this exclusive boutique hotel is breath taking but also because it is just a hop, skip and jump away from the National Museum of Archaeology, Manoel Theatre and the vast stretch of virgin beaches. Located within the Maltese Post-War building, it is a regal specimen of Baroque architecture, remodelled to suit the needs of modern, luxury travellers. A former family townhouse, it offers sumptuous B&B accommodation combining 5-star comfort with personalised service of a familyrun property. Check in with time to savour an evening at their roof terrace which provides a panoramic view of the Valletta skyline and its majestic Grand Harbour.

2. Bernardus Lodge & Spa Carmel Valley

California

Experience California’s trademark warmth where sunny dispositions and informal chic go hand-in-hand, especially at this boutique lodge and winery. Awash with an abundance f lush lavender and sun-drenched grapevines, set against altering ranges of mountain views, this cozy setting is perfect as a getaway for writers, lovers, lone travellers, health enthusiasts and mystic seekers. A large menu of wines vie for attention with culinary delicacies that tingle the taste buds of Westerners and Easterners alike. If the great outdoors is more your scene, sign up for walks, hikes and biking trips around the property or simply soak in the different massages and therapies administered by experts.

3. The Grand Mansion

Nanjing, China

The Grand Mansion is one of 75 hotels under the Luxury Collection, serving as a gateway to the world’s leading assemblage of hotels and resorts. Nanjing is its 7th property in China. It was the seat of the Oriental dynasty and one of the original four great ancient cities of China. Situated on the lower stretches of Yangzi River, its magnificent city wall surrounds most of the city, which has tree-lined boulevards, chic cafes and historical museums, set against a backdrop of lakes, forested parks and rivers. Visitors are enthralled by the Travellers’ Library that houses over 3000 books, local antiques and global treasures of a bygone era. A special tea lounge offers an exquisite collection of teas and the “Min Guo” cuisine fuses Huaiyang, Hangzhou and traditional local flavours.

4. The Spectator Hotel

Charleston, South Carolina

The 41-room boutique hotel is a perfect blend of style and substance. Its visual grandeur is matched in equal measure with its service culture and hospitality offerings. What makes it really special is the enviable intersection of the Charleston’s French Quarter and Market Street districts giving it a unique positioning in all of Charleston, South Carolina. The architecture of the hotel encourages social interaction and personalised bonding with fellow residents who can mingle in a common social gathering area and bar that features inspired spirits from the golden 20’s era. For the ultimate relaxation experience, allow their famous Southern hospitality to take over, with personalised attention by butlers, each of whom is specially trained to indulge your every whim and fancy.

5. Six Senses Douroo Valley

Portugal

This manor house lives up to its promise of providing complete peace and serenity to each of its guests. A perfectly renovated 19th-century property, it sits proudly atop a hill with a grand view of the rolling hills of Douro Valley and the river below. In case you want to break the idyll spell of experiencing “nothingness”, sign up for the spa or stroll across to their well-stocked wine library, take a dip in the aqua blue swimming pools or potter around the organic garden. This is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world and is a UNESCO world heritage listed. Through the year, winery visits, wine tasting and local dining sojourns are organised. Day time is perfect to explore the picturesque area on bikes, visiting monasteries, museums and baroque churches that are in the vicinity.

6. The Augustine

Prague

In the heart of the Czech Republic’s capital, the Augustine, Prague is located in a former monastery that dates back to the 13th century. The hotel is located near embassies and major city attractions but is far removed from the noise and hectic movement of urban activity. Delicately designed by Olga Polizzi in Czech cubism, its elegant facilities boast a hammam which is not commonly found in Prague’s hotels. A hang out zone here is their bar which serves the popular local St. Thomas Beer. More than a hundred individually furnished rooms and suites provide stunning views of the adjacent church, Prague Castle and rest of the city. Some of its most beautiful suites have been converted from what were the monks’ living quarters in the original monastery.

7. Caresse Resort & Spa

Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum is a district and port city in Mugla Province, in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey. Nestling in the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that checks the entry into the Gulf of Gökova, it is also the centre of the eponymous district. Inheriting a fascinating history, the city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times and was famous for housing the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Bodrum Castle, built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century is intact today and overlooks the harbour and marina. The castle grounds include a Museum of Underwater Archaeology which is a venue for several cultural festivals through the year.

8. Hotel Sahrai

Fez, Morocco

Live life in the footsteps of royalty in a city that is generously dotted with palaces that resonate with tales and intrigues of a bygone era. Grand entrances, opulent lobbies and regal room decor make the stay at the property a royal experience. Just being in Fez, one of the largest medieval cities of the world is an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Fez has been hailed as the country’s intellectual and spiritual capital and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in a central area of the city, this Moroccan hotel opens out to a mesmerising view of the medina. Its infinity pool, a classic Givenchy spa and chic, modern rooms are inviting, especially after a day of sightseeing in the hustle and bustle of the markets.

9. Aro Ha Wellness Retreat

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

Experience the fundamental acts of sleeping and bathing in Zen inspired luxury in eight accommodation units, each of which has its own characteristic features. Aro H? is a next-level wellness experience, offering life shifting, body morphing, spirit lifting retreats. Here, optimal living practices get luxuriantly amalgamated into signature wellness adventures. Multi-award winning, Aro H? fuses advanced eco accommodation, permaculture based self-sufficiency and world-class results-oriented programming. Located in New Zealand’s ethereal Southern Alps, the property is designed to rejuvenate the human spirit. Ideal for solo travellers, couples and friends, their physically stimulating programmes sculpt the body and mind with sub alpine hiking, vinyasa yoga and dynamic movement. Programmes include nutrient dense vegetarian cuisine, healing bodywork and daily mindfulness practice.

10. Baccarat Hotel & Residences

New York, USA

The soaring state-of-the-art tower with a prismatic glass façade is situated across the street from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Resplendent with the radiance of the famed Baccarat crystal, it reflects and refracts light up and down its 50 majestic stories. In a city that never sleeps, this property masterfully blends influences of the past and present to create ephemeral spaces that are warm and welcoming. It is hard not to get awed by the impressive artwork that is a trademark of the hotel. Painstakingly curated pieces are displayed in dramatically lit glass vitrines in hallways and outside guestrooms suites. Sought after Paris-based design duo Gilles & Boissier have created the furniture for the soaring salon-style public spaces as well in addition to the 114 light-filled rooms and suites.

11. Falisia Resort & Spa

Portopiccolo, Italy

Food, fashion and ambience are all there for the asking at this resort that is well positioned along the Gulf of Trieste, Falisia in the exclusive Portopiccolo Sistiana beachfront luxury complex. With a beach club, an elegant promenade of fashion boutiques and marina with yacht club, the property offers Italian experiences you will unlikely forget. A short drive from Trieste and Venice airport, close to the borders of Slovenia and Croatia, the picture postcard perfect setting near Grado’s beautiful lagoons offers views of seasonal colours of the Rilke trail. In-house restaurants serve gourmet cuisine and collection of choicest wines while the al fresco dining terrace is a perfect setting to end the day watching the sun set over the beachfront marina and Adriatic Sea.

12. Grand Hotel River Park

Bratislava, Slovakia

Right on the banks of the river Danube, this five star deluxe hotel can be reached from the Bratislava and Vienna airports by a rooftop heliport, private river pier or the Danube cycle path. The hotel on the river sits pretty in downtown Bratislava. The sprawling hotel has more than 200 rooms and a spa that is spread over 1500 square meters of dedicated wellness and fitness areas. Both the restaurant and the lobby bar have outdoor terraces with river promenade views. You can spend your time within the property or explore the city which is right out of a fairy tale, dotted liberally with castles, lakes and quaint cottages.

13. Mandarin Oriental

Taipei, Taiwan

The single identity that makes this hotel stand apart is its grand chandelier and its European architecture, which appears imposing and highly individualistic given the Oriental setting of Taiwan. Taking the concept of luxury hospitality a notch higher is the Mandarin Oriental, strategically located in the heart of Taipei’s vibrant city life. Right in the middle of Taipei’s most established business district (Dunhua North Road), it is easily distinguishable with the lush canopy of trees in the vicinity. It offers the choicest local specialities along with an array of international cuisines. Spread over two floors, it also has a world-class spa that promises a tranquil escape from urban life.

14. Six Senses Quig Cheng Mountain

China

Take home a slice of history with generous helping of serenity that comes with the stay at the picturesque gateway to the majestic Qing Cheng Mountains. The property complements the UNESCO World Heritage and Natural Cultural site nearby Dujiangyan, drawing upon the Six Senses concept of responsible luxury. Blending regional architecture and landscaping with contemporary tastes, it creates an extraordinary cultural mix. Being in Panda land makes a strong case for exploring their natural habitat in the surrounding mystical mountains, with Panda Valley, barely a10-minute drive from the resort. Along the way, explore ancient towns and breath taking views, learn Tai-Chi and the balance of Taoism with a special ‘Experiences team’. A children’s club and other on-site family activities contribute to making the resort an ideal family vacation.

15. The Cape

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Discover the treasure trove that exists at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula where The Cape is located in one of the most desirable and secluded places in Los Cabos. The resort is a favourite haunt for many who seek out this corner of paradise for weddings, celebrations, meetings and getaways. The stunning ocean views are complemented with each room having its own private balcony that opens out to a vast expanse of blue waters, plunge pool and butler service. The food is impressive and a must try are the handmade tortillas. Day trips to Todos Santos and Sierra Buggies are recommended. Take to the ocean with sailing, snorkelling and going on a sunset cruise.

16. The Lanesborough

London, England

Enjoy English hospitality at its best at Lanesborough, a five star hotel which has 100-odd luxurious rooms opening out to the heart of London. Being right in the middle of action means being close to Harrods, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge and London’s most exclusive shopping district. One of the priciest hotels in town, it is a natural choice for visiting royalty, eminent politicians and entertainers. The recently refurbished property has retained its original Regency splendour and its restaurants are a major pull for those who love their food in fine dining style. The Michelin-rated Apsleys restaurant and Céleste restaurant, along with the Garden Room, their glamorous cigar lounge and Library Bar, an exclusive watering hole, are well known in inner circles. Their traditional afternoon tea is a must have.

17. Angama Mara

Kenya

This is a zone “between heaven and earth” and is promoted as such by the Mara people. The Angama Mara safari lodge is inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’. Located high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, it overlooks Kenya’s Maasai Mara game reserve. The lodge has two intimate camps of 15 tented suites, each along its own private airfield. Each suite is spread along the edge of the valley and the 700-hectare site directly borders the Mara Triangle, with 1.2 km of Rift Valley frontage, having its own forests and game options. The Mara Triangle is home to Africa’s great mammals and is just a 25-minute drive from the lodge. Guests can partake in hot air ballooning, get close and personal with walking safaris and make a cultural visit to neighbouring Maasai villages.

18. Viña Vik

Millahue Valley, Chile

Vik is an art-filled avant-garde retreat with its own wine spa in Millahue, Chile on the VIK vineyard. The vineyard retreat is perched atop a hilltop above a lake in the middle of the 4,325 hectare vineyard that has a grand view of the vines, valleys, hills, forests and the majestic Andes Mountains. Abundant flora and fauna grows in the area and each of the suites is surrounded by landscaped gardens. A cantilevered pool made of Absolute Nero granite extends over the valleys and lake below, offering the sensation of swimming above the vineyard. Wine tastings, winery tours, horseback riding and trekking in the fascinating countryside are there for experiencing. Following adventurous excursions, dig into gastronomic treats from exceptional four course high culinary experiences to barbeques enjoying Chilean inspired foods paired with exquisite VIK wine.

19. Ham Yard Hotel

London, England

Ham Yard Hotel is situated in the heart of London and still manages to pull off an urban village feel. Laid out around a tree-filled garden with a bronze sculpture centrepiece, individually designed bedrooms and suites, independent stores and a restaurant and bar with outdoor dining surround the green in refined propriety. Other attractions include a cosy drawing room and library, spa and gym, theatre, private event rooms and a 1950’s style bowling alley. The rooftop garden has sweeping views of the Soho skyline. Easily accessible with a 2-minute walk from Piccadilly Circus tube station, what sets the boutique hotel apart is its cheerful interiors that have a strong art and design appeal that is an instant mood elevator.

20. Le Guanahani

Saint Barthélemy

Duty-free shopping, multiple food menus, captivating views of the reef-protected bay and great hospitality make Le Guanahani a wonderful holiday destination, as evidenced with its yearround cycle of business. Spread over 18 secluded tropical acres on its own peninsula, it has sweeping beaches, 30 rooms, 27 suites and 10 signature suites located in vibrantly hued cottages scattered along flower-laden garden paths. A plethora of underwater activities, diving excursions and kite surfing tempt the adventure enthusiasts while the duty-free island overflows with luxury fashion, jewellery, apothecary and home décor boutiques, with wares from local artisans and designers to choose from as well. Culinary and performing art festivals punctuate island life with sailing regattas, sporting tourneys and a nightlife with Le Ti St Barth in Pointe Milou, Nikki Beach in St. Jean, and Bagatelle and Saint Barth Yacht Club in Gustavia.

21. Sunset Key Cottages

Florida, USA

The 27-acre island beckons you to experience hospitality in an upscale oceanfront resort. Located barely 10 minutes from Key West by ferry, it is rated as one of the top wedding destinations for those living in the region. Each cottage has a functional kitchen, private balcony, modern amenities for tech savvy and an abundance of vast ocean views of the Gulf of Mexico which stretches across white sand beaches. The spa offers ample opportunity to luxuriate for a day and the Latitudes restaurant complements with local delicacies. Nearby attractions such as the Key West Aquarium, Audubon House, Tropical Gardens, Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum are within walking distance from the property.

22. Amandayan

China

The resort is comfortably ensconced on a hillside overlooking Lijiang, the jewelled UNESCO town in the southern province of Yunnan. This centuries-old storybook town with its surrounding landscapes is regarded as one of China’s most scenic locations. Traditional Sino-Tibetan style buildings made of Yunnan pine from Shangri-La County, house 35 suites arranged in clusters around central courtyards. The hotel is modeled after traditional buildings with spacious balconies offering panoramic view of snow-capped mountains, lakes, green fields and pine forests. A traditional Chinese medicine-based spa offers a range of therapeutic massages. There is the option of taking long walks in the stunning countryside to relive the time when the town was an important stop on the Silk Road[/ts_one_half]

23. Niyama

Maldives
Sipping a glass of wine at the world’s first underwater night club is an unforgettable experience. Niyama Maldives by Per Aquum has much to sample and savour. Its uniqueness lies in its outdoor and indoor appeal. Located on the private island of Olhuveli, a tropical paradise with its own private beach, the property is as popular for business meetings as for hosting private parties or indulging in water sports. Accessible by boat, the over-water Edge serves fresh seafood and premium wines. A beach-side Epicure, South American and African cuisines at Tribal, pool-side Dune café and meals-to-go at The Deli add to gourmet choices. Fahrenheit rooftop bar whips up creative cocktails with live DJ performances and exotic sunset views. Glass walls give grand views of underwater marine life and a 24-hour spa tempts with massages and therapies.

24. Vomo Island Resort

Fiji

Hailed as the most beautiful island in the Mamanuca group, Vomo strives to keep its habitat protected for future generations. All its food comes from chemical-free vegetable gardens and nursery houses. Noteworthy recycling projects are ongoing, helping locals generate income. As a proud member of Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), an organisation found in 2001 to protect the stunning marine environment of the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji, everyone is committed to conserving marine and green life. Each week Vomo hosts all guests in the main dining area for an authentic Meke and Lovo night. In the morning, a Lovo pit is prepared where the evening meal is cooked in traditional Fijian style underground. The evening ceremony has Meke dances and songs that tell legends and stories of native Fijians.

25. Salinda Phu Quoc Island Resort and Spa

Vietnam

Staying at Salinda Resort Phu Quoc Island means you get to experience a variety of activities. Experience vibrant entertainment coupled with exciting activities in-house or take one of the many tours to Halong Bay, local villages or into mainland Vietnam. The Island has a magical pull with beautiful unspoiled nature, golden sand beaches, pure water, fresh air and the gentle and gracious hospitality of the locals. The resort is the first and only luxury beach resort located on the front line of the beautiful Long Beach, a 10 minutes drive to the peaceful town of Duong Dong and the International Airport of Phu Quoc. Popular with honeymoon couples and families looking for an exceptional luxurious getaway, it is also a perfect ending to a tour around Indochina and Vietnam.

26. Sunrise Kempinski Hotel

Beijing, China

An hour’s drive from Beijing City Centre, Sunrise Kempinski ensures guests and families have an exciting experience at their new integrated resort. Designed by Shanghai Huadu Architect Design Co., the hotel embodies the shape of the rising sun, symbolising harmony, unity and infinity. From a side angle view, the hotel building is shaped like a scallop which represents ‘Fortune’ in the local culture while the front view is of the ‘Rising Sun’ symbolizing the country’s developing economy. Facilities include nine restaurants and bars, spa, recreational and fitness facilities and kids club. Take a stroll or bike ride along Yanqi Lake that is a natural habitat for various species, including rare migrant birds and geese. Another attraction is the Mutianyu, a section of the Great Wall of China.

27. Fontevraud L’Hôtel

Loire Valley, France

The Fontevraud, a Saint-Lazare priory and formerly the home of a community of nuns, makes the tradition of hospitality a natural and seamless process. The aura of tranquility is all pervasive, whether sleeping in the pristine silence of the Abbey or walking alone through the monastery as night falls. The iBar and digital library shows just how, with changing times, the former Abbey turned hotel is modernising to keep up with the trends. Each guest receives an iPad on arrival, via which they access hotel services and find out more about the history and legends that surround the Abbey. Here is the classic case of the virtual world meeting the real world in a quiet and unobtrusive way. The nearby Royal Abbey of Fontevraud and the valley chateaux are also within easy reach.

28. Raffles Istanbul

Turkey

Art, culture, design, tradition and history co-exist in this classy address of Istanbul. The 5-star property sits strategically at the centre of the city’s most happening art area, the Zorlu Centre. Raffles Istanbul beckons travellers and adventurers, writers and lovers, poets and performers with its timeless and magical appeal. Connected to old Bazaars while being linked to the new retail experience of the Zorlu Center, its contemporary design provides a sumptuous, world class space. Creating a wonderful blend of inspired architecture, breath-taking luxury, gastronomical innovation and serious cultural chic, it is an ideal venue for Broadway, dance, classical, opera, jazz and the best pop artists. With the Bosphorous on one side and the vibrant business district on the other, it provides an excellent and rather genuine slice of contemporary Turkey.

29. Mahekal Beach Resort

Mexico

Mahekal Beach Resort is home to 800 feet of beautiful beach, turquoise waters and resort-style pools. The town of Playa Del Carmen has an eclectic feel with a penchant for rustling up exactly what the heart desires. From live music venues to trendy dining and dancing spots all over 5th Avenue, it strives to give the authentic Mexican experience on an incomparable Caribbean Sea. Nestled between dense Riviera Maya jungle and Playa del Carmen’s largest stretch of beach, the newly transformed Mahekal Beach Resort has exclusive bungalows with ocean and garden views, barely two-minutes from the private, guests-only portion of the beach. Inspired by “GypSet Style,” Mahekal’s interior design that embodies a bohemian gypsy lifestyle with colourful Mexican accents, it has 122 grass thatched-roof bungalows, swimming pools, seaside Jacuzzi, restaurants and bars to dig heels in.

30. Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard

Franschhoek, South Africa

Mont Rochelle is Sir Richard Branson’s South African Hotel and Vineyard. The 22-bedroom hotel with a 27-hectare vineyard and wine cellar is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the town of Franschhoek. The traditional vineyard town in the Western Cape Province famously known as the French Corner of the Cape lies at the foot of the Klein Dassenberg Mountain Range. It has earned the epithet of being the food and wine capital of South Africa. Its 22 rooms include six suites arranged around the main building offering mesmerising valley views. The grounds cover 100 acres and are open to exploration. Picnicking is popular with the kitchen staff happily putting together food hampers The restaurants, bar, spa, gym and heated outdoor pool ensure there is not a single dull moment.

31. The Marsa Malaz Kempinski

Doha

Luxury and opulence just acquired a new benchmark. At the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, located on its very own man made private island off the coast of Doha, the atmosphere of grandeur can be experienced the moment you set foot on its exquisitely polished marble surface. Adorned by the finest European architecture that blends the most traditional Arabian elements, it is a unique confluence of the old and new. A stone’s throw from Porto Arabia and Medina Centrale districts, it is just a 30-minute drive from Hamad International Airport. With 11 fine restaurants, cafes and lounges, there is a wide array of global authentic cuisine to suit any taste. This waterfront destination is as much in demand with business clientele as with socialites, families and young couples.

32. The Ritz-Carlton

Macau

Welcome to the land of glitz and glamour. Macau has a vibe that is hard to resist even for the noncasino goer. At the Ritz-Carlton situated in the heart of the city’s entertainment complex, it is the food and entertainment offering that provides the perfect hook. Set within the Galaxy Macau integrated resort which is an amalgam of rooms, Grand Resort Deck with Skytop Adventure Rapids water park, designer shopping at The Promenade, world-class entertainment and a 3D Cineplex, there is something for everyone under one roof. The 51st floor restaurant highlights skills of some very extraordinary chefs in addition to having five private dining rooms with a fabulous view from the highest vantage point of the city.

33. Excelsior Hotel Gallia

Milan, Italy

The Luxury Collection Hotel which originally opened in 1932 has been recently renovated by renowned Milanese architect Marco Piva. Merging the elegant architectural style of La Belle Epoque with a sleek 21st century design, its sophisticated contemporary interiors are in keeping with its reputation of being the world’s fashion capital. The 5-star property features an art nouveau facade which adds to its glamour, making it one of the most celebrated and luxurious hotels in the country. Perfect for events of allstyles , the hotel has 12 meeting rooms besides a rooftop signature bar, restaurant and the city’s largest, most well equipped spa. It provides visitors with a ballroom, indoor swimming pool, live entertainment and vibrant cultural offerings that include museums, exhibitions and architectural walks.

34. Shangri-la Hotel

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

The 290-room Shangri-La hotel is the newest addition in Ulaanbaatar’s evolving commercial space. It presents a birds’ eye view of Mongolia’s rich nomadic culture while providing simple and warm Shangri-La hospitality. From the traditionally attired doormen to the opulent chandeliers and quaint interiors that make liberal use of textured stone and decorative glass lights in the shape of hunting horns, the warrior spirit of Mongolia is well represented. Guest rooms overlook Nayramdal Park to the south and the Great Chinggis Khaan Square to the north, against a backdrop of snow-capped mountain ranges. The hotel has 290 elegant and spacious guestrooms displaying contemporary and indigenous fusion design. It offers easy access to the country’s vivid landscape of picturesque steppes, historic monasteries and grasslands that have an abundance of wildlife.

35. Fairmont

Ajman, UAE

As the latest Fairmont flagship in United Arab Emirates, this newbie maintains its tradition of guaranteeing thoughtful service with unforgettable hospitality experience. The 200 metres of pristine beachfront with soft white sand descending into opal blue waters of the Arabian Gulf has its own infinity pool, sun loungers and cabanas, water activities and spa offering signature treatments. Playful architectural sculptures in the form of a golden fishing net pay tribute to the emirate’s time honoured nautical past, while its meeting rooms, eight restaurants and the largest ballroom of the city make it a perfect venue for meetings, wedding, holidays and celebrations. A dedicated outdoor shisha (mirror) lounge overlooks the Arabian Gulf giving a laidback attitude that intoxicates, especially with its sun kissed balconies and beaches.

36. AltaGracia Boutique

Hacienda, Costa Rica

Experience authentic Costa Rican wholesomeness that includes smiles in every social and cultural interaction. Poised atop the lush mountains of Pérez Zeledón, in Costa Rica’s Southern Region, AltaGracia offers 50 estate-size Casitas, one of Central America’s finest spas, three creative dining options and an exclusive equestrian experience. Become one with nature and gaze at breathtaking sunsets, bask in the sun or walk in the rain. The great outdoors also beckon with a series of tours of all shapes and sizes. Choose from the Tienditas, Equestrian Experience, spa & fitness and entertainment, rafting, zip-line; Manuel Antonio and Marino Ballena National Parks and beaches, whales and dolphins watching, skydiving; Reptilandia Park; Stone Spheres Park Finca and Topolandia.

37. Suiran

Japan

Suiran is located on the banks of Hozu River in the hilly Arashiyama district. Located virtually on Tenryu-ji temple grounds, it is one of 17 UNESCO heritage sites in Kyoto that was converted from Ryokan Rantei. Two additional historic buildings – Enmei-kaku and Hasshoken have been renovated and converted into a restaurant and café. The hotel has lovely rooms, private spa service, including in-room treatments and two treatment rooms appointed with Japanese-style openair baths. Get into central Kyoto using a rickshaw, train or flat-bottomed boat. The hotel itself is about an hour’s drive from Osaka International Airport and not far from the main shrines and temples, Osaka Castle Hall, Kyoto City Zoo and Universal Studios.

38. Temple Hotel

Beijing, China

A sense of reverence is natural for those who enter the hotel which was once a temple in the capital city of China. The antique structure, known as Zhizhusi, Temple of Wisdom, was one of three Tibetan Buddhist temples built in mid-18th century near the Imperial Palace. Battered and charred by fire, the structure was considered irrecoverable. However, it has today quite literally, risen from the ashes, with a new restored aspect. Transformed into an art hotel with eight luxury rooms, gallery, restaurant, courtyard adorned with sculptures and the only James Turrell Skyspace in China, it blends Eastern spirituality with contemporary Western style exceedingly well. What makes it even more mystical is the way it showcases contemporary Chinese and international art. contemporary and indigenous fusion design.

39. Palazzo Parigi

Milan, Italy

Bringing alive Italy’s historic architectural and design wonders through monuments, buildings, history, culture and fashion, the Palazzo Parigi captivates with its majestic awe inspiring spaces. Each of these is endowed with expert subtle lighting that adds to the exquisiteness of the priceless works of art and antiques, the marble and rich woodwork, the century-old garden, bright, cosy rooms and suites with their own private terrace. The ephemeral quality of the property and the setting gives you an experience you are unlikely to forget in a hurry. Haute cuisine vies for attention with the hotel elevating the concept of hospitality making it perfect for a family vacation. Meanwhile, be sure to soak in the aura of Milan’s fashion district by browsing, window shopping or splurging at Brera and Teatro alla Scala.

40. Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff

Johannesburg, South Africa

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg is bang in the middle of action, minutes from major business centres and other tourist attractions. With stunning 240 degree views across the city’s famed green canopy and the Johannesburg Zoo in the neighbourhood, the Hotel rests on eight acres of lush landscaped gardens. It is ideally positioned as a gateway for travellers wanting to explore the subcontinent and beyond. Important game reserves, including the Kruger National Parkare about five hours’ drive away and Botswana’s luxury game lodges as also the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti can be accessed through Johannesburg. In addition, 36 of South Africa’s top 100 golf courses are within an hour with open air markets, art galleries and hip restaurants in the vicinity. The property has a wholesomeness that suits a varied palette.

41. Raffles Jakarta

Indonesia

The thriving capital city of Jakarta is the new destination for entrepreneurs and artists. Raffles Jakarta draws inspiration from the legacy of celebrated Indonesian artist Hendra Gunawan, his work featuring art installations that display intricate detailing of old trees and branches and bold curvature of people’s bodies. The Writers Bar is a tribute to famous novelists who have stayed here in the past. At Arts Café, guests find art of the edible kind, as sights, sounds, textures and delicious aromas from show kitchens emerge. Navina which means ‘fresh’ is an ideal poolside setting, serving light meals and cocktails in tropical gardens. The hotel sees a vibrant mix of people from the art, corporate, fashion and entertainment industry.

42. ITC Grand Bharat

Gurgaon, India

Enjoy Indian hospitality and the famed culinary curries and specialities at the ITC Grand Bharat that has an array of five dining options, an outdoor swimming pool and the Kaya Kalp spa and wellness centre. Apart from a laidback and relaxed vacation, it has a special attraction for golfers who take to the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course the moment they check in. Gurgaon, one of India’s recent corporate townships, is barely 16 km away. The delightful Kingdom of Dreams is 25 km away giving you a generous dose of Indian Bollywood music and dance. For the historically inclined there is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar a short 41 km away.

43. Mandarin Oriental

Bodrum, Turkey

This coastal resort will leave an imprint even amongst the most frequent and well-travelled visitors. Overlooking the calm, crystal clear waters of the Aegean, the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum is a 5-star luxury resort that is well entrenched on the Bodrum Peninsula. The stunning property overlooking the Aegean Sea and Mandarin Oriental, has two private beaches and an excellent spa and hammam that will ensure that your experience here is an unforgettable one. Luxury tours of the surrounding coastline are arranged in either a helicopter or traditional Turkish gullet. The resort’s beachfront location is within easy reach of many of the Bodrum Peninsula’s most exotic attractions. Located on the northern coast of the Bodrum Peninsula at Cennet Koyu (Paradise Bay), the town of Göltürkbükü is just five minutes away and the Bodrum City Centre about 20 minutes.

44. La Réserve

Paris, France

Overlooking the Eiffel Tower, the Pantheon and Concorde obelisk, the La Réserve hotel is shielded by a majestic curtain of trees that creates privacy and intimacy – an experience that has to be felt to be appreciated. Like an echo of the Elysée gardens nearby, this Michel Reybier’s highly distinctive urban mansion is doused with an elegance of a 19th century private apartment. Ultra-personalised services can be availed in style and discretion. This includes the housekeeper preparing a special customised breakfast, running your errands, and attending to any other details you may have. A personalised chef is the topping on the cake. Large and expansive spaces are swathed in a warm glow of lighting suitably enhanced by rich drapes and hangings. The marble fireplace adds to the touch of regalia that the Parisian chic set in the Belle Époque is renowned for.

45. The Sanchaya

Bintan, Indonesia

Redefining the concept of relaxation and rejuvenation is this Indonesian property that lies on the pristine sands of Lagoi Bay. A mere short transfer from Singapore’s Changi area, it takes just 15 minutes to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, where high-speed ferries whisk guests to the island in 45 minutes. The Sanchaya is the only property on Bintan with its own VIP lounge in the ferry & immigration terminal, The Estate Artisans extending one of the most comfortable and relaxed immigration and luggage transit ever to be experienced! Each of the suites reflects the romance of the colonial era while providing an insight into the region’s enchanting cultural mosaic.

46. Sandibe Okavango

Safari Lodge

Okavango Delta, Botswana Located on a private concession in the spectacular Okavango Delta, Sandibe has exclusive traversing rights over the undulating stretches of land adjacent to the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve. The property has a rich mix of what the Delta has to offer in design, wildlife viewing and local hospitality. Set in a cool forest canopy of wild palms and fig trees, it blends effortlessly with the African landscape. Behind are goldengrassed floodplains inhabited by a large variety of wildlife. A channel of clear, cool waters runs directly in front of guest suites with plenty of unrestricted views. Wake up to the sound of animals, laugh at the antics of baboons and squirrels and tread in footsteps of elephants as they walk ancient paths.

47. Vana Malsi Estate

Uttarakhand, India

Vana Malsi Estate, located on Mussoorie Road, Dehradun, India is about an hour’s drive from Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport. The retreat is surrounded by mountains, gardens, forests and orchards. Protected by sal forest on two sides and orchards of mango and lychee, the Estate property has nearly 21 acres of land spread at various levels. An air of informal comfort and luxury is experienced as guests interact with each other and with the estate staff. Keeping in mind the overall wellness experience, classical music performances, nutritional cuisine lessons, morning and evening yoga, two forms of meditation and a growing list of retreat activities are organised in this serene and soothing ambience. Vana offers two hikes that help build endurance while giving guests a chance to experience the outdoors besides the Rishikesh Ganga Aarti and various pujas (prayers).

48. Aman Tokyo

Japan

Experience Japanese Zen at the opulent Aman Tokyo that sits on the 40th storey of Otemachi Tower overlooking snowy mountain peaks and amazing sunrise and sunset views. Retaining the best of Japan’s architecture and artistic motifs, its large rooms and suites are outfitted with rich Japanese furnishings. Washi paper slide doors or screens are unique just as are the bathrooms with their most unusual and fascinating fittings. A long daybed and tokonoma, the raised platform found in Japanese homes on which flowers and ornaments are displayed, runs the length of the floor-to-ceiling window. Deep soaking spa treatments, large hot baths, a 30-metre swimming pool with a stunning view of the city and a 1200-bottle stocked wine cellar will give you a true blue Japanese experience matching hospitality services to the T.

49. Namiri Plains

Tanzania

Talk Tanzania and you visualise the most spectacular sightings of the Big Five. The Namiri Plains camp was created for exactly these visuals with real safari enthusiasts seeking comfort and exclusivity in secluded surroundings with excellent guiding and a more intense wildlife experience. This is an eco-friendly camp with only eight tents pitched in the shade of giant acacias, offering 360° views of wild animals crossing over the plains, river area and dense green reed beds that attract birds and smaller wildlife species. The migration passes through Namiri Plains from October to May, unleashing spectacular predator sightings during December and January as resident big cats feast on passing herds of wildebeest and zebra. As guests, you explore the Plains on daily game drives, enjoy sunrise breakfast picnics atop Soit Le Motonyi rock or sundowners on kopje.

50. Alila Jabal Akhdar

Oman

Alila Jabal Akhdar lies within the interior region of Al Dakhiliyah and is a good 2.5-hour drive from Muscat International Airport. The area is at least 15 degrees cooler than in Muscat year round, making it a preferred getaway in the summer months. Endowed with abundant scenic beauty it is also the hub of cultural activities. The region comprises eight ‘wilayats’ or districts, among them Adam, Bahla, Al Hamra and the regional centre of Nizwa. Known as “The Pearl of Islam”, Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and its former capital, once a sanctuary for scholars and a stronghold for powerful leaders. The town is dotted with ancient forts, castles, mosques and UNESCO heritage sites creating the perfect avenue to explore, walk, trek, shop and indulge in culinary fiestas

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