When thinking about any lists of the best hotels in the world, it is fair to assume they are a bit subjective. As an example, you need only ask what makes a hotel the “best hotel” to the person asked to find out if it meets your criteria, too. Is it all about luxury hotels, is it all about the most highly ranked hotels in any list of top hotels in the world? Maybe it is about the food or the views?
We turned to the diverse group of experts at Travel + Leisure for their recommendations. We looked at the hotel list that was the Travel and Leisure best hotels for 2019 as well as other lists of the best luxury hotels in the world to come up with our own recommendations.
We did not focus on just one element when looking for the best hotels in the world. For example, we didn’t just point to one hotel or accommodation in Turks & Caicos or Barbados because it was on a glorious beach. We didn’t recommend a spot on St Barts because it was home to a world-class restaurant and views. Instead we considered:
- Amazing locations
- Great views
- Premium amenities
- Top rated food
- Excellent service
- Beautiful design
Each of the properties appearing in this list of the best hotels in the world will have those features in common, plus many are in areas where there are additional accommodations, such as luxury villas and private properties available. By being situated close to fellow luxury properties, a great hotel proves it is in the right place and attractive to the right crowd of like-minded travelers.
The experts agree that Asia has some of the best hotels in the world, with some of the very finest located in Thailand and Bali. The most commonly recommended among the Thai-based hotels are Six Senses Samui, Koh Samui; Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai; and the Anantara Hua Hin Resort, and Anantara Hua Hin Resort, both in the Hua Hin. Three of the four properties are waterfront gems, and the Chiang Rai is a jungle property that boasts luxury as well as rustic beauty and the joy of an elephant sanctuary on the premises.
It is important to remember that the entire Phuket area is also ranked as one of the best destinations for its beauty and its fabulous beaches, accommodations, and culture.
In nearby Oceania, French Polynesia is home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels – many sitting on the water or built on platforms extending out from the landscape. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is a classic example, with land-based as well as over the water options. The Tetiaroa area is ultra-luxurious and a separate island with a bay all its own.
Italy stands second for its many amazing locations, as well as being home to many of the best hotels in the world. Start with some of the most amazing properties of the Tuscany region (including the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Montalcino), as well as an array along the stunning Amalfi Coast (including the Borgo Egnazia in lovely Svaelletri Di Fasano, the Palazzo Avino in Ravello), and the hotels of the lake region (including the Grand Hotel Serbelloni in Lake Como). Art and history lovers will appreciate J.K. Place in Firenze.
There is also the stunning Umbrian region and the eternally lovely island that is Sardinia, and each area offers unique scenery, year-round good weather, amazing food, culture, and an endless array of activities.
The Greek Islands still rank highly as home to amazing hotels, including several in stunning Santorini (including the Katikies Hotel, the Grace Hotel, and the Canaves Oil Epitome). Mykonos is also a wildly popular destination in Europe.
Then move on to some of the best hotels in the world found in the Caribbean region. For example, a property that consistently ranks as the nicest hotel in the world is Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica. There is also Tensing Pen in Negril, and an array of luxury villas that have all of the same options as first-rate hotels, but with the added luxury of total privacy.
The island of St Lucia is also noted for some of the best hotels, and Jade Mountain consistently ranks at the top of many lists. The lesser-known island of Antigua is home to Curtain Bluff, while Anguilla is home to the famed Frangipani Beach Resort. The Shore Club of Turks & Caicos is a beachfront marvel, and the entire Platinum Coast of Barbados is noted for its amazing hotels.
Mexico is also home to some of the top hotels, including Montage Los Cabos and the Resort at Pedregal both in Cabo San Lucas, the Viceroy Riviera Maya and the Rosewood Mayakoba both in Playa del Carmen, the Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort in San José del Cabo.
Costa Rica is continually rising in the lists of luxury destinations and is home to sites like the Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas in Guanacaste, Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection in Pérez Zeledón, the Lapa Rios Lodge on the Osa Peninsula and the Nayara Gardens in Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica. Though properties are found on both coastal areas of this Central American country, some of the must opulent are along the Western Pacific coast.
And if the Pacific appeals to you, Hawaii is always an eternally attractive spot that promises top-rated hotels on each island. Fans of Maui will find the Hotel Wailea to be one of the most appealing for its amazing scenery and opulent grounds, but it is matched by the Montage Kapalua Bay on the same island.
Don’t ignore the option for luxury villas in all of these locations. They can be found with full staff (including chefs and butlers) and offer many amenities in addition to their amazing locations. Whether it is a beachfront getaway or a stay in a world-famous region, there are luxury rentals that rank as highly as the many hotels listed here.