Five of the most luxurious hotels in the world


Coco Chanel once said, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”, but this is just one definition of luxury. More recently, luxury has been defined by the quality of time and experience. Take a closer look at five of the most luxurious hotels of the world.

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil. Image credit: Belmond Hotels
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil. Image credit: Belmond Hotels

See what we’ve picked as the most luxurious hotels of the world and and take note of the exceptional experiences these residences provide for you.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong – a tradition of legendary luxury

The Peninsula Hong Kong, the legendary “Grande Dame of the Far East”, is poised to create truly unforgettable memories for you as it blends antipodes like no other hotel.

Affectionately called “the Pen” by locals, it brings out the best of East and West atmosphere in timeless elegance, as it balances old world with modern touches.

Staying here allows you to relive the allure of travel of a past epoch by exploring the many antiques and historical artifacts on display around the hotel.

The Verandah, initially opened in 1933, offers a wealth of culinary styles in a glorified colonial surrounding while Felix, the Philippe Starck-designed restaurant, serves contemporary cuisine in a super-slick skyline setting.

The Peninsula, Hong Kong. Image credit: huad262/iStock
The Peninsula, Hong Kong. Image credit: huad262/iStock

The guest rooms have undergone a substantial renovation, adding high-tech enhancements such as electronic tablets for room controls, 3D flat-screen televisions, LED wall panels and charging stations with cords for most major handheld devices.

If you have an interest in art, join The Peninsula in Ink experience. You will meet with a renowned Hong Kong artist who will teach you the art of creating comics before you get a turn in sketching The Peninsula’s pageboy.

For the adventurous nature lovers keen to learn about Hong Kong’s ecological past and geological preservation, a helicopter tour takes off from The Peninsula’s 30th floor to showcase the breathtaking Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. You’ll have the rare chance to learn about the formation of the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and the distinctive characteristics of this special area from the sky.

In 2019, The Peninsula Hotels brand has become the first and only luxury hotel brand in the world to achieve a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating for every hotel in its portfolio.

The Dorchester, London – an exquisite, rich treat for your senses

Since the 1930s, The Dorchester has gracefully upheld its reputation as one of the most luxurious hotels of the world. Ideally located within London’s well-heeled Mayfair district, you can indulge in shopping, sneak out for a night at the theater, and enjoy magnificent views of Hyde Park from your balcony. With just the location its no wonder why this hotel is considered to be one the better luxury hotels in London.

This exceptional residence features a typically English façade showcasing wrought-iron balconies, and the recently refreshed 250 rooms and suites are decorated in a sophisticated English residential style.

But it’s the household butler service that brings out the Dorchester’s real English character. Entrust all your personal affairs to the hands of your butler. He has been trained to Royal Household standards and knows how to guard your privacy and tend to your every need.

The Dorchester is also home to a wealth of fine dining choices including the three Michelin starred restaurant by Alain Ducasse.  

The Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine using seasonal French and British ingredients and features Table Lumière, a private table for six and a magical centerpiece of the restaurant.

Sheltered by a radiant elliptical curtain, the table is surrounded by 4,500 shimmering fiber optics which drop theatrically from the ceiling. It lets you enjoy the ambiance and buzz of the restaurant but prevents other diners from viewing in.

Choose among an excellent assortment of Hermès china, Puiforcat silverware and Saint-Louis crystal which is exclusively used for Table Lumière.

After a sumptuous meal, have a night cup at The Bar, which emanates an elegant earthly atmosphere in black, brown, and aubergine tones mixed with lacquered mahogany and mirrored glass. Listen to live jazz and peruse the gin menu, which offers various concoctions using the bar’s own bitters.

A must-have is the “Dorchester of London” cocktail, a delicious mix of lime and grapefruit juice, sugar syrup, London Dry Gin, and Maraschino cherry liqueur, garnished with a grapefruit twist.

Harry Craddock ran The Dorchester Bar in the 1930s and was one of the world’s most famous barmen of the period. He was the one who invented the tasty signature cocktail.

Make sure you book a comfortable Blacklane limousine service in London to travel in style from Heathrow airport to The Dorchester.

The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, USA – a golfer’s dream

Do you want to walk in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy and prefer some tee time over afternoon high tea?

If your definition of the most luxurious hotels of the world includes playing golf on one of the most awe-inspiring courses, head to the Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island, 25 miles southwest of Charleston in South Carolina.

McIlroy shot a bogey-free 66 (−6) in the final round of the 2012 PGA Championship at the resort’s The Ocean Course to win his second major title by eight strokes.

The Ocean Course is just one of the five golf courses at the Sanctuary which were designed by the biggest names in golf.

However, it’s not only stunning golf courses on offer. The 5-star Sanctuary Hotel is a haven of comfort, spectacularly set in front of the Atlantic Ocean. The minute you set foot through the door, you’ll be delighted by the design and décor of this hotel that makes you feel as though you’re  in a Southern mansion.

The gorgeous lobby with polished walnut floors and handcrafted rugs is set up to feel like a living room. Sit down in one of the armchairs next to the limestone fireplace and sip on a delicious cocktail. Take a look at the murals depicting the island’s wildlife while you wait for your golf buddy to walk down one of the two large staircases.

The breezy guest rooms at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island are equally stunning and have a colonial feel with four-poster beds, large tubs, and plantation shutters. Dark wood fittings and a soft range of colors led by amber tones create a soothing sanctuary that echoes the hotel’s name and mission, which is focused on its  commitment to sustainability.

When you go for an evening stroll, you’ll notice there aren’t any street lights on Kiawah. The hotel’s website explains that artificial light can attract loggerhead sea turtles away from the beach, where they nest for half the year.

All buildings at the hotel remain behind the secondary dune line to protect this critical habitat. Moreover, staff redistribute oyster shells from the summer roasts into the salt marsh around the island to help prevent erosion.

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil – where rainforest meets luxury

Imagine this: you are sitting on the terrace in a wooden, royal, red velvet-covered armchair. The sun has started to go down, and you can feel the ice-cold glass of your favorite beverage in your hands.

From your place on the terrace, you can see the rainforest covering the horizon stretching from left to right. There is nobody else around, just you soaking up the glorious sound of the rainforest at nightfall – and the roar of the magnificent Iguaçu Falls.

Only the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas affords you this unique experience, being the only hotel inside Brazil’s Iguaçu National Park. Uniquely located just a few steps from the falls, this gem is one of the top luxury hotels in the world and is the perfect launch pad to discover nature’s wonders.

While all other visitors to the park must adhere to the strict opening hours, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas’ location inside the park gives you the luxury of time, with six additional hours of freedom to explore the area.

Go and feed toucans and flamingos by hand, or meet around a bonfire at nightfall with Guarani-Mbya, the Indigenous peoples of Brazil. The hotel invites you to “take part in an authentic welcome ritual, feast on traditional cuisine and enact a tobacco ceremony with tribal elders”.

Feed the toucans near this luxurious resort. Image credit: erenmotion/iStock
Feed the toucans near this luxurious resort. Image credit: erenmotion/iStock

Refurbished to its unique 1950s magic, the hotel’s exterior pairs well with the warm, inviting interior design. Step through the doors onto the rich dark wood floors and enter a world of understated luxury featuring white marble bathrooms and the best cosmetic products brought from Brazil’s oldest apothecary.

Listening to the dramatic falls in the dawn light while taking in the magnificent vistas in near-solitude before retiring to a bed dressed in crisp Egyptian cotton simply is priceless.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai – the perfect escape  

Repeatedly voted as one of the most luxurious hotels of the world, the well-known sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is a hallmark of the most exceptional hospitality in modern Dubai.

Opt for a suite offering endless views over the Arabian Gulf and have your bed set up to suit your personal posture preferences. Select from a range of 14 types of pillows, Eiderdown duvets, and exquisite Egyptian cotton linen to ensure you get the best sleep ever after a long flight.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Image credit: © Jumeirah Group
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Image credit: © Jumeirah Group

Take a break from the hectic lifestyle and enjoy full access to Burj Al Arab’s Talise Spa. Sitting 150 meters above the Arabian Gulf and housed over two levels, Talise Spa is an enclave to relax and rejuvenate. It features separate indoor infinity pools, Jacuzzi and treatment rooms along with saunas, steam rooms, and plunge pools. The Talise Spa is a sanctuary for you to indulge in an extensive menu of pampering treatments.

Each experience has been carefully crafted and exclusively developed using rare and natural ingredients from products with deeply stemmed Arabic heritage to leave you utterly pampered. Balance your Chakra with a hot stone massage and rejuvenate your skin with a delightful facial.

Let the Burj Al Arab take you on a sensual journey of sight, sound, taste, touch, and aroma.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Petra Loho

Petra is a freelance writer and journalist from Austria currently based in Hong Kong. She is an avid traveler who loves exploring Asia. She captures her travel and cultural experiences across the globe both in writing and with her camera.