14. The Merrion, Dublin
If you want to experience true Irish hospitality whilst in the capital, The Merrion is an impeccable reflection of Irish homeliness the way it should be enjoyed – with a touch of luxury of course! The staff are some of the friendliest, most humble people I have encountered throughout my days living in 5 star hotels… and the rooms are simply exquisite.
13. The Balmoral, Edinburgh
The Balmoral is widely regarded as the crowning jewel of luxury hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland’s ever-so-charming capital. J. K. Rowling stayed here to finish the final installment of the Harry Potter books and yes, you can even stay in the same room!
12. Zabeel Saray, Dubai
As one of the Jumeirah collection, the Zabeel Saray on the palm is one of Dubai’s most luxurious hotels. It is also relatively well-priced compared to other hotels in the 5 star category and the private beach is also a nice touch!
11. Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island
Easter Island is one of those bucket list locations you always dream about but never actually think you will go. When I went there this year, I couldn’t have been in a more dream-like fantasy that requires pinching yourself to know its actually happening. I visited the island with Explora, a luxury collection of 3 properties in Easter Island, Atacama, and Patagonia. The all-inclusive package ensured I was well taken care of, including all three-course meals and guided hikes around the island.
10. The Wellesly Hotel, London
Although I have stayed at many of London’s most luxurious properties, The Wellesly London managed to stand out as London’s first boutique uber-luxe property. It had all the grandeur of the large hotels, but with the exclusiveness of being a small property catering to a small clientele. The position of the property opposite London’d Hyde Park couldn’t have been more perfect!
9. Hotel Beaune Le Cep, Beaune
Although this hotel is only categorised as a four star hotel, it managed to surpass all expectations and come inside the top 10 of this year’s best hotel visits. Located amidst the wine region in France, Hotel Le Cep has been passed down through generations and manages to maintain a uniquely family-oriented approach to comfortable luxury.
8. The Greenwich Hotel, New York
What’s cooler than being cool? Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel is the epitome of being ‘on the inside’. This is one of the most understated addresses in all of New York and an absolute must for anyone who wants to experience New York in a more local way but still with the artsy types.
7. Hotel le Toiny, St Barthelemy
Hotel le Toiny is the destination for honeymooners on the island of St Barthelemy in the French caribbean. Each room has a private pool overlooking the ocean and the greenery surrounding each bungalow makes it a private affair. Private in-room breakfast is included in the rates and served on your private terrace – how lush!
6. The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong
As far as room views go, the Rits Carlton Hong Kong – aka the highest hotel in the world – is like sleeping in the clouds. Upgrading to the hotel’s executive club is an absolute must, as it comes with complimentary food and drinks around the clock and unrivalled service.
5. Hotel Isle de France, St. Barthelemy
The Isle de France has long been regarded as one of the absolute best properties to stay at on the island of St Barthelemy, where hotels very rarely drop below five stars. Commonly regarded as the holiday destination for the international elite, St Barthelemy is a truly luxe getaway that is hard to beat. Prices almost double during the festive season, so be sure to consider a visit over summer time instead.
4. Ellerman House, Cape Town
As far as luxury experiences go in South Africa, there are plenty on offer that involve safari camps and lavish three-course meals… but there is none other like the cliffside innercity escape in Cape Town; Ellerman House. The staff at Ellerman welcome guests at the airport with a private car, followed by a full property inspection and introduction to their home away from home in Cape Town, South Africa. There is even a private gallery onsite that is home to an impressive collection of South African art, as well as an opulent wine gallery that feels as if it is a living piece of art in itself.
3. Salto Chico Hotel, Patagonia
Salto Chico is located smack bang in the middle of the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. While the nature and surrounds are the clear focus, the hotel itself is a luxurious getaway that will leave you feeling as if you have found a true heaven on earth. The only hard part is leaving…
2. The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York
When I was upgraded to the Presidential Suite at The Pierre hotel in New York, I couldn’t help but to think this would have to be the most luxurious experience I would ever be a part of in my life. The opulence of the hotel is reflected in all suites and rooms throughout The Pierre, but stepping inside the Presidential Suite after getting into New York from a long day flying was a moment I will never forget for as long as I shall live!
1. Singita Sweni, Kruger National Park
The luxurious Singita properties located throughout Africa are some of the most exquisite private lodges to be found in the world. A long list of A-list celebrities have stayed here at the Singita Sweni and Lobombo lodges inside the Kruger National Park, but despite the rumours none of these will be confirmed – all part of the privacy on offer here at Singita. Although this is one of the world’s most exclusive accommodations on offer, Singita have a strong focus on giving back to the local community and even have a cooking school onsite to invigorate education in the region. A true delight to visit and by far the most luxurious hotel visited by WOW in 2014.
Thanks to each of the 14 best hotels of this year for welcoming World of Wanderlust. Here’s to a New Year exploring more of the world’s most exclusive properties in 2015!