Some hotels are appealing because of their convenient location; others because of staff who go above and beyond to create a memorable stay. And then there are the beautiful hotels that take your breath away the moment you see them.
The World's Most Beautiful Hotels
The following list features the most beautiful hotels around the globe, from a restored 11th-century palace in Italy to a mountain lodge in New Zealand's spectacular Southern Alps.
It's not easy for a hotel to live up to the beauty of Italy's glittering Amalfi Coast, but the Belmond Hotel Caruso pulls it off. The hotel's piece de resistance is the infinity pool, dramatically perched on a cliff's edge high above the sea. First built as a palace in the 11th century, the hotel is surrounded by terraced gardens fragrant with roses, lemon trees, and herbs. Rooms feature spacious marble bathrooms and balconies overlooking the gardens or sea.
There's no shortage of dreamy riads in Morocco, but Riad Fes Maya is a real showstopper. From the moment you step into its soaring inner courtyard, where seemingly every inch of space is covered with colourful Moorish tiles and exquisite wood carvings, you'll feel as though you've stepped into a magical piece of Moroccan history. The rooms are equally enchanting, with stained glass windows, intricately carved headboards, and elaborate wooden ceilings. You can relax in the on-site hammam (traditional steam bath) and spa.
Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the snow-capped Southern Alps, Blanket Bay enjoys a location that will take your breath away-and the inside of the lodge is nearly as beautiful. All rooms and suites are lavishly appointed and feature floor-to-ceiling windows to let you savor the mountain views. Grab a book and settle in front of the massive stone fireplace in the great room, or take in a sunset over the mountains from the outdoor terrace.
It's tough to choose the most beautiful spot to relax at this secluded Thai resort: the seven-mile private beach, where crystalline waters wash up on stretch of white sand? Or the expansive outdoor pool, lined with open-air cabanas and surrounded by trees? The good news is that you can split your time between both, with breaks to grab cocktails at the beach bar or take a cooking class. Rooms feature teak floors and decor in calming neutrals; upgrade to enjoy your own private pool for two.
The most gorgeous part of this luxury eco-lodge is its setting, with hills of lush cloud forest stretching in all directions. Wander through the hotel's nine-acre grounds and you'll discover a waterfall, a vegetable and herb garden, and a sun deck where you can relax with views of a serene spring water pond. You don't have to leave nature behind when you retreat to your room for the evening; all guest rooms and suites are furnished with natural hardwoods and feature balconies or terraces overlooking the cloud forest.
If you set out to design the island escape of your dreams, it would probably look a lot like Kamalame Cay, one of the most beautiful hotels in the Bahamas. The resort's bright, airy rooms and villas are decorated like upscale vacation homes, complete with views over the shimmering turquoise sea. Some of the most spectacular views are from the spa, which juts out over the water. During a massage, you can look down through the glass floor and watch the tropical fish flit through the water below.
Looking to explore the rolling green hills and terraced vineyards of Portugal's Douro Valley? Base yourself at this 19th-century manor house, now transformed into a luxe Six Senses property overlooking the Douro River. Its gardens and outdoor swimming pool are perfect spots to take in the vineyard views, while the Wine Library & Terrace serves up local vintages and tapas.
The rooms are soothing contemporary retreats, many with large windows and stone terraces from which you can look out over the endless green valley.
When you stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas, your experience of the famous Taj Mahal isn't limited to a daytime visit. Once you return to the hotel each evening, you can admire the monument's famous dome and minarets right from your room. Even better: Upgrade to a room with a private balcony, where you can enjoy dinner for two overlooking this monument to true love.
The hotel itself looks like a palace; its courtyard entrance is full of gushing fountains, and the pool area features neatly landscaped gardens, Mughal-style architecture, and that unforgettable Taj Mahal view.
Travellers looking for a desert oasis need only drive about 45 minutes outside of Dubai to Al Maha, where you can stay in your own Bedouin-style tent amidst golden sand dunes. Don't let the word "tent" worry you; these are upscale suites complete with king-size beds, handcrafted antique furniture, modern bathrooms with soaking tubs, and your own private infinity pool overlooking the desert. The resort is located on the grounds of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which means you might spot a gazelle or antelope as you relax on your sundeck.
Built as a summer home by a wealthy American in 1900, Manoir Hovey occupies 30 acres of lakefront property in Quebec's Eastern Townships region. All of the inn's rooms are individually designed and feature crisp linens and bright, contemporary country-style decor. Upgraded rooms also have amenities like marble bathrooms, fireplaces, and balconies overlooking Lake Massawippi. Manoir Hovey's landscaped grounds are gorgeous in any season, whether they're blanketed in winter snow, surrounded by fiery autumn foliage, or blooming with spring and summer flowers.
Honorary mentions include Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, have a look at my next post for places I'd visit if I won the lottery!
Have you been to any of these? I want to hear, let me know. Any others I should add to the list?