The essence of an elite hotel is not in its opulence or grandeur, but in the way it makes its guests feel. The best hotels in the world should make its guests feel special, taken care of, and doted on. Perhaps it’s a special hand-written welcome, a unique experience, or outstanding customer service. Other times it’s an exceptional amenity, a heavenly bed, or location, location, location.

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So many people ask us what the best hotels in the world are and it’s hard to say which one is the “best” because they all differ in so many ways. A luxury overwater bungalow in the Maldives is a far stretch from the hustle and bustle of a premier city hotel. While there is no one “best” hotel, we have put together a list of the hotels that stand out against the pack, offering exclusive experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Here are our picks for the best hotels in the world. Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations off the beaten path.

Best Overwater Bungalow: Four Seasons Bora Bora

Location: Bora Bora, Maldives

Why They’re the Best: When it comes to private island luxury, Four Seasons Bora Bora takes the cake. From the moment we stepped onto our private boat transfer from the airport…that took us to our private island…that took us to our private overwater bungalow, our entire experience was flawless.

What sets them apart: The unique overwater bungalows and impeccable service make the Four Seasons Bora Bora one of the best hotels in the world. The architecture of the overwater bungalows effortlessly integrates the environment with doors that open up the space to outdoor dining areas, a swim platform, and an outdoor shower.

Best Active Beach Vacation: Four Seasons Punta Mita

Location: Punta Mita, Mexico

Why They’re the Best: When it comes to active beach vacations, The Four Seasons Punta Mita wins all. With great surfing, yoga, an incredible hotel gym, golf, fishing, tennis, and additional water sports.

What sets them apart: You’ll want for nothing. The service at the Four Seasons Punta Mita is unrivaled. From the moment we stepped onto the property, we were immediately greeted with five-star service and delicious tequila drinks. The rest of the stay was so idyllic that it was hard to believe we weren’t transported to a dream! The staff absolutely made the trip for us by effortlessly balancing five star service perfectly: they were present, available, and willing without ever being too much. On our first evening, we ordered margaritas while we were swimming in the pool. The next thing we know, the waiter was plunging himself into the water with our margaritas so that could stay present in the moment. (Note: we did not ask for that – don’t worry – we haven’t gotten all diva on you!)

Best Service: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan

Location: Ubud, Bali

Why They’re The Best: The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan was recently named the number one hotel in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine. The welcoming and gracious staff is attentive to guests without being overbearing. Their attention to detail plus their focus on the guest experience create a blissful stay in the Balinese jungle.

What sets them apart: Despite being part of a large, commercial brand, The Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan stands out from the rest with their boutique-hotel approach to service. Every guest is treated like the only guest at the Four Seasons Sayan, creating a guest experience fit for royalty.


Best Wildlife: Londolozi

Location: Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Why They’re The Best: Go for the wildlife, stay for the service. Located in the Sabi Sands area of Kruger National Park, Londolozi is a luxury eco-lodge offering the premier game drives in the area and making it one of the best hotels in the world. If you’re on the hunt for big cats (leopards, especially), Londolozi is the place for you.

What sets them apart: Londolozi is family-run and thus, they treat their guests as one of their own. Their attention to detail is unparalleled – from 5-star sundowners to impeccably designed safari bungalows. Placed right in the middle of the Sabi Sands part of Kruger National Park, you can watch monkeys and other wildlife play while you dine in the lodge.


Most Distinctive: Sextantio

Location: Matera, Italy

Why They’re The Best: The town of Matera, Italy is a mountainous town filled with hundreds of caves. In the 1950’s, the town was condemned due to disease. Decades later, the city was cleaned up and now is a UNESCO world heritage site. Sextantio kept the integrity of the cave architecture and has revamped the Paleolithic era caves into luxurious dwellings.

What sets them apart: You’re sleeping in a 9,000-year-old cave. Need we say more?

US passport
Sextantio hotel Matera

Most Authentic: Amandari

Location: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Why They’re The Best: The jungles of Ubud are known to be home to a spiritual vortex and everyone flocks from all over the world to feel these forces. Many try to capture the spirit of the area, but the Amandari effortlessly integrated its environment into a 5-star experience. They even have a spiritual healer on site to help you in your journey of self-discovery.

What sets them apart: On an island that is overflowing with wannabe’s, Amandari captures the essence of the environment.

Intrepid Travel

Best Resort: Terranea Resort

Location: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Why They’re The Best: Los Angeles is filled with as many 5-star hotels as there are ingénues, but there is only one hotel that stands out from the pack and that’s Terranea Resort. With the best ocean views in all of LA county, top-notch spas, and fine dining, Terranea is definitely one of the best hotels in the world.

What sets them apart: The little things. From a glass of champagne at check-in to chocolate in the room, Terranea knows that the little things add up in the end.


Most Elegant: Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo

Location: Taormina, Sicily

Why They’re The Best: Italy is known for its fine dining and service, but nothing compares to the elegance and opulence of the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo. Nestled on the cliffs of Taormina with a bounty of bougainvillea, everything about the hotel radiates romance.

What sets them apart: The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is the epitome of Italian elegance. Also, their brunch is unparalleled. They have a wide selection of fine Italian mozzarella and burrata cheeses, delicious cured meats, and an incomparable view of the ocean.

Belmond Grand Timeo

Best Private Villa Escape: Ani Villas

Location: Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

Why They’re The Best: With its limestone rocks jutting from the Andaman Sea, the everything about Thailand radiates exotic romance. Ani Villas is the perfect place for a family getaway, wedding, reunion, or romantic rendezvous. When you stay at Ani Villas, you’ll be renting out the entire 10 room compound!

What sets them apart: The service! Asia is known for its impeccable service, but Ani Villas takes it to another level. Unlike resorts that have set times for meals, everything is on your time at Ani Villas. If you want a champagne lunch, you can have it. If you want a traditional Thai meal, they’ll cook you up something spectacular. If you want something romantic, they’ll create a fine dining experience on the beach. Whatever you want, “it’s all yours” at Ani Villas.

Ani Villas

Best Place to Unplug: Hanging Gardens of Ubud
Location: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Why They’re The Best: If you want to get away from it all, then escape to the Hanging Gardens of Ubud. This jungle escape is located on the Ayung River in the Balinese jungle, away from the town center. During our time at the Hanging Gardens, we never left the hotel. That’s how great it is. This resort is the essence of escapism.

What sets them apart: Location, location, location! …Plus two-tiered infinity pools in the middle of the jungle.

hanging Gardens Ubud Bali

Best City Escape: Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong, China

Why They’re The Best: Bright lights, big city is the name of the game in the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong. Smack dab in the middle of all of the action is the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, a sanctuary and respite from the hustle and bustle from the city.

What sets them apart: The views! Plus, the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong has the world’s tallest bar and world’s tallest pool. While there are so many activities in Hong Kong, it will be difficult to force yourself to leave this incredible hotel! 

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

Best Girls Getaway: The D’Angleterre Hotel

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Why They’re The Best: The D’Angleterre is located in the heart of Copenhagen, close to Nyhavn Harbour and the best bars in town. The D’Angleterre has a champagne bar, a world-class spa, and the best service in Europe.

What sets them Apart: Your every wish is their command. However, you never even need to ask because they have already thought of your every wish and granted it before you could even ask.


Best Jungle Escape: Los Altos De Eros

Location: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Why They’re The Best: This 6 room resort is nestled in the jungles of Costa Rica and overlooks the surf town of Tamarindo. While you’re close to the action, you’re still far enough away to enjoy relaxing

What Sets Them Apart: The intimacy. With only 6-rooms, Los Altos De Eros is the way to enjoy an intimate experience.

Los Altos De Eros

Best Opulent Indulgence: The St. Regis Macao

Location: Macao, China

Why They’re The Best: In a city where everyone is vying to be the top dog, the St. Regis Macao easily stands the tallest of them all. They have everything anyone could want from Macao – the most amazing spa services, a casino for the gamblers, incredible epicurean delights for the foodies, and unique experiences only found at the St. Regis.

What Sets Them Apart: Service and unique experiences. The St. Regis consistently had 5-star service in every single part of the hotel. From a couples massage at the spa to learning how to saber champagne, The St. Regis Macao has it all.

st. regis macau