Life can be tough at times, can’t it? Things have gone all kinds of shonky here in 2018, there’s no denying that. When I passed a newsstand on my way to the grocery store this morning, I saw about six different headlines that made me just stop and take a moment. Things are pretty rough.
Our lives can be super hectic at times, can’t they? This high speed, high pressure world can take its toll on us. With prices and pressures ramping up more and more, some of us are having to work harder and harder to compensate. I’m trying to save for my upcoming wedding, and I’ve caught myself wondering how much some of my organs would fetch.
With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder that we value our vacations and breaks so very, very highly. The travel industry is growing at an exponential rate, as people’s need to escape for a while gets ever more pressing.
This isn’t to say that travelling is only about luxurious holidays, of course. That’s just one aspect of it. It’s certainly a popular one, though, as the lucky jetsetters of the world will testify.
Those of us without bank accounts like Kanye West’s will probably never get to travel in true A-list style. Nevertheless, we can dream, and we can certainly appreciate some of the world’s largest and most luxurious hotels. Strap yourselves in; these are some true travel goals, right here.
20 When In Rome… Hotel Cala di Volpe, Italy
The first stop on our world tour of the biggest and best hotels is Porto Cervo, Italy. This resort in the north of Sardinia is known for its natural beauty and sheer extravagance. As Knight Frank reports, it’s one of the most expensive and exclusive resorts in the world, so you’d expect something super special here.
Sure enough, the Hotel Cala di Volpe will not disappoint. It boasts magnificent views of the island, not to mention a $26,000 per night suite (featuring three bedrooms, a solarium, a private pool and a whole lot of the finest Sardinian marble). That’s a yikes.
19 Very (Shangri-)La-Di-Dah - Shangri-La, Istanbul
So, yes. Here we are, right from the first entry in the rundown, luxuriating in our swanky private pool surrounded by Sardinian marble. If you think it’s going to be tough to top that, we’re only just getting started. Next stop, Istanbul.
Needless to say, Shangri-La is the very last word in fancy hotels and resorts all over the world. It’s always up there with the best of the best, and Istanbul’s is no exception. The jewel of the Shangri-La Bosphorus is its Shangri-La Suite, which offers not one, not two, but three private terraces. For when you thought your hotel room was nice, but not terrace-y enough.
18 A Real Celebrity-Magnet - Hotel Pres. Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland
So, yes. We’re looking at rooms costing upwards of $20,000 per night. I’m already dry-heaving at the very thought of such luxury. It’s a world that so many of us will never know for ourselves. Let’s not get down about that, though, because it’s still a whole lot of fun to live vicariously.
The Hotel Pres. Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland, gets the sort of clientele that wouldn’t baulk at these rates. According to The Crazy Tourist, this luxurious and impeccable-decorated haven is rumoured to have hosted the likes of Michael Jackson, Bill Gates and Rihanna. You’re looking at its sumptuous Royal Penthouse suite, which occupies the entire eighth floor. At $80,000 per night, it’s actually the most expensive hotel suite on the planet.
17 The House That Red Bull Built - Laucala Island, Fiji
In a similar sense to Sardinia’s Porto Cervo, Laucala Island is another resort that simply doesn’t do budget travel. It’s a private island bought by Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz, with the idea of making it a super, super exclusive resort for the rich and famous.
It certainly lives up to that reputation. The phenomenal Delana Hilltop Estate requires pre-approval from guests, who must sign up for $55,000 per night for a minimum of four nights. For that dizzying price tag, you get unforgettable views, flawless waters in which to scuba dive and a private cook, chauffeur and nanny. Dang.
16 The United Arab Emirates' Finest (Probably) - St. Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Next up, we’re crossing over to Asia, where the United Arab Emirates is throwing its own hat into the swanky ring. Being such a tourism-heavy region, there are luxurious hotels throughout the area, but the St. Regis Saadiyat Island takes the proverbial cake. It’s taken the entire cake, and it’s eating the sprinkles right in front of you.
The Royal Suite, according to The Crazy Tourist, will set you back $35,000 per night. It boasts a mini cinema, spa, sauna, study and full butler service.
15 My, Grandma, What A Big Hotel You Have - Izmailovo, Moscow, Russia
As we’ve firmly established already, there’s a whole world of super, super swanky hotels out there. If you want private nannies, chauffeurs and mini cinemas, you’re all set. Still, though, there’s more to being impressive and imposing than just flashing the cash. Let’s take a break from that and check out a hotel that’s just plain enormous.
It’s probably no surprise that Russia, the world’s largest country, also hosts the world’s largest hotel. The Izmailovo, in Moscow, has a staggering 7,500 rooms. The mind-boggling complex consists of four different towers of 30 floors each, Finances Online reports. It’s rather plush itself with its three-star rating. It also hosted the athletes of the 1980 Olympics and is perfectly positioned for access to local tourist attractions.
14 A Slice Of Ancient Egypt In Las Vegas - The Luxor
As the whole world knows, Las Vegas isn’t a place known for being quiet and retiring. It’s like the darn party capital of the world, with its lavish resorts and casinos.
It’s home to all manner of hotels, of course, catering to everybody from the super-rich to the actually regular mortals like you and me. That doesn’t mean we don’t get to join on all the flashy fun, though.
Feast your eyes on this fantastic Ancient Egyptian themed resort. This is The Luxor, a reasonably-priced and anachronistically modern three-star hotel boasting an astonishing 4,500 rooms. If you’re looking for somewhere low-key to stay in Vegas… well, this isn’t for you.
13 The Ambassador Will See You Now - Ambassador City, Thailand
The difficulty some of these super-sized hotels face is uniformity. After all, when you have thousands of different rooms, you might have a tendency to keep them all super similar. That’s the case with a lot of chain hotels, regardless of size. It certainly doesn’t seem to be a problem for our next entry, though.
Thailand’s Ambassador City is another truly vast hotel. 4210 rooms, this time, divided up into four different wings. To keep everything unique and interesting, though, each wing has its own theme, distinct from the others. The huge 40 acre property in Pattaya is one of Thailand’s oldest and most reasonably-priced high end establishments, according to Finances Online, with rooms starting at just $38 for a night.
12 Now That’s What I Call A Palace - Mardan Palace Hotel, Turkey
Let me give you a little backstory about our next hotel, courtesy of Reader’s Digest: A Russian billionaire spent $1.6 billion on its construction in 2009. 9000 tons of white sand were flown in from Egypt for its beach. Impressed yet? You should be.
Turkey’s Mardan Palace Hotel is home to the largest swimming pool in the whole of the Mediterranean. How many guests can fit in at one time? I’ll tell you how many, friends: 1000, that’s how many. This palatial resort is one of the finest in Europe, as all the gold leaf and marble will testify. Truly amazing.
11 The Fanciest Boulders In All The Land - The Boulders, Arizona
The thing about these plush hotels is that they often have some truly impressive clientele. We’ve already heard the rumours of Rhianna and such frequenting these places. The other thing about these plush hotels is that discretion is usually key. Name dropping simply isn’t an option.
In Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, stunning hotel The Boulders awaits, and it only hints towards the illustrious guests it may or may not cater to. As Reader’s Digest reports, The Boulders’ PR rep Deborah Bridges once said, “Our clientele is among the wealthiest in the world, but we’re not allowed to talk about who our VIP guests are."
I’d expect nothing less of a hotel built among 12 million-year-old rock formations, with a super exclusive private villa.
10 Even Better Than IKEA - Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm, Sweden
Oftentimes, sadly, elegance and sophistication will come hand in hand with snobbery. It’s the difference between simply having a lot of money and making darn sure that the whole world knows you have a lot of money and envies you for it.
Us regular folk, you might think, would be about as welcome at one of these swanky resorts as Typhoid Mary with a hacking cough. It’s not always that way, though. The Ett Hem hotel in Stockholm, Sweden is as homey and unpretentious as it comes. The name itself means ‘home,’ and that’s exactly the feeling the place evokes. “There’s also a pretty conservatory, terraced garden and Swedish sauna,” The Telegraph reports. “Each bedroom is decadent and unique, with an antique porcelain-tiled wood burner here, a vast free-standing tub there.”
It’s one of those nice, but not too nice places, and I can always get on board with that.
9 That Victorian, Edwardian Charm - Ballyfin Hotel, Ireland
For the next stop on our world tour of remarkable hotels, we’re crossing over to the UK. To Ireland, to be more exact, where the splendid Ballyfin Hotel awaits.
This is one of the country’s most extravagant neoclassical houses, as The Telegraph reports. The whole place covers a mighty 614 acres, containing all manner of natural delights (yep, it has a lake). It’s a flawless setting, with a panoramic view of the nearby Slieve Bloom mountains from the top of the tower.
The service, food and facilities are of the highest standard, and the décor of the bedrooms and main building itself are charming and sophisticated. A traditional Irish country house polished to the brightest sheen.
8 When Only A Whole Dang Island Will Do - Bawah private island (near Singapore)
Over the course of this rundown so far, we’ve enjoyed a look at some of the most amazing, over-the-top and downright expensive resorts the world has to offer. After all, when you’re talking about $80,000 for a single night’s stay, you’re on a whole new plane of existence right there.
If simple really, really nice hotels aren’t enough for you, how about going one better? The Bawah Private Island is 150 miles from Singapore, and is, as you’d probably guessed, a dang private island. The hotel itself is made up of a series of bungalows and standalone suites, and it’s all just beyond paradise.
Bawah Island is so exclusive that only a maximum of 70 guests are allowed to be there at any one time.
7 Robin Hood Is Not Welcome Here - Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire, England
For some hotel guests, location is everything. A building can be as beautiful as it likes, but if it’s in the middle of nowhere? Forget it. If the view from your room’s window is of a gas station and a couple of overflowing skips? Nope, not having that either.
Maybe it’s a little snobby, but for some, being a stone’s throw from the beach is far classier than being in the middle of woodland. Nobody told the Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire, England, though.
This rural, oak-heavy haven runs with the theme, makes the New Forest its own, and truly shines. Open fires, Italian-inspired forest dishes in the restaurant… it’s unusual, but it works perfectly.
6 From (Cotton) Rags To Riches - Cotton House Hotel, Barcelona
Speaking of locations that are just inherently classy, Barcelona, Spain springs straight to mind, The city is known for its cultural treasures and natural beauty, and that reputation certainly extends to a lot of its hotels.
The Cotton House Hotel is so named because it was once the home of the cotton-maker’s guild. In keeping with its history, the building runs with the cotton theme. There’s a cotton-lined salon where guests can choose from fabrics and have a tailor measure them for a shirt, right then and there. Cotton bolls and white sofas define the décor, and the terrace and upstairs pool offer wonderful views of the nearby Sagrada Familia.
5 This Is Truly Paradise - Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
There are only two things you need to know about this next hotel to be darn sure that you’re onto a winner. Firstly, it’s in the Bahamas. Secondly, it’s called Atlantis Paradise Island. How could you possibly go wrong? You just can’t, that’s how.
This beautiful resort has built a reputation for itself as one of the greatest high-end hotels in the Bahamas. This is really saying something, but it’s tough to argue. The Royal Towers Bridge Suite on floor 23 is the real jewel, with ten separate high-ceilinged rooms, a 22-carat gold chandelier and its own team of seven staff ready to wait on you.
4 Arrivederci, Roma - The Westin Excelsior, Rome, Italy
Crossing back over to Europe now, one of the most glamorous cities the continent has to offer would be Rome. Incredibly popular for its rich and intriguing historical treasures, such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon, the Eternal City is a bucket list essential for travellers all over the world.
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to afford somewhere truly remarkable to stay, but we can still take a longing look at The Westin Excelsior. It’s located in the Via Veneto district, and isn’t especially pricy. The Villa La Cupola Suite is a little out of most price ranges, though, being the largest hotel suite in the whole country. It occupies two whole floors, has its own formal dining room, and perfectly blends modern technology with exquisite classical hand-frescoed art.
3 Viva Las Vegas - Palms Casino Resort
I know we’ve already been to Las Vegas in this rundown, but heck. This is Vegas we’re talking about. It’s always worth a second glance. If super-ostentatious sphinx replicas and pyramids weren’t extra enough for you, how about some good old-fashioned fanciness?
The Palms Casino Resort is one of the most luxurious you’ll find, with all manner of suites offering mod cons from basketball courts to private elevators. It’s just the embodiment of Vegas’s decadent spirit, and that’s what a lot of visitors are looking for in a hotel.
Luxury doesn’t come cheap, though, with rates upwards of $30,000 per night in some suites.
2 A Dash Of Parisian Elegance… And A Whole Lot Of Gold - The Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris
Earlier, we stopped off at Rome, one of Europe’s cultural highlights. Speaking of which, can you think of another beautiful European city we haven’t covered yet? Of course you can. Paris is the answer, so thanks for humouring me and getting that one right. Good job.
Needless to say, Paris is replete with classy restaurants and hotels. The Hotel Plaza Athenee is one highlight, and what a place it is. In the Royal Suite (which costs a cool $27,000 per night), there’s every swanky mod-con you could hope for.
Is everything embroidered in gold thread, you ask? That’s an oddly specific question, friend, but yes. Yes it is.
1 The Penthouse above all Penthouses - The Four Seasons, New York
As the phrase New York minute would suggest, New York City is a super, super hectic place. If you’ve ever tried to drive… anywhere there, you’ll totally understand. As such, the people are in need of a darn good break even more than the rest of us. It’s no surprise, then, that the city is home to a whole array of gorgeous hotels.
The Four Seasons is one famous example, boasting an absolutely fantastic Ty Warner Penthouse (for those who can afford its $45,000 per night entry fee). The penthouse itself took seven years (and $50 million) to build, according to Matador Network. This one tops them all by having its own library and art concierge, which is about as decadent as it gets. It’s also New York’s highest hotel room, trivia fans.
Resources: Matador Network, The Crazy Tourist, Finances Online, Reader’s Digest, Telegraph, Travel Counsellors.