30 BEAUTIFUL HOTELS AROUND THE WORLD
With a gargantuan list of global travels, it’s not surprising I have racked up a long list of beautiful abodes and hotels. I’m often asked how I select hotels for my trips and the simple answer is a lot of research, boutique over larger chains, somewhere that delivers on authenticity and sustainability, a lot also rides on the type of holiday, city break, island escape, adventure itinerary. If you’re planning an escape to one of the destination below, have a peruse of a few from my list of incredible hotels around the world…
MOUNTAIN PINE RIDGE FOREST RESERVE, BELIZE
1. Gaia River Lodge (S)
Perched above the magnificent Five-Sisters waterfalls in Belize is much acclaimed Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, lies the exclusive 13 room Gaia River lodge. It will truly blow your mind from the minute you arrive to your very last steps out of its reserve. Think remote, pine tree lined dust tracks with wooden cabanas, the sound of gushing water from the waterfall beneath you, technicolour flowers glistening like jewels in the landscape and occasional birdsong from the odd flying friend that sweeps passed your path. A place to spend time appreciating your surroundings, nature and the lodge’s sustainability efforts.
Gaia River Lodge Cayo District Mountain Pine Forest Reserve Belize Tel. 011. 501.834.4005 Website
AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
2. Matachica (S)
On the island of Ambergris Caye lies the sister property to Gaia River Lodge known as Matachicha. It’s a stunning beachside resort accessible by speed boat and is made up of typical island huts in a rainbow of colours and also houses a stunning Spa. Laid back Belizian vibes surround the island with outdoor restaurants and a bar as well as plenty of spaces to soak up the sunshine. Brightly coloured hammocks on verandas are a resident feature. Water babies, this is the home of the World’s second largest reef and its’ pretty much untouched!
Matachica Resort & Spa Ambergris Caye Belize Central America Tel. 011.501.226.5010 Website
IGUAZZU FALLS, BRAZIL
3. Belmond Hotel das Cataratas (S)
In my opinion, no visit to the mighty force known as Iguazzu falls is complete without a stay at The Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, which is located in Iguazzu National Park with a panoramic view of the 252 falls. A stunning colonial style building, which after the park closes becomes your only means to having a private waterfall viewing experience. The falls are literally yours exclusively, not to mention the immaculate Belmond service, the beautiful rooms and impeccable food, this is a once in a lifetime hotel in my opinion.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas Rodovia Br 469, Km 32, s/n Parque Nacional Iguassu National Park, Foz do Iguaçu – PR, 85855-750, Brazil Website
SALVADORE DE BAHIA, BRAZIL
4. Pestano Convento de Carmo Bahia
Located in the oldest and history rich district of the San Antonia near the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Pelourinho in the coastal city of Salvador de Bahia, is a former convent dating back to 1586, which has been beautifully restored. This boutique hotel is simply stunning still displaying the original architecture and monks cloisters which are now individually designed bedrooms. A calm and peaceful oasis to relax in amidst the hustle and bustle of Salvador life.
Pestano Convento de Carmo Bahia R do Carmo 1 Santo Antônio Além do Carmo, Salvador – BA, 40301-380, Brazil Tel. +55 71 3327-8400 Website
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
5. Belmond Copacabana Palace
If you’re ever in the carnival capital of the world A.K.A Rio de Janeiro, try and squeeze in a sea view at Belmond’s Copacabana Palace. As the name suggests, it has prime location on Copacabana Beach and is most definitely where all the glitz and glamour celebrity happenings occur. In fact they have a wall on the first floor with photographs of the stars who have stayed here, including those from Hollywood and the Royal family. It truly resembles a palace from inside and is simply gorgeous, classy and opulently decorated. There are also a number of fab restaurants and a stunning pool to relax by if you don’t fancy the beach.
BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
6. Sofitel private island Bora Bora (S)
Bora Bora is the ultimate bucket list destination and with so many resorts to choose from, it can be difficult but one very authentic Polynesian abode, Sofitel Private Island is located on a private motu and is simply exquisite. A handful of over water villas with panoramic views, the ocean literally under you with incredible marine life, is certainly a treat and a half. Oh and lets not forget some of the world’s best sunsets transpire here against the back drop of Mount Otemanu.
Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island BP 516 Nunue 98730 French Polynesia Tel. +689 40 60 56 00 Website
OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA
7. El Remanso Lodge (S)
El Remanso lodge is perched high in the rainforests of Puerto Jimenez on the Osa peninsula, which has been named the most biodiverse areas concentrated in such a small space. It’s remote, its paradise and it makes you get up close and personal with nature. The stunning lodge like villas (14 in total) are simple and elegantly designed and nestled in the private rainforest, which you share exclusively with howler monkeys, spider monkeys, pumas, toucans, parakeets and an array of incredible wildlife. The view from your room or villa feature the beyond perfect beach and the atlantic ocean. I seriously rate this as one of my all time favourite abodes and all activities are arranged on site by the very talented naturalists.
Road from Puerto Jiménez to Carate, km 22., Osa Peninsula Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. Tel. +506 2735 5569 Website
ARENAL, COSTA RICA
8. Arenal Springs (S)
A couples retreat set up in the northern or Arenal area of Costa Rica is located just at the base of the great Arenal Volcano. After a adventurous trip around Costa Rica, this is a fine place to come and relax. It’s an award winning property and boasts some seriously beautiful accommodation with wellness facilities, a rainforest spa, and five different eateries as well as their own coffee shop where they give lessons on coffee bean sourcing and roasting.
The individual villas are stunningly decorated with all the mod cons including a lush garden with plunge pool. The resort is served by hot springs, being in such close proximity to the volcano
Arenal Springs Resort Alajuela Province, San Carlos, Costa Rica Tel. +506 2479 1212 Website
9. The Pig on the Beach (S)
In the South of England I have to admit one of my favourite hotel groups has to be the Pig Group. My stay in Dorset at The Pig on the Beach was most certainly cosy, cute (we stayed in the what I call the little Hobbit hut but actually names The Bothy) and loved their ethos of food grown on site. It’s idyllic location on Studland Beach with views out to the Isle of White are incredible as is the whole property, service and relaxed feel of the place. Perfect for a weekend stay.
The pig on the beach Manor House, Manor Rd, Studland, Swanage BH19 3AU Tel. 01929 450288 Website
10. Hotel Schlössle
Located at the bottom of a picturesque cobbled stoned street in Old Town Tallinn, stands the luxurious Schlössle Hotel. A 23 bedroom 5-star boutique hotel nestled between the historic storage buildings and merchant houses; the medieval building dating back to the thirteenth century adorns many charms for an inviting stay. Part of the Leading Hotels of the World, the Schlössle Hotel, certainly a charming place to choose to stay whilst visiting this UNESCO World Heritage city.
Hotel Schlössle Pühavaimu 13/15 10123 Tallinn Estonia Tel.+372 699 7700 Website
LAKE PETEN, GUATEMALA
11. Là Lancha Hideaway (S)
If you’re visiting Tikal, you cannot miss the chance of staying at one of Francis Ford Coppolas properties on Lake Peten, La Lancha. Villas face the lake with incredible panoramas and sunsets are simply spectacular. The location is simply second to none, private and most definitely lives up to its name of being a hideaway. You just have to read below to see more…
La Lancha Hideaway Lake Peten Itza, El Remate, Guatemala Tel. +502 3045 0817 Website
LAKE ATITLÁN, GUATEMALA
12. La Casa Del Mundo (S)
A 19 room hotel, built into the cliffs hanging over Lake Atitlán accessible only by boat is going to be quite the treat. Well it does not disappoint, a perfect location overlooking the volcanic caldera, stunning gardens and terraces to relax on, dinner served as a family at the end of the day and well the tranquillity of the location, will make you never want to leave.
La Casa Del Mundo La Casa Del Mundo Jaibalito, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala Tel. +502 5204 5558 Website
13. Athenswas Hotel
A stylishly sleek and modern design hotel located a stones throw from the spectacular Acropolis. Simple clean lines, but all the amenities one would need for a city break. The restaurant also looks upon the stunning view of the Acropolis and Athenswas hotel serves a great breakfast as well as being in walking distance of all the cool spots you may want to hang out in!
Athenswas Hotel Dionysiou Areopagitou 5, Athina 117 42, Greece Tel. +30 21 0924 9954 Website
14, Belmond Villa San Michele
The panorama of Florence is an absolutely awe-inspiring sight but imagine seeing it from a distance! That panorama is enhance when you admire Florence from the Fiesole Hills, which is the location of Belmond Villa san Michel. A truly unique former monastery with rooms in the old cloisters as well as luxury suites. A pool, some fabulous food in the restaurants, a short stroll from the quaint little town of Fiesole and the usual impeccable Belmond service will stay with you forever. This place is a definite for a decadent treat.
Belmond Villa San Michele Via Doccia 4 50014 Fiesole Florence Italy Tel: +39 055 567 8200 Website
POSITANO, AMALFI COAST, ITALY
15. Villa Franca
When it comes to one of my favourite coastlines in the world and the town of Positano, Villa Franca will always be a winner. A stunning villa style boutique hotel located high up from the beach is well worth the investment. It is truly stunning and family run by manager Rosa. The décor is simply divine, think turquoise meets white wash with insane views and a rooftop pool. In their own words, I can vouch it most certainly is ‘a dream amid sky and sea’
Villa Franca Viale Pasitea, 318, 84017 Positano SA, Italy Tel.+39 089 875655 Website
RAVELLO, AMALFI COAST, ITALY
16. Belmond Caruso
Ravello is my favourite location on the Amalfi Coast and partly because the Belmond Caruso hotel is one I cannot get out of my head. As well as fabulous service, views, a stunning private dining experience for our wedding anniversary, I am in awe of the infinity pool. This pool is special it appears to be between the mountains on the coastline. This place very much has the 1920’s vibe about it and it’s one of those once in a lifetime affairs
Belmond Caruso Hotel Piazza S. Giovanni del Toro, 2, 84010 Ravello SA, Italy Tel. +39 089 858801 Website
17. SoprArno suites
Located just over the Ponte Vecchio in the less touristy area of Oltrarno sits a once private residence known as SoprArno Suites. The style is classic but eclectic with carefully chosen antiques and unusual but stylish décor in the most gorgeous high frescoed celling rooms. Think roll top baths, spacious rooms dressed with lush drapes. Definitely a place for the style conscious independent traveller who has an appreciation for aesthetics, fab service and attention to detail.
SoprArno suites Via Maggio, 35, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy Tel. +39 055 046 8719 Website
LAS VEGAS, USA
18. The Bellagio
An iconic hotel made famous by the movie Ocean’s Eleven, this most certainly was a memorable stay. We stayed on the evening Dr C asked me to marry him and also went along to watch the very ‘wow’ Cirque de Soleil’s L’eau here. Every thing is grand in Vegas and The Bellagio is no exception. We stayed in a Junior Suite with famous view of the theatrical fountains from our window!
The Bellagio 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States Tel. +1 888-987-6667 Website
19. Grand Palace Hotel
Grand Hotel Riga is the sister to Hotel Schlössle and also a part of The Leading Hotels of the World. It has a beautiful location in the old cobbled-stoned town of Riga. Dating back to 1877, as a former bank this building brings very much the palatial feeling. The rooms are bright and airy and decorated in a modern style but still keep the old-world charm, as do the communal areas such as the grand stairway filled with twinkling chandeliers and the dining hall. Additionally the hotel is located down a quiet street amidst the centre of the old town.
The Grand Palace Hotel, Riga Pils Iela 12, Riga, LV-1050 Latvia Tel +371 6740 4000 Website
20. Jeeva Santai Villas (S)
Nestled on a cove facing Mangsit beach on the Indonesian Island of Lombok, is a 14 villa adults only boutique hotel called Jeeva Santai Villas. If you’re looking for a private hideaway style stay this is most definitely for you as you never even have to leave your private pool villa. A haven of relaxation with great spa facilities and a Indonesian and International restaurant, this will definitely feel like a little slice of luxurious paradise.
Jeeva Santai Villas Jalan Raya, Senggigi, Batu Layar, Kabupaten Lombok Barat, Nusa Tenggara Bar. 83355, Indonesia.
Tel. +62 370 6197123 Website
LOS ANGELES, USA
21. Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive
There’s only one place to stay if you want to live out your ‘Pretty Woman’ dream and that would be on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. Luxe Hotel is actually the only hotel located on Rodeo drive and is nestled between the shop lined street. Location is great and right in the middle of the upmarket Beverly Hills, you’ll absolutely be in the right place to spot celebs shopping and eating out in the plethora of restaurants surrounding the palm lined street.
Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive 360 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, United States Tel.+1 310-273-0300 Website
22. Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Baa Atoll (S)
This stunning resort is part of the Coco Collection and comprises a selection of villa styles located on the Northern most Atoll of the Maldives known as The Baa Atoll. It’s one of the best reefs for diving and snorkelling with incredible sightings of marine life. Coco Palm or Dhuni Kolu island encompases a spa, several restaurants, a dive centre and a barefoot policy, which goes hand in hand with sustainability.
Coco Palm Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Resort, Baa Atoll, Maldives Tel. +960 660-0011 Website
23. Riad Zayne
In my opinion, when in Marrakech, there is no other place to stay but in a traditional Riad. Ideally located within the city walls of Marrakech lies Hotel Zayne. With only a few tastefully themed rooms we opted for the African, which was beautifully comfortable and filled with interesting artefacts.
The Riad has a roof terrace, which is great for spending the hot afternoons and a stunning courtyard where the meals are served. The food is cooked daily by the resident chef, who can truly accommodate all tastes and makes the best tagines.
Riad Zayne 36، Derb Nakhla, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco Website
24. The Redbury
Located in the heart of South Beach, The Redbury brings the service and glamour to South Beach. This boutique hotel from Creative Director Matthew Rolston features 69 rooms and suites and a 12,000-square-foot rooftop pool and event space. Guests of The Redbury are invited to enjoy the hotel’s spectacular restaurant, amenities and can indulge in private access to an exclusive beach club.
The Redbury 1776 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States Tel. +1 305-604-1776 Website
25. Belmond Monasterio
There is no place to experience Andean hospitality than as The Belmond Monasterio in Cusco. A city 14,000 feet above sea level and stunning in every way is made even more special by this former monastery, which has now been given the timeless ‘Belmond’ touch. Use this as your base to explore the surrounding areas or just use it to find your feet before you start the Inca trail, you will be blown away by its beauty, elegance and service.
Belmond Monasterio Nazarenas 337, Cusco 08002, Peru Tel.+51 84 604000 Website
MACHU PICCHU, PERU
26. Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (S)
The beautiful ‘Art of Belmond’ has bought us the Sanctuary Lodge, which is located just outside of the gates of Machu Picchu. It also means you have access to the citadel on three separate occasions and waking up to the mist of Huyana Picchu is really a breath-taking experience. It’s most definitely a special stay and if you do book in here to stay the night, know that it includes all your meals, drinks and afternoon tea. It’s truly a travel memory that I will never forget.
Belmond Sanctuary Lodge Carretera Hiram Bingham KM 7.5, Aguas Calientes, Peru Tel. +51 984 816 956 Website
27. Raffles Hotel
If like myself you usually use Singapore as a transit destination then a couple of nights relaxing stay is what you need. The old world charm of The Raffles hotel is just the tonic. Indulge in their afternoon tea or visit the outdoor bar to sample the Singapore Sling, literally in the home of the Singapore Sling! Yes, this cocktail was invented here and it’s never tasted better.
Raffles Hotel 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673 Tel. +65 6337 1886 Website
28. Bellevue Syrene Hotel
One of Sorrento’s well known 5 star luxurious hotels certainly lives up to its reputation. A former residence, you will be in awe of its serene location overlooking the Gulf of Naples and a picture-perfect backdrop of Mount Vesuvius. Venture down to the lower level, which gives access to the hotels private sunbathing pier and beach, hang out in the trellised gardens with a drink or use the hotel to explore Sorrento, the choice is yours.
Bellevue Syrene Hotel Piazza della Vittoria, 5, 80067 Sorrento NA, Italy Tel. +39 081 878 1024 Website
HUA HIN, THAILAND
29. Evason six senses Hua Hin (S)
Set in Lush surroundings about half an hour drive out of Hua Hin, is the Evason Hua Hin Resort Six Senses Spa. Evason Hua Hin has 196 guest rooms, suites and villas. All offer eco-friendly designs with a relaxed ambience highlighting natural fabric and calming hues. Evason sources food on site from its kitchen garden, employs local staff from the Pranburi area, with a brand of sustainability at the forefront of their ethos.
Evason six senses Hua Hin 5 Pak Nam Pran Rd, Pak Nam Pran, Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan 77220, Thailand Tel. +66 32 632 111 Website
30. Azerai La Residence, Hue
Azerai La Residence, Hue is an enchanting luxury hotel situated on the fabled Perfume River, facing the Citadel – once home to emperors and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The hotel is a comfortable base to explore the Hue area from due to its location as well as having fantastic wellbeing facilities such as a onsite spa, pool and impressive restaurant.
Azerai La Residence, Hue 5 Lê Lợi, Vĩnh Ninh, Thành phố Huế, Thừa Thiên Huế 530000, Vietnam Tel. +84 234 3837 475 Website
So there you have it folks, hope you find some of these recommendations useful when planning your global jaunts. Tell me about your favourite hotels and any hotels that I should add to my list. Those actively participating in sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint are my top priority!
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the above hotels were part of press stays however all views, opinions and photography are my own and therefore a copyright of be-lavie
(S = Sustainable)