I like to start every year with my travel goals. Although last year was pretty much a bust, I’m still starting my list for this year with hopes of getting to at least one or two destinations.

So here I am, reminiscing (and wanderlusting) about some memorable getaways and luxury hotels.

Luxury hotel on the sea in Phuket Thailand
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The Best Resorts in the World

Generally, luxury to me is personalized service, authentic experiences, top notch views and absolute comfort. Fine dining and amenities are a bonus, however, luxury doesn’t have to be super opulent and lavishly expensive. With that said, I put together a list of my top luxury hotels. Some are still on my list to get to…


Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

Luxury hotel in Paris overlooking Eiffel Tower in a big city
Photo credit: Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Want to wake up to dreamy views of the Eiffel Tower? The Shangri-La was built by Napoleon for his grandnephew, so you can imagine that every corner of this regal hotel displays true French splendor. Even the bathroom exudes luxury with full marble décor, walk-in rain showers and deep soaking tubs. There’s even flat screen TV’s in the bathroom, but who needs them when you can open your windows and stare at the unparalleled views of the Eiffel Tower.

Then there’s the Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, Shang Palace that will fully satisfy your appetite for fine dining.  And to top it off, you can book your room by view to ensure you get the Instagram worthy views of the Eiffel Tower to document your stay that’s truly fit for royalty.

Park Hyatt Sydney

Luxury hotel in Sydney Australia in a big city

Maybe it’s because I am enamored with the Opera House and have always wanted to see it up close and personal since seeing it in movies as a kid. If you stay in this ultra modern 5 star hotel, there she will be, right off the balcony in my case. Head to the rooftop plunge pool and cabanas, and there she will be again.

The luxe Park Hyatt Sydney is right in the coveted location of the Sydney Harbour and a few steps from The Rocks. I highly recommend a cocktail in the Bar with the million dollar view.

Check out my review of this fabulous Syndey hotel right on the water.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

Luxury hotel of Mandarin Oriental London in a big city
Photo credit: Mandarin Oriental

The stunning 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park exudes luxurious elegance overlooking Hyde Park and Knightsbridge.  Right in the center of London, it’s a stone’s throw from upscale shops like Harrod’s, my favorite place for high tea.

As a special treat for families, I’m told that mini guests often receive gifts from the staff. And as a special treat for adults, make sure you indulge in The Spa (sadly, the treatments are not gifted 😉

Mandarin Oriental says it best when it states: “With three outstanding restaurants, two Michelin stars, and one magnificent bar, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is undeniably one of the city’s finest culinary destinations.” The reviews show that food lovers agree. You haven’t had dinner until you’ve tried the gastronomic cuisine at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and then unwind at the Mandarin Bar.

You’ll join a list of celebrities like Stanley Tucci, Morgan Freeman and Dame Helen Mirren who consider themselves “Fans” of this Mandarin Oriental.  I’m a Fan.

While you’re here, why not use the London Pass for discount tickets on all your activities, including the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus.


Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is a top pick for a luxurious overwater bungalow exclusive experience. Some even have their own private plunge pools. Take a dip in the ocean, then come back and relax and have lunch in your own private pool surrounded by a gorgeous Tahitian landscape and an ocean teeming with life.

This paradise resort with its divinely turquoise water is sustainable and eco friendly complete with a marine biologist and Lagoon Sanctuary. Enjoy the finer things in life as you are pampered by the staff, indulge in great food and plunge in an ocean that feels like bathwater.   By the way, a Tahitian sunset is the closest thing to heaven.

Katikies Sun Rocks, Santorini

Luxury hotel on the beach in Santorini Greece
Photo credit: Katikies Hotel
Luxury hotel on the beach in Santorini Greece
Photo credit: Katikies Hotel

First on my list to get to is the Katikies Hotel Santorini! This crisp white and blue hotel overlooks the Aegean Sea, even from your own private deck. It was awarded one of the best luxury hotels by Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Travelers. But that makes sense, just look at these pics!

Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali

Luxury hotel on the beach in Bali Indonesia
Photo credit: Six Senses Bali
Luxury hotel on the beach in Bali Indonesia Six Senses
Photo credit: Six Senses Bali
Luxury hotel on the beach in Bali overlooking the sea
Photo credit: Six Senses Bali

Six Senses sits high on a secluded bay overlooking the Indian Ocean on Bali’s southern coast. Technically the beach is hundreds of feet below. This massive luxury resort features villa style rooms each with its own private plunge pool, garden terrace, and sundeck, oh yes, and Balinese coffee.

Come here especially for the wellness experience and the warrior commitment to sustainability. To definitely assist with that are the incredible panoramic views, farm to table eats, complimentary morning yoga and a spa that you will never want to leave.

On a personal note, I haven’t had the pleasure to stay at a Six Senses property yet. However, it has been on the top of my radar for their consistent commitment to sustainability initiatives. Their support to a greener earth includes wildlife conservation and giving back and educating the local community wherever their properties are located.

“Employing locally is one of our social commitments, together with internships, work experience programs and supporting street children.”

Six Senses Uluwatu Bali


Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St Moritz Switzerland

Luxury hotel in a winter wonderland in St Moritz Switzerland
Photo credit: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
Luxury hotel in a winter wonderland at Badrutt's Palace hotel in Switzerland
Photo credit: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

So first, palace is right in the name, expect to be pampered here. Although it’s also a great place to visit in the summer, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is a winter wonderland because of the winter activities: ice skating, world class skiing, tobogganing, skijoring (what?! being pulled by a horse while on skis), snowkiting and curling.

Just the abundance of unique winter activities, some to try for the first time, makes this palace a destination for the winter. Did I mention the carriage rides?

Further, Badrutt’s is another eco friendly luxury hotel that comes with personalized butler service. No wonder it’s another celebrity favorite.

St Regis, Aspen Colorado

Up for some more skiing? The extraordinary five-star luxury destination at The St. Regis Aspen Resort is the place for more downhill slopes and luxury pampering. This chic hotel is located at the base of Aspen Mountain so your views from here are incredible. Not to mention the grand lobby entrance with the inviting wood-burning fireplace and custom furnishings by Ralph Lauren beckons you to stay for a while.

If skiing isn’t your thing, then I recommend the resort’s renowned spas, hot tubs and culinary delights, especially the French toast and handcrafted cocktails (maybe not both for breakfast…or maybe so).

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland

Luxury hotel in a winter wonderland at the Kakslauttanen hotel in Finland

Remember seeing these glass igloos all over the internet?

These igloos are in the arctic wilderness at Finland’s Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and is another one on my immediate hit list to experience. It’s one of the best places to awe at the northern lights from the comforts of your bed and private fireplace, some even come equipped with your own sauna. When not gazing at the northern lights, head out on reindeer safaris or test your skills at ice fishing.

TRAVELER’S TIP: No surprise, this hotel books up months in advance for prime northern lights viewing time. Why not book your glass igloo stay right now?


Amangiri, Utah USA

Luxury hotel in the middle of the desert at the Amangiri hotel in Utah
Photo credit: Amangiri

Amangiri is a 600-acre isolated sanctuary surrounded by national parks in Utah. As you can see, it’s designed to fit into the natural landscape which makes for jaw dropping unfiltered starry nights. You may seriously think you are on Mars!

Amangiri’s minimalist design with clean lines and white stone floors contribute to fitting into the surrounding landscape. Each Suite has an outdoor fireplace and sitting area and some are equipped with private plunge pools.

Catch the sunrise over these century old formations, then go horseback  riding through the landscape’s slots and canyons or just book a spa treatment for the day. Amangiri is the perfect retreat for health and wellness. And yes, this magnificent desert hideaway comes with a price.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como

The Grand Hotel Temezzo is about an hour outside of Milan, this iconic 5 star Italian hotel located in the grand Art Nouveau palazzo is more like a palace than a hotel. It boasts world class views of Bellagio from its floor to ceiling glass windows and one of its 3 pools is actually on Lake Como.

Once here, you won’t want to leave. Luxury at its finest with a private beach and park and I’m pretty sure you can see George Clooney’s house from this resort.

Qasr Al Sarab Resort, Abu Dhabi

Luxury hotel at the Qasr Al Arab hotel in the sandy desert in Abu Dhabi
Photo credit: gulfnews.com

Visiting another desert gem across the globe is the 5-star luxury resort, the Qasr Al Sarab Resort. Part of the Anantara brand , this resort is in the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest desert, about 120 miles (200 km) from Abu Dhabi.

But you will NOT be bored. Surrounded by the blue water plunge pools and greenery, you will definitely begin to think this oasis resort is an illusion.  Experience the wonders of the desert from this exclusive resort from camel trekking to sand duning to falconry.


Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

Luxury hotel in Kenya at the Giraffe Manor hotel in Nairobi Kenya
Photo credit: Safari Collection

At the very top of my TAKE ME THERE NOW! list is Giraffe Manor!

I know you’ve seen it all over the internet, it’s the boutique property where the resident Rothschild giraffes pop their heads into the windows to eat breakfast right from your own plate. Not only that but you can spend all day learning and interacting with them.

The experience seems absolutely fairytale like.  Which makes it the top of my bucket-list stay.

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Luxury hotel and private pool and slide into the ocean at Soneva Fushi resort in Maldives
Photo credit: Soneva Fushi
Luxury hotel and private pool and slide into the ocean at Soneva Fushi resort in Maldives
Photo credits: Soneva Fushi

Sitting on its own private island in the Maldives (but many resorts in Maldives are on their own private island too), is the boutique hotel Soneva Fushi with its eco-chic villas complete with their own private pool and direct beach access.

It’s an extravagant stay and it makes my bonus list for the incredible one and two bedroom overwater villas that include a two story slide into the ocean. What every adult needs!

TRAVELER’S TIP: Travelzoo always has some great deals to visit the Maldives! Purchase a voucher even without definite travel dates, and take up to two years to travel to this gorgeous luxury destination. If you still can’t, most vouchers are fully refundable!

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Even before Crazy Rich Asians, Marina Bay Sands was one of the most recognizable hotels in the world.  It’s triple towers houses 2,561 luxury rooms and are joined by the world’s biggest cantilever roof.  The best views of the city skyline can be accessed by the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool (only for hotel guests).

Although it is located in the heart of a big city, it’s on my bonus list for being so massive that it offers so many amenities that you truly do not have to leave during your stay. It’s as if Marina Bay Sands is its own city.


I had a great time sharing these magnificent luxury hotel resorts. As I’ve said, I’ve stayed at a few and a few are still on my bucket list. If this list inspired you, feel free to book your luxury stay!

If you’ve been to any or if any are on your list, drop it in the comments, I’d love to her about it. I can think of a few more resorts that are also on my list, maybe I’ll have to do a Part 2…

In the meantime, here are some ways to help you travel:

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