Saturday, October 31, 2009

World's Best Awards: Top 10 Hotels

1. Oberoi Udaivilas; Udaipur, India: Perched on the banks of Lake Pichola in the heart of Rajasthan, the Oberoi Udaivilas gives guests the royal treatment. Choose your level of luxury: perhaps a room with a private terrace overlooking the hotel’s moated pool, or the 2,650-square-foot, fit-for-a-maharaja Kohinoor Suite, with fireplaces, a private pool and a wooden sauna. Top it all off with an afternoon in the hotel’s Oberoi Spa by Banyan Tree, where treatment suites look out onto the cream-colored walls of the grand 16th-century City Palace.

2. Singita Sabi Sand/Kruger National Park, South Africa: Four lodges inside Sabi Sand Reserve and the Kruger National Park offer guests a perfect vantage point for spotting game or simply enjoying the surrounding landscape. Survey the savannah for buffalo, elephant, lions, leopards and antelope from the open-air lounge of Singita Boulders Lodge, or take in a view of the Sand River, and perhaps also see some game, from your private plunge pool at the Singita Ebony Lodge.

3. The Oriental, Bangkok: Having recently undergone a $75 million renovation, each room and suite in this hotel, which claims a 130-year history, is designed with traditional Thai sensibilities. Across the Chao Phrya River, the hotel’s Oriental Spa offers distinctive touches as well, such as heated scrub tables and an herbal steam bath.

4. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet: This hotel has had an unusual past: It was fashioned from a century-old neoclassic Turkish prison. Conditions, though, are far from austere. Conveniently located near the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, this intimate property’s 65 rooms and suites—each decorated to blend with the architectural heritage of the city—surround an open courtyard and combine ancient charm with modern comfort.

5. The Milestone, London: Overlooking Kensington Palace, this hotel’s property has been the site of a private dwelling, an academy for young gentlemen, a Jesuit school and an insane asylum. The current structures, built in the 1880s and restored in 1999, now house 45 bedrooms, 12 suites and six two-bedroom apartments, all boasting five-star comfort and easy access to attractions such as the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods and the West End.

6. Relais Il Falconiere; Cortona, Italy: This Relais & Chateaux hotel offers guests a Tuscan vacation to remember with themed stays. You can opt for a cooking school experience, a wine tour-focused trip or a hunting holiday.

7. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve; Sabi Sands, South Africa: The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, inside South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve, boasts four luxury lodges, not to mention “Big Five” game: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo. Each lodge is designed around a different theme, from Selati Cam, which pays homage to Africa’s colonial days, to the more modern-in-theme Earth Lodge, which boasts an eco-harmonious design (the lodge is sculpted into a slope in the earth).

8. Mandarin Oriental, Munich: This hotel offers 73 luxury rooms and suites in the heart of the city’s action. A five-minute walk will take you to Munich’s Old Town square (the Marienplatz), where you’ll find caf?s, bars and designer shops. Even closer: Maximilianstrasse, a mecca of high-end fashion and jewelry, as well as Renaissance and Gothic architecture. End your day with a dip in the Mandarin Oriental’s rooftop pool, where you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding city.

9. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii: Located on the Kona-Kohala Coast, on the Big Island of Hawaii, this hotel offers an elegant home base from which to see the island’s diverse offerings. Take a day trip to see active volcanoes, tour a nearby coffee plantation or stay close to home and just relax on the beach or play a round on the resort’s private Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

10. Oberoi Amarvilas; Agra, India: The sight to see here is, of course, the Taj Mahal—and the Oberoi Amarvilas delivers. The hotel offers views of the monument (built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan to honor his late wife) from each of its 102 rooms and suites. For a closer look at the world’s most famous shrine to love, the resort offers guests complimentary transfers to and from the Taj in environmentally friendly, battery-operated buggies.


Post a Comment