A luxury hotel is a thing of beauty. It’s almost like an art form — one that will see guests checking out feeling more rested and restored than they could ever have thought possible, while simultaneously leaving them stunned by the architectural delights and breathtaking surroundings they’ve been party to.
We have no doubt you’re familiar with some of the most famous luxurious hotels our humble planet has to offer. The Beverly Hills Hotel, in Los Angeles? A classic. Burj al-Arab, in Dubai? But of course. The Plaza, in New York? On everyone’s wish list. The Palms, in Las Vegas? If you haven’t heard of it, we don’t know where you’ve been all this time. But here at Gentleman’s Journal, we don’t want to waste your time by telling you things you already know. The aforementioned hotels are world famous, yes; but we’ve curated a selection of the most luxurious hotels in the world that — hopefully — will introduce some new hospitable delights to your luxury radar. Have your diaries at the ready; you’ll want to check into more than a few of these.
The Mark, New York
If you thought you knew what ‘glamour’ meant, then think again: because The Mark is about to elevate that definition to unparalleled proportions.This hotel is the most glamorous spot on the Upper East Side, from its luxurious old-world comfort to its state-of-the-art design to its unparalleled levels of personal service. You see those black and white stripes decking out every conceivable surface? Well, they’ve come to be associated with one of the most jaw-droppingly lavish hotels in New York (and, indeed, the world).
The Mark prides itself on the ‘cultivated’ life. As such, The Mark Restaurant (by Jean-Georges) and The Mark Bar provide chic, timeless dining and a place to see and be seen (to say nothing of the in-room dining, courtesy of Jean-Georges); the interior designs by renowned French designer Jacques Grange are dripping with tasteful grandeur; the Frédéric Fekkai Hair Salon (that’s right — the world-famous hair stylist himself) has your grooming needs taken care of; the fitness centre offers bespoke, individual attention; and all the rooms have a connecting door with Bergdorf Goodman. No, really; just call The Mark’s concierge, and prepare to be met with a range of goods and services from the world-famous luxury department store. This summer, The Mark is even hitting the water, with the bespoke 70-foot Herreshoff-designed vessel available for private charter through the hotel.
Hotel d’Angleterre, Geneva
Poised on the shores of Lake Geneva, this luxury boutique hotel expertly melds British tradition (just wait till you try the Afternoon Tea…) with the very finest Swiss hospitality. The result? A hotel of breathtakingly luxurious proportions. Your cares will be swept away with just one lungful of that crisp, clean mountain air: and the hotel’s sky-high luxury standards will continue to sweep those cares further under the rug until they’re gone entirely, leaving nothing in their wake but a hazy, beautific state of relaxation.
It’s a small hotel, clocking in at just 36 luxury guest rooms and six suites. But don’t confuse size with quality. The Windows Restaurant offers the finest dining around, and the Leopard Bar appeals to those with a ‘party’ streak, with its opportunities for live music and cocktails. When you’re exhausted by all that partying, you can retreat to your lavishly luxurious room, all carefully kitted out with antique furniture pieces and works of art. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the hotel, the complimentary boat shuttle service leaves directly from the hotel: and there’s even the opportunity to join the hotel’s Executive Chef at the market so that you can design your own menu. We’ll never think of ‘dietary requirements’ in the same way again.
La Mamounia, Marrakech
Have you ever heard of Jacques Garcia? Well, you have now: he designed this particular luxury hotel, which originally opened in 1923 and has since undergone a three-year restoration project, spearheaded by Garcia. Poised at the edge of Marrakech’s old city, nestled in 20 acres of historic gardens, it offers more luxury than it’s possible to get one’s head around.
There are 135 stylish guest rooms in all, including 71 suits, six signature suits and three riads — each of which comes equipped with three bedrooms, Moroccan salons and a private terrace, complete with an ozone swimming pool. This is a hotel that really serves as a homage to the old grand hotels: Garcia worked with local Moroccon artisans to keep the hotel’s Moroccon soul intact, and all furniture is custom-made by Garcia himself. The luxury hits just keep coming, whether that’s the all-marble bathrooms with their soothing rain showers, or the iconic swimming pool (Le Pavillon de la Piscine restaurant takes the form of a pavilion by the pool, welcoming guests from breakfast onwards), or the Churchill Bar: an inner sanctum of smoked oak and black marble. We could go on — but we think you’ve got the idea.
Room Mate Giulia
Is there a finer hotel location than that of Room Mate Giulia’s whose address is jimmied between Milan’s two premier calling cards, the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II? A gilded, high-end interior, typical of the fashion-forward boltholes found in the Italian capital, is circumvented in favour of brighter, more vibrant visuals: “it’s new, fresh, fun and welcoming,” says its designer, Patricia Urquiola. The hotel lobby, for instance, is enlivened with neon signage, art by local creatives and Cassini-made pieces in burnt-oranges and block greens, while the floor, crafted from the same pink marble that is found on the Duomo, adds texture.
Rooms are given a refined slant courtesy of a medley of furnishings by Kartell, Flors, Kvadrat and Moroso – and colourful yet soft hues keep things on the right side of design-forward. The Junior Suite is defined by an elevated ceiling, and its colonnaded balcony offers view of a small slice of the city’s beating heart.
Room Mate Giulia
Faena Hotel, Miami Beach
We assume you’re familiar with Baz Luhrmann? Director of Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, et al? Well, the Faena Hotel features guest rooms and suites designed by the man himself, together with Academy Award® winning costume designer Catherine Martin. That juicy nugget should give you a small idea of the scale of glamour this particular hotel embodies; but just in case, we’ll fill you in a bit further. The hotel is imbued with 1950s Miami Beach glamour, but decked out from top to toe in state-of-the-art amenities. The staff cohort includes Experience Managers, who design the guests’ hotel experiences: beginning with pre-arrival planning, and running all the way up to departure. This is no ordinary hotel.
Prepare to leave your daily stresses at the hotel door. Each floor boasts a signature Faena Butler, who acts as the point of contact throughout the stay; and the Tierra Santa Healing House spa is equipped with a hydrotherapy area and hammam, as well as 11 multi-function treatment rooms. There’s a pool with pool bar, naturally (we wouldn’t expect anything else); and 100,000 square feet of beach front, complete with luxury cabanas. If you can bear to step inside, there’s a 200 seat theatre (yes, you did read that right) and the culinary delights are second to none. Pao is a restaurant with sweeping ocean views offering delectable Asian cuisine; and Los Fuegos is headed by South America’s most celebrated chef, Francis Mallmann, offering roasted meats, fish and vegetables cooked in an open-fire kitchen.
And then there’s the Saxony Bar, imbued with all the glamour of Miami Beach’s Golden Age. Exclusive, intimate and the epitome of chic, you’ll be hard pressed to leave.
Originally opened in 2014, this chic, stylish hotel occupies one of four towers at the Zorlu Center: a contemporary hub, specialising in fashion, culture and fine food. The hotel itself boasts a state-of-the-art interior design: but don’t worry, you won’t feel as though you could just be anywhere. The hotel’s breathtaking interiors come complete with specially commissioned artwork that pays homage to the hotel’s Turkish roots and to the Turkish culture as a whole: firmly centering the hotel in one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the world.
The bedrooms’ floor-to-ceiling views offer panoramic views of Istanbul — and yes, you’ve guessed it: the Raffles Butler service is indeed present here. Every room comes complete with a Butler Service, with all the butlers ready to anticipate their guests’ every need. Luxury dining is never far away, either — whether that’s at Pan Asian infusion restaurant Isokyo, the Mediterranean Rocca Brasserie, or the Lavinia Lounge, which specialises in delectable afternoon teas — and the spa features three traditional Turkish hammams, which merge traditional hammam architecture with a modern touch for a contemporary take on the classic Turkish cleansing ritual.
The hotel’s design concept is ‘Dream of Istanbul’, evoked through custom murals — think blurred, dreamy depictions of chandeliers, and iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque: an homage to the city’s glorious past. It’s safe to say that this hotel will leave all guests dreaming of Istanbul for a long time after their stay.
In a one-time factory for Legnano racing bikes, and later a fashion studio-showroom, Vico Milano is a soaring, voluminous hotel, its generous proportions spread across all seven of its accommodations. Set in a courtyard off one of Milan’s main drags, it offers a respite from the hoards, and the fit-out evokes an affluent friend’s apartment. The refined, eclectic scheme was overseen by architect Giuseppe Alito, who has offset Tuscan- and Sicilian-made hardware fixtures with carpets and zeleg tiles from Morocco, contemporary lighting by FLOS and Moooi, tapestries from India, and green marble from Greece, all of which is tied together with large swathes of white, wood and concrete.
Of the options available, consider the Suite Luxury, whose two-floor plan offers plenty of space in which to kick back. The base of the hotel, anchored by a fluted honesty bar, features a living room, library and gym, a blissful place to co-work, sink into a novel, or imbibe flights of organic wine blends.
Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel
With the launch of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, in 1997, and San Sebastián’s boom as a restaurant-chaser’s destination, this part of the Basque Country has been welcoming the droves over the past two decades. Launched in 1912, Hotel Maria Cristina is the grand dame of this coastal city, and was a calling card for royalty and the aristocratic classes who flocked to Charles Mewes’s regal pile for its first-rate location between Zurriola beach, River Urumea and the Old Town.
Although 2012 saw a renovation that gave the hotel a more contemporary feel – a soft palette of greys, creams and purples; marble bathrooms; and room-height velvet drapes – original details, such as iron balustrades, were retained, and a glorious feel is still retained thanks mainly to a grand staircase and generous proportions. Other touches, such as Aqua di Parma toiletries, add further noteworthy flourishes, and a generous breakfast in the ground-floor parlour, which calls to mind the grand dining rooms of the belle époque era, is a fine way to begin the day.
Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
Poised on the edge of Lake Como, this is a hotel dripping with decadence and indulgence at every conceivable turn. It epitomises lakeside luxury: and this year, it’s upping its game even further. Take its T Spa, for example: residing between the 18th century Villa Emilia and the historic palace, it’s soon going to enhance its (already copious) wellness offerings with the brand new T Spa Mindfulness Ritual, aimed at reducing stress in all its many and varied forms.
Indulge in al fresco fine dining, or pay a visit to the L’Escale Trattoria and Wine Bar — or, if you’re craving something down to earth (though still steeped in luxury, naturally), T Pizza resides amid the achingly sweet scents of the Flower Pool, and promises the authentic, rustic Italian pizza that any guest with an appetite will no doubt be craving.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Maison Breguet spreads its footprint across a one-time washing-machine factory in hip Le Marais, known for drawing in a youthful crowd to its boutiques, bars and galleries. The result of a three-year renovation, the hotel eschews the conventional bells and whistles of the city’s more gilded stays, as well as its former industrial roots, and opts for cleaner, more polished lines where soft colour schemes, often in toned-down purples and greens, with wall panels courtesy of local creative Pierre Bonnefille, give the pared-back look an inviting feel.
The 54 rooms (the ‘home’ accommodates up to eight) are also flush with London-based Juan Alvarez’s bespoke seating and lighting and Pierre Frey wallpaper – personal touches, such as novels and other literary works, also abound. For repose following a day in the city, consider an hour in the basement pool, sauna, and steam room.