- Five-star hotels are known for providing exceptional guest experiences and can include resorts, boutique hotels and larger properties
- These types of hotels typically offer beautifully appointed rooms, spectacular views, fine cuisine, pampering spa treatments, pools and other amenities
- Luxury hotels are located in diverse settings, such as large bustling cities, small rural towns, private islands and the middle of the wilderness
Whether you’re taking a well-deserved vacation or traveling on a business trip, staying at a five-star property can elevate your experience. These luxury hotels focus on catering to guests and stand out from other lodgings with lavish accommodation, fine dining options and an array of amenities, such as infinity swimming pools and wellness spas.
A luxury hotel isn’t always opulent, however. While you can stay in a sultan’s palace or sprawling estate, you can also enjoy an exceptional stay in a thatched hut made with palm fronds or a deluxe canvas tent in the rainforest. Read on to discover 15 of the best five-star hotels around the world, all geared toward providing guests with an unforgettable stay.
1. Westin Excelsior (Rome, Italy)
Built in 1906, the palatial Westin Excelsior is located on the famed Via Veneto and within walking distance of landmarks, such as Villa Borghese Gardens and the Spanish Steps. The Excelsior’s elegant suites are beautifully decorated with rich colors and fabrics, Italian marble, Bohemian chandeliers, velvet chairs and engraved ceilings.
The most luxurious accommodation — often reserved for celebrities and special occasions — is the 12,000-square foot Villa la Cupola, the largest suite in Europe. It can host up to 21 guests and features seven rooftop terraces, magnificent views of Rome and a pool inspired by ancient Roman baths.1
2. &Beyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
&Beyond Mnemba Island is an idyllic resort on a private island just off the northeast coast of Zanzibar. The hotel is only accessible by boat and welcomes up to 24 guests at a time to ensure an intimate experience.
The 12 rustic-style, palm-frond bandas feature private verandahs opening onto a white coral sand beach and wood carvings and scrolled headboards crafted by island artisans. Two well-stocked dive centers provide equipment for diving, snorkeling, kayaking and SUP, so guests can take full advantage of the azure waters. In-room yoga classes and wellness treatments are available.2
3. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu (Tokyo, Japan)
Featuring an authentic Japanese aesthetic, the Capitol Hotel Tokyu is a relaxing retreat close to the city’s business and nightlife districts. Guests can enjoy diverse dining at the hotel’s five restaurants, pastry boutique and Capitol Bar.
The spacious rooms incorporate Japanese architectural styles and feature movable shoji paper screen partitions and sliding doors. Large windows offer panoramic views of the city. The hotel’s full-service spa includes a warming salt bath and low-temperature mist sauna, pool, Jacuzzi and state-of-the-art fitness facilities on two floors.3
4. The Inn at Little Washington (Washington, Virginia)
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in rural Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington attracts foodies from around the world. It’s home to a three-starred Michelin restaurant and showcases the eclectic, imaginative dishes of renowned chef Patrick O’Connell.
The inn is built in a former two-story country garage and features 23 exquisite guest rooms designed by London set designer Joyce Evans. Guests enjoy a highly personal experience that feels like a visit to a friend’s country house. Each stay includes a house breakfast, afternoon tea and guaranteed dinner reservation in the restaurant.4
5. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
The Fairmont Bab Al Bahr delivers superior hospitality in a sleek, modern setting. Perched on a private, sandy white beach overlooking the water, this hotel is conveniently located near shopping and attractions. Amenities include a health club equipped with state-of-the-art workout equipment, an Olympic-length outdoor pool and a covered children’s pool.
Guests can enjoy a full range of delicious international cuisine at the hotel’s eight restaurants and bars or opt for relaxed poolside food service. A 24-hour, on-call butler service is available to meet the needs of travelers.5
6. The Ritz-Carlton (Wolfsburg, Germany)
The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany, draws inspiration from its modern setting. Situated in the Autostadt theme park, which attracts a million automobile enthusiasts each year, the hotel’s striking architecture is inspired by the theme of innovation.
Elegant guest rooms have clean, minimalist lines and floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Autostadt or historic Volkswagen plant. Guests can relax in the outdoor floating pool in the harbor basin and enjoy spa treatments with premium organic products. The Aqua restaurant has three Michelin stars and offers fine dining with regionally sourced ingredients, while Newman’s Bar is a welcoming spot for cocktails.6
7. The Darling (Sydney, Australia)
This glamorous boutique hotel in Sydney’s lively Pyrmont neighborhood is part of the Star resort, providing easy access to restaurants, shops, and entertainment. The Darling’s stylish modern rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms and the finest details, such as soft coat hangers and handcrafted drinking glasses. Five penthouse suites are available with private foyers and a dedicated concierge.
Enjoy pampering treatments at the tranquil spa, which boasts a Moroccan Hammam chamber, steam room and Jacuzzi. The heated outdoor pool offers food and drink service during warmer months.7
8. La Réserve Paris (Paris, France)
Situated in a beautiful mansion once owned by Napoleon III’s stepbrother, the unique La Réserve Paris is steps away from the Champs-Elysées. The stately residence was transformed into a boutique hotel in 2015 but continues to feel like a private home, welcoming guests in the beautiful Louis XV Salon, instead of a conventional hotel lobby.
After a day of sightseeing, guests can enjoy cocktails in the library lounge or fine cuisine at the hotel’s Michelin two-starred restaurant, le Gabriel. Relax with a swim in the indoor pool or a pampering spa treatment.8
9. Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing (Beijing, China)
Overlooking the historic Forbidden City, the Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing features 73 guest rooms that are among the largest in Beijing. Chic and modern, the rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and marble bathrooms with heated floors.
Guests can unwind at the upscale bar and dine at two destination restaurants that open onto a rooftop garden terrace. The hotel’s indoor lap pool is covered by a glass skylight to let the sun stream in, and the gently warmed, ceramic chairs are perfect for relaxing after a swim. Water-based therapies and traditional Chinese treatments are available at the wellness spa.9
10. Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge (Vancouver Island, Canada)
For a five-star experience in a stunning natural setting, visit Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Canada’s west coast. Tucked among old-growth forest, rocky shores and abundant wildlife, the gorgeous resort is so remote, it’s only reachable by seaplane or boat.
Guests can relax in 25 white canvas tents overlooking the ocean, each comfortably appointed with luxurious beds and custom furnishings that lift glamping to a new standard. The dining room features a menu focused on locally sourced ingredients, while the Healing Grounds Spa offers restorative treatments, cedar hot tubs and a waterfront massage tent.10
11. The Balmoral Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Scottish charm meets contemporary comfort at the iconic Balmoral Edinburgh. Built in 1902 and distinguished by its clock tower and stained-glass windows, the hotel has hosted famous guests, such as Sean Connery, Laurel and Hardy, and JK Rowling, who completed her last Harry Potter novel in Suite 552.
The hotel boasts three on-site eateries, including the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant. Scotch, a world-class whiskey bar, offers 500 varieties of Scottish whiskey on display in a handcrafted, oak-panelled cabinet. Guests can retreat to a Finnish sauna, Turkish steam room, indoor pool and spa for a peaceful urban oasis.11
12. Çırağan Palace Kempinski (Istanbul, Turkey)
Set alongside the beautiful turquoise waters of the Bosphorus, a strait between Europe and Asia, Çırağan Palace Kempinski offers a sumptuous experience in a restored 19th century Ottoman palace. Most guest rooms are located in the modern annex, featuring marble bathrooms and balconies with views of the water or lush gardens. Larger suites — including a presidential suite on the top floor of the palace — are also available.
The hotel offers a full selection of amenities, including a heated outdoor infinity pool, an indoor pool and a traditional Turkish massage and bath, as well as a fitness center, sauna, steam room and massage rooms.12
13. Belmond Hotel Monasterio (Cusco, Peru)
Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a boutique hotel built in a transformed monastery. This protected national monument features 122 rooms and suites and a peaceful central courtyard with a 300-year-old cedar tree.
Located near the city’s bustling markets, galleries, and cafes, the Monasterio is a calming escape at the end of a busy day. Enjoy a live opera dinner at El Tupay, Peruvian fusion dishes at Illariy and a drink by the fire in the domed lobby bar. Monasterio’s chapel, designed with stone arches, can be booked for weddings. Rooms are also available for business functions and special events.13
14. The Plaza Hotel (New York City, USA)
The prestigious Plaza Hotel opened in New York City in 1907 and continues to set the standard for elegance and impeccable service. Located on Fifth Avenue near Central Park, its spacious guest rooms feature beautiful furnishings, sophisticated décor and fine details, such as 24-carat gold-plated fixtures.
Special suites include the Tower Room, with a dramatic 23-foot brick turret ceiling. The Plaza Hotel is home to the famed Palm Court, which serves breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Hotel guests can also enjoy drinks in the Champagne Bar.14
15. Esperanza (Los Cabos, Mexico)
The only private beach resort in Los Cabos, Esperanza, offers a variety of luxury accommodations, including casitas with infinity-edge hot tubs and villas with kitchens and large terraces. The hotel’s four restaurants use sustainable, organic ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. Dine at the renowned Cocina del Mar next to crashing waves or enjoy casual fare at Las Estrellas near the pool and gardens.
Esperanza’s wellness spa offers rejuvenating treatments, such as “pasaje de Agua” water therapy, which includes a warm soak in a spring pool, steam cave and cool rinse.15