The Most Beautiful Places to Stay on the Planet

From luxury villas in Bali to a fairy tale-worthy hotel on the hills outside of Zurich, you’ll feel worlds away from reality in these stunning properties.

Highlights
México 307, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Secluded and service-oriented are the adjectives that best describe Rosewood Mayakoba, a resort in Playa del Carmen that opened in 2008. At 1,600 acres, the resort is expansive, offering plenty of room for guests to feel that they have their own space. Rooms, too, are spacious and have either tile or wooden floors, comfortable beds and chairs, and a layout and design that draws guests to outside spaces such as patios and balconies. The sense of privacy is reinforced by special en suite features, including private plunge pools, garden showers, and sundecks. Service, which includes butler, concierge, and valet support, is first-class. Staff can facilitate or organize a wide range of experiences, both on the hotel property and in the surrounding area. These range from horseback riding on the beach and ocean kayaking to private dining and aerial tours of the Mayan site Chichén Itzá.
Banjar Dukuh, Desa Kelating, Kerambitan, Kelating, Kec. Tabanan, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82161, Indonesia
Terraced like the surrounding rice paddies, Soori Bali occupies an undeveloped stretch of fertile coastline roughly 25 minutes from Tabanan, a town northwest of Denpasar known for traditional farming and artisan crafts. The resort’s modern design plays on the shapes, colors, and landscapes of the surrounding area and incorporates local stone. (At the recommendation of the surrounding village’s elder, the property also constructed 10 stone temples onsite within the property.) Outdoor spaces feature bright green trees and grasses along with infinity pools, while high ceilings, cool colors, and marble floors inside create a tranquil escape from the heat. The property’s spacious rooms and wood-slat shades give off an art-gallery vibe, and the reading-room lounge displays the works of the hotel’s artists in residence. Food is another big focus here, both at the resort’s three restaurants and in tours that explore rice cultivation, exotic ingredients found at the Kerambitan market, and the spices, cacao, and coffee from nearby Jatiluwih.
Via di Monte d'Oro, 30, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Opened in 2013 in a building that previously housed the University of Rome’s architecture department, JK Place is one of the newer additions to Rome’s growing number of high-end luxury boutique hotels. It is located near the intersection of Via Del Corso and Via dei Condotti, Rome’s most chaotic shopping nexus, but it is just far enough away from the action to maintain an air of seclusion, a rarity for the zone.

Behind the hotel’s unassuming doorway, classrooms and offices have been transformed into an effortlessly cool retreat. Like its siblings in Florence and Capri, the JK Place Rome is eclectically decorated and packed with artwork. Rooms feature canopied beds, sculptures, and sleek bathrooms decked out in Italian marble. The JK Café Bistro and bar attract well-heeled locals, giving the hotel a more down-to-earth vibe than its boutique neighbors, without sacrificing its unquestionable elegance.
50135 Settignano, Metropolitan City of Florence, Italy
The Belmond Villa San Michele knows something about history. Michelangelo designed its facade, Franciscan monks tended its gardens, and Brigitte Bardot stayed here. But, like any elegant host, it’s not brash about its pedigree. Manicured Italian gardens—designed by 15th-century friars—beckon you for sun-soaked strolls. The colonnaded loggia is a pleasant place for a sunset aperitivo or candlelit dinner, especially with a view of Florence and the Arno Valley. The hotel’s expansive rooms are already decked out in the most tasteful, almost understated interpretation of Renaissance luxury—terra-cotta tile floors, heavy wood furnishings, just a dash of red velvet, and plenty of cream-colored walls—and then the panoramic views, original frescoes, and modern Carrara marble bathrooms steal the show. There’s a real-deal cooking school, where the chef actually works with each person in hands-on preparations—no demonstrations-only here. Other perks include the hillside pool, the concierge service that can get you into the Uffizi outside of operating hours, and, from the Loggia Restaurant, a view of the ancient Roman road that once connected Florence to Fiesole.
Kongens Nytorv 34, 1050 Copenhagen
Copenhagen’s grandest hotel, and one of its oldest, the d’Angleterre originally opened in 1755 as a restaurant, the brainchild of Jean Marchal and Maria Coppy, who met and fell in love while working at the royal court. The current building, on Kongens Nytorv, across from the Royal Danish Theatre, was renovated and reopened in the 1870s and has hosted royalty, foreign dignitaries, luminaries, and celebrities throughout the years. The hotel reopened in 2013 after extensive renovations, restored to its original glory and luxury, with each room decked out in elegant Danish design intended to give the feeling of a stately private residence worthy of royalty. Antiques and historic works of art like a portrait of Queen Victoria by Winterhalter demonstrate the hotel’s dedication to its heritage, while modern touches like a Warhol portrait of Queen Margrethe II and the latest modern technology in all rooms keep it contemporary and accessible.

The insistence on luxury is also apparent in the eateries: a Michelin-starred restaurant and a champagne bar are both as popular with locals as with guests
Monte Alegre 149, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
Built in the 1920s by a Croatian businessman, Palacio Astoreca underwent two years of refurbishment and restoration before opening its doors as a boutique hotel in 2012. The work was carried out to a meticulous degree, maintaining the original parquet floors, and adding splashes of color with art deco furniture and modern art, including one piece by Switzerland’s Frédéric Clot. The stucco-and-brick mansion rises up from the streets of Chile’s port city, Valparaíso, like a piece of red-and-white confectionary.

A statement staircase winds up to the 23 rooms, some of which have stand-alone bathtubs. And the basement level is home to a small spa with an open-air, wood-fueled hot tub set alongside a living wall. The reception level and entrance hall open out onto a terrace where lunch, tea, and cocktails are served, allowing guests prime views over the hilly city and Pacific Ocean. There are quiet corners for those seeking a solitary moment, including a library and a piano bar, which comes to life in the evenings with live music.
Via Roma, 2, 16034 Portofino GE, Italy
In a pastel villa that presides over pine-covered slopes and the deep blue waters of the Ligurian Sea, Belmond Hotel Splendido was a 16th-century monastery before it became a cliff-side luxury hotel at the turn of the 20th century. Today, it is one of Portofino’s most iconic resorts, with 70 sunlit rooms (think herringbone hardwood floors, marble baths, and wrought iron terraces) that have hosted the Duke of Windsor, Ava Gardner, and Catherine Deneuve. You’ll get the VIP treatment while sipping champagne on a sunset cruise aboard the hotel’s Chris-Craft Corsair 36, dining on seabream ceviche at La Terrazza, or indulging in a chamomile footbath at the spa. A shuttle can run you down to intimate sister property Splendido Mare, which overlooks the central Piazzetta and is a dressed-up version of a fishing village pied-à-terre, with 16 whitewashed rooms and its own buzzy restaurant.
Hanson Bay Rd, Kingscote SA 5223, Australia
When Southern Ocean Lodge, the flagship property of Australian hotel brand Baillie Lodges, opened in 2008, it was Kangaroo Island’s first true luxury lodge, known for its cinematic spot atop grass-covered limestone cliffs, with curved guest suites facing the namesake seas. Surrounded on three sides by national parks, Southern Ocean Lodge connected travelers with Australia’s powerful natural landscapes. Then in early January 2020, wildfires consumed more than half of Kangaroo Island, reducing the ecological paradise to sandy hills and blackened branches. Southern Ocean Lodge was a casualty of the blaze.


As AFAR’s Katherine LaGrave reported in her feature on the island, rebuilding began in earnest in February 2022, with the goal of becoming more sustainable: “The new lodge will use 25 percent less energy than the original lodge, and diesel fuel consumption will be halved. There will be rainwater harvesting, reliance on a hybrid solar-and-battery system, and elevated boardwalks to minimize impact on the health of coastal plants. Smart landscaping will create a sort of buffer around the lodge.”



Along with the new sustainable choices, the lodge has replicated the footprint of the original property, with 25 guest rooms slightly reoriented to optimize sea views. A new ultra-premium suite, the Ocean Pavilion, has up to four bedrooms and bathrooms (or two separate suites) with an outdoor terrace and private pool. And the ever-popular main lodge still has a Great Room with a suspended fireplace and a deck with a plunge pool that juts toward the sea.
Bordering Serengeti National Park
Whether you’re up for the adventure of a mobile tented camp, or would prefer a private house staffed with personal chefs, Singita Grumeti is the place for the ultimate safari experience and unbeatable Great Migration views. The 350,000-acre protected nature reserve is home to five distinct properties (plus an exclusive private villa option), ensuring there is an option for any traveler—though luxury, service, and attention to detail are constants across the board.

The five main Grumeti properties offer a singular setting and experience, along with the option to visit any of the others for meals, or to make use of their facilities. Choices include traditional tented-style camps like Sabora Tented Camp, with its plush, 1920s-explorer-inspired decor, and Explore Mobile Tented Camp, an eco-friendly setup that can be moved as the migration progresses. Faru Faru Lodge features contemporary interiors and boasts two striking pools, while Serengeti House is a four-suite private house favored by honeymooning celebs. The grande dame of the reserve, Sasakwa Lodge, boasts luxury cottages, a spa, a wine cellar, dining room, a bar and lounge, a billiards room, a conservatory, and even an equestrian center.

With all this to choose from—not to mention the endless panoramas, gourmet cuisine, and unforgettable wildlife viewing—Singita Grumeti has become known as the pinnacle of safari getaways. And with good reason: the experience here is so impeccable, it just might spoil you on safaris for life.
Blvd. Kukulcan Mz 59 Lote 1-03 Km 21.26, Punta Nizuc, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, QROO, Mexico
The 29-acre Nizuc Resort & Spa excels in size, service, and amenities. The soothing design scheme blends calming neutrals and natural materials, which recur across multiple interior elements, including lamps, furniture, and tile flooring. Spacious, sun-filled rooms feature terraces and tropical gardens, and the private villas include infinity pools. Staff lead many activities to keep visitors as busy as they want to be; a typical day at the resort might include learning how to roll cigars, participating in a session of paddleboard yoga, or simply trying to choose a favorite between the two pools.
Imerovigli, Thira 847 00, Greece
Some of the world’s most jaw-dropping images of hotel infinity pools have been taken on Santorini, aka the honeymoon island. What makes The Grace stand out? With only eight rooms, 12 suites, and one villa, guests receive the staff’s undivided attention. Even before your arrival, you may be asked whether you’d like to organize a romantic surprise for your partner, or if you’d like your bathrobe to be personalized with your initials. Of course, the hotel’s pool, perched like a bird’s nest over the caldera and the blue hues of the Aegean, makes a pretty strong argument. Guests spend much of their time lounging around its perimeter and dining outdoors on a variety of dramatic terraces. Naturally, all the clean-lined rooms have equally stunning views of the sea and, after a 2016 revamp, are all white with brushed-concrete floors and handmade walnut desks, putting the emphasis on the azure setting. Drop your bags, then grab a cocktail at the Champagne Lounge to take in that sunset everyone keeps raving about.
China, Beijing Shi, Haidian Qu, 颐和园宫门前街1号
The Aman Summer Palace allows guests to experience a piece of history in an utterly beautiful setting with hilltop temples, shimmering lakes, and marble bridges. The Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was burnt down by a coalition of foreign militaries, then rebuilt on the orders of Empress Dowager Cixi, who appropriated the funds of the Chinese navy to spend on this lavish summer retreat. Aman Summer Palace shares a wall with the original structure and is built from the old reception areas; guests enter through a “secret” door. Room decor echoes the palace’s century-old, Qing-era style. Service details are influenced by Chinese traditions as well: luggage is carted to the room by a rickshaw bicycle, and guests are led to their quarters in the evening by the glow of red lanterns carried by staff.
210 Main Road, Joe Batt's Arm, NL A0G 2X0, Canada
This hotel is on our list of The 10 Best Hotels in Canada.

Fogo Island Inn sits at the very edge of the north Atlantic on isolated Fogo Island in Newfoundland. Designed by internationally renowned architect Todd Saunders, the inn’s arresting modern appearance is suggests an iceberg from a distance, with its raised section representing the island’s traditional stilted fishing platforms. But when visitors get close, they see the wooden boards layered together, and it’s clear that everything is handmade. The by-hand ethos covers all the furniture and furnishings, created by local artisans who’ve worked with artists in residence to create contemporary versions of traditional objects.

Staying at the inn is admittedly expensive, but this is essentially a living art piece that supports the local community and aims to honor the island’s past while carrying it to the future. It feels like a grand home with attentive staff. A private 42-seat cinema, partnered with the National Film Board, carries a movie library for guests to enjoy at any time; there’s also an art gallery, a well-stocked library, and a supply of Gore-Tex hiking boots and other outdoor equipment to borrow. The inn shows off the dazzling landscape, and it’s easy to spend all day at the windows watching the sea while whales breech, icebergs float past, or storms dash on the rocks.
100 Dorado Beach Drive, Dorado, 00646, Puerto Rico
It may be only 22 miles west of San Juan, but Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve feels a world away. The resort has a spectacular location on a three-mile stretch of beach on Puerto Rico’s north shore, where Clara Livingston once ran a sugar plantation—and Amelia Earhart visited before departing for her fateful world tour. In 1958, Livingston sold the property to Laurance S. Rockefeller, who turned it into the first of his legendary Rock Resorts. Known for his green streak, he designed the hotel to respect the local beauty, mandating that buildings could not be taller than the surrounding palm trees.

The Ritz-Carlton—which reopened in October 2018 after a meticulous restoration following Hurricane Maria—pays homage to that original vision. Here, every room is beachfront, with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that disappear into ocean views, plus deep soaking tubs, outdoor showers shaded by gardens, and either spacious balconies or private plunge pools. As part of the property’s renovation, rooms were refreshed with a color palette that amplifies the natural beauty just beyond the doors. Additionally, the grounds showcase 3,000 new plant species, the spa is offering new locally inspired treatments and cuisine, Encanto Beach Club Bar & Grill features a refreshed dinner menu, and the Positivo Sandbar debuted an omakase and ceviche bar directly on the sand. There’s even an entirely reimagined signature restaurant, Coa, which serves farm-to-table fare cooked on the grill. Still standing strong on the verdant, 1,400-acre grounds are the five 18-hole championship golf courses. The biggest challenge is pulling yourself away from the luxury of the resort to tee up a shot.
Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland
This landmark hotel, built in the Swiss rustic style popular at the turn of the 19th century, has hosted Winston Churchill, Arturo Toscanini, Albert Einstein, the Shah of Iran, Henry Kissinger, and the Rolling Stones, among others. Situated high above Zurich, with a sweeping forest and a golf course for company, it offers breathtaking views of the city, the lake, and even—on clear days—the Alps.

Renovated in 2008 by Lord Foster for a cool 385 million Swiss francs, it now features a bold, contemporary edifice that wraps around the turreted original, two entirely new wings (the Spa Wing and the Golf Wing), and a completely revamped interior. While the rooms in the Main Building (the historic structure) are appointed with traditional furniture and hand-painted wallpaper to give a regal, turn-of-the-century feel, the newer rooms are equipped with balconies and bathrooms of white marble or sand-colored Jura limestone. Imagined by London-based United Designers, they also come with flat-screen televisions with integrated Bang & Olufsen CD and DVD players.

The four signature suites sprawl over hundreds of square meters and feature steam showers, whirlpool baths, and even (in one case) a grand piano. The hotel also offers an expansive spa and wellness center.
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