By- Urusha Mhatre
Care to sample a life of champagne and caviar? Be sure to pack your designer luggage for this fun countdown of the world’s most luxurious (and expensive) hotels.
1. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
When it comes to luxurious hotels, this one is at the top. Costing approximately $3 billion to build, Emirates Palace has 394 grand rooms and suites, 40 meeting and conference rooms, a white sand beach, a myriad of pools and fountains, two sumptuous spas, marble imported from 13 different countries and over 1,000 Swarovski crystal chandeliers. It’s like a small pleasure fortress that also boasts the most prestigious marina development in the Middle East. Royalty, or those who want to feel like it, can luxuriate in one of the many palace suites, all with lavish surroundings that would befit a Sultan of old yet with enough modern amenities to please today’s top tycoons.
2. PARK HYATT SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Seated majestically on one of the world’s most beautiful harbours, Park Hyatt Sydney perfectly personifies contemporary harbourside luxury with its coveted location between the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Youtube – https://youtu.be/X9xSEp7NPVg Reminiscent of an exclusive harbourside residence, Park Hyatt Sydney offers intimate surrounds with architecture, art and design that reflect the Australian landscape. Highlights include 155 spacious guestrooms and suites with contemporary interiors and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to private balconies, some with stunning views of the Opera House. There’s a lot to love about Sydney’s most luxurious hotel, but the jewel in this hotel’s crown is the outdoor rooftop swimming pool, with spa, private sun-deck, cabanas, and magnificent views of the Sydney skyline.
3. Mardan Palace Hotel, Turkey
Built by Russian Billionaire Telman Ismailov in 2009 to the tune of $1.65 billion, the Mardan Palace Hotel in Antalya, Turkey, boasts the largest swimming pool in the Mediterranean (fits 1,000 guests) and is touted as one of the most elite and luxurious hotels in Europe. Beyond the sinfully sumptuous suites and jaw-dropping interiors of gold leaf, crystal, and Italian marble, there are also ten dining spots, 17 bars, a lavish spa and a sunken aquarium full of exotic fish. There’s more: 9,000 tons of white sand was flown in from Egypt for the beach alone, and 24/7 personal butler service is also included.
4.Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai
Built to resemble a billowing sail, the stunning architecture of Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai makes it one of the most photographed in the world. All rooms are luxurious suites spanning two floors with state-of-the art everything and incredible views. And beyond the unique over-the-top amenities like the attached helipad and hovering tennis courts, there is a vast array of futuristic dining and nightlife options. Their guest care is also seriously intensive. Upscale extras include in-suite check-in, 24/7 personal on-call butlers, and a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce fleet, all catering to an extremely wellheeled VIP clientele that often includes royalty.
5. The Plaza, New York City
Though the Big Apple has many legendary and swanky hotels, The Plaza is often the top choice for visiting VIPs. The Royal Three Bedroom Suite is styled in the most opulent of old world charm with a formal dining room for up to 12 guests, a library, a gymnasium, a grand piano, full kitchen (for personal chefs), and is serviced by its own private elevator. Butler service is also included. Built in 1907, the iconic structure was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1969.
6. SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY, OMAN
Six Senses Zighy Bay is an ultra-luxurious “hidden gem”, located on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula, only a scenic two-hour car journey (but a world apart) from Dubai. The setting of this beautiful indigenous village-style resort with its private marina is spectacular, with dramatic mountains on one side, and a 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) sandy beach on the other. The resort gives the feeling of exotic remoteness, yet offers every comfort, easy accessibility and barefoot luxury beyond imagination. The accommodations are inspired by traditional Omani houses and feature high indigenous-style ceilings, colorfully cushioned living area and cloudlike bed made with unbleached cotton sheets topped with your choice of ergonomic pillows. All villas have a private pool, where guests can refresh within the privacy of high cobblestone walls.
7. AMANZOE, GREECE
Amanzoe is a hilltop property, laying amongst centuries old olive groves, boasting panoramic views of the Peloponnese countryside, the glittering tranquil sea, the neighbouring vineyards, and the awe-inspiring mountains. The property is located within easy reach of a wealth of archaeological sites and the cosmopolitan island of Spetses. Designed by quintessential Aman architect, the legendary Ed Tuttle, this exclusive haven of unsurpassed beauty has quickly become the Mediterranean playground of those in the know. Classically inspired yet sleekly contemporary, Amanzoe’s Pavilions and Villas open to expansive private terraces, creating a seamless extension of the airy interiors and an unrivalled sense of space and seclusion. A stone’s throw away, the Amanzoe beach club comes with two lap pools and two children’s pools and provides fun and games in total privacy by the water.
8. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas
Built in tribute to the legendary lost city, Atlantis Paradise Island is a 141-acre facility touted as the premier luxury resort destination in the Bahamas. It’s the resort’s Bridge Suite on the 23rd floor that really pulls out all the swanky stops. It spans 10 plush rooms topped by 12-ft. ceilings and full-length windows, and includes a grand piano, twin entertainment centres, a formal dining room with a 22- karat gold chandelier, plus a permanent staff of seven butlers and attendants to cater to your every whim.
9. Palms, Las Vegas
The Las Vegas Palms is famous for high-roller living, and what better way to really indulge in Sin City than cavorting in one of their luxury rooftop suites like the Two-Story Sky Villa. The 8,500 square foot suite accommodates up to 52 guests for a get-together and boasts an enclosed pool overlooking The Strip. A rotating bed, gym, media room and 17-seat full bar make these swanky digs the perfect spot to fulfill the fantasy of living in the style the world’s most famous playboy is accustomed to. (Did anyone say bachelor or bachelorette party?)
10. Marquis Los Cabos, Los Cabos
Inspired by a celestial legend of two angels seeking paradise on earth, the spectacular lobby of Marquis Los Cabos opens out onto the wildly restless sea like a temple to its creation. Gorgeous specially-commissioned sculptures, massive waterfalls, spectacular infinity pools, and a lovely serene spa set the stage for vacationing VIPs. (George Clooney’s beach villa is next door.) Luxurious rooms boast balconies where you can often spot migrating whales, and there are also private villas with personal dipping pools.