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7 Luxury Hotels You Should Splurge On

By Maridel Reyes

  • PUBLISHED April 24
  • |

Flying first class, sailing on a super yacht or staying in an ultra-luxe hotel doesn’t come cheap, and the price tags may give savvy savers pause. 

What makes a getaway worth shelling out the big bucks for? “It’s much more than just amazing design and gourmet meals,” says Elizabeth Gordon, co-founder and CEO of Extraordinary Journeys, a luxury travel agency specializing in safaris. “It’s really about service. Does the staff make you feel special while seamlessly attending to your needs?”
Whatever type of vacation you’re looking for, from a romantic big city weekend to an off-the-grid spa retreat, there’s a luxury hotel that’s worth the bankroll it will take to stay there. Check out the amenities that make these mind-blowing hotels stand out.



Best pool: Rosewood, Washington, D.C.
This indoor-outdoor rooftop aquatic complex, which will be reopening in April 2019, is lined with quartz walls and has a fireplace that welcomes you into the enclosed space. Hotel visitors have access to a 24/7 personal assistant who can reserve deck chairs, fetch sunscreen, deliver cocktails and food and even adjust the pool temperature. Once you’ve toweled off, the same helper can book ballet tickets or a shopping trip.




Best views: Angama Mara, Kenya
The hotel’s name is Swahili for “suspended in mid-air.” Perched high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the lodge overlooks Kenya’s Maasai Mara, considered to be the most iconic game reserve on the planet. If the sky-high setting looks familiar, that’s because it’s where Out of Africa was filmed. Formerly a private estate, the hotel was recently converted into a modern and design-forward full-service resort. “All the rooms and public areas focus on fabulous views over the Maasai Mara,” says Gordon. “Everything looks out and is designed to enhance the natural experience and honor the Maasai people.”




Most private escape: Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
This private barrier island only can be reached by a 15-minute ferry ride down the Hampton River. You’ll land at the lodge, which has six cottages without telephones and TVs. Take in glistening marshes and seven miles of undisturbed beaches or just relax with a book beneath mossy oaks. During the day, you can swim in the mild surf, fish from the dock, catch fresh shrimp and crab with a seine net or take a bird-watching tour.




Best spa: Hoshinoya, Tokyo
In the middle of Tokyo’s bustling business district is a 17-story ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Once you enter the building, you are instructed to remove your shoes and place them in a bamboo box by the door and are given slippers. Pad along the long tatami hallways and head to the roof to indulge in the 24-hour private onsen (natural hot spring). Enter the waters starting at the indoor spa, wade through a tunnel and emerge onto an open-air roof with an unobstructed view of the stars and sky, startlingly still and serene. It doesn’t feel like you’re in the heart of the city; you feel completely alone and at peace.




Best historic hotel: Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Kick back in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch and look out on the Straits of Mackinac. The hotel opened in 1887 as a summer retreat and continues to be one of the archetypal American summer resorts. The hotel’s Grand Hotel Casino is where author Mark Twain once lectured for $1 per ticket in 1895. Recently, the porch was fully reconstructed to its original glory.




Buzziest new hotel restaurant: The Granary Café at The Silo Hotel, Cape Town
Located in the harbor, the hotel itself has been built upon a converted grain elevator, above the new Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), the world’s largest collection of contemporary African art. “It is probably the most creative building in Cape Town right now,” says Gordon. “The food is obviously delicious, but the real draw is the stunning views of Cape Town.”




Best island hotel: Kilindi, Zanzibar
This whitewashed Arabic-meets-Scandinavian-chic complex was originally designed as a vacation home for a member of ABBA. Today, guests stay in domed open-air pavilions overlooking a secluded beach and charming, traditional fishing boats called dhows. “I love the architecture—it’s really different from everywhere else on the island,” says Gordon. “All the rooms are separate, so it feels like a sprawling compound, and you wouldn’t get bored in your space.”

Maridel Reyes is a journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Post, USA Today and The Boston Globe.

Inset hotel photographs, from top, courtesy of: Rosewood Washington DC; Angama Mara; The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island; Hoshino Resorts; The Royal Portfolio; Grand Hotel; ©Elawan Kilindi Zanzibar, Kenya by Silverless.

Read about more Amazing Experiences Worth the Splurge.

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