9 Luxurious Hotels to Book for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Vacation

Updated 03/13/18

The world is no short of wonders—floating palaces, world-class ski resorts, historic manors in the jungle—but sometimes these magical places come with a hefty price tag. These aren't the properties you'd book for a last-minute weekend getaway or even ones you'd escape to on your yearly vacation. But to get away on your honeymoon or to celebrate a big promotion or a special anniversary, these luxurious hotels are sure to offer the most memorable experiences that simply cannot be replicated. Keep these addresses on your bucket list, as they are the world's most unforgettable luxurious hotels—and they are calling your name.

Luxurious Hotels in India
Courtesy of Taj Lake Palace

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

The Hotel: Does a palace floating on a lake in India sound appealing? Book a room at the infamous Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. Located across from the larger City Palace in Udaipur, enjoy sweeping views of this magnificent city over the lake by day or night.

The Five-Star Service: In true luxury form, the hotel offers a 24-hour butler service, a full-size swimming pool, a rooftop bar, a yoga program, and a spa on a boat.

Luxurious Hotels in the Alps
Courtesy of L'Apogée Courchevel

L'Apogée Courchevel, Courchevel 1850

The Hotel: The Alps are no short of luxury accommodations for ski enthusiasts, but few hotels are as luxurious as L'Apogée Courchevel. Located in the French Alps, this immaculate ski resort was revamped by famed architect Joseph Dirand and designer India Mahdavi—think plaid carpeting, rich velvet seating, and wood-paneled walls.

The Five-Star Service: Enjoy ski-in, ski-out access to the highest peaks of Courchevel, get pampered at the spa and indoor pool, or après-ski in your private hot tub overlooking the slopes.

Luxurious Hotels African Safari
Courtesy of Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

The Hotel: Set in 12 acres of private land in the middle of an indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Giraffe Manor is exactly what you would expect from its name: a giraffe sanctuary where the majestic animals interact with the hotel's property and its guests, sometimes poking their heads through the windows in hopes of receiving a treat.

The Five-Star Service: This historic manor features 12 elegant guestrooms, verdant green gardens, sunny terraces and delightful courtyards, and can also organize a completely tailor-made safari experience.

Luxurious Hotels in the South of France
Courtesy of Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc

Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc, Antibes

The Hotel: Made famous by Slim Aaron's "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" photography series, Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc in the South of France is as iconic as luxury resorts go. Originally built in 1869 as a private residence for the founder of Le Figaro, it was transformed into a hotel in 1889, where it attracted famous guests over the years from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to the Kennedys and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Five-Star Service: The hotel offers private limousine service to and from the airport. Once arrived, lay by the infinity pool in Slim Aarons style, swing your racquet on one of five clay tennis courts, play pétanque at sunset, or take a plunge in the Mediterranean sea.

Luxurious Hotels Patagonia
Courtesy of Awasi Patagonia

Awasi Patagonia, Torres del Paine

The Hotel: Nestled in a valley in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, Awasi Patagonia offers complete privacy and unobstructed sweeping views in a bucolic setting. This Relais & Château property features 14 private villas and a lodge. After days filled with adventure, come home to a private hot tub, a drink by the fire, and a gourmet meal.

The Five-Star Service: From the moment you step off the plane, a private guide and 4WD is assigned to escort you on breathtaking treks and drives through this majestic landscape.

Luxurious Hotels in Marrakech
Courtesy of La Mamounia

La Mamounia, Marrakech

The Hotel: For over 90 years, this opulent Moorish-inspired palace in the heart of Marrakech has been welcoming the most discerning travelers. Surrounded by lavish royal gardens filled with fragrant citrus trees, rose blossoms, and ancient olive groves, La Mamounia has attracted Winston Churchill, Elton John, and Yves Saint Laurent, among other notable guests.

The Five-Star Service: Get greeted with a traditional cool glass of almond milk and platter of dates; experience the property's 27,000 square feet Hamman spa, featuring opulent gilt-edge pools, saunas, and salons; or explore the grounds, glittering pools, and eateries.

Luxurious Hotels Lake Como
Courtesy of Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como

The Hotel: Experience la dolce far niente in true Italian style at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. Formerly a summer residence for the Dukes of Serbelloni, this historic Art Nouveau property, perched atop majestic Lake Como, is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson property with its grand primrose-yellow exterior and Hermès orange awnings.

The Five-Star Service: Take a swim in its iconic floating pool, grab a drink at the beach champagne bar, stroll around the lush gardens, take a boat ride around the lake, or play tennis on the verdant clay courts.

Luxurious Hotels Carribean
Courtesy of Playa Grande Beach Club

Playa Grande Beach Club, Dominican Republic

The Hotel: Imagined by high-end interior designer Celerie Kemble and her financier husband Boykin Curry, Playa Grande Beach Club is an intimate resort that stretches along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The lacy French colonial houses of the compound are painted in soft Ladurée macaron pastels and are decorated with colorful patterned cement tiles and an odd furniture mix that reads Palm Beach chic–meets–flea market treasures.

The Five-Star Service: "I think interiors that are well designed tell people how to behave," Kemble told Architectural Digest. "Here, I want them to know they're supposed to be barefoot, but they can also put on a grand hat and their emeralds and go twirl around on the beach." Enjoy water sports, spa services, and horseback riding or simply sip a cocktail with your toes in the sand.

Luxurious Hotels in Switzerland
Courtesy of Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken

The Hotel: Located near the mountains of the Bernese Highlands at the foot of the Jungfrau, Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa blends historic grandeur and modern sophistication. Opened in 1865, the property gives off an old-world European flair, and its restaurant, La Terrasse, is exquisitely reminiscent of La Belle Époque.

The Five-Star Service: The hotel's Spa Nescens focuses on anti-aging and ranks among Switzerland's best. In the winter, the hotel runs a shuttle to the nearby Jungfrau Region ski resort.

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