The best hotels and resorts in the world: the Gold List 2024

Il Sereno – Lake Como, Italy When it launched a few years ago in Torno,

Il Sereno – Lake Como, Italy

When it launched a few years ago in Torno, Il Sereno, Lago di Como caused a sensation. It was the first hotel in the area of Lake Como to be designed by a world-renowned architect – and Patricia Urquiola, the Spanish starchitect and a longtime resident of Milan, did a fabulous job. The hotel blends into its surroundings thanks to the “light” building, with its many windows awash with sunlight reflected by the lake. The garden, with around 183 varieties of plants, creates a gorgeous floral landscape that syncs up with the environment. Even the Brazilian quartzite heated infinity pool and the ashwood deck become one with the lake in a continuous line: harmony. From inside the hotel, you can often glimpse the waters of the Lario, the other name by which Lake Como is known, an iconic part of Italian culture and the backdrop of Alessandro Manzoni’s 19th-century novel The Betrothed, where star-crossed lovers Renzo and Lucia manage to finally reunite and get married. Il Sereno’s lobby is elegant, soft, and welcoming, filled with the best of Italian design – furniture by Cassina, Moroso, and B&B Italia – as are the 40 rooms, all with a view, and the exquisite vertical garden by Patrick Blanc. The delicious and simple (albeit Michelin-starred) food is courtesy of Raffaele Lenzi and features local freshwater fish and vegetables, served alongside sensational cocktails (even the alcohol-free ones). As if so much contemporary beauty were not enough, there’s still the wooden motorboat, a beautiful Riva, ready to take you around the lake or to Villa Pliniana, a 16th-century palace with another 17 bedrooms – a perfect setting for listening to the music of the villa’s beautiful grand piano while gazing upon the waters of Lago di Como. From around £647. Maddalena Fossati

Kempinski Ciragan Palace Hotel

Kempinski Ciragan Palace Hotel

Kempinski Ciragan Palace – Istanbul

There are certain hotels that look like they have been lifted straight from a film set, and this one, with its vast, marble-floored lobby, regal palm trees and flawlessly uniformed bellhops, has a serious Wes Anderson feel. Originally built by a 17th-century sultan, the Çirağan Palace Kempinski is an Ottoman-era imperial palace overlooking the glistening Bosphorus. Weave through winding corridors to delve into rooms complete with four-poster beds, tulip-patterned headboards, velvet armchairs, marble bathrooms and red-and-cream-striped wallpaper. The palace’s other areas are similarly decadent: there’s riverside fine dining with magnificent Turkish dishes at Tuğra, a centuries-old Ottoman arch and the original palace hammam, tucked away behind a large wooden door with floor-to-ceiling marble and ornate carvings. As well as being an imperial residence, the hotel also hosted parliamentary procedures, royal courts and beauty pageants, and even served as a playing field for the Beşiktaş football team. All in all, it’s a blissful, storied escape in the middle of one of the world’s most historical cities. From around £431. Lale Arikoglu

Lucknam Park

Lucknam Park – England

England isn’t short of vast, sumptuous country estates and perfectly fetching manor houses. But Lucknam Park peeps over the rest from lofty heights. This Grade II-listed pile – creamy stone dressed with creepers tangling down its tower like Rapunzel’s hair, best glimpsed from the melodramatic beech-lined driveway – has been around since the late 17th century, and operated as a hotel under its current ownership since the end of the 1990s. Staying here is a deeply reassuring reminder that, sometimes, the classics endure for a reason. Plump four-poster beds are covered in rich floral fabrics or set against wallpaper patterned like humbugs. Original sash windows welcome in West Country sunshine that glints off chandeliers; in the cosy bar, martinis are whipped up cheerfully by informal but expert staff; and the bikes and golf carts lined up at the entrance can whizz you around the estate at the drop of a hat. These are just some of the smart touches that elevate Lucknam Park from reliably traditional to top-of-its-game. Many come here – and repeatedly – for the restaurant (executive chef Hywel Jones’s team have worked to keep the kitchen’s Michelin star for 17 years and counting). But then there’s the 111Skin facials, the gloriously steamy indoor-outdoor pools, the horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and archery. Whatever their poison, guests all appear at breakfast with the unfakeable air of those who are truly rested. There’s no other weekender in the country that does it quite like this. From around £295. Sarah James

Lundies HouseAlex Macleod

Lundies House – Scottish Highlands

I’ve always loved the subtle sensations of a hotel waking up, but Lundies House takes it to another level. At the crack of dawn, a thin silver light drips over the masses of purple loosestrife flowers that wave against the big solid stones and sash windows of the old manse. Then, for hours, just the wind in the garden and curlews (curlews!) across the Kyle of Tongue: a pristine sea loch that unfurls in a vast façade beyond the house and the little village of Tongue on its eastern shore. Eventually, the distant clatter of someone lighting a fire comes from one of the sitting rooms followed by a padding off along slate flags into a kitchen where a chef is tuning the radio. Is this the most beautiful hotel north of Inverness? I’d say so, and go into a daze thinking about it. Tranquil Scandinavian design and bespoke Scottish cabinetry typify the properties across the 13 Scottish Wildland estates owned by Dane Anders Holch Povlsen, but Lundies is the jewel. Its launch four years ago, just before the pandemic, went somewhat unnoticed. The thick stone walls of the 1842 former clergy house (Reverend Lundie was an early resident) are gorgeously bolstering. Here you’re swaddled from the temperature shifts of Scotland’s rocky Highland coastline. A handful of bedrooms upstairs in a supremely lulling colour palette and a few more in what were steadings in a courtyard make eight. On the ground floor of the main house are warm, communal areas equipped for restoration and relaxation. Lundies has achieved the holy grail of the small hotel: the atmosphere of an intimate country house that is as private or clubbable as the mood takes you. There are no enforced chats between guests, but no awkward silences either. The staff are present but not neurotically so. Lundies’ food is immaculately seasonal and local. Chanterelles are like golden coins and crabs taste of a bracing morning walk along the sand. In the kitchen, I spotted homemade jars of gem-coloured preserves: damsons, rowan bud vinegar, toasted hay and spruce. There’s a natural pool for swimming in a stream in the garden and a luminous little dining room with walls hand-painted by a botanical artist in a shimmering dreamscape of midsummer blossom. When lit by candles it’s quite a thing to behold, especially after sitting around the massive iron fire pit at dusk in the courtyard, drinking Orkney gin and watching the summer’s second batch of swallows whirling in and out of the wood stack. From around £450. Antonia Quirke

Mandarin Oriental Ritz, MadridManolo Yllera

Mandarin Oriental Ritz – Madrid

Mandarin Oriental knows that its Madrid outpost will forever be known simply as “The Ritz” – our Ritz, the one inaugurated with pomp by King Alfonso XIII in 1910; the one that welcomed Grace Kelly and Rainier of Monaco during their honeymoon; and the one where Mata Hari, Salvador Dalí and countless other stars caroused. After its remodelling and reopening in 2021, The Ritz is now, even more, Ritz-like than ever, thanks to Mandarin Oriental. Storied Madrid architecture firm Rafael de La-Hoz and French interior designers Gilles & Boissier (Baccarat Hotel New York) had the challenging task of reinventing the hotel while holding onto a certain spirit. The most striking detail was the recovery of the great glass vault of the Palm Court, the social heart of the building, which had been concealed for 80 years, and the opening of the enormous doors that connect, physically and emotionally, to the Museo del Prado (the great art gallery is so close you can almost touch it). But other magical corners abound. My favourites include The Beauty Concept spa, with its spectacular indoor pool, treatment cabins and fitness trainers; the timeless counter of the Pictura cocktail bar, where I’ve spent endless hours watched over by gilt-framed oils; Deessa, chef Quique Dacosta’s artistic restaurant, which has gained two Michelin stars in two years; and the rare oasis that is the hotel garden. To eat Dacosta’s paella here, under the city’s eternal blue sky, has become a defining Madrid experience at what remains a quintessential hotel. From around £691. David Moralejo

Palacio Principe RealFrancisco Nogueira

Palacio Principe RealFrancisco Nogueira

Palacio Principe Real – Lisbon

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why going through the gates to the garden of Palácio Príncipe Real feels quite so much like arriving home. On the face of it, this is an imposingly grand affair: a renovation of an exquisite 1877 pastel-pink home set around a soaring atrium; a garden oasis in Lisbon’s smartest quarter, where the Teixeira da Mota family once hosted legendary parties. And yet, from the red Renault 4 in the cobblestone courtyard to the proper English breakfast tea and borderline kitsch runner ducks around the place, there’s a cosy, unpretentious whimsy to life here. A lot of that comes from its English owners, Gail and Miles Curley, who rescued the tired building from an ugly office conversion in 2015, embarking on a challenging renovation just as Lisbon was starting to boom. They are charming, self-effacing hosts, clearly in love with their very personal project but want to reference Fawlty Towers while making sure it’s nothing of the sort. One of 25, the garden room we stayed in is sublime, with ornate ceiling-height blue tiles and a roll-top copper bath next to the old fireplace. It looks out over a miniature Eden of palms, jacaranda and lemon trees towards the Asian-style pool, lit up come evening as a chatty cocktail hour begins outside the main house. Now and then, Isabel Amaral, an etiquette coach who grew up here with her seven siblings, will drop by, wowed by the restoration, but perhaps not the only one for whom Palácio Príncipe Real feels like a homecoming. From around £377. Toby Skinner

Palazzo Avino, Italy

Palazzo Avino – Amalfi Coast

In any other setting, it would be impossible to miss the lashings of marble, vaulted hallways and antique busts, yet all eyes point in one direction: to the horizon. Palazzo Avino, first built as a private home in the 12th century, has a fairy-tale vista across the Monte Avvocata valley and the yacht-speckled Bay of Salerno. Known as the “pink palace of Ravello”, it is run by sisters Mariella and Attilia Avino, who have infused the place with buckets of personality and style – right down to the hand-painted tableware designed by Mariella and the Mar-a-viglia white wine from their vineyard, La Cascinetta, served at the glam Lobster & Martini Bar. The decor is Poseidon’s palace by way of Moda Operandi, with pink shell tiles, glossy sea-foam-blue bathrooms and chic scalloped headboards. Palazzo Avino doesn’t do straight lines: doorways are arched, ceilings domed, mirrors wavy, all mimicking the raggedly vertiginous coastline. Baroque terraces bursting with bubblegum-pink dipladenias lead down to the pool, where candy-striped parasols shade Dolce sliders and homemade Sorrento lemonade arrives in colourful Marino glassware. The hotel’s beach club, 20 minutes away, is a sprawling cliffside hang-out, in 2023 taken over by Valentino, complete with red loungers and retro changing booths. The main restaurant, Michelin-starred Rossellini’s, is one of the most spectacular dining rooms on the Amalfi Coast, where waistcoated waiters serve plates of lemon ravioli by candlelight, and all is well with the world. From around £512. Charlotte Davey

Porto Zante

Porto Zante – Zakynthos, Greece

It’s the steps down to the stone-clad spa here that I remember most clearly. Perhaps because I was eight months pregnant, and hyper-aware, but mainly because they were straight from a fairy tale: so dinky and intriguing, paved into the hillside and bordered by lush Mediterranean foliage. I’d walk down them to a different treatment every day, as per the family-owned hotel’s advice – gradually unwinding, resetting, reviving, listening and watching the waves of the Ionian Sea through huge open windows. Porto Zante is ideal for a babymoon. The villas are vast, design-driven but ultra-comfortable, with a temperature-controlled pool and a personal concierge, who embraced us and said, “You are our babies now”. Few places in Europe are as private or have service levels to match this. Want to eat from the Japanese-Asian menu at Maya, but in the Greek-Mediterranean Club House so you can listen to the resident pianist? Done. Need some time out from your toddler, but they’re resisting the kids’ club? The determined staff will have them giggling in no time. Are you keen to explore the surrounding sea and villages or the nearby city? Itineraries can be arranged on the day and then adapted from the four-by-four or yacht. It’s no wonder that presidents, royals and cultural icons come here to disappear down those magical steps whenever they need to lighten their mental load. From around £2,003. Becky Lucas

The Poseidonion Grand Hotel

The Poseidonion Grand Hotel

Poseidonion Grand Hotel – Spetses, Greece

Looking across the water from Porto Heli to Spetses, the first thing you notice is the Poseidonion, jutting out like a vast, immaculately frosted cake above the shore. On opening in 1914, it was the first hotel in the Balkans with hot water, and was constructed with steel from Germany, wood from Romania and limestone from Bulgaria: only the best would do, whatever the cost. Years of decay followed, and there are stories of bathrooms collapsing down three floors into the lobby. But now, fully restored and extended by its owner, Emmanuel Vordonis, it is, once again, immensely glamorous and international. It has the feel of a very wealthy and adored Edwardian maiden aunt, taking a detour from the usual Côte d’Azur to enjoy instead the delights of a Greek island. There are rooms with sea views and garden views, pool suites, royal suites and a Tower Room – all in a classic pale palette that reflects the island light to such an extent that you have the suspicion, now and again, that you’re somehow floating. The seafood is excellent, and dining on the outside terrace you really feel the electricity, communal warmth and humour of this very special island. From around £596. Antonia Quirke

Regina Isabella Ischia

Regina Isabella – Ischia, Italy

Ischia is a volcanic island of verticals – all cliffs, summits and hairpins – so to find a five-star resort on the waterfront is surprisingly rare. That Regina Isabella’s marina, little beaches, sunbathing platforms and pontoons offer such easy access to the clear, emerald-coloured sea is an obvious sell, as are the four swimming pools and legendary thermal spa. Marinated in the essence and spirit of its 1950s heyday, the hotel captures the golden era of Mediterranean sophistication and dolce vita glamour. The style and atmosphere continue in 128 bedrooms spread across three different units and buildings, completed between 1956 and 1963. Some still have vintage dressing tables, bedsteads and the cherrywood marquetry of built-in cupboards, with modernist iron-railed Juliet balconies – such as the one in room 370, from which Elizabeth Taylor famously hurled Richard Burton’s clothes following an epic row. The hub and raison d’être of the resort is the spa with indoor thermal pools and extensive facilities, where you can go for a quick-fix facial or a non-surgical filler, or have a personalised programme and complete wellness overhaul. The location, between cliff and sea, and on the edge of the charming, short-stroll-away town of Lacco Ameno, means you can also experience life in a vivid, former fishing community. Here is a hotel that can be all things to all people: a destination spa and starred restaurant, a restorative retreat with natural thermal hot springs, and an intimate, relaxed family resort. From around £300. Catherine Fairweather

Bar Hemingway at The Ritz ParisBernhard Winkelmann

The Ritz ParisVincent Leroux

The Ritz – Paris

César Ritz opened this limestone bastion of French hospitality in 1898 and, in the course of running it, he and his wife, Marie Louise, who would take over the business, flipped the industry on its head. It was the first hotel in Paris with telephones, the first to offer private baths, and the first to install electricity throughout the property. It was also one of the first places in town where women could come without chaperones and meet friends for five o’clock tea. From the start, The Ritz Paris has been a Grand Siècle-style hotel with a modern soul and, much as in 1898, change is afoot. It’s said that when he was too ill to dine out, Marcel Proust had chicken and potatoes sent over from The Ritz Paris – now those hallowed kitchens are home to their first female head chef, Eugénie Béziat. Chef Béziat was born in Gabon to French parents and spent her childhood in Africa, so the flagship restaurant, Espadon, features dishes such as chicken yassa, a Senegalese speciality, and barbecued lobster with cassava semolina. Meanwhile, down a warmly lit hall is Bar Hemingway, named for the American novelist who scrimped for a cocktail a week at The Ritz. Last spring, longtime head bartender Colin Field (inventor of the Clean Dirty Martini, served with an ice cube of olive juice) stepped aside, and his protégé Anne-Sophie Prestail, has come in from the wings. From around £1,718. Jo Rodgers

Schloss ElmauSchloss Elmau

Schloss Elmau – Germany

Surrounded by lofty peaks and crystal-clear lakes, this majestic retreat high up in the Bavarian Alps has become the stuff of legend. Schloss Elmau – a sprawling sanctuary with two hotels, 10 restaurants, seven spas (including separate ones for adults and families), two gyms, a yoga pavilion, a bookstore, a kids club and idyllic valleys aplenty – was built in 1916 by current owner Dietmar Muller-Elmau’s grandfather. Since then, politicians, exhausted execs, multi-generational families, couples and solo health hunters have flocked here to wind down and soak up the pristine air. Rooms are huge, with floor-to-ceiling windows and furnishings from India, Indonesia, Iran, and China brought together by unimaginably beautiful surrounding views. The whole scene is masterfully curated by Muller-Elmau, who is passionately committed to his team and guests, adjusting lights and plumping elephant-embossed cushions as he moves through the property every day. Each guest receives a boldly coloured bathrobe in lieu of the more traditional fluffy white variety – a sartorial nod to Muller-Elmaur’s desire to provide a unique experience. Expect to see purple, orange or blue bathrobe-clad figures striding across the lawn for an invigorating dip in the icy stream before warming up in the sauna of the outdoor spa. This is a place for invigorating the mind, body and soul. From around £591. Louisa Parker Bowles

Villa at Sublime ComportaNelson Garrido

Sublime Comporta – Portugal

It was the frogs that got me. Almost camouflaged on their lily pads in the swimmable fresh water outside our Bio-pool suite, there were so many of them, and so blissed-out on their almost artificially green islands. Sublime Comporta feels a bit like that, too: a distant island from real life, where even our taxi driver started smiling as he pulled into its pine-scented 42 acres, with A-frame cabanas barely visible among the cork trees. Comporta – a protected area of rice paddies, pine forests and miles of sandy beach, with only a few tiny chi-chi villages interrupting nature – is known as Lisbon’s answer to The Hamptons these days, but when Sublime opened in 2014 it was much less known. The organic straw-and-wicker aesthetic might be familiar in a post-Tulum world, but this place has been a game-changer, so successful that it’s opened a cool Lisbon outpost and is converting an adjacent swathe of land. Life here still unfolds serenely: from the glassy, barn-like central Sem Porta restaurant out to the pool past the organic garden, with its circular bar around an open fire for locavore cookouts; for bucolic bike rides or electric shuttles to the beach club at the dreamy, surf-lashed Praia do Carvalhal. Critics point out that there’s not much to “do” in Comporta. The Sublime regulars, possibly a bit like the frogs, tend to think that’s entirely the point. From around £227 Toby Skinner

Union OyeSomon Sjøkvist

Union OyeJohanne Nyborg

Union Øye – Norway

“It’s like something from a Scandinavian fairy tale,” I heard a guest saying on arriving at Hotel Union Øye in Norway’s Sunnmøre Alps. They had a point. The red and cream -half-timbered exterior, with its decorative fish-scale roof and ornate latticework, does conjure a storybook fantasy. Numerous writers thought so too. Karen Blixen, Henrik Ibsen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle all loved this spot, as did other illustrious guests, from Queen Maud of Norway and composer Edvard Grieg to Kaiser Wilhelm II, who liked to turn up with his own bath in tow. So there’s history to the place, a sense of which oozes through its panelled interiors, up the sturdy pine staircase to the 24 bedrooms where flouncy wallpapers, heavy brocade and damask are blended with antique furniture and twinkling chandeliers to bring a museum-like quality. Old-world, Edwardian glamour you might call it, though it’s a tad spooky too: lovelorn Linda, the resident ghost, has been known to make her presence felt. Fast forward to the 21st -century, and in come the Flakk family, keen environmentalists and pioneers of sophisticated travel experiences in Norway under their 62º Nord brand. They’ve awakened sleeping beauty from her slumbers and given her a serious overhaul, adding a cluster of new-build, old-style farmhouses with 14 further rooms, and a new conservatory restaurant and Palm bar. Hotel Union Øye now feels altogether younger and fresher, ready for the next generation of inspirationalists to explore the fjords and high mountains right on its doorstep. From around £240. Pamela Goodman

USA, Canada, and The Caribbean

AVABLU

1 Hotel Hanalei Bay – Kauai, Hawaii

Kauaui’s 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay has all the ingredients you might want to cook up a truly magical Hawaiian getaway – a swimmable beach right out front, a legendary surf break a short paddle away, a stunning main pool (and a sleek adults-only one), great onsite bars and restaurants, a cute town nearby for exploring, and easy access to excellent hiking. But what makes this property truly stand out in an archipelago dotted with luxe oceanfront resorts is that it’s also a legitimate wellness destination, with cutting-edge medi-spa offerings as well as serious fitness and mind/body programming. Guest rooms are a study in neutrals – sand-hued walls, reclaimed teak ceilings and furniture with rope and reed accents. Potted plants live in woven baskets and stag ferns are mounted on the walls, dried grass skirts are hung like pieces of art, the bathroom walls are lined with lava stone, and the island’s seafaring history comes through in the most subtle of ways – sconces that almost resemble fishing nets, or a single conch shell displayed on a shelf. The service on-site is casual but professional, and everyone from the concierge to the person helping you get set up at the pool is incredibly friendly and more than happy to share their favourite spots around the island. As for the Bamford Wellness Spa, I’m not exaggerating when I say the treatments are transcendent. Menu highlights include treatments that incorporate native Hawaiian medicinal plants like kava and noni, massages on a quartz bed (it’s like lying in the warm sand while getting your kinks and knots worked out), and floats in the sensory deprivation tank, where you lose track of time and space in the best way possible: A single 60-minute session can be the equivalent of four hours of REM sleep. From around £906. Rebecca Misner

Casa Cipriani

Casa Cipriani – New York City

This New York hotel is a Cipriani property, so it’s luxury to the max, but in that effortlessly chic Italian sort of way. Picture it: presidential suites featuring cashmere-covered walls by Loro Piana Interiors – that’s the sort of luxurious detail you’ll find in every nook and cranny of the guest rooms at Casa Cipriani. The sheets on the bed are from the 150-year-old luxury linen house Rivolta Carmignani based in Macherio, just outside of Milan. Prior to check-in guests can choose between Italian cotton or Italian linen. It’s hard not to fall completely under the spell of the hotel from the minute you step into your room or suite. Maybe it’s the Art Deco light fixtures or artwork on the wall. Maybe it’s the jazz playing softly in the background, or the way the setting sun hit the lacquer furniture and the shiny brass knobs. But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the guest rooms at Casa Cipriani are the private terraces. The spacious private terraces. Be sure to request a river-facing room because there’s really nothing like this view anywhere in town. Next to the hotel, you’ve got the Staten Island Ferry pulling in and out of Whitehall Terminal; that’s Governor’s Island straight ahead and beyond that, Brooklyn. To your right, you’ve got the Statue of Liberty. But there’s also so much going on inside Casa Cipriani that no one would blame you if you spent your entire stay on the premises: the Club restaurant, the Jazz Café, the Pickering Room, the Promenade Bar, and the Living Room. On top of all that, the hotel service is attentive but not at all intrusive. They truly make you feel like you’re the most important person in the room, and who doesn’t want to feel like that for a few nights? From around £640. Lauren DeCarlo

Jason Frank Rothenberg/Courtesy Chateau Marmont

Chateau Marmont – Los Angeles

I grew up in Los Angeles, and we all knew the stories: Jim Morrison jumping off the roof during a wild night, Lindsay Lohan racking up a $40,000 bar tab and forgetting to pay. West Hollywood’s secretive Francophile-inspired institution has been the domain of Eve Babitz, Anthony Bourdain, Hunter S Thompson, Lana Del Rey and even an annual Beyoncé and Jay-Z Oscars afterparty. In a city that is notoriously sprawling and decentralised, it is the beating heart of off-duty Hollywood, and the washed-up starlet most fun to drink with. Whether you’re peeking over your sunglasses at the infamous palm-shrouded pool or sipping something heady in the lobby bar, with its moody Old Hollywood lighting, you are someone here – everyone is. In my room, the stationery on the desk is printed with, “In Residence: Megan Spurrell”. There’s also an ashtray beside a menu that says “No Smoking”. When you’re a guest here, you have free rein. You get priority rights to the restaurant’s garden (unless Sofia Coppola books it out, which she did when I was there), and if you want to enjoy the pool after checking out, ordering fries while eavesdropping on industry folk, the concierge will hand you a brass key for access. Maybe I didn’t swing from a chandelier at a Leo DiCaprio get-together, but my old friends and I did get to pretend we didn’t notice the comedian Fred Armisen at the next table. From around £473. Megan Spurrell

Eden Rock – St Barths

Eden Rock St Barths

You can become a little numb to beauty in St. Barts, but even after having been on the island for days, I think I squealed when I pulled into Eden Rock. It’s just so perfect – so chic, so glamorous, but in this easy, island-appropriate way. It’s the type of place where just being there makes you feel like the most glam, sun-kissed version of yourself. The hotel is almost entirely surrounded by calm, gin-bottle blue water that’s heavenly for a swim. There’s a diving platform a little ways out, and you can take out rafts and paddle around the point, and there’s a reef if you want to snorkel. The rooms are lovely and elegant, with a subtle Carib-meets-nautical vibe, at once bright and airy. When it comes to the food, rockstar chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is in charge of the menu at the main restaurant, and the resort’s breakfast spread is insane in scope and quality; don’t miss it. Sure, you could have a delightful breakfast by your private pool, but the people-watching here is too good – you’d be missing an opportunity if you stayed in. It’s a pretty diverse crowd in some ways, but the common denominator, to tell it straight, is money. This place is not cheap, but it’s one of the rare hotels that is absolutely worth it. The setting is unparalleled and the food, service, and design are top of the top. There is no way you’ll go and not dream (maybe nightly) about going back – it’s that special. From around £1,234. Rebecca Misner

Fairmont VancoverAlaina Michelle

Fairmont Vancouver – Canada

Nicknamed the Castle in the City, the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver feels grand at every step and, in fact, boasts royal roots: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later dubbed the Queen Mother) were among the first visitors, and their stay marked the property’s ceremonious opening back in 1939. Some 80 years later, an extensive five-year renovation to the tune of $75 million was completed on the downtown Vancouver property, and with it came Fairmont Gold, a hotel within a hotel. For guests who book a Gold room or suite, check-in takes place on your own floor (9 or 14), and a full breakfast is available just inside the private lounge, which, in my case, was roughly six steps away from my room. Ceramic pots of delicious fresh salmon were among the offerings I scooped up each morning before padding back to my room, coffee and meal in hand (I had to WFH – work from the hotel; otherwise, I’d have sat down in one of the lounge’s many banquettes or tables). While there is plenty of great food to be had around the city – and in the lobby at the always-bustling Notch8 Restaurant and Bar – there was a much-appreciated ease to having afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres, or the aforementioned morning meal so accessible, and I imagine even more so for families travelling together. The grandiose hotel’s Art Deco-influenced aesthetic leans into deep blues and bronzes, with marble and velvet accents – a look that carries into the rooms too. Left in place after the renovation was much of the building’s original woodwork, crown mouldings, and built-in decorative fireplaces that keep the hotel’s historic feel alive and well. More modern (and welcomed) touches I made use of during my restful stay: Le Labo bath products, an in-room Nespresso maker, the 24-hour gym and sauna, and an indoor pool open year-round. From around £220. Madison Flager