From harbor-front Hong Kong glam to old-school European luxury, a just-released list of the best hotels on the planet offers a handy guide to traveling the world in high style – or at least assembling a list of dream accommodations.
The inaugural ranking of the World’s 50 Best Hotels was announced this week in London, with the top spot claimed by luxury boutique hotel Passalacqua in Italy, which only opened last summer. Housed in a converted 18th-century villa that was once home to composer Vincenzo Bellini, the 24-room hotel on the shores of Lake Como is designed with breezy Italian relaxation firmly in mind, from an unfussy open kitchen to its seven acres of terraced gardens.
The list’s collective judges are part of the World’s Best 50 Hotels Academy, a body of 580 international travel experts (with a 50-50 gender balance!) from the hotel and travel industries who vote anonymously on the best properties globally.
The winningest continent was Europe, with 21 properties, followed by Asia, with 18 entries ( including the number 2 and 3 spots: Hong Kong’s Rosewood Hotel and the Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River, respectively). The USA has only two entries, both located in New York City: the Aman New York and Equinox New York.
Highlights from select hotels and the full list follow.
Top spots in Europe
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, France
A “color-saturated 22-acre paparazzi-proof peninsula, with rose gardens as gorgeous as any in France” is the setting for this celebrity-fave hotel in Cap d’Antibes.
Four Seasons Firenze, Italy
This converted Renaissance-era palazzo is located near the city center, so you can spend the morning touring the Duomo and easily pop back to the outdoor pool for a refreshing dip.
“Endless country pursuits on tap,” like archery, fishing, and even falconry, make this Scottish getaway unique. The staff can also arrange for fabulous outdoor meals set against the stunning Perthshire scenery.
Grand hotels in Asia
Aman Tokyo, Japan
On the 33rd and 34th floors of this stunning hotel is the Aman Spa, the biggest in Tokyo, featuring the crown jewel of a black basalt swimming pool.
Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Located in the harbor front of the city’s arts and design district, Victoria Dockside, the rooms at the hotel feature “plush furniture, curated art works, exquisite objets d’art, and a lavish, marble-clad bathroom – not to mention one of the best views money can buy.”
Desa Potato Head, Bali
This carbon-neutral luxe property is styled as a “creative village” where “music, art, design, food and wellness converge under a zero waste philosophy.”
Oberoi Amarvilas, India
The opulent Oberoi boasts one of the world’s best views: it’s just steps from the Taj Mahal.
The best of the Americas
Hotel Esencia, Mexico
Originally a private residence owned by an Italian duchess, this 50-acre property on the Riviera Maya coast features striking natural eye candy: white peacocks that wander the grounds.
Rosewood Sao Paulo, Brazil
Set in an Italianate villa that at one time was the city’s maternity ward, this glamorous mid-century hotel boasts contemporary works from 57 Brazilian artists.
Spectacular stays in Africa and Oceana
Singita Lodges, South Africa
Kruger National Park is the setting for the list’s smallest property, the 18-room Singita Lodges, where a highlight is a traditional 18th-century boma dinner, an African menu served “al fresco, under the branches of a candelabra tree.”
The Calile Hotel, Brisbane, Australia
Designed by local architects and featuring “sweeping mid-century curves,” this Australian property evokes vintage Palm Springs with its “subtle pink sand and pistachio green palette and miles of marble.”
Special awards were also given at the London ceremony on September 19, 2023, including the Lost Explorer Best Beach Hotel Award for Soneva Fushi in Maldives; the Nikka Best New Hotel Award for Capella Bangkok; the Flor de Caña Eco Hotel Award to Singita Lodges; and the Carlo Alberto Best Boutique Hotel Award for The Newt in Somerset.
1. Passalacqua (Moltrasio, Italy)
2. Rosewood Hong Kong
3. Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River
4. The Upper House (Hong Kong, China)
5. Aman Tokyo
6. La Mamounia (Marrakech, Morocco)
7. Soneva Fushi (Maldives)
8. One&Only Mandarina (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
9. Four Seasons Firenze (Florence, Italy)
10. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
11. Capella Bangkok
12. The Calile (Brisbane, Australia)
13. Chablé Yucatán (Chocholá, Mexico)
14. Aman Venice
15. Singita Lodges (Kruger National Park, South Africa)
16. Claridge’s (London)
17. Raffles Singapore
18. Nihi Sumba (Wanokaka, Indonesia)
19. Hotel Esencia (Quintana Roo, Mexico)
20. Le Sirenuse (Positano, Italy)
21. Borgo Egnazia (Savelletri, Italy)
22. The Connaught (London)
23. Royal Mansour (Marrakech)
24 Four Seasons Madrid
25. Aman New York
26. The Maybourne Riviera (Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France)
27. Rosewood São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil)
28. Capella Singapore
29. Le Bristol Paris
30. Park Hyatt Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)
31. La Réserve (Paris)
32. Gleneagles (Auchterarder, Scotland)
33. Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc (Antibes, France)
34. Cheval Blanc Paris
35. Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens
36. Soneva Jani (Maldives)
37. The Newt in Somerset (Bruton, United Kingdom)
38. Amangalla (Sri Lanka)
39. Hoshinoya Tokyo
40. Desa Potato Head (Seminyak, Bali)
41. Eden Rock (St-Barthélemy)
42. The Siam (Bangkok)
43. Badrutt’s Palace (St Moritz, Switzerland)
44. Atlantis The Royal (Dubai)
45. The Oberoi Amarvilas (Agra, India)
46. NoMad London
47. The Savoy (London)
48. Equinox New York
49. Six Senses Ibiza (Balearic islands, Spain)
50. Hôtel de Crillon (Paris)