Most Beautiful Hotels in the World
Published on: May 7th, 2019
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
From private islands off the Cambodian coast to winter hideouts in Sweden, the world is home to some truly exquisite hotels.
To help you experience the world in true style, our experts have rounded up their pick of the most beautiful hotels in the world.
1) Nihi Sumba Island, Indonesia
One of the finest resorts in Indonesia, Nihi Sumba Island combines eco-luxury with a pristine island that time forgot. Set within 438 acres of tropical forest, rice terraces and grassland, this stunning resort has an enviable location. The 32 villas here – made by local craftsmen from reclaimed wood – are hidden amongst the trees and furnished with unique regional artefacts.
All come with private terraces or balconies boasting sea views, so you can relax in the knowledge that this socially-conscious property puts the island first. Nihi Sumba Island is great for both active and laid-back travellers alike – guests can try their hand at surfing and paddleboarding, or simply relax with a massage or yoga class in the Jungle Spa.
2) Song Saa, Cambodia
Reached by a 45-minute speedboat journey from the mainland, Song Saa is Cambodia’s best-kept secret island getaway. Built with sustainability in mind, the resort is constructed from reclaimed timber, salvaged wood from old fishing boats and weathered driftwood. Twenty-four luxury overwater villas are scattered throughout the island, creating a beautiful environment in which to relax and truly unwind.
Delicious Khmer cuisine, sanctuaries offering spa treatments and rainforest trails all add to the authentic Cambodian feel of this remote island paradise. For ultimate luxury, the exclusive two-bedroom Royal Villa is reached by private boat and has its own pool, kitchen and indoor dining space for up to 12.
3) Four Seasons Tented Camp, Thailand
Setting takes centre stage here. Thailand’s Four Seasons Tented Camp enjoys a prime position in the Golden Triangle, bordering Laos and Burma. The tents here are tree houses nestled high amongst Thailand’s forests, adorned with expensive decking and all the modern luxuries. This exquisite property is perfect for those in search of luxury, authenticity and adventure; guests can even eschew a car transfer in favour of arriving at the camp by traditional long-tail boat.
As well as luxurious adventure, the hotel focuses on preserving the local wildlife. Their own rescued elephants, who are part of the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, spend their days roaming free in their natural habitat.
4) Taj Lake Palace, India
Reminiscent of Maharaja’s palaces and old world India, the enchanting Taj Lake Palace is one of the most iconic hotels in the subcontinent. Set in the middle of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola, this charming hotel enjoys a serene setting like no other. Designed as a recreational palace by a young prince in 1746, the property has since been restored to its former glory, with its fine white marble walls exploding in soft hues of orange at dawn and dusk.
Dining is a highlight here. Rooftop restaurant Bhairo offers panoramic views over the lake, and the option to dine out on the lake aboard a 150-year old boat is a truly immersive experience. Other highlights include the buzzing atmosphere of the hotel, and the free heritage walk that takes guests through the fascinating history of the hotel itself.
4) The Silo, South Africa
The Silo occupies an iconic place on Cape Town’s skyline, and is a boutique luxury city hotel to rival all others. The creative brain behind the project is prominent British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick. Heatherwick’s iconic works include the Cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games and London’s new Routemaster bus, so it’s no surprise that The Silo is an extremely stylish outfit.
A beacon of modern design, the rooms here combine cutting edge style with comfortable luxury, as well as incredible views over the Atlantic, Table Mountain and Cape Town’s cityscape. The Silo is a must-visit for art lovers – the walls of the hotel are filled with incredible African art. When you’re not enjoying the 360 degree views from the restaurant or glass swimming pool, head downstairs to peruse the MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa).
5) Singita Sweni, South Africa
A small but intimate property, Singita Sweni sits in the heart of Singita’s Kruger National Park Concession. With just six rooms, this lodge’s convivial atmosphere feels both comfortable and welcoming. Rooms here are tastefully designed, with floor to ceiling windows allowing guests to observe hippos wallowing in the river below.
The sociable nature of the camp continues to the shared pool area, where guests can cool off in the afternoon or enjoy the ample spa facilities. Singita Sweni excels in introducing guests to the surrounding environment too, with twice daily game drives, guided bush walks, and stargazing safaris all on offer.
7) Logger's Lodge, Sweden
Sweden’s Logger’s Lodge – the cosiest hotel on this list – provides the ultimate romantic getaway. A private forest hideaway for two, it’s separated from the outside world by 5 kilometres of wilderness. It’s the ultimate indulgent couples hideout, and comes complete with privately guided outdoor activities, a private spa with a sauna and a private local chef. The forests of Swedish Lapland provide a truly extraordinary setting for this cosy lodge.
In winter, you’ll get front row seats for the Northern Lights, and in summer the midnight sun means you can spend entire days outside exploring the surrounding forest. The gold standard in luxury hideaways, Logger’s Lodge is ideal for couples looking for privacy, or anyone in need of taking some time away from the bustle of the urban world.
8) Deplar Farm, Iceland
There are thirteen en-suite rooms here that can accommodate up to 28 people, giving plenty of options for families. Alongside a fabulous indoor-outdoor salt water pool and bar, a sauna, gym, spa and lounge area, this Icelandic retreat offers a whole host of exhilarating excursions.
9) Hotel Fasano, Brazil
The most stylish hotel in Rio, the Fasano is set on the laidback Ipanema beach front. Designed by Philippe Starck, the rooms here are a wonderful combination of period pieces, original artwork and chic-modern style. Each room has its own balcony with sea views and king size beds complete with Egyptian cotton sheets and goose down pillows, so it’s definitely not lacking in luxury. An excellent bar, a stunning rooftop pool with sprawling views over the city and Rio’s best seafood restaurant all add to the Fasano’s charm.
10) Matakauri Lodge, New Zealand
Set amongst incredible nature, Matakauri Lodge sits on the banks of the pristine Lake Wakatipu. This bright and modern establishment is surrounded by a tranquil haven of serene blue waters, sweeping mountain landscapes and snow-capped peaks. The main lodge has four suites, while other rooms have been delightfully built in a native forest with alpine panoramas.
Private balconies, lounge areas and cosy fireplaces all give this charming hideaway a real family feel. Other than walks, hikes, scenic horse riding trails and wine tours, the hotel’s highlight is the elegant spa. Located near great pine thickets, the spa provides an exclusive space to rejuvenate and reinvigorate your body.
11) Longitude 131, Australia
In the heart of the Outback and overlooking Uluru, Longitude 131 is pure desert luxury. Nestled atop red-rust sand dunes, this hidden paradise is surrounded by swathes of savanna. This proudly Australian hotel allows guests to experience the magic of the country’s spiritual heart while discovering the region’s rich history and indigenous culture. Each of the 15 luxury tents here is beautifully furnished and comes with floor-to-ceiling windows opening out onto a private deck.
From here, guests can gaze out over the arid landscape and truly take in the beauty of the vast undisturbed wilderness. With the option to dine out under the stars, Longitude 131 showcases the very best in contemporary Australian dining. Sunset drinks enjoyed in the company of the resident astrologer put this hotel firmly on the map as one of Australia’s, and the world’s, best.