Exterior view, Hotel Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain

The World's Best Luxury Design Hotels

Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards 2023 logo in white
Written by
Louis Dhont

Published on: September 18th, 2017

Last modified: May 14th, 2024

Some of the world's finest hotels feature exciting design-forward architecture. Taking your travel to a whole new level of mind-expanding exploration, these hotels are jam-packed with creativity and inspiration.

From unusual architecture to dramatic decoration, internationally renowned designers add artistic flair to these properties. These is our pick of the world's best luxury design hotels, all boasting complete style.

Beachside beauty
Iniala Beach House
Wine & Design
Hotel Marques de Riscal
Industrial city style
The Silo
Iniala Beach House Villas & Suites, Phuket, Thailand

1) Iniala Beach House Villas & Suites, Thailand

This is cutting-edge opulence at its best. Home to three lavish villas and one exclusive penthouse on the shores of Phuket, the accommodation here boasts massage rooms, private pools and a cinema. Not forgetting your personal chef, butler, driver, house keeper and spa therapist, everything you could wish for is handed to you here.

Interior bedroom view, Penthouse, Iniala Beach House Villas & Suites, Phuket, Thailand

However it is not just a whopping list of impressive amenities to indulge in, as ten designers from all over the globe have fitted this property out, marking Iniala as the world-class standard for extravagant and innovative design.

Terrace with sofas and table fronting the sea at Bianca, Iniala Beach House Villas & Suites, Phuket, Thailand
Art Gallery Interior, Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa

2) Ellerman House, Cape Town, South Africa

With Cape Town crowned the design capital of 2014, this list wouldn’t be complete without a couple of ‘Mother City’ gems. Ellerman House, a Jacada favourite, offers a combination of a homely atmosphere (assuming you live in a grand, stately manor) and gorgeous new villa additions.

Ellerman House Exterior, South Africa

Throw in an incredible wine cellar sculpture, one of the country’s best art collections and world-class service alongside idyllic Bantry Bay views: with so many stylish factors, Ellerman really is a superb art hotel.

Ellerman House Interior Lounge, Cape Town, South Africa

3) Faena Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Don’t let the statuesque, seven-story brick facade of this Buenos Aires property fool you. Lying within the award-winning Faena are interiors infused with intense avant-garde luxury. A sultry mood permeates throughout the property, with cutting-edge design high on its agenda.

The Library Lounge, Faena Hotel and Universe, Buenos Aires, Argentina

From the unicorn head-clad restaurant, to the reception-free foyer to a golden crown-shaped fountain and crystal chandeliers, Faena is dramatic and decadent.

Faena Suite, Faena Hotel Universe, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Aerial view of Macq 01, Tasmania, Australia

4) MACq 01, Tasmania, Australia

Each of the 114 rooms and suites in this history-meets-design hotel are linked to a real character from Tasmania‘s rich and vibrant history: from heroes and villains to explorers and inventors, every major figure is represented. Pieces of history, tales and fables are also sprinkled throughout the glamorous decor of the hotel.

Macq 01 Waterfront Suite, Tasmania, Australia

With all this history going on, rooms are nonetheless modern, airy, bright and spacious. Most enjoy a private balcony looking out over the Derwent Estuary or historic Hunter Street, whilst the ultra-stylish restaurant and hotel bar boast sweeping waterfront views.

Macq 01 living room, Tasmania, Australia
Exterior view, Hotel Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain

5) Hotel Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain

The brainchild of architectural genius Frank Gehry, the striking and innovative roof of this hotel was designed to reflect the precious liquid that’s produced in the celebrated adjoining winery of the same name. Stripes of titanium are coloured in shades of silver that represent a wine cup, gold for the cap of a bottle, and, of course, red to embody the wine itself.

Hotel Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain, roof terrace view

Interiors are just as gorgeous, with airy, spacious rooms and sweeping views from the oblique lined windows, each view strikingly different from the rest. On a sunny day, drink in the views (and the wine) from the gourmet restaurant’s stylish terrace.

Bedroom interior, Hotel Marques de Riscal, La Rioja, Spain
Pool at Singita Lebombo, South Africa, the Kruger

6) Singita Lebombo, The Kruger, South Africa

Based in the Big 5-rich Kruger Park, Singita Lebombo is an uber modern lodge. Its stylish reputation is cemented with organic design pieces made of wood and steel, plus a beautiful, long and all-too-inviting pool and deck area, all crowned by the stark contrast of this cutting-edge flair with the enveloping rugged bush land.


Views of the Kruger (as well as superb animal sightings) can be soaked up from the comfort of your ‘eagle nest’, or suite, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.

Interior view, Singita Lebombo, The Kruger, South Africa
Tarangire Treetops exterior view, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

7) Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

If you’re looking for a truly unique bush experience then head to Tarangire Treetops. Celebrating Tarangire National Park’s fantastic Baobab tree population, this unusual lodge allows you to return to your childhood fantasies with its quirky tree house accommodation. Perched up in the air, each open-fronted suite is built around ancient Baobabs for an enchanting feel.

Bedroom interior, Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Despite the natural setting, the accommodation here does not miss out on any sense of luxury thanks to the high-end trimmings of private balconies, open-air showers and beds facing the splendid African landscape.

Lounge interior, Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Alila Uluwatu cliff edge at sunset, Bali

8) Alila Uluwatu, Bali

Regarded as one of Uluwatu’s most avant-garde hotels, Alila sits on the coast’s clifftops promising sensational Indian Ocean views. The open-plan villas which make up the accommodation here feature sophisticated Balinese touches and minimalist but dramatic design.

Pool view, Alila Uluwatu, Bali

Eco-fabulous qualities are then added to the mix with locally sourced and sustainable materials, such as flat lava rock roofs and bamboo ceilings.

Interior view, Alila Uluwatu, Bali
Alto Atacama Lodge & Spa, Atacama Desert, Chile

9) Alto Atacama Lodge & Spa, Atacama Desert, Chile

The hotel’s design mirrors the Atacama with earthy hues, local iconography and sculptures, tapestries and textiles. All of these design innovations come together to form a quiet sense of luxury in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

Outdoor swimming pool at night at Hotel Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa, San Pedro de Atacama, Atacama Desert, Chile

Set against the rugged, red mountains of the captivating Atacama desert, this magnificent hideaway merges into its vast backdrop in a conscientous and oh-so stylish way.

Alto Atacama Lodge & Spa, Atacama Desert, Chile
The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

10) The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

Prominent British designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick, whose iconic works include the Cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games and London’s new Routemaster bus, was the creative brain behind this masterpiece. Built in 1924, the grain silo was the tallest building in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the luxury hotel located in the former elevator tower now takes a proud place as a beacon of modern design on Cape Town‘s skyline and waterfront.

Interior view of the restaurant at The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

Retaining the original industrial aesthetics with the addition of gently bulging pillowed glazing panels, the hotel comprises 28 rooms, each of which has been individually designed to tell its own story and reflect (as well as showcase) the city’s natural beauty.

View from The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam

11) The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam

One of Vietnam’s most sumptuous properties, the Nam Hai employs traditional architecture with a modern elegance. The palatial villas here offer a cool sense of space with their contemporary, light and open design, while the three pools are a striking image.

Interior bedroom living room view, The Nam Hai Four Seasons Resort, Hoi An, Vietnam

Set within 35 hectares of tropical gardens on Ha My beach’s pristine shoreline, this is the perfect base from which to explore the charming 15th century town of Hoi An just a few short miles away.

The swimming pool at Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
The pool at Fasano Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

12) Fasano Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sitting on one of Rio’s hottest beaches, Fasano is one of the city’s coolest hotels and so, attracts a cool clientele. It’s the type of place where staff wear vintage uniforms and guests people-watch, cocktail in hand, from the stunning rooftop infinity pool.

Chic interior view, Fasano Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Parisian designer Phillipe Starck adorned this Ipanema hotspot with a blend of period touches and original art to bring Rio’s modernist history to life – and create a fabulously chic setting.

Dining room interior, Fasano Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Exterior view, Babylonstoren, The Winelands, South Africa

13) Babylonstoren, The Winelands, South Africa

When it comes to supremely stylish Cape Dutch architecture, Babylonstoren is a winner. Partly owned by former Elle Decoration editor Karen Roos, this Winelands hotel seamlessely balances its colonial heritage with contemporary flair. The restaurant here, Babel, is renowned for its top-class design.

Interior, Babylonstoren, The Winelands, South Africa

While the buildings are charming examples of restored Cape Dutch farm cottages, the interiors are light and airy with a glass fronted kitchen area offering gorgeous gardens, mountains and skyline views.

The pool at Babylonstoren, The Winelands, South Africa
Main pool, Amanjiwo, Borobudur, Menorah Hills, Java

14) Amanjiwo, Java, Indonesia

With its design based on the neighbouring Borobudur temple, Amanjiwo is a remarkable piece of architecture combining ancient inspiration and contemporary opulence. Lying within a natural ampitheatre, a Romanesque feel is given to the hotel with its free-standing suites based in two elegant crescents around a central rotunda.

Pool club dinner, Amanjiwo, Java

Reminiscent of its spiritual and volcanic surrounds, the suites enjoy high ceilings with domed, ash-coloured roofs, while local materials and artefacts such as hand-carved furniture, antique glass paintings and exotic Javanese textiles also grace the immaculately sophisticated property.

The Garden Suite, Amanjiwo, Java
Exterior, The Singular, Torres del Paine, Chile

15) The Singular, Torres del Paine, Chile

Originally built in 1915, the Singular is a post-Victorian cold-storage factory refurbished to a refined and modern industrial fashion. When you’re not reading up about the Singular’s past, spend your time exploring the remote Chilean surrounds on a wide choice of adventurous expeditions.

The Singular, Torres del Paine, Chile

Rooms feature bare concrete walls and seamless glow windows that look out to the wild Patagonian scenery. This wild region, along with the hotel’s heritage, has been incorporated into the furnishings with restored factory machinery and historical information displayed.

Interior view, The Singular, Torres del Paine, Chile
Angama Mara, Kenya

16) Angama Mara, Kenya

Traditional Maasai culture meets modern luxury in these 30 tented suites, where splashes of red and tartan print are combined with stylish minimalist design so as to enhance the 180 degree panoramic views.

Decking, Angama Mara, Mara Conservancies, Kenya

10 metre wide, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and private wooden decks provide unparalleled opportunities for game viewing from this perch high on the Rift Valley‘s Oloololo Escarpment.

Out of Africa Kopje Angama Mara
Atrium zone horizon shot, Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

17) Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Found along the Chao Phraya River is Bangkok’s Siam Hotel. Besides an excellent location, this bold and deluxe property fuses Thai, colonial and art deco elements to create a strikingly modern design.

Infinity Pool, Siam Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

Dining takes centre stage here, with the property sporting three restaurants. Authentic cookery school and Thai restaurant Chon Thai Restaurant is an excellent place to sample local cuisine, while the art-deco themed Deco Bar & Bistro reflects the contemporary international menu.


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