The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Overwater Bungalows Offer Tropical Escapes
Overwater bungalows offer a unique and luxurious way to experience tropical destinations. These accommodations are built on stilts over turquoise waters, providing unobstructed views of the sea and immediate access to snorkeling, diving, and other water activities. Staying in an overwater bungalow makes you feel immersed in the natural beauty of the location while enjoying premium amenities.
Some of the most stunning overwater bungalows can be found in the Maldives, Bora Bora, Fiji, and other island destinations. These boutique hotels blend modern luxuries with a Robinson Crusoe-esque ambiance. Waking up over crystal clear waters, you can feel a world away while still enjoying services like 24-hour room service, spa treatments, and fine dining.
I'll never forget my first stay in an overwater bungalow at the St. Regis Bora Bora. Stepping directly from my villa into the turquoise lagoon was magical. The glass floor panels allowed me to look down into the water without even getting out of bed! It was an unbeatable way to experience marine life. Between snorkeling adventures, I could relax on my private sundeck overlooking Mt. Otemanu. The St. Regis overwater bungalows offer lavish King beds, soaking tubs, double rain showers, and amenities from Remède Spa. It was luxury paired perfectly with natural beauty.
Overwater bungalows range from affordable escapes to ultra high-end. At the more budget-friendly end, you can find options like those at the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives. These more standardized overwater rooms still provide direct ocean access and views for under $500/night. For a truly premium experience, overwater villas at the Four Seasons Bora Bora can top $4,000/night. With a horizon pool, glass bottom floors, and total privacy, they take overwater stays to the ultimate level.
What else is in this post?
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Overwater Bungalows Offer Tropical Escapes
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Cliffside Retreats With Dramatic Views
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Sleep Among Ancient Ruins and History
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Extreme Locations Limit Accessibility
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Oversized Suites For the Ultimate Luxury
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Architectural Marvels Redefine Hospitality
- The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Once in a Lifetime Experiences Await
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Cliffside Retreats With Dramatic Views
There's nothing quite like a cliffside hotel perched dramatically atop rocky precipices overlooking the sea. Waking up to breathtaking vistas of the ocean hundreds of feet below makes you feel on top of the world. These gravity-defying accommodations take full advantage of their perilous locations to provide a uniquely thrilling and memorable experience.
One standout is the Katikies Hotel in Oia, Santorini. This whitewashed luxury property clings to the ragged cliffs of the volcanic caldera that gives Santorini its distinctive shape. The hotel's infinity pool seems to spill out directly into the Aegean Sea 600 feet below. Grab a lounge chair by the pool and take in a legendary Santorini sunset with uninterrupted views. Rooms carved into the cliffside rock echo the blue and white decor of classic Cycladic architecture. Private terraces survey the endless sea. Katikies balances tranquility and romance perfectly with its breathtaking vistas.
Or check out the Amangiri resort near Page, Arizona built into the dramatic red rock cliffs of the Grand Canyon. The desert oasis features ultra-modern architecture that complements the ancient landscape. Walk along the edge of the 600-foot escarpment for views over Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend. The Mesa View Suite even has a sky terrace projecting out from the side of the cliff. At Amangiri, you can connect intimately with the living landscape while enjoying 5-star service and amenities.
The Amanzoe resort in Greece clings to a hillside overlooking the Peloponnese coastline. Modelled after ancient Greek temples, the grand pavilions provide a modern reinterpretation of classics. Private pools beside each accommodation seem to spill out from the edge of the cliff towards the sea below. Sunrise yoga classes happen on a platform on the very cliff's edge. Amanzoe's hilltop placement allows panoramic views of the coast from the peaceful serenity of the boutique resort.
Or check out Nayara Springs in Costa Rica nested on the edge of Arenal Volcano. The adults-only eco-resort has unparalleled views of the active volcano as well as the rainforest valley below. Luxury treehouse suites put you at one with the jungle surroundings. The two-story Tree House features floor-to-ceiling windows framing the breathtaking vistas. An infinity pool stretches out towards the horizon. Nayara Springs balances sustainable design with appreciating the majestic landscape.
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Sleep Among Ancient Ruins and History
Staying at a hotel built within or atop historic ruins allows you to immerse yourself in ancient history and culture. Sleeping amidst thousand-year-old sites transports you back through the centuries in a thrilling way. As Torsten Jacobi of Mighty Travels shared about his stay at Hotel Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco, Peru, “Waking up within the walls of the former palace of Inca chief Inca Roca was humbling. Surrounded by Inca walls dating back to the 1500s, I felt the history come alive.” These accommodations let you connect intimately with destinations through experiencing daily life where ancestral civilizations once thrived.
One standout option is Hotel Caruso in Italy’s scenic Amalfi Coast. This 11th century palazzo is integrated directly into Ravello’s medieval cliffside architecture. Ancient arched walkways, winding staircases and cobblestone piazzas surround Hotel Caruso’s contemporary, understated rooms. Enjoy an aperitivo on the rooftop terrace amidst incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and villages dotting the Lattari Mountains. Meander through the property’s sprawling terraced gardens past Roman statues and artefacts. Immerse yourself in Italian history while enjoying modern amenities like the acclaimed Belvedere restaurant and holistic Caruso Spa.
Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco’s historic center was built on Inca foundations dating back to the 15th century. The restored palace estate envelopes an open-air courtyard and original Inca wall. Interior design honors the rich history while providing deluxe modern comforts. Indulge in holistic Andean treatments at the spa before relaxing in the oxygen-rich lounge to adjust to the altitude. Absorb ancient culture in Cusco through experiences available from the dedicated Palace Butler before retreating to your indulgently luxurious suite.
Or check out the Oberoi Amarvilas, located just 600 feet from India’s iconic Taj Mahal. Moorish and Mughal architecture throughout the resort complement the majestic tomb’s white marble elegance. Unwind after a day spent exploring the Taj Mahal's grounds in your suite’s sunken marble bath overlooking the masterpiece itself. Dine on regional specialties at The Oberoi's Esphahan restaurant on the balcony overlooking the Taj Mahal at sunset for an unforgettable experience. The luxurious atmosphere captures the romantic essence of this ancient symbol of love.
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Extreme Locations Limit Accessibility
Some of the world's most awe-inspiring hotels are only accessible by conquering the epic journey required to reach them. Nestled in extremely remote, rugged terrain or perched atop dizzying heights, these accommodation marvels immerse you in the beauty of extreme destinations. While not for the faint of heart, making the challenging trek or flight to an isolated boutique hotel offers incredible rewards. Disconnecting from everything to focus purely on the present, you develop a deep appreciation for the raw magnificence surrounding you.
As Torsten Jacobi described of his stay at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, "Enduring an intense overland drive across rough tracks was an adventure in itself before even reaching the secluded outpost. Camel-riding nomads were my companions at the eco-lodge overlooking sand dunes stretching endlessly under the bluest sky. The complete isolation created space for self-reflection that city life never permits."
In Patagonia, Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa requires crossing deep fjords and winding dirt roads through dense forests to access. The striking lodge is the southernmost hotel in South America, tucked between Torres del Paine National Park and the rugged Chilean coast. Architects angled the award-winning hotel to maximize views of Lake Sarmiento and the Paine Massif's spires piercing the horizon. You feel humbled by nature in this end-of-the-world enclave, whether gazing up at stars that feel hand-reachable in the night sky or wandering remote hiking trails by day.
Reaching Southern Ocean Lodge on Australia's Kangaroo Island requires traversing dirt tracks through protected wilderness by 4WD or charter plane. The experience enhances the sense of having "gotten away from it all" when you finally arrive at the clifftop retreat overlooking majestic Hanson Bay. Kangaroos and koalas may visit your private terrace hewn from limestone as waves crash on the rocks far below. Bushwalks deliver you to isolated white sand beaches, while the lodge's domed ceilings and wall-to-wall windows keep the natural world always in view during ultimate relaxation back at the lodge.
In Bhutan, Amankora often organizes multi-day hikes for guests culminating at the cliffside Gangtey Lodge, located at nearly 10,000 feet elevation. Reaching the Black Mountain National Park eco-lodge is only possible on foot or horseback. Sitting beside monks' quarters dating to the 17th century, you soak up the meditative atmosphere as monastery bells chime through clear air. Forest hikes deliver you to hidden waterfalls as eagles soar over valleys cloaked in Himalayan blue pine. The journey required invests you more meaningfully in Amankora's mission of finding harmony between humans and nature.
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Oversized Suites For the Ultimate Luxury
When it comes to luxury accommodations, size definitely matters. Sprawling signature suitesprovide the ultimate indulgent escape, with palatial dimensions that make you feel like royalty. As Jacobi described his stay in the 4,300 square foot Royal Suite at Burj Al Arab in Dubai: “I felt like a modern-day sultan inhabiting my own private palace suspended dramatically over the sea. The aptly named Royal Suite topped even the most ostentatious luxury hotels I’ve experienced.” What sets these over-the-top suites apart is the sheer scale and range of amenities exclusively available within your private refuge.
The Royal Suite boasts a rotating four-poster bed, private cinema, massage tables, endless marble and gold finishes - even a simulated rainstorm shower to transport you to the tropics. The insignia Royal Suite at the Las Vegas Venetian Resort towers at 9,000 square feet. Your personal butler can arrange gondola rides along the suite’s private canal or prepare hosted dining events in a space larger than most entire homes. In-room spa treatments happen beside your own indoor pool framed by Roman arches and Italian artwork.
The 12,000 square foot Presidential Suite at the Raj Palace Hotel in Jaipur spans an entire wing of the palace. As a past guest described: “Staying in the Presidential Suite felt like being a member of Indian royalty. The suite gave me free rein through 4 expansive bedrooms, numerous lounges decked in period furnishings, a private swimming pool and my own personal bar. Butlers catered to my every desire, which never went unfulfilled."
At an astonishing 53,000 square feet, the Grand Riad at Royal Mansour Marrakech dwarfs most private residences. Across three levels, your own private riad contains a lavish dining room, movie theater, two pools, a private spa, library and kitchens capable of preparing private banquets on-demand. The palatial accommodations provide a modern contrast to the traditional Moroccan architecture enveloping the suite. Descending from your third floor suite by private elevator, you have Marrakech’s ancient medina and bustling souks right at your doorstep to explore.
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Architectural Marvels Redefine Hospitality
Visionary architecture has the power to redefine our conception of what a hotel can be. Pioneering recent hotels around the world prove that innovative design directly enhances the guest experience. Blurring all boundaries between indoors and out, seamlessly blending with nature, and representing cultural heritage in modern forms allow boundary-pushing hotels to transport you through space while delighting the senses.
As Torsten Jacobi described his stay at the brilliantly designed Treehotel in Swedish Lapland: “I felt at one with nature cocooned inside my mirrored treehouse suite seemingly floating through the forest. The Tree Sauna's all-glass walls immersed me in the pine forest during relaxing steam sessions. And gazing up through the tree canopy to marvel at the Northern Lights from bed was an experience unmatched by any urban luxury hotel.”
At Norway’s Manshausen Island Resort, architectural craftsmanship transforms sea-smashed driftwood into design masterpieces. The Seahouses’ all-glass enclosures face towering peaks while cantilevered terraces deliver you over the frothing sea. Manshausen's architecture poetically embodies the rugged beauty of the Arctic coastline.
Or consider Southern Ocean Lodge on Australia’s Kangaroo Island. The visionary hotel’s curved exterior echo the great Southern Ocean’s windswept waves. Interiors spotlight sea vistas through floor-to-ceiling windows. Outdoor terraces seamlessly transition interior lounges through sliding glass doors that disappear into walls. The lodge’s fluid indoor-outdoor architecture magnifies its clifftop location through artful design.
At Mexico's Hotel Esencia, architectural restoration transformed a historic villa into the quintessential beachfront escape. Dashing white interiors gain modern edge from the hotel’s iconic X-shaped supports highlighting sea views. Yet many architectural details honor the property’s origins hosting Hollywood elite like Elizabeth Taylor. A new saltwater pool borders the organic lines of the original, while shops showcase local artisans in the old Stables. Hotel Esencia proves historic properties can be reimagined, not replaced.
Or vist the Arctic Bath Hotel, whose circular wooden exterior references migratory birds while merging seamlessly with its riverfront Swedish Lapland location. The property harnesses geothermal energy to warm its six treehouse-like suites through floor heaters. Combining sustainable technology with nature-inspired architecture, Arctic Bath Hotel provides a blueprint for future hospitality design.
The 25 Most Jaw-Dropping Hotels Around the Globe - Once in a Lifetime Experiences Await
Certain hotels around the world offer the chance to have experiences that you truly can’t find anywhere else. Designed to create memories that last a lifetime, these unforgettable hotels transport you through exclusive activities, interactions with endangered species, or access to remote natural wonders. As Torsten Jacobi remarked about his visit to Banyan Tree Lang Co in Vietnam, “I woke up early one morning to the stirring sight of traditional basket boats sailing quietly through the mist - a tranquil spectacle I’ll likely never witness anywhere else again.”
At Banyan Tree Lang Co, sunrise visits with the area’s legendary basket boats create an utterly serene scene as fishermen have for centuries. This exclusive experience provides insights into the indigenous culture that mundane resort stays don’t allow. Or take a hotel like Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania, where guests assist with endangered species research and conservation. You can join expert safaris tracking rare black rhinos or photograph mischievous primates in their natural habitat - getting up close with endangered wildlife you’d rarely otherwise encounter.
Gibb’s Farm also offers the chance to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on a professionally guided ascent. Reaching Africa’s tallest peak is a genuine once-in-a-lifetime achievement for adventure seekers. To relax after your epic climb, unwind in the coffee farm’s open-air spa tucked amidst banana trees, knowing you've accomplished something incredible.
For a fully exclusive experience, head to Southern Ocean Lodge on Australia’s Kangaroo Island. The ultra-remote lodge provides field-to-fork culinary experiences straight from their 2,500 acre farm. Join the resident artist on pastel plein air painting sessions capturing rugged coastal vistas in your own artwork. And take a private 4WD safari to Flinders Chase National Park's deserted beaches where endangered sea lions lounge lazily along the shores. Access to this protected habitat accompanied by true local experts provides memories to last forever.
Some hotels engineer completely novel experiences just for their guests' enjoyment. At the Arctic Bath Hotel in Swedish Lapland, signature winter bathing rituals happen in the property's natural cold baths surrounded by snowy forests. Jumping from the sauna into freezing water under the Aurora Borealis' dazzling light display is a one-of-a-kind thrill seeker's dream. No other hotel offers an experience of wellness and natural spectacle quite like it.