After months of research, we came up with the most definitive bucket list of hotels. We had one crucial criterion, and that is experience. All the hotels you find below have one thing in common: they will leave you with a strong memory of a unique stay. These accommodations couldn't be more different. There are no overlaps, and there are no two luxury stays in Maldives nor two ice igloos. It just makes things easier. One list to tick for the next couple of decades. Good luck and have fun!
If I had to choose which dramatic cliffside town is more beautiful, Positano or Oia in Santorini, I would be in huge trouble. Luckily I don't have to, and luckily for you, we have both places as a must-go on this bucket list. Le Sirenuse is a five-star hotel that the same family has operated since its opening in 1951.
It has a beautiful vantage point overlooking a steep decline dotted with village houses to the beach and marina. It consistently comes in the top 10 European hotels in the World Traveler Awards, and its Michelin-starred restaurant will serve you a meal you will not forget.
Set in Canyon Point, Utah, with untouched scenery as far as the eye can see. Pristine wilderness surrounds the seamlessly blending architecture of Amangiri Villas. As unintrusive as a design can be, it still required special permission from congress to be built inside this breathtaking national park.
The result? For one, you can enjoy all the shades of colors of the dunes, plateaus, and mountain ridges throughout the day right from your bathtub if you want. Your private terrace comes with a fireplace for chilly nights. And that pool, have you seen that pool?!
The futuristic skyscraper of London was the tallest building in the EU right until the UK Brexit. The 96-story tower became an instant icon of the city upon completion; Shangri-La Hotel occupies floors 34 to 52. Panoramic views while enjoying your food? You got it. You can also go to sleep with the enchanting night lights of London. This five-star hotel has marble bathrooms and heated floors, of course.
Ting restaurant overlooks the Thames and serves a modern British menu with an Asian influence, and the Gong bar is the place to socialize. It's on level 52 and offers an incredible panorama as well. From the South Bank to Soho, London's best sites are all within walking distance. So if you are headed then to the UK's capital, this is the place you should consider.
Wood and bricks, brass details with blue tiles, and panoramic view on Manhattan? I'm sold. In fact, I'm moving in. The Williamsburg Hotel is true to its name. It resembles the chic and relaxed vibe of this Brooklyn neighborhood in every bit. The floor-to-ceiling windows (including in the bathroom!) have a painfully beautiful panorama of New York. This is only topped by the rooftop terrace that has 360 degrees views and a pool, of course.
Get the room with the balcony, and it will come with a cocoon chair hanging from the ceiling to chill and observe the remarkable Brooklyn Bridge. Manhattan is right across the Hudson River if you need to go, but it's here in Williamsburg where you will have the most fantastic panorama on the New York City skyline.
The Williamsburg Hotel rooftop terrace overlooking the Manhattan skyline
When the young Prince, Maharana Jagat Singh, asked his father to take his ladies to one of the palaces, he refused but said he was free to do whatever he wanted if he built one. As a result, the pleasure palace on Lake Pichola was built in the year 1743. Fast-forward to the 20th century, the palace has undergone a complete restoration to shine in its original glory.
The hotel became world-known when the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ came out in 1983. There is something about powerful men spending time with beautiful women on this island. Anyway. If you ever wanted to feel like a Maharana prince, or James Bond (male or female!), this place will fulfill your desires.
It has to be the most iconic hotel building in the world. It appeared in many movies like Mars Attacks! or the Hangover with its recognizable pyramid shape. The name comes from the Egyptian city of Luxor, which is the ancient Thebes. They use this theme throughout the hotel, like the massive Great Sphinx of Giza statue in front of it. The Luxor is right on the Strip where everything is happening.
To stand out from the crowd, they use the strongest light beams in the world, shooting from the top of the pyramid. It makes it easy to spot it from far if you would lose your path on the way back to your hotel. Inside it has a massive 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2) casino with over 2,000 slot machines and 87 table games.
Most importantly, there is a large pool with a bar outside. That's to have the complete Las Vegas package you came for.
Welcome to the capital of parties and techno. The 25 Hours Bikini Hotel is your super cozy getaway from the bustling center. It's just as hipster as Berlin itself. Bikes are hanging from the ceiling, an original Mini you can take for a ride, and plants grow freely from stacked wooden pallets.
The rooftop bar is called the Monkey, and your room is named Jungle. You have a panoramic sauna to enjoy to sweat out all the toxins, and the chill area is full of plants to inhale some clean air afterward.
Gorgeous views all around the building, including your room, where you can find a hammock. How cool is that! There is a trailer that serves burgers, and the bar is full of life and tasty drinks. It's like a mini Berlin.
The Andaz hotel is located in the hip Jordaan district of Amsterdam. What's more, you are right on the canal. This is what you have been dreaming about – at least I know I have. This place is a typical case of not judging a book by its cover. A slightly bland modern exterior hides an extravagant design explosion on the inside.
Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has created a world based on Alice in Wonderland. A quirky and surreal setting that can come to life after a good night out in Amsterdam. High-ly recommended!
There is much more to the UAE than Dubai, thankfully. The Qasr Al Sarab Desert Hotel is set close to the border of Saudi Arabia, and a good 2.5 hrs drive from the capital city of Abu Dhabi. The environment could not be any different from the skyscraper myriads in Dubai. This place is an oasis of luxurious life in the middle of the sandy desert dunes.
Here, you can experience the mystical charm of Arabian nights. Ride on camels in the dunes, go for night walks under the starry sky, and enjoy the stunning sunsets from the private pool on your balcony.
Sunset dining among sand dunes
A fine example of Art Nouveau architecture, the Gresham Palace is a sight to behold at the Buda-side entrance of the famous Chain Bridge. The glorious facade comes to life at night when all the pretty details are lit up.
If you go for the Chain Bridge Suite, you will have the most beautiful stone balcony overlooking the Castle district, the surrounding hills, and the bridges connecting Buda with Pest. Candle-lit dinners here will be memories to stay with you. As the building now belongs to Four Seasons, you can expect the high quality of service you are used to.
Another must-visit in Morocco is the city called the "land of God" in Berber. It's so close to the snow-capped Atlas Mountains that you can have breathtaking views even of the tallest peak, Toubkal, on clear days. Royal Mansour Marrakech is set between the new town, Gueliz, and the old town, Medina, surrounded by lush greenery. The monumental ornamental gate speaks volumes of the hotel right from first sight. It's no coincidence as the hotel was commissioned by the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI himself. Mosaics, shells, silk, gold, and mother of pearl accents are peppered throughout the riad.
Private rooftop terraces may not surprise you, but the complex tunnels underneath the hotel for added privacy are a staggering addon. If you expected exquisite culinary, then you were right. Parisian three-Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno is heading all three on-site restaurants. Wow!
In the southernmost city of Africa, an eye and window-popping architecture appeared in the shape of a museum and a five-star hotel. The bottom part of this remarkable remake of the original Grain Silo building is packed with a contemporary African art of the Zeitz Museum collection. The levels above are home to the 28 rooms that have been individually designed and decorated.
The ingenious windows that reflect the sun like crystals provide the most astonishing views on Cape Town and Table Mountain.
Head over to the rooftop, where you will find an unobstructed 360 degrees panorama, a glass-walled swimming pool, and a selection of cocktails to slurp on. Of course, you’ll also be staying right at the V&A Waterfront, within walking distance from many of the city’s highlights and the major events such as the Jazz Festival or Cape Town Art Fair. Pro tip: take the Blue Train to Cape Town for a complete South African experience.
Yet another hotel from Singapore? You bet. It's so different from the Marina Bay Sands hotel that it is in the 100 bucket list hotels. Urban jungle expression got very real with the construction of Parkroyal Pickering. It is an 89 m (292 ft) building with 16 floors and an array of terraces covered by lush greenery.
These gardens are designed to be self-sustaining and consume minimal energy through solar cells, motion sensors, rainwater harvesting, and reclaimed water. Eco-friendly as it should be in the 21st century. It has also received a plethora of awards, and you can see why if you check out the photos right below.
Outdoor action lovers are going to love this one. It's located in the traditional Telemark region of Norway, inside of the pristine forestlands. Your accommodation is a Mongolian-style yurt, and your vehicle is a rigid, off-road bike. The hosts will help you choose the route of your experience level, and when you get back, a steaming hot sauna will wait for you to ease your muscles.
There are self-standing bathtubs set up at the shore of the lake, which will be filled up with hot water upon your request. Don't forget to ask for a glass of wine to unwind in this serene environment.
A new type of motel chain was built in the '30s and '40s in the USA under the name of Wigwam. They were set up in Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, and California. The three Wigwams that survived today are all listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Two of them are located right on U.S. Route 66.
Up for an amazing road trip in the USA? You can stop on the way and sleep in a traditional tipi of the Native American tribes. It's a structure built on wooden piles and covered with leather or canvas. Of course, we are in the 21st century, so you will have a pool to cool down after a long day of driving too. Definitely a bucket-list-worthy experience!
Japan continues to be a trendsetter. This time they elevated the concept of capsule hotels to mini-luxury. Capsule Inn was the first capsule hotel in the world, and it opened in 1979 in Osaka. Initially, it was about maximizing the number of people that could stay in the same room to have a healthy amount of privacy that led to the creation of private pods. This is how the capsule hotel concept was born.
Nowadays, hostels offering capsules or pods are nothing new, but the 9 Hours Capsule Hotel takes a different path. The sleek minimal design resembles expensive hotels. Your bed is just as comfortable as in an upscale hotel but with limited space. If you like the idea of hostels, but the lack of privacy and the level of hygiene kept you away, then luxury capsule hotels are for you. And what better place could you find than the birthplace of this new type of accommodation: Japan.
Florence is the architectural gem and the capital city of the Tuscany region. The iconic Ponte Vecchio the oldest and most famous bridge over the Arno River, and the city is home to some of the most beautiful churches. It's also the place with the most renowned art galleries in the world: Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. I'm sure many of you know all this already, but have you heard about Il Salviatino? It's located just outside Florence in the hills of Fiesole.
This unique setting gives the award-winning hotel magnificent sceneries ranging from Il Salviatino's 12.5-acre private garden, the Tuscan landscapes, and the famous Duomo view of Florence. That's not all, of course; take a look inside. The 15th-century hand-restored villa mixed the classic Renaissance interior with sublime contemporary design details.
This charming Australian five-star getaway is riddled with charm and baroque flourishes. It's located in the beautiful forestland on the outskirts of Adelaide, which is the oldest wine-producing region in the country. The Manor is built in romantic and baroque styles, but you will find koalas outdoors instead of rabbits.
It is one of the world's most outstanding, romantic, and artistic boutique hotels with an excellent eye for attention to detail. Your room can be in one of the iconic baroque towers and turrets. Privacy is such a high priority that they claim you will never see another guest. Not bad!
Jamaica surely knows how to have a friendly and relaxed time. The Caves takes this easy way of life to another level. The specially designed cottages and a villa are on the clifftop catching the ocean breeze, and many have sweeping ocean views.
The restaurant is in a candle-lit cave, and it's so magical you won't believe it's real. Go for the one-bedroom upper ocean view suite. It has an extended balcony that overhangs the ocean. What a way of reading your favorite book to the calming sound of the waves!
If the spa is your thing, let me introduce the Aqua Dome. Simply put, this is one of the best spas in the world, and as such, it deserves a place on your bucket list. Located high in the Austrian Alps in a granite-walled Ötztal valley, this hotel has pools filled with glacier water filtered by the mountain and heated by the warmth of the Earth.
The futuristic-looking outdoor thermal pools are hot enough to enjoy the Alpine views even during snowfall. In addition, there is a lengthy list of different saunas that are coupled with an underground shower world. Here you can choose to refresh yourself in ‘tropical rain’, ‘fog’, or ‘waterfall’. Finish your spa session by lying on a giant, heated waterbed or a massage chair or in the natural chill-out area.
This resort is like no other, located between two large nature reserves in the Cederberg Mountains. You can opt to sleep in cave rooms carved into rock formations like Cappadocia, but the real star is the open-air outcrop room.
Stargazing in a huge comfy bed surrounded only by rocks, plants, and trees. The rare wildlife is kept at a safe distance. If you have never slept in the open air - especially surrounded by pristine nature - it's about time!
Welcome to the jungle! The Amazonia consists of 5,500,000 km2 (2,100,000 sq mi) land, or over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, making it the largest and the most biodiverse. Flying into Manaus, you enter the deep Amazonian territory. The Amazon Jungle Palace is here, within a short boat ride on the Rio Negro.
It's called a palace, but you might have to forgive the simple aesthetics and focus on what you are here for: the authentic rain forest adventure. You have not seen natural wilderness until you see the Amazon Rainforest.
Entering a monumental gothic church is a privilege. However, staying here for the night is... wait, is this possible? Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, and this is where Kruisherenhotel is located. It was initially constructed for the Order of the Holy Cross in the 15th century.
Camille Oostwegel, with the help of the renowned designer, Henry Vos, resurrected this church into a contemporary boutique hotel. Today there are 60 beautifully designed guestrooms between heaven and earth. Holy experience? You bet it is.
Hong Kong is the city with the most skyscrapers in the world. By definition, these towers need to be at least 150 m (492 ft) in height. You will find 355 of them in Hong Kong, and in comparison, 284 in New York City. Surprising, isn't it?
If you are in the city, you should go for the best views. The hyper-modern W Hong Kong towers over busy West Kowloon with its 76th-floor rooftop pool is simply called the "Wet".
You will have panoramic views over the Hong Kong skyline, the harbor, and the ocean. The incredible thing about this hotel is the Whatever/Whenever Service which will get you whatever you want at any time. Well, nearly.
One of the tallest historic buildings in Los Angeles, the Ace Hotel is housing something unexpectedly impressive. The historic United Artists Building, designed by Mary Pickford, was constructed as a film studio in the city's center back in 1927. Mr. Pickford was passionate about Spanish castles and cathedral stonework, and he integrated this love of his into his work.
In addition, the hotel comes with a rooftop where you can have a cool drink and jump to the pool after discovering the beautiful details of the cathedral stonework. Finally, did I mention the amazing panorama of Los Angeles?
The main attraction is the restored United Artists Theater which occupies three floors of the 13-story building and has a 1,600-seat auditorium. Yes, it's fully functional, and it's one of the most amazing experiences to see a concert here.
Heavenly? Well, if heaven comes with an underwater spa, yes, it is. Huvafen Fushi is set in its private lagoon, and it's trendy with Hollywood A-listers like Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie. Of course, the biggest spectacle happens underwater, but you are already spoiled by the views in your bungalow that has a freshwater plunge pool and private sun deck. The floors are glass so that you can observe marine life under your feet.
The unseen level of lavishness on this island is best described by the selection of boats. There is a wooden Dhoni, the traditional ship of the Maldives, or you can go for the luxury yacht.
Welcome to the future! China’s “City of Silk” is home to one of the most futuristic skyscrapers. The torus-shaped Sheraton Huzhou spans across Lake Tai. The revolutionary 27-story structure hides a state-of-the-art interior. Light shows at night enhance the feeling of how much this hotel is ahead of its time.
Thanks to the shape of this tower, each suite comes with a private balcony and a spectacular view of Huzhou city and Lake Tai.
This bucket list would not be complete without an extravagant Thai beach resort. This natural paradise has 26 acres of garden, jungle, and beach land. The Marine National Park of Ko Rang is a beauty to behold, a blend of jungles, cliffs, and the Andaman Sea.
Rayavadee Resort is the idyllic recreation of a southern Thai village in a perfect world. The good thing is, you will get to experience it!
This private nature reserve in the Namib Desert can be all yours. Two hundred fifteen thousand hectares of the protected territory is financially self-sustaining from low-impact tourism. Therefore you have a pristine, out-of-this-world habitat surrounding you when you arrive at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. However, it's not just the dunes that are spectacular. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is home to a wide array of animals such as giraffe, zebra, oryx, leopard, the tiny klipspringer, African wildcat, and caracal.
The wooden platform with the pool encircled by red sand has a Mad Max feel to it. However, you will find nothing else but tranquility and high-class life here. They serve candle-lit dinners under the starry sky to complete the magical character of this place.
Vik Chile retreat is located in the scenic Colchagua Valley, and it's voted as one of the best vineyards in the world. If anything goes better together than wine and cheese, it's wine and luxury hotels. Vik is the collaboration of some of the most talented international artists.
All the 22 suites you can book have unique designs to the last bits. Alvaro Gabler spent six months covering Gabler's Grisalla suite in art alone. I think now you can imagine the type of effort put into this retreat. My personal favorite is the vinotherapy treatment on offer that uses locally grown Vik grapes. A splendidly luxurious getaway full of grape juice should be on your bucket list.
Wildlife spotting is becoming more and more complex while seeing gorillas in their natural habitat is even more so. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of places left in the world where you can spot these muscular apes. One is in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
The Bisate Lodge is set in an eroded volcanic cone and offers views of Bisoke, Karisimbi, and Mikeno volcanoes. The cone-shaped thatched jungle villas offer a suitably unique stay as your experience of meeting the mountain gorillas.
What if a film set would require building a whole village? What if it's not just an empty skeleton to be abandoned after the filming? Emir Kusturica's Mecavnik village, used in his movie, Life is Miracle, had exactly this fate. Fans of European cinema will know him for his masterworks like the Arizona Dream of Black Cat, White Cat.
This resort is essentially his bohemian vision coming to life. It's where you can be part of a movie and enjoy the Balkan way of living.
To quote Kusturica himself: "I lost my city )(Sarajevo) during the war. This is why I wished to build my own village. It bears a German name: Küstendorf. I will organize there seminars for people who want to learn how to make cinema, concerts, ceramics, painting. It is the place where I will live and where some people will be able to come from time to time. There will be of course other inhabitants who will work there. I dream of an open place with cultural diversity which sets up against globalization."
Mamma mia! Your first contact with the building of Mama Thresl hotel starts with the side facade, which is a climbing wall. You might realize by now that it's not an ordinary hotel, and you would be right. This place is the melting pot for sporty urban souls seeking unparalleled natural beauty, action-packed days, and the coolest relaxation you can imagine. You have a fixed rope climbing route, rafting, geocaching, archery, e-biking, skiing, yoga in the wilderness, and the list goes on.
Inside Mama Thresl, you will find a silent room to observe the stunning surrounding mountains. You can get in a hammock on the rooftop or get sweaty in one of the world's most beautiful saunas.
Magical outdoor yoga classes in the Alps
Kenya's best-kept secret is the Watamu Treehouse. The resort is located on Watamu Beach, and it's built high amongst the treetops offering an unreal view of the Indian Ocean coastline. Rooftop sunsets come with a view over the vast jungle and beautiful beach while monkeys jump from tree to tree. The white stone towers hide private bedrooms that are open to the sounds of nature and the fresh air.
What sets Watamu Treehouse apart from the rest is the quality of activities; open-air yoga classes, stand-up paddleboard in the mangroves, kickboxing, detoxing, cooking demos, or for the lazy ones, the fantastic pool that's partly covered by branches of the indigenous forest.
Are you a car racing fan? You practically cannot get any closer to a Formula 1 race track, as the Yas Viceroy Hotel is built right on top of it. The 60 meters tall “Sun Tower” is solar-powered and rotates, so you have the best view of the action on the track below.
Once in a year, the Yas Marina F1 Circuit plays host to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. So get ready for a visual and auditory experience of a lifetime!
This list could not be complete without a recommendation for the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. The country of extraordinary and diverse natural beauty: jagged mountains, rolling pasture land, steep fjords, pristine lakes, wild rivers, stunning beaches, and active volcanic lands. The Manakau PurePod eco-cabin is set in this wilderness, a 20-minute drive away from the closest town of Kaikoura. During the last 10-minutes of the trip, you have to walk.
You will be left alone here to breathe in the crystal-clear air and star-gaze in the night. There is no light pollution, and your cabin has a glass ceiling to observe the universe without moving out of your bed.
Located on a curvy rim of a breathtaking canyon in the Hajar Mountains of Oman, this resort makes no compromise about adventure and luxury. The Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar is one of the world’s highest resorts.
Opt for the Cliff Pool Villa, and you’ll be rewarded with your very own infinity pool hanging over the precipice and a spacious sundeck with one of the most impressive panoramas you’ve ever seen. There is just one more thing to fulfill this bucket list entry; you should climb the summit early in the morning for a sunrise experience.
Joseph Stalin has commissioned the construction of seven Russian Baroque skyscrapers in Moscow after world war 2. At the time, they were the tallest buildings in Europe. Today, they are part of the architectural heritage, and they stand as a reminder of the past.
Hotel Ukraine was one of these towers, and now it operates as a 5-star hotel. Enter the luxurious Soviet history, which was only possibly previously if you were closely related to the communist party.
Country road, take me to Dunton Hot Springs! This 1800s American ghost town is an absolute must for anyone who loves the countryside, pristine nature, romantic log cabins, being cowboy/cowgirl, and hot spring pools.
The resort is located in a gorgeous valley in the San Juan Mountains of the Colorado Rockies. Did I tell you that you can rent the whole town out? You could play Westworld here if you wanted.
Jin Mao Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in Shanghai. Its unique art-deco take on pagoda design and its 420.5 meters (1,380 ft) structural height stands out. The remarkable architecture continues inside with the spaceship-like Atrium.
The Grandy Hyatt Shanghai hotel occupies floors 53 to 87. Hopefully, you are not afraid of heights as you will have floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the city skyline panorama. Mind you, this is so high up that there is nothing similar at this height in New York City. The cherry on the top is Cloud 9, a sky bar with panoramic views on the 87th floor. It was voted one of the world's best bars by Forbes magazine.
How do you get from the northeastern capital of South Africa, Pretoria, to the Atlantic Ocean coast where Cape Town lies? Of course, you could fly and not see much of the country. You could also take a car and worry about your safety. But there is another alternative to consider. The Blue Train is billed as a 5-star moving hotel.
It takes you on a journey through the majestic lands of South Africa. The attention to detail is mindblowing. The floor is heated to walk around barefoot as you would in your hotel room, and the air is cooled to a perfect temperature. The soundproofing blocks all the train noises, and the smooth ride makes you forget that you are traveling on a train during your sleep.
Throughout the day, you can socialize in the Gentleman’s Club, have tea in the Afternoon Lunch or go for a luxurious dining experience at the restaurant. There is hardly any better way to travel on land!
Let's hop back into winter now. There is no doubt, Sankt Moritz is the Monaco of skiing. Hence your trip here should be suitably magnificent. I present Europe's poshest hotel, the 5-star Badrutt's Palace. You have a choice of six restaurants, and there are three bars and the most spectacular spa in the town of course.
Your panoramic view is on the Engadine Alps and Lake Sankt Moritz. Celebrities from all over the world are pouring in — a few former guests: Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, and Charlie Chaplin.
Lake Sankt Moritz
Fiji has long been known as paradise on earth, and Laucala, a private tropical island, is yet another level up. Unsurprisingly the resort has its private landing strip, which means you can fly in instead of risking sea sickness.
You can enjoy Fiji's eye-wateringly beautiful azure oceans from the private pools or the bathtubs carved into stones. There is no trace of plastic here!
There is a spa in the jungle, and you can go for horse rides or play golf at the 18-hole championship course, but there is something else that you won't find in other places. They have a two-seater submarine! Just in case you thought diving is too much of a hassle. I guess this alone justifies being on a bucket list of hotels.
Where to begin? Pelican Point Lodge is located on a remote peninsula off the coast of Namibia, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Walvis Bay on the other. Your home at the lodge is the renovated Harbor Control adjacent to a gorgeous and fully-functioning lighthouse.
There are only ten suites to keep it nice and cozy, and there is a rooftop terrace with a 360-degree panoramic view. However, you will not want to spend all your day looking down from your tower because there are seals, flamingos, and seagulls waiting for you outside.
Famous for being featured in a Martin Scorsese film, the Kundun, where Kasbah du Toubkal served as the setting for a Buddhist Monastery. The name derives from the Arabic word of qaṣba that stands for castle, and Toubkal, the tallest peak in Northern Africa at 4,167 meters (13,671 ft).
This is all very impressive, you might think, but what's so special about this hotel? The outstanding Berber hospitality, the dramatic setting translates into breathtaking views of the mountains and the myriads of awards they received. What better praise there can be than His Royal Highness Prince Charles himself giving a thumbs up?
Look no further if you would like to go to the most remote place in the world. Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world (excluding islands), with only two people on average per one square kilometer. With most people living in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, the Gobi Desert in the country's southern parts is a vast uninhabited wilderness.
The Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, where Three Camel Lodge is located in an extraordinary habitat. Steppes meet dunes, snowy mountain peaks, and rare species like the snow leopard and the Gobi camel are roaming freely. This is the perfect environment to connect with nature. In addition, you get to stay in traditional Mongolian yurts called the "ger".
The spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site of central Turkey is known for its cone-shaped rock formations.
This fairytale land is home to beautifully crafted interiors inside the caves. Museum Hotel is one of the finest examples.
Gazing at the magical rocky lands with the hot air balloons flying like sky decorations complementing the natural environment will be your daily activity. If you can ever get tired of that, head inside the hotel for a fantastic spa experience. If this is not one of the best getaways, I don't know what is!
Travel far to the northeastern part of Norway, and you will find yourself amid the magical land of Sámi, an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi. Here, Sven Engholm, the owner, created a fascinating getaway where cabins are built by stone, and hand-carved wood, and the transportation is on husky sleds.
The one-of-a-kind experience of intimate travel by dogsled and spending nights in the Norwegian wilderness while discovering a stunning landscape will leave you with vivid memories. Prepare your Santa hat for the unforgettable ride!
Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid. These are only 3 of the 19 architects that designed this hotel. To put it into perspective, this is like the Louvre of architecture.
Zaha Hadid created the first floor full of curved lines and flowing spaces. It's just as mindblowing as you expect it to be. It's the most unique stay if you visit Madrid, the Spanish capital.
Whether you are a Stanley Kubrick fan or not, you have likely seen his famous horror movie, "The Shining". Timberline Lodge is the actual place from this classic film, and staying here you will have the perfect opportunity to recreate the best scenes with the help of some fun cosplay.
What better family entertainment you can imagine than running around the hotel with an axe, pretending to be Jack Torrance?
It's on the bucket list of every backpacker to visit the wonderlands of Rajasthan. Visiting the Thar Desert, the majestic forts and temples, and one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Aravallis is a big and tiring adventure. But, now and then, you might want to take a good rest. This is where Lakshman Sagar comes into place. Just as Rajasthan itself, this resort is unique and unlike anything that you have ever seen. Known for its "slow living" mantra, Lakshman Sagar is the perfect spot to relax, rejuvenate and be ready to continue your adventure in India.
Looking at this pool built into the rocks, I'm not sure if I would ever want to leave.
Your Swiss Alps getaway just got much better. The Whitepod resort is a movement as well as one of the most unique accommodations.
They aim to be carbon neutral and to take you farther from the crowds. It's not just empty marketing, as they offer 7 km of ski slopes with a private ski lift. That's brilliant, but wait until you see the interior of these eco-pods, and then you might think twice if to go for a ski ride or stay in bed.
How about an afternoon tea? Or maybe something even better. How about a converted tea factory building that now serves as a luxury hotel, and rich tea plantations encircle it? This is the basic concept of the Heritance Tea Factory that can be reached on twisty roads leading to the peak at 2,000 meters above sea level.
Ceylon was the former name of Sri Lanka up until 1972. Nowadays, this name refers to the highest quality tea that you can sip here all day long. Go for the Flowerdew Suite that towers above the heavenly city of Sigiriya, offering the best views.
Visiting London shall be stylish, and for this occasion, what better place could you pick than the world’s first luxury boutique hotel? It was established in 1978 by the famous designer, Anouska Hempel. It instantly set the bar so high that it would be challenging to find anything remotely as eccentric and unique as the Blakes Hotel.
The rooms are blinding good, and they are minted with artifacts and art from the countries Anouska Hempel visited.
The world's tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, was inaugurated in 2010. It stands 828 meters (2,717 ft) high, and there is no other building in sight that could overtake it in the coming years or even decades, which is why there is nothing more bucket list-worthy than staying in the world's tallest tower.
Luckily, Giorgio Armani collaborated with Emaar, the famous developer of Burj Khalifa, to design and open the only hotel inside the building. So expect all the luxury imaginably, and don't forget to visit the observation deck on the 148th floor.
If Sri Lanka was not high on your list before, then now it's the time. It's one of the most underappreciated countries offering unseen natural wonders, ease of transportation, and affordability that you cannot find elsewhere.
The icing on the cake is the giant wooden and fabric cocoon buildings so smartly designed that they will take your breath away.
The Wild Coast Tented Lodge is practically inside the Yala National Park. If you are lucky, you can spot wildlife without leaving the resort. There are leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, spotted deer, wild boar, water buffalo, and a host of birdlife.
Is this the most spectacular swimming pool in the world? Well, it made it to our 50 most amazing pools in the world list, the rest is up to you to judge. Hanging Gardens of Bali is located between the Ayung River and the ancient Dalem Segara temple.
The two-story infinity pool overlooks the mystical Ubud jungle from the top edge of a stunning valley. The synergy of the lush jungle and the unique swimming pool is so striking that it made it to our bucket list.
Bhutan, one of the most restrictive countries in the world, follows the strategy of high-quality, low-volume tourism. It's the land of happy people surrounded by majestic mountains, scenic valleys. A mysterious place where few are allowed to go, and only if it's part of a guided tour. No backpacking, I'm afraid. It's then no coincidence that Aman built their perfect getaway in here.
The Amankora Resort is surrounded by pristine nature, and it's as remote as it's physically possible. It's a journey to an unknown land, the discovery of vibrant culture, ancient monasteries, sacred temples, and the magnificence of the Himalayas. Never considered Bhutan before? Perhaps it's time.
It's unlikely that we will travel farther than Mars in our lifetime, but on the magical land where the Andes meets the Atacama Desert, you will find a place to explore the universe. Elqui Domos is home to an astronomic observatory that will allow you to peer far into space and time, seeing sights usually reserved for astronomers and astronauts.
It's this beautiful land in Chile where you will be able to discover the best what our planet offers and all the way beyond our planetary system through the lens of the telescope.
It's not all about luxury hotels and magical landscapes. You can't escape experiencing jail. I don't mean any harm, as there is a pretty safe way of spending a few nights in prison without committing a crime. Take, for example, Sleepin Faengslet in Denmark.
This converted hotel uses the space of the prison’s old, sick ward. The last inmate left in 2006, but the graffiti is still intact on the walls. I know it might not sound like a dream place, but this unique experience may open your eyes wider to the world.
Next in the line of famous contemporary artists is Hundertwasser. If you ever wandered the streets of Vienna and saw his remarkable expressionist landmark on the corner Kegelgasse and Löwengasse, you might have been slightly disappointed. Disappointed because the Hundertwasserhaus is home to private apartments, and you can only visit some parts of it. Luckily for us, he also designed the Bad Blumau spa town. An extensive space of greenery and creative architecture.
Hundertwasser believed that straight lines work against nature and purposely designed the hotel to undulate and flow just like the shapes you find in the natural world. Mindboggling architecture, awesome spa, and nature all around, sign me up now!
Spectacular views of the sea and sky at the end of the world. Located off the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island is a remote little spot. The unique location comes with unique weather.
The island has seven seasons: berry season, late fall, summer, trap berth, spring, pack ice, and winter. So if you are coming in the right season, you might watch whales breaching offshore from your window.
The road leads to one place if you are a fan of sculpturally exciting architecture and fantastic Spanish wine. One of the most important architects of our age, Frank Owen Gehry, designed the funky building of Hotel Marques de Riscal.
This inspiring building is in the center of the historic Basque country. In addition, there is a wine list to die for and a 3 Michelin star chef to oversee your hotel dining experience. Need I say more?
Le Moulin du Roc was built in 1670 on the magical Dronne river. This charming French countryside sanctuary should be high on your bucket list. The former water mill is now fitted with warm and cozy rooms with a rustic charm.
A Michelin-starred chef serves dishes celebrating local products and French cuisine, and you can choose between 900 types of wines. The medieval village of Brantôme is right next-by to make a cultural day trip.
An unlikely fairytale palace next to the South African Pilanesberg National Park is an unusual bucket list contender. A lush tropical landscape surrounds you. Your fantasy palace is called The Lost City. Details of mosaics, frescoes, and fountains remind you that you are in an extraordinary place. The Valley of Waves is the hotels' water theme park. The name comes from the real waves generated by a hidden machine to feel like at the beach. If the turquoise water of the Grand Pool doesn't sound exciting enough, then there is a slide with an astonishing 30m (98ft) sheer drop!
Wake up in a mythical African kingdom and discover a new way of life.
Palace of the Lost City private outdoor jacuzzi
The volcanic island of Santorini is home to the charming cliff-perched town, Oia. The pure white minimalist interior of Kirini Santorini with its curvy walls is a great example of Cycladic architecture. The dramatic views of the sea and the caldera – the volcanic mountains of Santorini – are the best during sunset.
The spectacular nightfall in Santorini comes with large crowds gathering to watch it, and this is where your private suite with a large terrace comes into play. You will enjoy all this in perfect privacy.
You can't hop on the Titanic, and the ocean cruisers of our times are just too commercial. How about the royal Queen Mary luxury liner? You don't even have to worry about getting seasick. The ship is stationed in Long Beach.
Pick one of the fabulous suites meticulously restored to their original art deco glory, and then get on board to discover all the hidden beauties of this impressive ship.
Every year in the Swedish Lapland, an ice hotel is built from the ground. The remarkable ice formations only stay for a brief time during winter and then melt away. The ice is sourced from a local river, and its beauty is that when it melts, it goes back to where it belongs.
It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience to sleep surrounded by beautifully carved blocks of ice. The IceBar serves shots in glasses made of ice. Are you getting cold? Worry not! The blankets provided at Icehotel are the comfiest and warmest imaginable.
This hotel solves the biggest question mark between the time someone parties and gets home safely. Imagine the world's best DJs performing the best electronic music sessions in Ibiza. Now add to that some pools and the beach.
It just gets better because you can stay in one of the design suites overlooking the sea when you need a brief rest to get ready for the next party. This place should be definitely shortlisted if you like electronic music, beautiful people surrounding you, and jumping to the pool after a big sip from your ice-cold Mojito. Now you only need to choose the right suite. How about the "Size Does Matter" or "Fashion Victim" suites? Go with the "Anything Can Happen" suite if you are on the conservative side.
There is no getting around it that you must try a traditional ryokan in your life. Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that features tatami-matted rooms. The oldest hotel in the world is a ryokan too - Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan.
The specialty of the Houshi Onsen is that it's at the source of the hot spring, the Chojukan, and it's been modeled after original bathhouses. So you can step back in time and experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle.
An experience of a lifetime awaits on the mysterious lands of Iceland’s northern Fljot valley. Initially a sheep farm, these cute green-roofed wooden houses offer more luxury than it first seems.
There is a geothermal-heated indoor/outdoor pool. You can swim out and watch the northern lights from the warm pool. If this doesn't make you hot enough, how about the outdoor Viking sauna? The Deplar Farm is located on a remote land on the mountainous Troll Peninsula. Hike around and explore the pristine nature of Iceland.
Visionary grand projects started the Dubai dream. Artificial islands reclaimed land from the sea, the world's largest shopping mall, the world's tallest skyscraper, or the best airline in the world. However, the first iconic building recognized worldwide is the self-proclaimed 7-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab. This sail-shaped hotel was also built on a small artificial island, and it quickly became the icon of Dubai and a major tourist attraction.
There is so much gold inside the hotel that some rumors say it will never return the investment.
However, whether you are a fan of the colorful interior or not, the location, the view, and the spa are amazing as they should be in the world's most luxurious hotel.
Just when you thought boutique hotels with a couple of rooms are small and private, I present you with the world's smallest hotel. They fit this house in a gap of only 2.5-meter between two existing buildings. Needless to say, there is only room for a couple at most.
Luckily, it's not all about being the smallest, and they also took care of the interior. Top designers renovated it, and I believe the attic antique bathroom will be the highlight of your stay.
If Ilulissat is too big of a town, how about sailing off on the only ice-bound hotel ship in the world from the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard? This historic ship is over 100-years-old, and it takes you on a journey to see polar bears, the northern lights, and real arctic wilderness. Are you onboard?
This is the world’s northernmost four-star hotel for the fans of icy cold weather and rigid landscape. It's located in Ilulissat, formerly known as Jakobshavn, Greenland's third-largest city. When I say the third-largest city, I mean a population of 4,670, like a small street in New York City.
You should opt for one of the eight igloo cottages to try out the Eskimo lifestyle. They overlook the bay and are accessible only by a boardwalk trail. The nearby Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see attraction if you ever set your foot on the world's largest island.
In the decade of the 2000s, UAE's relatively small city in the desert has spawned one of the largest construction booms in the world to date. Dubai became the skyscraper city crowned by the 828 meters tall Burj Khalifa and a major tourist attraction. It should come as no surprise then that the iconic towers of The Atlantis Hotel are built on the peak of the Palm Jumeirah artificial island.
The Underwater Suite has large windows to the Ambassador Lagoon home to 65,000 marine animals. Who needs a TV when you can watch sea life right from your bed? But it's not the suites that make this place unique. It's the Atlantis Aquaventure, one of the largest water parks in the world and the only one that has slides that run through water tanks filled with sharks. Do you need any more convincing?
The Banff Springs was built in 1888, and it's a luxury château surrounded by lush green forests. The impressive building is styled after a Scottish Baronial castle. It's nestled in the Banff National Park, home to the majestic Rocky Mountains. It's not a very typical location for this type of large, elegant hotel.
The benefits are that you can sit by your window with the sound of the crackling fireplace or one of the multiple outdoor hot tubs and enjoy the spectacular sights of the Banff National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
New York City is blessed by some of the best hotels in the world. However, it's not easy to choose one place in Manhattan from all the list. So why exactly PUBLIC Hotel NY? Because despite its elegant looks, it's pretty affordable.
It will not be the room where you will stay most of the time, though. Instead, it's the mind-blowing rooftop with 360° views where you will sunbathe during the day and have a drink at night. The mesmerizing skyline view will keep you there for longer than you planned.
These playful wooden creations would even turn the head of the “queen of curves,” Zaha Hadid, if she could still see it. Take a sneak peek below, and click on see more photos to see all the fine details.
So if you are after eye-popping, surreal architecture, then this is your place.
The outlandish restaurants that look like giant bird nests perched over the treetops break the Internet quicker than Kim's most known body part.
One of the cutest Swiss mountain getaways was built on the side of a cliff. This timber house was built 170 years ago by farmers, and now you can get a coffee on the deck, which overhangs a 100-foot drop below. If you don't mind sharing your bed with a couple of more people, you can rest for the night here before another scenic hike in the Alps.
The good news is that you will get as close to the beautiful Rothschild’s giraffes as it's physically possible. The bad news is that they might steal your food. The world's tallest mammals like to poke their heads in through the windows in the early and late hours of the day.
So this boutique hotel rightfully states that it serves the most unforgettable bucket-list breakfast in the world. On top of all this, the sanctuary around the boutique hotel contains over 150 acres of natural forest, and you will be able to see an incredible array of Kenyan wildlife.
This stunning Norwegian remote getaway was featured in the Ex-Machina movie that showed the interaction between a tech billionaire and his beautiful creation, a highly advanced humanoid AI.
It's exactly this place where you can leave the world behind you and enjoy the scenic remote region of Norway. But, fear not, the staff is not replaced by robots (yet).
Welcome to a winter wonderland. Suppose you ever wanted to experience the mystical sight of the aurora borealis (northern lights). In that case, these cozy glass-covered igloos in the Saariselkä Fell region of Finnish Lapland might be the best option.
Are you planning to go with your partner? The Iglo Hotel Kakslauttanen was named one of the most romantic places in the world. The Finnish saunas have worldwide fame, so it's just natural that here you can try the world’s largest smoke sauna. If you still have questions about why this should be on the top of your bucket list, scroll down to see the photos.
The land of glaciers, lava fields, and geysers is an otherworldy spectacle that ought to be seen by every traveler. The hot waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater pools located in a lava field near Grindavíkare are the perfect spot to relax and take in the beauty of this remarkable landscape.
Swim-in and swim out from the Silica Hotel that's right here at the Blue Lagoon Spa. You could be lucky enough to see the northern lights during winter times while simmering in the hot thermal waters.
Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater pools
Turquoise waters of Maldives and picture-perfect water-villas scattered around, Soneva Jani is the tropical island lovers' paradise. Okay, I'm sure you have seen all this before, but how about slides going right from your bed into the ocean?
How about hammocks, catamaran nets, sliding roofs where you can gaze at the starry night in a place where light pollution doesn't exist? No wonder this place gets Instagrammed as much as people's breakfasts.
If cozy would be rated on a scale of one to ten, this is a ten. It's an off-grid eco-friendly hideaway in Bali. Built mainly from bamboo, your view from the Hideout is on a Campuhan. In Balinese, it means a place where two rivers meet. So jump on an oversized pillow or the hammock with a book and forget about the outside world.
The most iconic building in Singapore was also the most expensive hotel built in the world at the time of construction. Go for the city view rooms, and if you are there during the Formula 1 race, you can watch the action right from your sofa.
The distinctive shape of the three towers with the pool on the top can be seen from far away. Swimming in the world's largest infinity pool while soaking in the incredible skyline view of one of the most futuristic cities in the world is one of a kind experience.
The striking beauty of the Torres del Paine National Park is a magnet for nature lovers. Explora Patagonia is located deep inside the natural reserve, making day hikes accessible for everyone.
The onsite spa comes with outdoor hot tubs overlooking the majestic mountain range. Finally, it's hard to think of a better place to sip on a nice drink after an exhausting day of exploration.
Located in the tiny Caribbean country of Saint Lucia, the Jade Mountain Resort overlooks the giant volcanic plugs called the Gros Piton and Petit Piton. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and once you see the sight, you will know exactly why.
Your suite has a private infinity pool, a whirlpool bath, and a rainforest shower—all overlooking the drop-dead gorgeous panorama of the Caribbean Sea and the volcanic mountains.
This hotel in Tokyo was the setting for the 2003 movie, Lost in Translation, where Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson formed an unlikely bond. Since this Sofia Coppola masterpiece, I longed to visit the New York Bar at the top of Park Hyatt Tokyo. I thought about all the details. I would order a cocktail and gaze at the sparkling night lights of the Tokyo skyline while waiting for Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) to come to sit next to me and share our thoughts about the world we live in.
Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson drinking at the Park Hyatt Tokyo Bar in the Lost In Translation movie
The Californian State Route 1 running along the Pacific coastline is one of the most magical road trips you could take. In this spectacular area, surrounded by blisteringly beautiful hills, the Post Ranch Inn is nestled into the natural setting.
Sure, it's not a cheap place to stay for the night, but it's one of those nights that you will never forget. Just look at this view!
Visiting Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, fair enough. Halfway to Cusco, you will find this somewhat crazy lodge that wants you to spend the night in capsules hanging from the cliff. You'll need to climb up to your "room". Your reward will be the stunning views of the Sacred Valley and all the stories you will be able to tell your friends about it.
Back to Sweden, back to nature. What is STF Eco Lodge all about? It's the place where you can connect with nature without any comfort and luxury you are used to at traditional hotels. I know what you are thinking, "why would I do this?".
You should have this experience on your list because disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of our fast-moving world and escaping to nature has been proven to have positive psychological effects. It's also a great occasion to learn about the basic skills of living in the forest, such as chopping the wood to start a crackling fire.
This sustainable jungle retreat is a must-visit. The ingenious architectural creations have an attention to detail, like boutique hotels. Fairytale-like 4-story pagoda, or a copper house with a freestanding bathtub on the balcony overlooking the Balinese wonderland? It won't be an easy choice, but you cannot go wrong.
Bambu Indah Resort's hanging cocoon above the river
Private outdoor romantic bathing in the jungle
Deep inside the Swedish forests, you'll get an opportunity to relive your childhood fantasies. These uniquely-shaped treehouses are fitted with furniture crafted by local artists.
A good old-fashioned Swedish sauna is waiting for you when you are done gazing at the Northern Lights and enjoying the cozy treehouse interiors.
Next up on ticking boxes is one of the top 10 most visited cities in the world, and the most iconic romantic getaway, is the French capital city, Paris. So if you haven't had a croissant for breakfast with a view of the Eiffel Tower you then it's about time.
Opt for Hotel Plaza Athenee that opened in 1913, and you'll get to see a beautiful Parisian facade fully covered by plants and balconies filled with geranium flowers. See the opulent interior and more perks by clicking on the See More Photos below.
Venice is the city that's on top of any traveler's bucket list. A famous historical city like Venice deserves an extra special place to stay. Would you be interested in a 16th-century palazzo on the Grand Canal?
Arrive by a Venetian gondola and find your way to the rooftop terrace. That's where you can avoid the crowds and adore the city's unique architecture from high up.
Your view is a lush forest with one of the seven wonders of the world towering above the tree canopies. Perhaps the best and arguably the most lavish spot to take a deep look at the Taj Mahal during the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises.
Romantic, candlelit dinner with champagne on the terrace? Of course. Rose bath with Taj-view? Yes, please.
Travel back in time 800 years and stay in this ancient Irish castle that has been converted into a 5-star hotel.
Frequented by foreign dignitaries, celebrities, and even royalty, you will feel like a very special person here.
Ashford Castle's bathroom
As remote as it's physically possible. King Pacific Lodge is so far out in the wilderness that the only way to arrive here is on a seaplane – the type of airplane that can land on water. This vast floating house is towed 116 miles from the closest city into the Canadian wilderness.
Imagine a place where there are no noises of human civilization, only the sound of nature. A unique world is around you right when you step outside this floating house.