Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling like royalty, sleeping in some of the world’s most expensive suites, and eating in Michelin-starred restaurants? The time and money for that kind of trip can be tricky to come by, but it’s always good to be ready just in case the opportunity arises, right? We here at Oyster have been lucky enough to have visited thousands of hotels around the globe and across the states. The U.S. is known for having high standards when it comes to hotels, and hotels stateside offer some of the most decadent services around. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite luxury properties in the States for those planning a luxe trip -- and for those who just like to dream. Enjoy!
The St. Regis New York
There are dozens of ultra-luxurious hotels in New York, but The St. Regis is second to none, with a refined atmosphere, extraordinary service that includes butlers on call 24-hours, Clefs d’Or concierges, a signature bath menu, gorgeous guest rooms, a great Fifth Avenue location (the better for shopping), and a stunning Beaux Arts lobby. (Phew! That was a long list.) It won't come cheap, but the level of luxury offered here is not found in any other hotel in the city.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The packing and unpacking services offered by the guest's personal butler
Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago
Those who associate the Trump brand with over-the-top (in a bad way) glitz and glamor will be pleasantly surprised by this tasteful luxury hotel. The 339-room Trump is the top luxury hotel in Chicago, with a riverside location near the Magnificent Mile, a Michelin-rated restaurant, a gorgeous indoor pool, a first-rate spa, and excellent service. The huge, refined rooms have limestone bathrooms with soaking tubs and floor-to-ceiling windows (often with phenomenal views).
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The custom-stocked minibar set up prior to arrival, based on the guest's preferences
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek feels like a Tuscan villa -- the hotel is pink stucco, the roof is terra cotta, and beautiful fountains, tile mosaics, and trellis plants surround the pool. The property is lavish from top to bottom, with a grand lobby; large, upscale rooms with patios; renowned dining at Mansion Restaurant, and outstanding services such as free car service and concierges. In Dallas, only The Joule, A Luxury Collection Hotel compares.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: An outdoor heated sauna near the lovely pool
Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas
The Palazzo is an even-fancier extension of its sister hotel, the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, with larger standard rooms that each contain a bedroom and a sunken living room with L-shaped sofas -- they're a warmer, less masculine version of the rooms at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas with all the same top-tier features (the Encore's rooms are just a tad newer). Guests of the Palazzo have access to the world-famous Canyon Ranch Spa and a haute-couture shopping mall (featuring Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, and its own Lamborghini showroom, among other shops). The Palazzo's restaurants are helmed by the likes of Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, and Emeril Lagasse.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The remote-controlled Roman shades and curtains with “touch control” technology
Hotel Beaux Arts Miami
Located on the topmost floors of the JW Marriott building, the 44-room Hotel Beaux Arts is even more upscale than the Marquis. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and iPads, the bathrooms are marble with separate bathtubs and showers as well as TVs in the mirrors, the decor is sleek (cherry wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, plush beds, minimalist furniture), and the views are amazing. The large fitness center has modern machines and bay views. It doesn’t get any better than this in Miami (or many places, for that matter)!
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The Bang & Olufsen plasma TVs, stereos and entertainment systems in all rooms
Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch is a 500-acre property offering modern luxury in a rustic, bucolic setting, with tall oak trees, organic gardens, and rolling vineyards. Rooms are decorated in soft tones and feature flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and Keurig coffeemakers. Enormous, immaculate bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers provide space to relax, along with small private decks and travertine fireplaces. The ranch's many features include two outdoor pools -- the River Ranch Pool, featuring a splash zone for kids, and the Lodge Pool -- as well as an 18-hole golf course designed by Pete Dye. There are seven fire pits perfect for nightly s'mores, and endless activities -- tai chi or beekeeping, anyone? -- that can keep both couples and families entertained. And everywhere, amazing views abound.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The hotel's ultra-luxurious spa packages
Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley
This 50-room luxury inn is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) destinations in California wine country. Despite its intimate size, it has all the amenities of a larger resort: a 7,000-square-foot luxury spa, a lovely pool, and a Michelin-star restaurant. Views of the surrounding countryside are phenomenal, the grounds are lush and peaceful, and the homey rooms all come with huge terraces (and, in most, fireplaces and soaking tubs). It's a truly special, romantic retreat, and it's location in Rutherford is convenient for exploring Napa Valley.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The comprehensive outdoor sculpture collection showcased at the hotel. Most pieces are for sale.
Pelican Hill, Orange County
The ultra-luxe Pelican Hill is a sprawling (500 acres!), immaculately kept resort with two golf courses, a 23,000-square-foot spa, two pools, five restaurants, and 332 bungalows and villas. The rooms are large, with top-notch technology and beige decor (of the upscale variety, not the bland kind). All rooms feature large marble bathrooms, fireplaces, and terraces, many with ocean views, but the villas are where things get uber-fancy. All villas have fully equipped kitchens and huge living spaces, and are attended to by -- wait for it -- a private staff. Guests staying in villas also get access to a separate clubhouse with a pool and fitness center. It's hard to find any faults with this luxury hotel.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: Two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, complete with an elegant clubhouse
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
In a town known for kitschy family-oriented resorts, the Waldorf stands out as one of the only true luxury hotels in Orlando (with The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes as perhaps its only real competition). The building is relatively new, but great pains were taken to make the design classic and posh, with a Floridan twist, of course. Everything is top notch: The staff is extremely gracious, there's a beautiful 18-hole golf course just steps from the front door, and the breakfast buffet at Oscar's is not to be missed. Although families abound and the hotel is just minutes from Epcot, you won't find any traces of Mickey or Minnie here.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: Free transportation from the hotel to Walt Disney World in a luxury vehicle
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, Scottsdale
Considered one of the top resorts in the Southwest for nearly a decade, the serene yet scene-y Sanctuary continues to impress its high-profile guests with its top-notch cuisine, spa, and gorgeous suites. It's not perfect -- few resorts are -- but it undeniably has the most desirable location in Scottsdale, overlooking Praying Monk Rock and the desert, and offers a slew of free classes, including yoga and tennis.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: Top-notch, farm-fresh cuisine available 24 hours
The Grand Del Mar, San Diego
This 249-room Spanish-Colonial-style resort in the hills near Del Mar is stunning, from the old-world decor to the enormous rooms to the luxurious spa. It features four pools, excellent restaurants, an 18-hole golf course, an equestrian center, and free car service in a Mercedes or Cadillac Escalade. Plus, it offers some nice freebies that other luxury hotels don't have, including free Wi-Fi, free off-site parking and free round-trip shuttle service to Del Mar, making this hotel a great luxury pick.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The hotel features a wonderful equestrian center with classes and excursions.
The St. Regis San Francisco
Built in 2005, the St. Regis offers the best in modern luxury: Highly attentive, personalized service includes 24-hour butlers; the relaxation rooms at Remede Spa serve chocolate truffles and champagne; the hotel's Ame restaurant is a notable destination in its own right; and the rooms and suites match the city's best for space, superior technology, and amenities. Its artsy SoMa surroundings, modern glass building, and impressive contemporary art collection lack the historical grandeur of the Nob Hill grand dames, but in substance it stands shoulder to shoulder, or above, its hilltop competitors.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The 50-foot, heated infinity-edge pool is a serene space with lots of loungers for relaxing.
Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe
The 5-pearl, 65-room Encantado sits in a secluded spot a few miles north of Santa Fe with great views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Big, luxurious rooms are decorated in a modern Southwestern style, featuring concrete and wood floors, Native American-style rugs, and a color scheme of warm browns and oranges, as well as high-end extras such as radiant floor heating, wood-burning fireplaces, and private patios. The fine dining at Terra restaurant is rated highly, and the resort also features an outdoor seasonal pool, whirlpool, luxury spa, and even free rentals of a Mercedes Benz for the day.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The Four Seasons' outstanding kids program includes items to childproof the rooms, and free bottles, diapers, wipes, lotion, powder, and baby shampoo.
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
The romantic 261-room Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay serves the Ritz-Carlton name well, offering stunning rooms, a large spa, and beautiful bay views. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific, the hotel has excellent outdoor facilities including fire pits facing the ocean and a manicured 18-hole golf course. Rooms are spacious and elegant, yet simple, with beautiful marble bathrooms and quaint shutters covering the windows. Fire pit rooms come with -- you guessed it -- cozy outdoor fire pits looking out over the rocky coast.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The resort fee includes tennis amenities such as tennis rackets, tennis balls, ball machines, and private or group lessons with professionals from Peter Burwash International.
The Hay-Adams, Washington, D.C.
The Hay-Adams is quite possibly the most famous hotel in the capital, and deservedly so. It draws powerbrokers from around the world with its impeccable service, great bar and restaurant, and elegant rooms, some of which overlook its famous next-door neighbor. P.S. It's where the Obamas stayed before the inauguration in 2008 (if it's good enough for the President ... ).
- Our favorite luxe amenity: All rooms feature Asprey London toiletries and custom Italian bed linens and bath towels.