Last week we shared the cheapest hotels in 10 popular cities around the world, but now it's time to see the other side of the spectrum. Whether you have an anniversary coming up, are looking for somewhere to celebrate a birthday, or simply love the luxury hotel life, there are plenty of hotels that offer the utmost opulence. We plugged in travel dates for May 7 to May 8 to find the most expensive hotels with availability, so you can see just how much of your paycheck is needed for the most lavish getaway. And since we're all about options, we've included our alternative pick for less expensive hotels that still deliver on style, service, and amenities.
Housed in a section of one of Manhattan‘s priciest apartment buildings, the five-pearl Park Hyatt New York offers a slice of life as a Midtown millionaire. The 210 rooms range in size from Standard Rooms to Presidential Suites, and come with balconies and Nespresso coffeemakers. However, views are only impressive from the higher floors and guests staying on lower levels may feel hemmed in. Features include a spa, a fitness center, and a pool, plus a restaurant serving new American cuisine.
At roughly half the cost, the Greenwich Hotel is a much more affordable luxury option. The virtually flawless 88-room TriBeCa hotel (opened in 2008 by Robert de Niro, among others) offers large, homey rooms, breathtaking design, and very attentive service. Even better: free Wi-Fi; free minibar snacks; and free Wii video games by request. Better still: an underground pool; Shibui Spa; premier gym; and the homestyle Italian Locanda Verde restaurant.
The best feature of the 180-room mid-range Hotel Regina — aside from its sharp, vintage style — is the hotel’s outstanding location in the center of Madrid close to shopping, dining, nightlife, and attractions. It’s also just a few steps from two metro stations, and a five-minute walk from Madrid’s buzzing central plaza, Puerta del Sol. Rooms are mostly modern and hip, and come with air-conditioning, minibars, and flat-screen TVs. The on-site restaurant serves all meals, including an expansive breakfast buffet that is included in some packages. Two meeting rooms can host groups of up to 100 people.
A much cheaper pick is the historic Gran Melia Fenix, which has attracted personalities such as The Beatles, Bill Clinton, Queen Noor of Jordan, and Cary Grant since the 1950s. It features tasteful, classic decor throughout; a fine dining restaurant; and upscale services such as butlers for every room category. An executive level offers wonderful extras such as a private rooftop terrace and daily hors d’oeuvres. Elegant rooms have upholstered walls, Bang & Olufsen flat-screen TVs, well-stocked minibars, and pillow menus. But bathrooms can feel a tad underwhelming for a property in this price range, with mostly shower/tub combos in lower-level rooms.
There is nothing ordinary about the 260-room Le Blanc Spa Resort: Everything from the wine lists to your workout has been tailored to be top notch. It feels more South Beach chic than Cancun party, with a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property. The rooms are thoroughly modern and bright with minimalist decor and stunning ocean views (some with large Jacuzzi baths). But most of your time should be spent experiencing the top-of-the line spa, the chic restaurants (especially the stunningly designed Lumiere), and heavenly white-sand beach.
Nearly $400 less, The Beloved Hotel is one of Cancun‘s top luxury picks. The beachfront property features 109 suites with super sexy decor. They’re all-white, with spacious, sleek marble bathrooms and Jacuzzi tubs, and have the vibe of a luxurious New York City hotel room — except they’re about four times the size and feature private balconies, many with ocean views. The expansive spa and fitness center are great, and the two pools with food and drink service are large and attractive (but many guests have complained that the pool water is much too cold).
The Colonnade is an upscale boutique hotel set in a Victorian property that oozes history and traditional elegance. Its Maida Vale setting is particularly pleasant, while the nearby Tube connection makes getting into town easy — gorgeous Little Venice is also just around the corner. While some rooms might look a little worn, amenities include personalized business cards on arrival, Frette Egyptian cotton bed linen, and luxury toiletries; suitesare particularly sumptuous.
If you aren’t up for spending $1,000/night, the Brown’s Hotel is a superb pick in London‘s prestigious Mayfair. The hotel is made up of 11 historic Georgian townhouses and no two of the 117 rooms are the same. Spacious, elegant rooms have a soft, soothing color scheme along with stocked minibars, big flat-screen TVs, and upscale bathrooms. Hotel highlights include quality dining and drinking venues such as HIX at the Albemarle, the English Tea Room, and the Donovan Bar. With a spa and fitness center, Brown’s has all the features guests would expect at this price point.
The 45-room Resort at Fisher Island Club is located among homes of the super-rich on a lush, private island that’s a 10-minute ferry ride from the Miami mainland. It doesn’t have the party scene, the high-design rooms, or the gourmet restaurants of the mainland luxury hotels. But its history, charm, and beautiful golf and tennis facilities make it a great choice for couples and families looking for something special.
The luxurious, 426-room 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami Beach opened in March 2015 after a complete renovation and is hard to beat for the price. The 1 Hotel brand is extremely eco-conscious and the entire hotel has environment-friendly features including salvaged wood, hemp mattresses, and take-home socks instead of disposable slippers. Top-notch amenities include direct beach access; four pools, including one on the roof; three bars and fine-dining restaurant; fitness center; event spaces; and Tesla car service within a three-mile radius.
Even the luxury resorts in Phuket are inexpensive compared to other locales. The 68-room Impiana Resort Patong Phuket is a boutique resort in the lively town of Patong, and one of the few set right on the beach, putting it in an ideal location for travelers who crave both lazy beach days and exciting nightlife. With the sea on one side, and busy Bangla Road — Patong’s nightlife-packed central district — on the other, the Impiana retains its quiet and secure beach retreat vibe. Rooms are cabana- or bungalow-style, all on one level, with private patios. Should the beach scene be too much, the hotel also has a palm-fringed pool; the hotel also has three restaurants and a beach bar.
About half the price of the Impiana, the Thavorn Beach Village & Spais an old-school, four-pearl hotel built on one of Phuket‘s only private beaches. The location is a short drive from party-central Patong Beach, but the vibe at the Village is laid-back and focused on nature and families. The freeform swimming pool is a large draw, as are comfortable rooms and cottages with direct access to the beach. Staff schedules cultural activities and there are two full restaurants on-site, along with a pool bar and Nakalay Spa. Hillside rooms are reached using a vernacular, which can be fun for little ones but a bit inconvenient for those in a hurry.
Located in Berlin’s diplomatic district, Das Stue is a boutique, luxury hotel with 79 chic rooms. From the elegant fine-dining restaurant to the cozy library, the hotel is immaculately decorated, offering the crème de la crème of hotel experiences. There is an indoor pool and a beautiful outdoor terrace. The location is a bit far from several of Berlin’s tourist attractions, but there are some galleries, restaurants, and shops in the neighborhood.
The 195-room Regent Berlin is a luxury property with surprisingly low rates and one of the best locations in the city. The hotel prides itself on great service and first-class amenities, delivering on both. Large rooms and suites blend traditional elegance and modernity, with classical furnishings, impressive marble bathrooms, and Bose Hi-Fi entertainment systems — but they could use a refresh. The Michelin-starred Fischers Fritz is one of Berlin’s best restaurants, with prices to match, and a traditional English afternoon tea can be had in the hotel’s wood-paneled lounge complete with a fireplace. A modern spa and fitness center round out the expected facilities.
There is nothing quite like European-style El Convento in the medieval city of Old San Juan. It was a convent for 252 years, and today it’s the neighborhood’s principal upscale hotel, offering 58 elegant rooms and suites filled with Spanish antique treasures and modern amenities. Its history is present everywhere, from the exposed wood beams to the 350-year-old Nispero tree rising high above the romantic courtyard. A nightly wine and cheese reception takes place on the terrace, allowing guests (mostly couples) to mingle while overlooking views of San Juan Bay.
If you’re more interested in easy beach access, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is a four-and-a-half-pearl hotel located in San Juan’s vibrant Condado district. The hotel’s 319 guest rooms are timelessly attractive, with dark-wood furniture and stone-topped bathroom vanities. Early 20th-century antiques are ubiquitous throughout, and the hotel plays up its historic setting with handsome restaurants and lounges that exude a turn-of-the-century ambience. At the same time, an infinity-edge pool and innovative spa, in addition to high-tech guest rooms and meeting spaces infuse the hotel with a refreshing contemporary element.
he 265-room Shelbourne, built in 1824, is one of Dublin‘s best-known luxury icons, with a grand entrance right on St. Stephen’s Green and an impressive roster of famous past guests (Bill Clinton, Julia Roberts, and Liam Neeson have all stayed here, to name a few). Rooms have elegant traditional decor, though some are quite small and standard Queen Rooms lack bathtubs. Still, the ornate common spaces, hot spot bars and dining venues, luxury spa, and historic cachet combine to make this one of Dublin’s premier options.
Though not considerably cheaper, The Merrion is Dublin’s most exclusive luxury hotel, and it has a convenient location across from the Government buildings in four 18th-century townhouses. It has fewer rooms than the nearby Shelbourne and feels more intimate and private, though its list of features is still extensive: The hotel has a full-service spa, lovely Roman-style indoor pool, and well-equipped fitness center. The impressive restaurant offering includes Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, the only restaurant in Ireland to receive two Michelin stars, as well as the casual and atmospheric Cellar Bar, housed in the original 18th century wine vaults.
Billing itself as the “world’s most luxurious hotel,” Burj Al Arab is a destination unto itself. Situated just off the coast of Dubai on an independent island, visitors can access the grounds by attending high tea in the afternoon or dining in one of seven restaurants. Almost every aspect of the property is meant to evoke extreme decadence, from the butler assigned to each of the 60 floors to the 24k-gold iPads in two-story suites. Some guests have felt the phenomenally expensive prices to be unjustified for the food and the service, which can occasionally be disorganized, though most are happy to shell out for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you’re not willing to shell out $1,600/night, the Dar al Masyaf offers a similar experience for $1,000 less. The exclusive hotel is part of Madinat Jumeirah, a massive, one-of-a-kind beachside resort home to over 40 restaurants and bars, three outdoor pools, several miles of waterways and jogging trails, a traditional shopping center, a turtle sanctuary, and a theater. Rooms are large and luxurious, with top-notch amenities and large balconies offering serene views. With an impressive array of on-site activities (rock climbing, fitness classes, a swimming academy, water sports, live shows…you name it) and a beautiful private beach, only those looking to explore Dubai’s attractions will feel the need to venture out.