Category Archives: Hotel and Resort

Things Luxury in Hotels Can Teach About Exceptional Customer Service

After a long day of business meetings, sightseeing or catching up with old friends, travelers appreciate arriving at a comfortable and clean hotel room to rest their heads. And, generally, all anyone really wants is a clean and quiet place to shower, shave and sleep. Everything else is gravy.

Yet, I would argue that hotel staff and managers have the hardest customer service jobs out there. Travelers have all sorts of peculiar needs and expectations. And, in my experience, luxury hotels do an amazing job of providing them. Below, I’ve listed three things businesses can learn from the hospitality industry to create a more seamless and memorable customer service experience.

1. Attention to detail

Some of the most impressive things hotels do go unnoticed. From the careful setting of toiletries to the thoughtful placement of furniture, hotel staff have paid close attention to dozens of minor details that collectively enhance the quality of your stay.

In 2012, travel writer Sarah Lee noted some of the neat extras that came with her room at the Shangri-La Toronto. These included an in-room iPad, a Nespresso machine, complimentary bottles of water, remote-controlled drapes and blinds, a nightlight, steam-free mirrors and under-floor heating.

Although these amenities may seem superfluous, they go a long way in making guests feel right at home.

2. Personalized experiences

To effectively serve its guests’ unique needs, Accor Hotels piloted a new customer recognition program. For a month, staff checked guests’ public social media profiles to learn their interests, and what they then did with that information is inspirational. Hospitality marketing expert Josiah Mackenzie explained the personalized offerings for a variety of types of guests:

  • “For the guest who likes fine dining, [Accor Hotels provided] an all-day behind-the-scenes tour of Tru in Chicago [a luxurious French dining experience], along with a night at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.”
  • “For the guest who likes fishing, an eco-friendly fishing trip in the San Diego Bay.”
  • “For the guest who likes luxury cars, a certificate to drive a Ferrari and Lamborghini.”
  • “For the guest who likes lounging in spas, a day at the Hela spa in Washington, DC, plus an overnight stay at the Sofitel.”
  • “For the guest who likes sports, VIP tickets to a hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Red Wings.”

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is another hospitality company that has focused on “personalized” experience. Because travelers visit new places to seek out local experiences, Hyatt improves guests’ experience by bringing local culture to its hotels. According to the VHT blog:

  1. “Grand Hyatt in San Francisco commissioned local artists to paint its walls with images that embody the essence of the city.”
  2. “The upcoming opening of Hyatt’s Andaz luxury hotel in Tokyo will deliver ‘an unscripted, Japanese-inspired experience to guests that will help them feel truly connected to the heart and soul of Tokyo.’”
  3. “The Grand Hyatt Taipei, with its courteous staff of locals, has become an ‘iconic’ symbol of the capital by both nationals and tourists.”

3. Going ‘above and beyond’

Ritz-Carlton guest Chris Hurn relates the above-and-beyond customer service his wife and two children enjoyed when they returned home after a stay at the Ritz-Carlton. They arrived home only to realize that a family member named Joshie had gone missing.

Joshie, was, and is, none other than a stuffed giraffe; and Hurn’s son was particularly fond of the toy.

In a blog post, Hurn wrote, “[My son] was absolutely distraught when faced with the idea of going to sleep without his favorite pal.” So, to ease his son’s mind, Hurn fabricated a story about Joshie taking an extended vacation. By a stroke of luck, the Loss Prevention Team at the Ritz phoned the Hurn family that very evening to tell them they had found Joshie.

On that call, Hurn made an unusual request. “I came clean to the staff about the story I told my son and asked if they would mind taking a picture of Joshie on a lounge chair by the pool to substantiate my fabricated story.” The Loss Prevention Team happily joined in the ruse. Wrote Hurn: “I hung up the phone very relieved.”

Pretty good customer service, if you ask me. But what the staff at the Ritz did next surprised everyone. “A couple of days went by, and we received a package from the hotel,” Hurn says of what occurred. “It was my son’s Joshie, along with some Ritz-Carlton-branded ‘goodies’ (a frisbee, football, etc.).”

Also included in the package: a binder that meticulously documented Joshie’s extended stay at the Ritz. This quirky photo evidence of Joshie enjoying his time alone at the Ritz absolutely delighted the family. And by offering it, Ritz-Carlton transformed what could have been a family tragedy into an opportunity to deliver happiness and a lot of smiles.

Hotel Secrets from Behind the Front Desk

1. HOTELS ARE RAKING IT IN.

The fact that a hotel could fail to be profitable astounds me. Why? The average cost to turn over a room, to keep it operational per day, is between $30 and $40. If you’re paying less than $30 dollars a night at a hotel/motel, I’d wager the cost to flip that room runs close to $5. Which makes me want to take a shower. At home. That $40 turnover cost includes cleaning supplies, electricity, and hourly wages for housekeepers, minibar attendants, front desk agents, and all other employees needed to operate a room as well as the cost of laundering the sheets. Everything. Compare that with an average room rate, and you can see why it’s a profitable business.

2. STAYING FOR JUST ONE NIGHT? YOU MIGHT GET “WALKED.”

The term “walking a guest” sends shivers down any manager’s spine. Since the average no-show rate is 10 percent daily, hotels will overbook whenever possible. The sales and reservations departments are encouraged to book the property to 110 percent capacity, in the hopes that with cancellations and no-shows they will fill every room. What happens when the numbers game doesn’t play in the hotel’s favor? Someone gets walked. The hotel will now pay for the entire night’s room and tax (plus one phone call—how cute is that?) at another comparable hotel in the area.

A guest is more likely to get walked if:
1. He booked using Expedia, hence he has a deeply discounted rate and is less important.
2. He never stayed here before and may never visit the city again.
3. He’s a one-nighter.
4. And this one is so much more important than all the others: He is acting like a jerk.

3. SMART COMPLAINERS WIN.

Though most complaints should be delivered to the front desk directly, in person or on the phone, keep in mind that most issues will not have been caused by the front desk at all. So briefly outline your problem, offer a solution if you have one, and then ask whom you should speak with to have the problem solved. “Should I speak to a manager about this?” “Should I speak to housekeeping about this?” Those are wonderful and beautiful questions to ask. Most of the time, the front desk will be able to solve the problem immediately or at least act as proxy.

Want to make sure that the agent doesn’t nod, say “certainly,” and not do a damn thing? Get his or her name. Nothing tightens up an employee’s throat like being directly identified. You don’t have to threaten him or her either, just a nice casual “Thanks for your help. I’ll stop by later to make sure everything has been taken care of. Tommy, right?” Whatever you asked me to do I am doing it. (Will screaming get you what you want? Well, probably. But it’s not nearly as effective.)

4. THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO CASE A PILLOW.

To put on a pillowcase, the housekeepers throw a solid karate chop right down the middle of the pillow and then shove it in, folded like a bun. This method is preferred to the civilian method of tucking it under your chin and pulling up the pillowcase like a pair of pants because these ladies have no interest in letting 50 pillows a day come into contact with their faces.

5. ENJOY YOUR LEMONY FRESH GLASSES.

You know what cleans the hell out of a mirror, and I’m talking no streaks? Windex? No. Furniture polish. Spray on a thick white base, rub it in, and you’ll be face-to-face with a spotless, streak-free mirror. However, I am not recommending you take this tip and apply it in your own home. Though using furniture polish is quick and effective, over time it causes a waxy buildup that requires a deep scrub.

The housekeepers kept this move behind closed doors along with another dirty secret I didn’t discover until I walked in on ladies with Pledge in one hand and a minibar glass in the other. Keeping those glasses clean-looking was also part of the job. So the next time you put a little tap water into the glass and wonder why it has a pleasant lemon aftertaste, it’s because you just took a shot of Pledge.

6. NEVER, EVER PAY FOR THE MINIBAR.

Minibars. Most people are appalled at the prices. However, you never have to pay for the items in the minibar. Why not? Minibar charges are, without question, the most disputed charges on any bill. That is because the process for applying those charges is horribly inexact. Keystroke errors, delays in restocking, double stocking, and hundreds of other missteps make minibar charges the most voided item. Even before guests can manage to get through half of the “I never had those items” sentence, I have already removed the charges and am now simply waiting for them to wrap up the overly zealous denial so we can both move on with our lives.

7. BOOK ON A DISCOUNT SITE, GET A DISCOUNT EXPERIENCE.

Reservations made through Internet discount sites are almost always slated for our worst rooms. Does this seem unfair? First of all, we earn the slimmest profit from these reservations. And honestly, those guests didn’t really choose our property based on quality; they chose based on value. We were at the top of a list sorted by price. But the guest behind them in line, the one with a heavy $500 rate, she selected this hotel. When she comes to New York, she goes to our website to see what’s available. Since we have no reason to assume Internet guests will ever book with us again, unless our discount is presented to them, it truly makes business sense to save our best rooms for guests who book of their own volition.

8. BELLMEN HATE YOUR SUITCASE—BUT NOT BECAUSE IT’S HEAVY.

Bernard Sadow: the man all bellmen hate, though they’ve never heard his name. In 1970, he invented the wheeled suitcase, the bane of the bellman’s existence. Before that, the bellman was a necessity, a provider of ease and comfort, a useful member of society. When Sadow sold his first prototype to Macy’s in October 1970, he instigated a catastrophic change in the hospitality environment, causing the once noble species to retreat, rethink, and reemerge as a hustler fighting for survival. Sadow might as well have invented the phrase no bellman wants to hear, the phrase that leaves bills unpaid and ruins Christmas: “No, thanks, I got it.” Or that surprisingly prevalent and ignorant phrase: “I don’t want to bother him.” Don’t want to bother him? The man has a family. No one is being bothered here!

9. FRONT DESK AGENTS CAN ALSO BE AGENTS OF KARMA.

Any arriving guest should receive what are referred to as initial keys, which are programmed to reset the door lock when they are first inserted, deactivating all previous keys. Not until the keys expire or a new initial key enters the lock will the keys fail to work. With a “key bomb,” I cut one single initial key and then start over and cut a second initial key. Either one of them will work when you get to the room, and as long as you keep using the very first key you slipped in, all will be well.

But chances are you’ll pop in the second key at some point, and then the first key you used will be considered invalid. Trace that back to me? Not a chance. Trace that back to the fact that you told your 9-year-old daughter to shut her mouth while harshly ripping off her tiny backpack at check-in? Never.

10. THERE’S ONE SUREFIRE WAY TO GET AN UPGRADE.

Here is one of the top lies that come out of a front desk agent’s mouth: “All the rooms are basically the same, sir.”

Bull. There is always a corner room, a room with a bigger flat screen, a room that, because of the building’s layout, has a larger bath with two sinks, a room that fits two roll-aways with ease, a room that, though listed as standard, actually has a partial view of the Hudson River. There is always a better room, and when I feel that 20 you slipped me burning in my pocket, I will find it for you. And if there is nothing to be done room-wise, I have a slew of other options: late checkout, free movies, free minibar, room service amenities, and more. I will do whatever it takes to deserve the tip and then a little bit more in the hope that you’ll hit me again.

Most Incredible 7 Star Hotels In The World

Everyone loves a little luxury in their lives, especially when they travel. Who wouldn’t want to spend their few precious vacation days, experiencing the best that their chosen destination has to offer? One of the many ways to indulge yourself when you’re on vacation is by choosing a lavish hotel to stay at. While a five star hotel is a great way to feel like a Prince or Princess during your vacation, why not go bigger? Why not stay at a hotel that has exceeded five star status? A hotel that is so decadent and extraordinary, it will make you feel like a true King or Queen. The hotels listed below are so extraordinary that they have made it into the elite seven star group.

Below is a list of five hotels that will make your jaw drop. These hotels are expensive, beautiful but most importantly, luxurious. They are located in some of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world, so they will all make the perfect getaway. But be careful, if you get the opportunity to stay in one of these incredible hotels, you may never want to leave, because who wants to go home when you get a taste of pure luxury.

5. Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

The Emirates Palace is a hotel that has made it all the way into seven star luxury, and rightly so. The hotel cost a cool 3.9 billion to build, but we’re sure all of its guests would agree that it was worth every penny. Emirates Palace is located in Abu Dhabi on its very own private beach, that is surrounded by miles of beautiful gardens. Many of the suites available at the Emirates Palace are furnished in gold and marble. The rooms are so luxurious that the top tier suites are reserved for Emirate royalty and dignitaries. During your stay at the Emirates Palace, you can indulge in Albino Caviar, and $15,000 cognacs. If that’s not your thing, you can also swim at one of the two swimming pools, take a dip in the ocean at your own private beach, play some tennis, take a visit to the spa and even play rugby or soccer. If your feeling ready to book your visit to the Emirates Palace, you better open your checkbooks because room prices can exceed $12,000 per a night.

4. iSquare Hotel & Mall, Orlando

By the year 2017, a new seven-star, luxurious hotel will be available for stay in Orlando, Florida. The hotel plans to have 1,256 rooms, all of which will be up to the seven star taste-level. The hotel will cost a grand total of $400 million dollars to build and will include two towers, an observation deck, shops for ever taste, restaurants and even an ice-skating rink. The hotel’s developer, the Blackmine Group, said this about the soon-to-be luxury hotel, the property will have a, “swanky, irresistible vibe that makes each guest feel like a celebrity or billionaire.” Let’s hope this seven star hotel lives up to the hype.

3. Pangu Plaza (Morgan Plaza), Beijing

The Pangu Plaza, previously called the Morgan Plaza, is another seven star hotel, but this one is located in the Olympic District of Beijing, China. This hotel is the top luxury hotel in Beijing and has played host to big time moguls such as Bill Gates. The hotel boasts two pavilions, a temple, and it contains one of the world’s best Japanese restaurants. Luxury is dripping throughout the entire hotel. The lobby is decorated with marble pillars and Henry woodcarvings, while the suites are decorated with silken wallpaper and all the amenities that any guest could ask for. Traditional Chinese décor is found throughout the suites, giving guests a sense of Chinese History without even leaving the hotel room. It’s rumored that the apartments at the Morgan Plaza can be rented for around $800,000 a year, which is exactly what Bill Gates did during the Beijing Olympics. And if it’s good enough for Bill Gates, it’s probably good enough for us.

2. The Pentominium, Dubai

Although construction on the Pentominium was recently halted due to lack of finances, the impressive building still aims to be one of the most amazing structures in the world. When the structure finally reaches completion, it will become one of the tallest residential buildings in the world, with a height of 1,693 feet. The Pentominium is located on the coast of Dubai. Although the Pentominium is best known as a residential building, rather than a hotel, the residents living in the Pentominium will be treated more like hotel guests than residents. This is because of the amount of luxury that they will be experiencing on a day-to-day basis. When the building is completed, the residents will be able to enjoy hotel-like amenities such as butler service, the use of luxury vehicles that are owned by the Pentominium, and they will be able to participate in sailing trips. In addition, residents can enjoy the use of the indoor pool with a spectacular view of the coastline, as well as getting a drink at one of the swanky bars located in the building. When the building does finally reach completion, you better sign up to get your room fast, I’m sure there are many people who wouldn’t mind spending all their days as if they’re on vacation.

1. Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

Dubai must be the place to go to find one-of-a-kind luxury because Burj Al Arab is another seven star hotel located in Dubai. The magnificent hotel stands on an artificial island that is connected to the mainland by a private bridge. The hotel is made to look like the sail of a ship, so it might just be the most beautiful and luxurious hotel you ever stay at. The hotel contains 202 bedroom suites, with The Royal Suite coming in at $18,716 per a night. The hotel was designed to show the meeting of East and West, making it a beautiful fusion of different cultures. During your stay at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, you can eat at one of its two delicious restaurants, one of which can be accessed by taking a simulated submarine voyage, take a relaxing day at the spa, get room service from your own private butler, take a fifteen minute helicopter ride to get the one-of-a-kind view of Dubai, rent one of your dream cars, and even go to the Wild Wado Waterpark. The Burj Al Arab Hotel has been called, “the world’s only seven-Star hotel.” Although the management at Burj Al Arab claims to have never advertised this themselves, we at The Richest, think you will have the vacation of a lifetime if you choose to stay at the Burj Al Arab Hotel.

World’s Best Beach Hotels

Weary of the politics and stresses of Ancient Rome, Emperor Tiberius fled to Capri, where he spent his last decade in sumptuous villas enjoying a secluded island life.

Two millennia later, most of us can relate to the emperor.

We also seek refuge from our daily routine at seaside resorts — if only for a week, rather than 10 years. And while Tiberius had to first build himself a dozen palatial retreats, today’s beachgoers don’t need to do any heavy lifting. Luxurious hotels and resorts dot the world’s coastlines. You’ll even find them on the emperor’s beloved Capri.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value.

When it came to their favorite hotels on the beach, T+L’s sun-seeking readers showed global ambition in 2016. One of this year’s winners is a 19th-century resort on the shores of New England, where guests spend days playing croquet, shuffleboard, and learning the general art of “summering.”

Another is an ultra-modern new build on the southern coast of Australia, where nature lovers can spot kangaroos and penguins. In between, there are resorts that offer endless amounts of wakeboarding, surfing, and lounging.

Read on for this year’s World’s Best beach hotels, just in time for summer.

1. Nihiwatu in Indonesia

T+L readers voted Nihiwatu, on Indonesia’s remote Sumba Island, the World’s Best Hotel this year. For beachgoers, it’s a suitable choice. The resort, a 567-acre estate (over 90 percent of which remains lush tropical forest) has a pristine beach on the warm Indian Ocean. Surfers have flocked here since the 1980s to ride Occy’s Left: a challenging reef break. But Nihiwatu is no longer the sole domain of surfers. Today, well-heeled sunseekers don flip flops and enjoy the resort’s Sumbanese thatched villas, infinity pool, and dreamy white sands.

2. Southern Ocean Lodge in Australia

Animal lovers will be delighted to learn a place called Kangaroo Island exists, and that, true to its name, you can see the famous marsupial there (along with koalas, wallabies, wombats, penguins, cockatoos, and sea lions). Throw in the secluded Southern Ocean Lodge, a super-luxe eco-resort above cliff-lined beaches, and you won’t need another reason for traveling to this island off the coast of Adelaide. Each of the Lodge’s 21 suites has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the rugged coast. Hiking trails on-property lead to several beaches (watch for dolphins) and link up with neighboring preservation land.

3. Montage Kapalua Bay in Hawaii

Like The Brando’s Tetiaora atoll, Maui’s Kapalua Bay also has a history of local royalty deeming it sacred. With picture perfect turquoise waters, palm trees billowing in the Pacific breezes, and a crescent of golden sand flanked by two lava outcroppings, it’s easy to see why. Guests at the Montage have the bay and its beach as their backyard to explore. The resort’s beach crew can arrange for activities like snorkeling, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and fishing. Visit the spa for a more indulgent sea experience, like a seaweed cocoon in an open-air treatment room.

4. The Brando in Tahiti

Tahitian monarchs considered the Tetiaora atoll sacred. When Marlon Brando, while in French Polynesia filming Mutiny on the Bounty, stepped foot on the island in 1960, he agreed, and eventually turned it into his private refuge. Today, the late actor’s retreat has been transformed into the Brando, open to anyone so long as they can afford airfare to Tahiti and a nightly rate that starts at about $2,700. But once visitors arrive at one of the all-inclusive resort’s 35 spacious villas — which start at 1,000 square feet — and touch the island’s unspoiled white sand, the price tag won’t matter anymore.

5. Wequassett Resort and Golf Club

On the outer elbow of Cape Cod, Wequassett Resort is a sprawling compound of whitewashed buildings and clapboard cottages. Woodlands, salt marshes, and manicured gardens make up most of the 27 acre grounds, but T+L readers also love this Massachusetts resort for its beaches. On property, guests can bathe in the quiet waters of Pleasant Bay (or choose from two pools). The hotel can also arrange for exclusive visits to Outer Beach, which is part of Cape Cod National Seashore. Only accessible by boat, it’s one of the East Coast’s most secluded stretches of sand. Head here in the daytime for a picnic lunch, or come at night for stargazing.

6. Weekapaug Inn in Rhode Island

Surrounded by water on three sides, Rhode Island’s Weekapaug Inn is a Cape Cod-style resort with red cedar shingles and cranberry-red shutters. Rooms have distinct textiles and vintage furnishings (many from the original resort, which dates to 1899). Since its 19th-century opening, the main draw has always been the adjacent beach. This two-mile swath of sand is lined with dunes and freckled with wild beach roses. Guests at the Inn spread out across the beach, but not before stopping by the resort’s Bathhouse for a refreshing bottle of ice-cold Del’s lemonade: a Rhode Island favorite.

7. Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen

The chirping tropical birds flitting around Rosewood Mayakoba sound just as happy as the guests at this jungly Riviera Maya resort. Most suites come with private docks for the boats that ferry guests around the mangrove lagoons. At the eastern edge of the reserve-like property is a white sand beach and an infinity pool that seems to disappear into the Caribbean. Also at the waterfront: Rosewood Mayakoba’s aptly named Punta Bonita (“Beautiful Point” in Spanish), a seaside restaurant serving regional Mexican cooking tapas-style. Look around the breezy dining room or terrace, and you might spot a celebrity. Jessica Alba is just one of the Hollywood A-listers who frequent the resort year after year.

 

How to find remote and luxurious resorts in the Philippines

Whether you’re in search of an all-inclusive luxury resort or a chilled-out beach villa, the Philippines has no shortage of remote retreats to whisk intrepid travelers off the grid. Home to more than 7,000 islands, the Southeast Asian archipelago counts abundant marine life, colorful reefs and pristine beaches among its selling points.
But you’ll want to get there soon. The country’s natural beauty has caught the eye of international jet-setters and tourism has grown at a rate of 8% per year since 2010, according to a report by Oxford Business Group.
While the cluster of resorts along Manila Bay are easy enough to find, you’ll have to work a little harder to check out these far-flung hotels.

Amanpulo

Amanpulo is one luxurious adventure.
Claiming a plot of sand on its own private island, Amanpulo is all about off-grid luxury. The exclusive address sprawls across 89-hectare Pamalican Island in the Sulu Sea — about an hour’s flight southwest of Manila.
The only catch? To get here, travelers must spring for a chartered flight — the 15-seat jet lands on the island’s own private airstrip. But, then again, if you’re staying at Amanpulo, you can probably afford it.
Upon arrival guests settle into a beautifully appointed villa, designed using natural materials such as Cebu marble, coconut shell table tops and pebbled walls. The experience includes a personal butler, private plunge pools and even personal chefs in some of the top-end villas.
Active types, rejoice: Most days will revolve around exploring the pristine surrounds — think jungle trekking, diving, snorkeling, cycling, turtle spotting and tennis.

Qi Palawan

For those looking for peace and quiet, Qi Palawan is about as secluded as it gets.
To access this family-run retreat, travelers must catch an hour-long flight from Manila to El Nido Airport, followed by an hour’s drive to the northeastern edge of Palawan island. You know you’re close when the van bumps along a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
Once there, it’s nothing but sea views, breezy hammocks and lush gardens. Taking eco-conscious measures to reduce its carbon footprint, the retreat features back-to-basics luxuries such as locally made soaps, an organic herb garden and open-air architecture.
World’s best beachfront hotels
There are seven bamboo villas, a yoga pavilion and an open-air restaurant helmed by one of the best chefs in Palawan. Guests can try their hand at kiteboarding on the beach or take a day trip to nearby dive sites and remote islands.
Other highlights include a picnic lunch, snorkeling or a venture to the lush Linapacan island group, considered one of the most pristine locations in the Philippines.

Tugawe Cove Resort

Hummingbirds, dense forests, limestone cliffs, waterfalls and lakes — Caramoan Island is an idyllic corner of south-central Philippines.
In the middle of it all is Tugawe Cove Resort. Built along a hillside above Lauing Bay, the elevated outpost offers panoramic views of Sombrero, Loto and Litao islands in the distance. There’s an open-air restaurant and an infinity pool perched at the top of the hill, and a path that leads down to the water.
At the beach, guests can hop into a kayak, don snorkeling gear or try their hand at paddle boarding.
The rooms’ warm wood finishes and ocean tones echo the surrounds — with options to stay in three distinct areas: by the nearby lake, along the hillside or at the very top.
Reaching Tugawe Cove Resort requires careful planning to align with the limited flight schedules. Expect an hour-long flight from Manila to Virac, followed by a 45-minute ride to Codon port, and a 30-minute boat ride to the resort.

Amarela

Amarela embraces with an all-natural aesthetic.
A low-key beach resort overlooking the Bohol Sea, Amarela is at home on a secluded beach on Panglao Island.
All about the carefree island lifestyle, the 31-room retreat is a one-hour plane ride from Manila to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital, followed by a 30-minute car transfer.
Amarela’s location is far enough away to feel remote, but close enough to offer relatively easy access to a few worthwhile attractions on Panglao island. The main draws include the photogenic Puntod sandbar, Hinagdanan cave and lagoon, Balicasag’s colorful reefs, and pristine Alona Beach.
Keeping with the all-natural aesthetics, the resort’s rooms have been designed to complement the surrounds — picture reclaimed wood, antique furniture, local art and a warm, earthy palette.

Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa

Located on Panglao Island in south-central Philippines, Eskaya Beach Resort & Spa stretches across 16 scenic hectares of rustic gardens and dramatic cliffs. The luxury resort feels remote thanks to its position on the southernmost tip of Bohol, but it’s relatively easy to reach — just a one-hour flight south of Manila, followed by a 30-minute drive.
25 of the world’s top hotels
Relaxed yet refined, all the thatched-roof villas feature private pools, but the hotel’s infinity pool is the pièce de résistance. The water’s perfect shade of turquoise tricks the eye into thinking the pool spills into the ocean.
The pool may look inviting but there are plenty of other water activities at this oceanfront address — from dolphin watching to sunset cruises, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and island hopping.

Apulit Island

Apulit Island’s over-water cottages promise unobstructed views.
El Nido Resort is usually one of the first names to pop up when researching hotels in Palawan.
The string of boutique properties was one of the first luxury ventures to touch down in El Nido more than 30 years ago, when there were only a handful of modest beach bungalows in the area.
The most remote in the El Nido Resorts portfolio? Apulit Island.
Situated on the eastern coast of Palawan in lesser frequented Taytay Bay, this eco-adventure spot is surrounded by imposing limestone cliffs. A vacation here offers an adrenaline-filled few days of diving — there’s a Japanese shipwreck just off the coast — snorkeling, cliff jumping, rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking, snorkeling and island hopping.
Built on stilts, the 50 over-water cottages promise unobstructed sea views and easy access to the turquoise water below. Most travelers budget at least a week to enjoy the area, due to the lengthy trip.
Plan for a one-hour flight from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 1.5-hour drive east, and an hour-long boat transfer.

Ticao Island Resort

Hidden away in the southeastern Bicol Region of the Philippines, Ticao Island Resort enjoys a long stretch of sand all to itself.
It’s a well-earned reward after a long trip. To reach the island outpost, expect an hourlong flight to Legazpi City from Manila, followed by a 1.5-hour drive and a 2-hour outrigger boat ride.
Upon arrival, guests quickly settle into the laid-back island life thanks to full-board rates and nearly all-inclusive activities.
The beachfront cabanas and rustic surrounds are perfect for back-to-basics getaways — picture simply appointed thatched roof huts, breezy decks, an open-air restaurant and uninterrupted ocean views. Thanks to the manta ray and whale shark populations nearby, the address has developed a reputation for its diving classes and tours.
One of the hotel’s partners is also the founder of the Manta Bowl dive site. Ideal for experienced divers, the site is like an underwater ride thanks to a current that pulls divers through the water alongside fevers of rays.
Back on land, Ticao Island Resort offers a full roster of activities, including jungle treks, horseback riding, billiards, darts and outings to nearby Mayon Volcano.

Atmosphere Resort & Spa

Atmosphere Resort & Spa conveniently sits opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary.
An independently owned resort, Atmosphere Resort & Spa is run by two British expats — a scuba diver and an architect — who met in the Philippines more than 15 years ago.
The husband-and-wife duo couldn’t have picked a better location — picture dark volcanic sand beaches in the shadow of Mount Talinis. Thanks to minerals in the sand from the nearby volcano, the area’s marine life is unique and varied, attracting underwater photographers and divers from all over the world.
11 best hotels in the middle of nowhere
The address conveniently sits opposite the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary, which makes for easy snorkeling and diving excursions.
Emphasizing health and wellness, Atmosphere comes fully equipped with a gluten-free and vegan-friendly bakery, daily yoga classes by the beach and a secret garden-like spa where treatment pavilions are surrounded by waterfalls.
The destination is relaxing, but getting here takes some effort. To reach the resort, travelers fly into Dumaguete airport — about an hour-long flight south of Manila — followed by a 40-minute drive.

Cauayan Resort

A recently opened resort on its own outlying island — off the coast of El Nido in Palawan — Cauayan Resort aims to attract a well-heeled crowd. To reach the private island resort, travelers typically fly from Manila to El Nido, followed by a 15-minute transfer to the port and a 30-minute boat ride.
The stylish resort offers a mix of private villas, a few scattered around a lagoon and the rest right on the beach, where baby whale sharks swim freely.
Each of the 24 bungalows is decked out with teak wood, king-sized beds and rain showers, while the Grand Cauayan Pool Villa features two bedrooms and a private pool. Aside from the bamboo bungalows and some wooden steps, Cauayan Island is still an untouched tropical jungle, so expect back-to-nature experiences with insects, birds, and unexpected animal encounters.
To make the most of its location in scenic Bacuit Bay, the hotel runs daily island hopping outings, which may include stops at the aptly named Secret and Hidden beaches nearby, as well as the iconic Big and Small lagoons, accessible by kayak. 

Dedon Island

Every detail has been designed to celebrate the area’s natural beauty.
This is the place for carefree island vibes and a stretch of empty sand.
Dedon Island is a remote outpost on Siargao Island in the far south of the archipelago, about a five-hour trip from Manila via Cebu, followed by a 40-minute ride in the hotel’s jeepney bus.
The luxurious retreat offers all-inclusive rates, so you can spend your time sipping sundowners rather than counting coins. From open-air pavilions to coconut tree groves, frangipani gardens, a hidden treehouse, romantic day beds and bird’s nest woven chairs, it seems every detail has been designed to celebrate the area’s natural beauty.
The upscale address is also a favorite among well-to-do surfing enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to Cloud 9 — a break in the Philippine Deep trench known for picture-perfect tubes.
Can’t balance on a board? No to worry — there’s a wide lineup of activities, including deep-sea fishing, kayaking, wakeboarding, island hopping, biking and relaxing evenings at the outdoor cinema.

Siargao Bleu Resort & Spa

A personal butler, airport transfers, poker nights, an outdoor cinema and a gorgeous pool — Siargao Bleu Resort and Spa is not a typical beach retreat. There are 40 villas and hotel rooms — some with Jacuzzis, and all with ocean views.
The hotel operates tours all over the island, including trips to the nearby rock pools, crocodile sanctuary, mangroves and even water buffalo rides at sunset. Just a five-minute walk to the famous Cloud 9 swell, the resort also offers a special package aimed at experienced and aspiring surfers.
To get here? It’s a one-hour flight from Cebu to Del Carmen in Siargao, then a 45-minute complimentary van transfer to the hotel.

Best Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

An insider’s guide to the best boutique hotels in Cape Town, including the top places for stylish interiors, swimming pools, spas, high-end restaurants, cosy bars and rooms with Table Mountain views, in a city-centre locations near Kloof Street, Camps Bay and the harbour.

MannaBay

This luxurious Cape Town hotel is located high on the slopes of Table Mountain, benefiting from superb city and mountain views, with highly-personal service and generous touches like complimentary house drinks and airport transfers. There’s an atmosphere of comfort, with dramatic wallpaper choices, monogrammed linen, bookshelves filled with well-thumbed books, eclectic furniture and arresting South African artworks. The complimentary house wines are good. The free high tea – served daily, sometimes to live piano accompaniment – is a decadent touch.
From £343 per night.

Four Rosmead

A tranquil, stylish hotel on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, which is popular with older couples (no children under 12). There’s nothing flash or brash; with subtle African touches and hand-picked artworks – much of it for sale. Lots of comfortable public areas to unwind in, including a well-dressed courtyard with small heated pool. Despite the small size there is a hostess available 24/7 to assist with recommendations and bookings and spa treatments. There are just eight bedrooms (one suite, four deluxe and three luxury), some with fireplace, private garden, balcony or courtyard.
From £156 per night

More Quarters

A delightful collection of 19th-century neighbouring houses located in one of the older characterful city residential neighbourhoods, a few paces from Kloof Street’s plethora of bars and restaurants. Hip apartment-style units are standardised in tasteful creams and warm greys; their kitchens and bathrooms are modern, but original features (e.g. creaking floorboards; pressed ceilings) add historic character. There’s a cosy little lounge where tea and treats are served, as well as evening port and snacks. Breakfast is a great spread, and includes hot made-to-order dishes.
From £288 per night

Kensington Place

This has always featured in any line up of the city’s top boutique hotels. Kensington Place still ticks every box: classy yet comfortable womb-like rooms you’ll hardly ever want to leave; excellent service; small but sexy public spaces; and a great Higgovale location overlooking the city and harbour. There is a small pool and courtyard-style garden with comfortable loungers and day beds with curtains that billow in the breeze. Most rooms have splendid city views. There’s a restaurant and bar with excellent wine and cocktail list. You won’t eat a better breakfast in the city either.
From £281 per night

Cape Heritage Hotel

Quirky, characterful rooms bedecked with Persian rugs and Oriental treasures in an 18th-century building in the historic heart of Cape Town. It’s walking distance to all the city sights, shops and restaurants. Décor is predominantly inspired by the Cape’s early history, when the VOC ruled the colony and their ships laden with goods docked here. Rooms are completely different in shape and décor but all share the same lovely high-beamed teak ceilings, and standard comforts such as air-conditioning, mini-bar and king-sized beds.
From £130 per night

Cape Cadogan

This elegant Georgian-Victorian pad is one of the original houses built on the slopes of Table Mountain, just off vibey Kloof Street, with its plethora of restaurants and bars. There’s a decadent, cosy atmosphere in the chandeliered lounge, where complimentary snacks and drinks are served every evening – a great way to meet fellow guests. Service is caring, knowledgable, efficient and personal without being intrusive. The Standard rooms are sufficient in space, but if you can, it’s worth splurging on a Luxury as these open onto balconies or courtyards. Breakfast is the only meal offered, and it is excellent.
From £177 per night

Sea Five Boutique Hotel

Camps Bay’s most elegant beach house offers a great location: set back from the seasonal hustle and bustle of the sunset strip, elevated enough for decent views, and only a minute’s stroll from the beach, restaurants and bars. It’s decorated in soft shades of sand with touches of blue and/or chocolate – pared-down elegance and understated luxury. There are six units to choose from: two rooms with views of the sea; two mountain-facing (equally lovely, and a bit quieter) one two-bedroom penthouse and the entry-level garden room (with adjoining private courtyard).
From £178 per night.

Pod

An uber-hip 17-room boutique hotel near Camps Bay’s beachfront. This glass-walled, clean-lined, contemporary structure is warmed with natural wood, raw slate and ironic plans, the kind of look that’s popular with glossy design-savvy magazines such as Wallpaper*. The public area comprises a dining room and bar-lounge that opens onto elevated decks overlooking the lap pool with partial sea views. The facilities are limited: breakfast only (excellent), but takeaways are plated and brought to your room, and staff will set up a great beach spot and deliver drinks.
From £362 per night

Dock House Boutique Hotel & Spa

This exclusive six-room boutique hotel, located in the 19th-century harbour master’s house, combines brilliant proximity to the number one tourist destination – a one-minute descent through your private gate and you’re in the Waterfront’s bustling heart. Given that you are in the densely developed harbour, the lawned garden with pool and bar area is a real luxury. There is also a top-notch spa, and a gym. The five spacious rooms have high ceilings and enormous bathrooms; the suite has a private garden. Breakfast features a few interesting choices such as ostrich egg Benedict.
From £236 per night

The Andros Deluxe Boutique Hotel

Aside from its location in the rather dull suburb of Claremont, The Andros Boutique Hotel is a stellar offering: a heritage home with 15 well-appointed rooms set in sprawling grounds, elegant drawing rooms, a great little bar, popular spa, excellent in-house chef and fabulous rates. Who needs more? A spirit of generosity permeates the guest house: several jars filled with treats in all the public spaces, cake in the lounge and complimentary sherry, port and brandy selection in the drawing room. The Classic rooms are perhaps the best value in the city.

Best Hotels in Croatian Island

An insider’s guide to the best hotels for Croatian Island holidays, including the top resorts, boutique and budget hotels on Brač, Hvar, Korčula and Krk.

BRAČ

One of the closest islands to Split on the central Dalmatian coast, Brač is home to Croatia’s most famous beach, the Zlatni rat (‘golden cape’) – a finger of fine sand and shingle protruding off the coast from the small town of Bol, its shape ever changing with the surrounding currents. Other highlights of Brač include the remote Pustinja Blaca monastery, agrotourism in the island’s rural interior and some great places to eat, together with excellent windsurfing, and good hiking and biking trails.

Bluesun Hotel Elaphusa

This big modern hotel, next to the stunning Zlatni Rat beach on Brač island, is ideal for an active family holiday. Here you have windsurfing and scuba diving facilities, plus hiking and cycling routes, and bikes for rent. There’s a wellness centre with several pools, and a tennis school.

Zlatni Bol Apartments

On Brač’s south coast, close to the glorious Zlatni Rat beach, these modern self-catering apartments offer everything you need for a relaxing holiday. With excellent adventure sports facilities nearby (windsurfing, diving and cycling, plus tennis), it’s a perfect base for active couples or families.

HVAR

Second only to Dubrovnik in popularity, sun-drenched Hvar is a long, slender island just 40km (25 miles) from Split, famed for its lavendar fields and as Croatia’s coolest clubbing destination. The island’s Stari Grad Plain is a Unesco World Heritage Site, where the cultivation pattern of olive trees as laid out by early Greek colonists has been perfectly preserved for some two and a half thousand years. Some of Croatia’s best red wines are produced on Hvar, in particular around Sveta Nedelja on the steep west coast of the island, from the Plavac grape.

Hotel Adriana

In a beautifully refurbished 1970s building, overlooking the fishing harbour in trendy Hvar Town, this hotel is stylish, fun and unpretentious. It has 59 light and airy rooms and suites, a waterside restaurant, upper-floor cocktail bar affording panoramic views and an impressive spa with a rooftop pool.

Little Green Bay

This boutique hotel in a secluded bay on Hvar is all about understated luxury. Chic contemporary design is forefront, with 15 rooms and a slick bar-restaurant in raw natural materials — stone, wood, linen and polished concrete. There’s a pebble beach, mini-spa and private speedboat.

KORČULA

The island of Korčula lies towards the southern end of the Dalmatian coast, less than 100km (62 miles) from Dubrovnik. Korčula town itself is an amazing walled medieval town rising straight up out of the clear blue waters of the Adriatic, with a herringbone pattern of narrow streets and alleys, something like a miniature Dubrovnik with fewer crowds. Highlights include the Moreška sword dance, inscribed on the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the beaches at Lumbarda. Korčula produces some good wines, in particular Grk and Pošip, and one of Croatia’s best red wine producing areas, Dingač, lies on the nearby Pelješac peninsula.

Lesic Dimitri Palace

A former 18th-century bishop’s palace, with five luxury standalone apartments, including an Oriental-inspired China suite and a white-tent-ceilinged Arabia suite, some with sea views. There’s a small spa and a great waterside terrace restaurant that serves up seafood.

Hotel Liburna

A modern waterside hotel, with views of Korčula’s fortified Old Town across the bay. It has 112 rooms, a buffet restaurant with an ample terrace, a pebble-and-rock beach front and an outdoor pool. It makes an ideal holiday base for families or couples.

KRK

The island of Krk boasts one of Croatia’s most popular beaches, the huge and mostly sandy Velika Plaža (literally ‘big beach’) at the small town of Baška. There’s also some good wine on the island, made with the local Žlahtina grape, and great hiking in the rocky lunar landscape of the hills above Baška. Krk is the most easily accessible island to the Croatian mainland, connected by road bridge as well as the usual ferries, and Rijeka airport is actually on Krk.

Heritage Hotel Forza

When Heritage Hotel Forza opened, it instantly became the most stylish place to stay in Baška. It’s small, intimate and family run, with comfortable, tastefully decorated rooms, and makes a luxurious base to explore the hiking trails, historic churches and vineyards this island has to offer.

The Best Amalfi Coast Honeymoon Hotels

An insider’s guide to the best honeymoon hotels on the Amalfi Coast, including the top places to stay for infinity pools, direct beach access, Michelin-starred restaurants, sumptuous spas and romantic views, in locations including Ravello, Positano and Conca dei Marini.

Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi

This historic early 13th-century monastery, slung across cliffs above Amalfi’s harbour, first became a hotel in 1885. Reached by lift (or a path that zigzags up the cliff face), it’s a lofty world of its own, including church, cloister, lemon groves and pool. Alighting from the lift, it feels as if one has been transported to a castle ­– or in this case Capuchin monastery ­– in the sky, with exhilarating sea and harbour views. The 53 rooms are small in size (the legacy of a converted monastery), and decorated in cool, contemporary style: elegant, simple, linear and white. Many rooms have a balcony or terrace with breathtaking views over the coast and Monks’ Walk below. Best is the Eremite Suite, on its own at the top of steep steps, with panoramic views and outdoor hot.

Villa Maria Hotel

An understandably popular spot in Ravello whose ravishing dining terrace with dreamy views (a favourite for marriage proposals) takes centre stage, but whose quiet hotel, little changed for decades, makes one of the most pleasant and authentic places to stay in the town. It feels as if it has changed little since it first opened, a charming medley of potted palms, busts, piano, inlaid furniture and silver arranged on wooden shelves that lends the old villa a distinctly Edwardian feel. All rooms have a sea view (or partial sea view), but no. 3 is a cut above the rest, with its huge terrace, five sets of French windows and handsome secretaire. Sit in the sunshine at one of the tables in the Villa Maria’s lovely garden restaurant, Orsola’s, sip chilled white wine, eat perfectly cooked pasta and enjoy the glorious view.

Hotel Santa Caterina

A mix of familial warmth, glamour and professionalism makes HotelSanta Caterina stand out from the competition. Now run by the fourth generation of the family that opened it as a hotel in 1904, it’s the sort of homely yet sophisticated place that you long to return to. Family antiques pepper the cool, white interiors, which are splashed with Mediterranean colour on patterned tiles and fabrics. The airy dining room has a stunning blue Brazilian-marble floor and a lovely terrace overlooking gardens and sea. The big surprise is the glass lift that whooshes down the cliff where the pool, bar, beach-shack restaurant (dancing to live music on Tuesdays), sea and boats await. As well as the Beach Club, there is a small but hard-working spa and a boutique.

Hotel Villa Cimbrone

Occupying one of the most romantic spots in the world, Villa Cimbrone comprises beautiful gardens, open to the public during the day, and rooms full of antiques, paintings and frescoes. Ernest William Beckett, 2nd Lord Grimthorpe, who found solace here after the death of his beloved wife in childbirth in the late 19th century, acquired the noble Villa after visiting on his Grand Tour. He created the romantic English gardens that culminate in the Terrace of Infinity, described by Gore Vidal as ‘the most beautiful view in the world’. The 19 bedrooms are all different, with antique furnishings and wonderful views, original Vietri majolica floors and stone or majolica fireplaces. There are two stand-out suites: romantic Greta Garbo and Camelia, both with superb frescoed ceiling.

Le Sirenuse

Built into the steep southwest-facing side of Positano, the hotel’s oxblood-coloured facade is high enough to command excellent sea views, while being within a 10-minute walk (down lots of steps) to the resort’s dark-sand beach. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, though over time it has conjoined with neighbouring houses to become a warren of rooms and public areas. Bright, white walls setting off the shiny terracotta-tiled floors and glossy potted plants create fresh, light interiors enhanced by large French windows opening onto broad terraces. A compact pool terrace has outdoor loungers and is shaded by lemon trees. The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is about as romantic as a dining room can possibly be. Entirely lit by 400 candles, it has creeper-clad walls, stiff white tablecloths and grandstand views.

Il San Pietro di Positano

Often included in ‘World’s Best’ lists and frequented by such stars as George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the legendary San Pietro lives up to its reputation. But the luxuriousness and spectacular setting belie what is, at the heart, a family operation. The terraces and some of the bedrooms overlook the village; all around there is the deep, blue sea. People come here for peace and quiet, but if you are feeling sociable, Positano’s bars and restaurants are within a short hop in the hotel’s free shuttle bus. Just about anything you could possibly wish for is on site, and for a zip up the coast, one of the hotel’s private boats will pick you up from the jetty. There is a bar with a spectacular terrace, a Michelin-starred restaurant, fabulous terraced gardens and, on sea level, a private ‘beach’, a tennis court, spa and a casual-chic restaurant. The rooms tumble down the cliff-side in a series of flower-bedecked terraces, all with extraordinary sea vistas.

Belmond Hotel Caruso

This sprawling edifice, perched high above the hilltop town of Ravello overlooking the Bay of Salerno, is one of Amalfi’s most romantic boltholes. Occupying a splendid, rambling palazzo originating in the 11th century, the Caruso is a hotel in grand style with marble hallways, sweeping arches and vaulted ceilings, weathered old floors, frescoes and chandeliers. There are facilities and services galore here, starting with the celebrated infinity pool that is often listed among the best hotel pools in the world. Then there are several restaurants and bars, a spa, boat trips along the coast and a shuttle service down to the coast. All but a handful of the 50 bedrooms and suites have sea views and all have some kind of private outside space ranging from compact terraces to vast gardens.

Monastero Santa Rosa

From its perch atop a sheer, rocky outcrop, just outside the quiet the village of Conca dei Marini and aloof from the day-trippers down on the coast, the Santa Rosa enjoys a magnificent location with incredible views in all directions. One of the most exclusive of all the hotels in this most-exclusive chunk of Italy, the Santa Rosa’s creation is down to one woman, American Bianca Sharma, who bought the vast, clifftop building after spying it from a boat. She spared no expense in transforming the 17th-century monastery into a stylish and cocooning hotel, while fully respecting the building’s origins. There are fabulous terraced gardens with a heated infinity pool that seems suspended over the water; a huge spa; excellent food; and shuttle bus service to Amalfi. The dining terrace – suspended high over the sea – is a supremely romantic spot for dinner.

Palazzo Murat

Palazzo Murat enjoys a prime position just off Positano’s main drag down to the beach, yet is shielded from the worst of the crowds by its lush, exotic garden (with a small pool). A short stroll down the hill, past boutiques, art galleries and souvenir shops, leads you to the main beach. This 18th century, L-shaped palazzo was once home to Joachim Murat, king of Naples and brother-in-law to Napoleon, and there is an air of grandeur (but not pomposity) about the place, especially in the vaulted public rooms with their antiques and fine paintings. A trip along the coast in the hotel’s own boat is complimentary to all guests. The large rooms in the original part of the palazzo, furnished with four-posters, antiques and opulent fabrics, are quite grand and have tall French windows opening onto creeper-draped balconies.

La Conca Azzurra

If an affordable price is a requirement, but you are looking for all the attributes of a classic Amalfi Coast hotel including direct access to the sea (which few can boast), then this compact, spectacularly sited address will provide the answer. The hotel descends in stages towards the sea, beginning at its roadside ceramics shop and roof terrace bar, past rooms and reception and on to restaurant, garden and steps to the sea-bathing platform at the bottom. You can arrive by boat: the hotel shares a private boat/Amalfi ferry dock with the Grotta dello Smeralda (Emerald Grotto), open to the public every day and well worth a tour. There is a lush garden with hot tub and vegetable patch, plus a long winding path and steps leads to the bathing platform with small restaurant in summer. All 20 bedrooms are spectacularly sea facing, with either balcony or terrace.

Best Hotel Fireplaces This Winter

As winter closes in around the country, these hotels offer some of the most stunning and snuggle-worthy fireplaces to make even the worst weather not just tolerable, but maybe even desirable.

Located on the University of Minnesota campus, The Commons Hotel offers a distinctly collegiate feel complete with a library and fireplace right in the hotel lobby. Guests of the self-described geek-chic property in Minneapolis will find themselves gathered around the large fire, reading a selection from the hotel’s Book Butler or a novel plucked from nearby shelves.

Book a stay in the 1000-square-foot Grand Mansion Suite of the Wentworth Mansion in historic downtown Charleston to enjoy not one, but two floor-to-ceiling hand-carved marble gas fireplaces. Constructed in the late 1800’s as the home of a wealthy cotton planter, the Wentworth Mansion now houses an inn and award-winning restaurant. The Grand Mansion Suite also features original Italian crystal chandeliers and Tiffany glass in its design.

After biking the hills of Wine Country on a bike tour with Sonoma on a Bike or enjoying wine tastings at area vineyards, guests of the charming Hotel Healdsburg gather around the sleek, oversized sealed concrete fireplace in its lobby for one last toast of the day. An urban country inn located in Sonoma County, the hotel also offers a spa, garden pool and screened porch for warmer evenings.

Take a seat by the uber-cool fireplace in the speakeasy-like cigar lounge at luxurious Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. Located on Beaver Creek Mountain in the Rockies, the lounge offers cigar pairings with spirits, beer or wine, so you can relax and unwind fireside with breathtaking mountain vistas. If you’re so inclined, you can even order a $2000 cigar.

At the Resort at Squaw Creek, guests will find one of the last remaining wood-burning fireplaces in a mountain resort. Inhale the fragrant scent of the fire and listen to the sounds of the wood popping as you take in the stunning view down Lake Tahoe’s Olympic Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The ski-in, ski-out resort also has several other outdoor fireplaces, as well as many in rooms.

There’s plenty of room to find a spot next to this fireplace in Chicago that seems to stretch for blocks. Billed as the largest fireplace in a U.S. hotel lobby, this 50-foot long spectacle at the Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago is framed by an intricate Egyptian brass screen. Take a break from gazing at the fire for a gander across the way at the lobby’s brick wall with backlit glass blocks, which are symbolic of the Chicago city lights as viewed from a distance.

At the Taj Boston hotel, one of the Leading Hotels of the World, you get not only your own fireplace, but your own fireplace butler. The Boston hotel’s Fireplace Suites package gets you a suite with wood-burning fireplace and a butler who will light the fire built with your preferred wood. Choose from birch, cherry, oak or Taj blend, depending on the desired scent. (Supples for s’mores are also provided.)

You may feel like you’ve stepped onto the African continent after a glance at this ornate fireplace. While these “big five” fireplaces are a staple of all Kalahari Resorts, which are African-themed indoor waterparks and hotels, the Pocono Mountains’ property boasts the grandest to date. See if you can spot all of the “big five” animals from Africa: lion, elephant, rhinocerous, leopard and cape buffalo (and even a giraffe thrown in for good measure). During the holidays, gather round the “big five” fire for story time.

Kick off your skis and dust off the powder next to this sleek freestanding glass fireplace at the Viceroy Snowmass located in Base Village. Warm your aching muscles next to the fire in the lobby, which reflects the hotel’s minimalist design that incorporates natural elements. Each of the property’s 173 rooms also offers a personal gas fireplace made from glass and granite for private snuggling.

Warm up next to a work of art at Renaissance New York 57 Hotel. This sculptural fireplace designed by Jordan Mozer contains tubes of individually hand-blown glass that surround the flames. The hotel, located on E. 57th Street in Manhattan, is the former residence of a 1920’s fashion designer, and much of the property’s design reflects that time period, while incorporating some modern touches.

The Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond American Club hotel boasts a beautiful four-paneled glass fireplace in their Eau de vie Suite. No need to even get out of bed to enjoy this fireplace, which is located between the bedroom and bathroom. Surrounded by uniquely-designed state-of-the-art Kohler plumbing and an overflowing bath with chromatherapy, the fireplace takes center stage in this luxury suite.

Science tells us that a mug of hot cocoa tastes best consumed next to this stone gem at the Ocean House in Rhode Island. Watch the snowflakes fall outside while you stay snug and warm indoors next to this original 1895 fireplace. The resort also offers a selection of regional books to peruse, or try your hand at solving the hand-crafted wooden Stave puzzle as the embers burn down.

Rich marble and black rock are the hallmarks of this eye-catching, freestanding fireplace at the W Minneapolis, the city’s first skyscraper. Featuring the building’s original Art Deco design and surrounded by dark, edgy furnishings, including oversized leather armchairs, there’s plenty of room to curl up with a glass of wine or good book on cold Minneapolis nights.

Inside Santa Fe’s most well-known and popular hotel, guests will find a Southwestern style hearth. La Fonda on the Plaza, located in the historic heart of the city and at the end of the legendary Santa Fe Trail, sits on the site of the town’s first inn in 1607. Grab a margarita from the hotel lounge and grab your spot next to the roaring fire as folks have done since the current building’s construction in 1922.

Want to Relax in These 10 Heavenly Hotel Hammocks

We have ancient Mayans to thank for the invention of the hammock – the ultimate symbol of slothdom. These soothing slings were originally made from the bark of a hamack tree, from which they derive their name.

Today, some of the most heavenly hammocks can be found at hotels and resorts across the tropics.  And because we love hammocks so much, we tracked down 10 that you should keep in mind for your next trip.

Old Man and The Sea Ocean Villas | Aruba

Dushi Sue Villa Overwater Bungalow

No need to travel all the way to the South Pacific for the overwater bungalow experience, as this boutique luxury retreat in Aruba’s sleepy suburb of Savaneta offers the identical stilted and thatched abodes. The owner of Old Man and The Sea Ocean Villas – a self-confessed hammock fanatic – has them hanging everywhere, even in a carved out sea pool.

The villas are set in calm, clear waters surrounded by mangroves and teeming with fish, so snorkeling after a sling sleep is just steps from your door. VIP holiday packages include toes-in-the-sand dining with a private chef and scads of luxurious extras.

Hamilton Princess Beach Club & Hotel | Bermuda

Hamilton Beach Bermuda 

The legendary “pink palace,” renowned for its first-class service over a century, the Hamilton Princess has placed their quintessential adult cradle right in the sea.

A short stroll into the Atlantic will find you swinging and swaying in the waves, and it’s large enough for two, so canoodling is encouraged. It’s an ideal place to steal away for a rest, which you’ll need if you partake of the multitude of activities this world-class resort has on offer.

Now Larimar | Dominican Republic

Dual hammock nirvana 

Living large with Now Larimar’s signature Unlimited Luxury  experience is a breeze when you book one of their oceanfront swim-out suites with dual hammocks on the deck. And you might never want to leave your delightful swinging day beds since they have unlimited 24/7 room service, too!

Though this resort exudes romance for couples, it’s also a treat for parents since their family-friendly services include one of the best complimentary kid’s and teen clubs around. Mom and dad can hang by the pool and sea for hours while their children enjoy all kinds of well-supervised and age appropriate creative activities.

Secrets Aura Cozumel | Mexico

Rafael Nadal at Secrets Aura

“Rock me gently, rock me slowly” is the vibe while immersed in the sea hammocks at Secrets Aura Cozumel – an adult-only, upscale all-inclusive resort. If you’re lucky, you might even see renowned champion tennis star Rafael Nadal rocking along with you since he holidays there every year, and the sea hammock is the first place he goes after a rousing game in the hot sun.

The sea there is also famous for its abundance of marine life, so you’re bound to have lots of colorful tropical fish swing by, too!

Mahekal Beach Resort | Mexico

Deck hammocks at Mahekal Beach Resort 

Mahekal Beach Resort is another outpost dedicated to the comforting cocoons of the ancient Mayans, and actually, most of this resort has been created with the Mayan way of living in mind.

Located on Playa del Carmen’s longest strip of beach, hand-laid, hidden stone pathways lead to 196 private, palapa-style bungalows with open-air terraces and crochet hammocks.

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita| Mexico

Four Seasons Punta Mita 

Still fairly undiscovered by hordes of sun-seeking tourists, Mexico’s Punta Mita is known for its luxury resorts and upscale homes dotting the lush mountains overlooking pristine private beaches around Banderas Bay.

The Fours Seasons exudes hedonism at its finest, and many of the suites have deck hammocks affording stunning views of the wild blue Pacific. You might even see whales and dolphins frolicking below, and the entire region is ideal for eco-touring.

Pacuare Lodge | Costa Rica

Treehouse Hammock Costa Rica 

You can rock-a-bye your baby in the treetops to your heart’s content while you’re eye-to-eye with tropical birds and monkeys in the rainforest of Costa Rica. Your tree house jungle hideaway in this unique eco lodge has dual hammocks on the deck, right in the thick of the protected nature reserve of Pacuare.

Take a life lesson from your neighboring sloths and simply hang out in leisure all day until it’s feeding time!

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club | Nevis

View from Nisbet Beach 

The only oceanfront ex-sugar plantation resort on the tiny island of Nevis is Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, aptly named for its lovely long stretch of soft sand.

Beyond the gorgeous stone ruins of the old sugar mill, you’ll find half-a-dozen hammocks strewn along the surf with a wonderful view of the waves and the dormant volcano peak of Mt. Nevis – which is often shrouded in cloud forest making it an ideal backdrop to spot rainbows over the sea.

PM 78 Urban Oasis | Curacao

Manmade urban beach hangout 

PM 78 Urban Oasis, a delightful boutique luxury hotel, is in the heart of the trendy downtown neighborhood district called Pietermaai, and it’s full of surprises. For instance, a manmade sand beach off their main “Beach House” suite cresting the rocky coast and wild waves – and lots of hammocks!

They offer six different room types and many have hammocks; there’s even one on the balcony of their top loft apartment. Enjoy watching the big ships cruise by from suspended perches.  You’ll also find yourself mere steps away from eclectic nightlife and cosmopolitan dining.

Le Phare Bleu | Grenada

Floating raft hammock Grenada 

It’s been scientifically proven that people fall asleep faster and sleep deeper in a hammock than in a regular bed, so now add the motion of the ocean and you have the formula for the perfect nap just waiting to happen.

Swim out to the raft in the crystal blue waters at Le Phare Blue’s boutique hotel to test out this theory, and discover if a floating hammock is even better than a stationary one. After your sea slumber, enjoy their unique brand of eco-friendly hospitality amid their award-winning gardens full of hummingbirds.