Tara Boucher | July 20, 2023
Robb Report has compiled a select list of luxury properties that have ascended to a rarefied pantheon: classic hotels around the world that transcend trends to achieve genuine—and sustained—greatness.
Modified on July 17, 2023 , Published on July 12, 2023
Courtesy of Taj Lake Palace
Every year, Robb Report scours the world to unearth the best new luxury hotels from the last 12 months. Candidates to spotlight in the annual Best of the Best must be splashy, five-star debuts that are instantly earmarked to be globetrotters’ staples. Each of those new openings is hoping not only to make an impactful start, but also to ascend to a rarefied pantheon: the roster of classic hotels that transcends trends, properties with a permanent place on speed-dial for any discerning traveler.
Those esteemed hotels vary wildly: They might be centuries old or have opened just a few years ago, city center hideaways or country estates, exemplars of bleeding-edge, contemporary design or reassuringly retro. But they share one thing: a commitment to exemplifying the best in luxury hospitality. For that reason, they are, inarguably, the World’s Greatest Hotels—and for the first time, Robb Report has compiled a list of the top 50 such properties across the globe.
Think of this rundown as a cheat sheet or shortcut to a guaranteed stellar trip: Every hotel, safari camp or resort endorsed here has been tried and tested, again and again, by the world’s pickiest travelers. Year in and year out, they’ve consistently earned accolades and loyalty in equal measure.
Our methodology for this list was rigorous but simple: Few specialists in the world are deft and connected enough to earn the endorsement of Robb Report; just 21 of them, in fact, can be considered true Travel Masters, a mark of the caliber of their expertise and clients. This brain trust of the travel industry’s five-star experts has first-hand knowledge of every need-to-know room around the world, so who better to tap for nominations.
We asked each of them for up to 10 properties which they vouch for, and regularly recommend to clients, explaining in detail what makes that hotel, resort or ranch a true standout. Unsurprisingly, there were many overlaps, with multiple properties receiving endorsements from several operators—these are the hotels which earned a spot in the top 10. The rest we have organized by geography for ease of reference.
Some of the winners aren’t unexpected—the European classics, for example, will be familiar to most—while others are more off-beat, like a cell phone service-free lodge in Alaska. There are some glaring omissions, too: No property in New York or Miami made the Travel Masters’ list, nor anywhere in vacation mainstays Mexico and Hawaii. It’s a call to action for hoteliers there, we hope, to rally their efforts and maybe, just maybe, squeak onto next year’s list.
Photo : Courtesy of Claridge's
If Judi Dench were a hotel, she’d be Claridge’s—this grande dame of the London hotel scene is a beloved, determinedly British institution that’s been part of English life for decades yet retains a youthful vigor. The hotel, which opened in 1812, outpaces even the almost-90-year-old acting legend—in fact, it just added a subterranean wellness center kitted out in signature zen wood and limestone by designer André Fu. What other hotel can count both the late Queen Elizabeth II, a regular, protocol-stretching lunch guest and Mick Jagger as devotees? The Maybourne-operated property is a sister to sites in Beverly Hills and the French Riviera, as well as another London spot, including the Connaught, but it outstrips them all—book in at the Mews Terrace for a charming only-in-London experience on a discreet back alley. Unique Properties and Events co-owner Cedric Reversade calls the entire place “perfection” and recommends truffle French fries in the foyer washed down with a dry martini, and the service of the “divine concierges, Nigel or Martin” whenever you leave its walls. Ashley Isaacs Ganz of Artisans of Leisure puts it more simply. “It’s my home away from home in London.”
Doubles from $1,493
Photo : Courtesy of Le Bristol
The Oetker-operated Bristol sits in one of the best spots in the City of Light, per Red Savannah’s Edward Granville. “It’s the ultimate location in the city boasting amazing views across the skyline, including Sacré Coeur and the Eiffel Tower,“ he says, of the property on the Faubourg St Honoré. The hotel has its own appeal, too: Don’t miss the trompe l’oeil decorated swimming pool on the sixth floor, and make sure to pause to pet Socrate, Le Bristol’s most important permanent resident—its in-house cat. Book dinner, too, at Epicure, its gourmet restaurant overseen by Michelin favorite Eric Frechon—try the macaroni stuffed with black truffle, artichoke and foie gras or the onsite chocolate factory, which focuses on grand cru cocoas from around the world.
Doubles from roughly $2,054.
Photo : Courtesy of Mamounia
Think of La Mamounia as a Moroccan fantasy made real, a too-much-is-never-enough maximalist fever dream that just underwent another refresh during the pandemic. Come here to idle in the gardens, nibbling on a Pierre Hermé macaron, or sashay round the sceney pool in a couture kaftan; make sure to book a room that overlooks the gardens and that pool and sip a glass of Champagne or two on the balcony. It’s been a boldfaced bolthole for decades, whether acting as the de facto winter home of Winston Churchill or as a shorthand for tasteful luxury for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and, more infamously, Anna Delvey. “It’s iconic and legendary, but it still stays current,” says Isaacs Ganz. “I love the Moroccan design throughout, the colorful tiles, the gardens where Churchill painted, the hidden courtyards and the traditional hammam.” Bonus points for its location, a few minutes’ walk from the souk.
Doubles from $570.
Photo : Courtesy of Amangiri
The name to know here? Audrey Huttert. Kevin Jackson of EXP Journeys says the GM of this property is the reason he recommends it to so many clients. It was only the second Aman to open stateside, after Jackson Hole, and it took seven painstaking years of planning to workshop the footprint of the property, nestled in 600 acres of the southwestern desert like a series of concrete boxes half-concealed in the landscape. Come here for outdoors adventuring aplenty amid the national parks of Bryce Canyon, sunrise hot air ballooning and trails on horseback. Camp Sarika is the latest addition to the complex, with 10 one- and two-bedroom glamping tents (known as pavilions) scattered around 55 acres onsite as an alternative to the hotel proper. “The guests have a sense of luxury in a remote place with spectacular food and scenery,” Jackson raves.
Doubles from $4,200.
Photo : Courtesy of Shinta Mani Wild
If you thought that Bill Bensley’s retro-maximalist interiors at the Capella Ubud in Bali were amazing, you’ll squeal for this all-inclusive, 15-tent resort deep in the jungle of Cardamom National Park in southwest Cambodia. Combing bold textiles and retro décor on the banks of the raging Timor River, a stay here is all about being transported to another time and place. But the “wild” part of this five-star camp isn’t just about the decor, the forest-to-table dining or even the location. The adventure begins as soon as you arrive via the 400-meter zip line over the forest, river and waterfall. When you land, your butler will be waiting. Drop off your bags and dig in. Go orchid-hunting. Join a motorcycle patrol with the jungle rangers. Visit butterfly sanctuaries. Kayak down narrow streams. Strap on your binoculars and search for tropical birds and butterflies. Hit the mountain biking trails. Or simply lace up your boots and trek like the explorers of yore. “It’s luxury but not for the faint hearted,” Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell of cazenove+loyd says.
Tents from $1,900 per night.
To read the rest of the list, just click the link below.
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