The aesthetic, utility, service, and other smaller but well-planned details; it’s a combination of these factors make or break a hotel. Look at a five-star hotel, then a three-star and then a seven-star. The point of this exercise is to notice the differences and the efforts put into every little detail that make them stand out in their own way. Five-star hotels are preferred for their quality. But just having what’s required doesn’t make a hotel a five-star. Here we decided to shed light on some of the lesser known five- and seven-star hotels around the world, along with a few tried-and-true favourites. Regardless of whether they’re well-known or not, they are all absolutely worth a visit!
“The four pillars that form the rock-solid foundation of the Four Seasons are quality, service, culture, and brand.” ― Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of Four Seasons Hotels
1. Four Seasons Hotel, Kyoto
The world-renowned Four Seasons hotel chain tops the list this year with its hotel in Kyoto, Japan. The property combines traditional Japanese culture with remarkably lavish elements. Among the most distinctive features here are the beautiful gardens that seamlessly merge with the architecture of the hotel. Other notable features are the quadruple-height ceiling, silk brocade cushions woven by Hosoo, the extravagant$50,000 washi wall-hanging, and a leather-clad Hermès rickshaw.
Instead of having restaurants with a variety of cuisines, the hotel has split the local style over five different eateries. Michelin star restaurant Sushi Wakon is an example of the hotel’s expansive take on the Japanese culture, created by Chef Rei Masuda and featuring sushi and fresh seafood.
The suites are available in a variety of options. The ‘One-Bedroom Hotel Residence Garden View’ draws on the beauty of the Shakusuien Pond Garden, while the ‘One-Bedroom Hotel Residence with Tatami Dining Room’ incorporates a typically Japanese dining style. We’ve given the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto the top rating because of the amazing way it has captured Japanese culture.
2. The Mandarin Oriental (Victoria Harbour), Hong Kong
In a hub like Hong Kong, the hustle and bustle of city life can be smothered by a hotel’s service. A five-star is known for top-of-the-line service, and the Mandarin Oriental is a testament to that.
The hotel offers suites and restaurants of different types. The Macau Suite has a living room, one bedroom, one dining room, a walk-in closet, and one and a half bathrooms. The suite has been designed with subtle Portuguese and Western styles, but is also infused with Eastern designs. In spite of the range of styles, it still maintains its Macau look. Plus, the presence of modern European Michelin star restaurants and the Mandarin Grill help earn this property one of our highest ratings.
3. Aman Tokyo
In typical Japanese style, the Aman Tokyo proudly overshadows the rest of Tokyo in beauty.
The Aman Suite, a 1,689-square-foot space with a bedroom, living room and dining area offers a sophisticated, new take on Japanese style with its understated interiors. Well thought out features include a tea set, easy-to-use bathroom fittings and Japanese technology. The extraordinary use of plants and breathtaking views from the suite make this place even more magical.
From the conceptual cooking at Arva to the amazing on-property spas, the Aman Tokyo leaps to new heights with some of the finest services available in Tokyo.
4. Four Seasons Hotel London, Park Lane
In the heart of London’s Mayfair neighbourhood, the Four Seasons stands tall at Park Lane. The 11-storey structure features a unique, glass-enclosed spa right at the top. The interiors of the hotel follow a distinctive British aesthetic with a mix of contemporary and luxurious decor, and amenities to facilitate an amazing stay. The rooms provide scintillating views of the wonderful Hyde Park, while the spa and fitness centre offers views of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. The Blue Suite is a hit with its bedroom, dining and living areas, and the fantastic park view.
5. Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
The Cheval Blanc Randheli is a top-notch, five-star situated in the tropics of the Maldives. The Maldives is all about nature, and the hotel brings us closer to that. In fact, a four-bedroom private cottage is located on a private island as its own suite. The Cheval Blanc Randheli Private Island is a one-of-a-kind suite, and the hotel is one of the only ones in the world to offer an entire island as a suite. This island also includes a beachfront guest villa. Imagine complete rejuvenation in the Maldives!
6. Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Built in 1903, this national icon is the hotel to be in. The property is a favourite among Mumbai’s social circle, and is well known for its class, sophistication and elegance. The ‘Tata Suite’, inspired by Ratan Tata, affords panoramic views of the Indian Ocean. This exquisite suite is a one-bedroom paradise spread across 5,000 square feet of jaw-dropping beauty, elegantly designed under a dome.
The Taj Mahal Palace’s Wasabi restaurant by Chef Morimoto is one of the best in Mumbai. Overall, the hotel is plush and magnificent, and easily earns a prime spot on this list.
7. Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London
Occupying floors 34 to 52 of The Shard, the Shangri-La Hotel offers a breathtaking view of the Thames, Gherkin, St. Paul’s and Tower Bridge. It is the tallest building in Western Europe, and as such offers a mind-boggling view. As is a characteristic of Shangri-La hotels, this one has a distinctively Oriental vibe to its decor and interiors. The bar, Gong, is a special attraction, with its view of the London streets. The spacious London Suite on the 38th floor consists of a bedroom with a bathroom, a dressing area and separate living and dining areas, with floor-to-ceiling windows. This luxurious hotel would be a great stay for anyone who wants to see London from a splendid bird’s-eye perspective.
8. The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
The Ritz Carlton chain, known for its suites and one-of-a-kind restaurants, is amongst the most glamorous in the world. The hotel is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece which has expansive views across Victoria Harbour.
The hotel is most famous for its ‘Ritz Carlton Suite’, sprawling across 3,930 square feet of space. The space was designed as the perfect apartment, and is organised into separate dining, living, and bed and bath spaces, spread out to create that fine luxe feel. The suite comes with in-room butler service, best designed for hospitality. There are also two chauffeur-driven cars available on request – a Rolls Royce and a limo.
Finally, the hotel’s height towers over the city, and the Hong Kong skyline is seen just through the views of the Ritz Carlton.
9. Jumeirah Vittaveli, Maldives
The Jumeirah Vittaveli is an amazing five-star Maldivian resort, known for how well it integrates with the surrounding nature. This place is truly made for rejuvenation, from its spas to its swimming experiences.
Their Private Ocean Retreat with Pool is an amazing getaway as a standalone suite –unique because you can only reach there by boat. It spreads over 256 square meters and consists of a bedroom, living room, bathroom, balcony and an infinity pool. The resort also offers four restaurants that included inners on other private islands. This hotel is truly a tropical masterpiece.
10. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur
The Oberoi Udaivilas – a jaw-dropping royal palace –appears as if it is dawning over Lake Pichola. The most magnificent part of this palace is the Kohinoor suite. The room sprawls over 2,650 square feet and is designed with its own living room, dining room, bedroom, office, bathroom, and a swimming pool. Royalty is a charm at the Oberoi with 24-hour butler service. The hotel is made to impress, from its lavish fine dining to all other aspects of the hotel’s luxurious vibe.
11. Le Meurice, Paris
The romantic city of Paris is home to the luxurious Le Meurice Hotel. With a history of visits from kings, aristocrats and celebrities, the hotel has a unique, artistic touch to it. Located in the heart of the city on the Rue de Rivoli, it is one of France’s most luxurious hotels. Striking a perfect balance between traditional and contemporary, the lavish suites have been designed by the French interior designer Charles Jourffre. The Belle Etoile Suite consists of four bedrooms, four bathrooms, one living room, a dining area, a powder room and a dressing room, along with a rooftop terrace offering breathtaking panoramic views of the City of Love. The hotel’s unparalleled experience makes it a worthy inclusion on our list.
12. Mandarin Oriental New York
New York is well known for its luxury, class and huge range of accommodation options. The Mandarin Oriental New York brings out the best of the characteristics of this place. The essence of the place is evident in the Mandarin’s Presidential Suite. The 2,648 square feet of splendour consists of two spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, gorgeous living and dining rooms, and a top-of-the-line office.
The highlight of the hotel would be the Asiate restaurant, well known for its authentic American fine dining. Overall, the hotel comes across as luxurious, without being ostentatious about it, a characteristic beautifully understood when experienced.
13. Hotel Plaza Athénée
The jaw- dropping Hotel Plaza Athénée spells class and leaves a lasting impression on everyone who visits. Classic French royalty is the aesthetic the hotel employs in its interiors. The hotel’s sophistication, elegance, and class make it one of the plushest stays in Paris.
Presidential Suites are always amongst the best suites in a hotel and the one in the Plaza Athénée is spread across 1,180 square feet. The room consists of a regal living area and master bedroom that creates an astounding ambience. The extravagant bathroom has gorgeous marble finish.
The splendid architecture and interiors as well as the extraordinary service are responsible for the hotel to appear on this list.
14. Baccarat Hotel, New York
If you’re looking for a swanky stay in New York, the Baccarat Hotel located in the thick of midtown, right across from MoMa and a few minutes from Rockefeller Center, Central Park, and Times Square is the perfect option. Designers Gilles & Boissier did not hold themselves back from designing lavishly. The stunning use of crystal and mood lighting in this hotel gives it a distinctive vibe. The Grand Salon and Bar serve the most talked about cocktails and wine. The Prestige Suite features a bedroom, bathroom, dressing area, living room, alternate workspace, and dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a stellar view of the heart of New York.
15. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali
Bali is a favourite getaway for many seasoned travellers from around the world, and Alila Villas, located on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula in Uluwatu is the perfect place to spend your vacation. The hotel, which stands atop a plateau on the edge of sheer limestone cliffs, was designed by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 2009. The individual villas ensure privacy, at the same time they are linked to the public areas by steps and bridges that are surrounded by water. The interiors of the villas have earthy tones and stone walls with aesthetic bamboo ceilings that give one a very airy and authentically Bali vibe.
16. Palace Hotel, Tokyo
Tokyo is known for the most modern and hi-tech skyscrapers and structures. The Palace Hotel, however, gives us a taste of the history and heritage of the Japanese capital. Located in the heart of the city’s economic and retail hub, the hotel’s contemporary design, coupled with its setting right next to the Imperial Palace moat, combines two very distinctive features of Tokyo. The interiors of the hotel consist of modern art and typically Japanese floral displays. The Chiyoda Suite is located on the hotel’s topmost floor and is a standard single bedroom suite, with the crisp white and deep orange palette of a contemporary Japanese design. All of these features help make this property one of the best of the best.
17. The Palace Hotel Downtown. Dubai
The Palace Downtown is in a class of its own. Based on the royal architecture of the Middle East, the hotel was designed to look like a 21stcentury palace, spread across the coast of a lake right opposite the Burj Khalifa. Two especially recommended experiences here are the Tea Lounge ‘Al Bayt’, and the restaurant ‘Thiptara’ – both are ultra luxe.