Guests of Oberoi Udaivilas in India are whisked to this traditional Mewari palace across the waters of Lake Pichola via private boat from the airport. Guests have described the hotel, which sits on former hunting grounds along the shore of the lake, as deserving seven stars. It’s no wonder— the dome and arches, illuminated at night, reflect on the waters; the rooms are tucked in private walled courtyards and feature Victorian bathtubs, Indian decor, and views of Udaipur, an ancient city that was carved into the desert landscape by Mewari royals in the sixteenth century. For those who really want to go over the top, book the Kohinoor Suite with a 20-meter private pool.
Suite with semi-private pool, $1,000 night; Kohinoor Suite, $11,000 night
CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul sits at the historic crossroads between East and West, a city of minarets with remnants of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires at every turn. The grand dame of the city, Ciragan Palace Kempinski, is perched on the European strait of the famed Bosphorus River. Guests can take in the sights from the heated waters of the hotel’s infinity pool right on the strait’s shore. Some hotels describe themselves as palatial—this property actually is a former sultan’s palace. The grounds are perfectly manicured with gazebos and palm trees, live music fills the air, and Turkish afternoon tea in the Gazebo lounge is a must-do.
One-bedroom Sea View Palace, $3,300 night; Sultan Suite, $32,000 night
Built in 1928, The Peninsula is Hong Kong’s oldest hotel. Affectionately called “the Pen” by locals, the place drips with colonial decadence, from the palm-filled lobby where guests nibble on petit fours at teatime to the string quartet in the gallery. The iconic property has earned so many “Best Hotel in the World” accolades that printing them would take the entire page. Perhaps the ultimate sign of the hotel’s classic pedigree is that guests are chauffeured around
in custom Rolls Royces, sleep in modern state-of-the-art rooms, dine in exquisite restaurants (Gaddi’s, a legendary French restaurant and the Verandah) and are provided impeccable service by bellboys in white pillbox hats and uniforms (guests of the Peninsula suite enjoy 24-hour butler service). What more is there to say, really?
Superior Suite, $1,000 per night; Penninsula Suite, $18,000 per night