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Hot Hotels: The Ultra Luxe Hotlist

You’re going truly indulgent, it’s decided. We are talking, all out luxury, treating you, treating him, treating her, treating the family. This is where you go.

This also brings up the question, what is luxury and what does it mean to you? (Feel free to comment below or join in our discussion on Instagram). Is it the cost? Is it the view? Is it the peace and quiet? Is it on demand service or being left alone? Perhaps it is sustainability effort that goes into a product?

Whatever luxury means to you, here are some ultra luxe favourites to add to your wishlist, wanderlist, bucketlist and more.

The Mark Hotel, New York

No place in the world captures the magic of the holidays quite like New York City, which has been at the centre of the holiday season on screen and in real life. From the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Centre to the window displays along Fifth Avenue.

A stay at The Mark, one of New York City’s most boldly lavish hotels, is the star at the top of your very own Christmas tree. This year the hotel is lending its five star touch to the best of New York’s iconic holiday traditions with its “Penthouse Holiday Spectacular”… but it carries a whopping $250,000 price tag including your own private ice-skating rink, among many other things.

Housed in the beautiful, 1927 landmark building at the corner of 77th Street and Madison Avenue, any room at The Mark carries the distinction of being one of the world’s most exquisite hotels. The celebrity restaurant and bar, workout sessions with fitness guru Dan Flores, hair and nail appointments at their Frédéric Fekkai Salon, access to The Mark Bikes for a whizz around Central Park, even a private session at Bergdorf Goodman’s is up for grabs.

But quite honestly, a stay in any room at The Mark is worthy of our CF Hot Hotels list and your wish list.

Capella Ubud, Bali

One of Bill Bensley’s paradisiacal creations in Bali, Capella Ubud, is a mix of exquisite luxury and design and a tented jungle camp. Sitting in Ubud’s rainforests and terraced rice paddies, this fantasy camp of 23 tented suites with big personalities brings to life 18th-century escapades. Each of the one-bedroom tented retreats and the two-bedroom lodge are all cleverly perched overlooking the rainforests, all with private decks, many with saltwater pools (a true achievement considering Capella Ubud was built without felling trees.)

Capella Ubud transports you to another era, one that harkens back to the age of colonial explorers, with an environment that is both experiential and transformational – unlike any other hotel anywhere in the world.

It is all-world luxury in its eye-catching designs, it’s careful service, in the delivery and warmth of the team, and the positive legacy it will uphold.

Borgo Egnazia, Puglia, Italy

Borgo Egnazia is like a breath taking tale of Puglia, in the deep heel of Italy, stepping back into a small, very romantic, Roman village. Sun bleached walls are dotted with purple azalea and the stretching view of olive groves is complemented by the sounds of the nearby sea, a tribute to the traditional architecture and the great beauty of Puglia.

Enter a world of homemade homemade foods prepared by Puglian “Massaie,” both traditional and gourmet food experiences, as well as one of the biggest pulls, the Vair spa, two beautiful private beaches, 4 pools, and the scenic San Domenico Golf with views that stretch to the blue sea.

Rooms are utterly romantic, in cream and white, with stone and carved-wood furniture. Some with balconies, others with courtyard gardens or terraces overlooking the golf course or the borgo to the sea.

Feeling extra generous? Buy a whole new wardrobe at the Bottega Egnazia boutique with Nannacay baskets, Allagiulia velvet espadrilles and Marta Ferri’s dresses.

The Brando Resort, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

The Brando is really one of a kind, in French Polynesia’s breathtakingly beautiful private island of Tetiaroa – an atoll composed of a dozen small islands surrounding a sparkling lagoon 30 miles northeast of Tahiti. This island and resort is carefree luxury in the midst of pristine nature. Access to the island is by private plane, the resort features 35 villas on white-sand beaches frequented by sea turtles, manta rays and exotic birds.

The resort was designed to reflect Polynesian lifestyle and culture.  Each luxurious villa has its own plunge pool and private beach area.  The all-inclusive resort offers two restaurants showcasing Polynesian and French cuisine, a beautiful Polynesian spa overlooking a lily pond, an organic garden, diving and other water activities, a large lagoon-side pool, a lagoon view bar, a beach bar, tennis courts, a library, and a boutique.  In addition to being a luxury resort, The Brando is a pioneering model of sustainable technology with sea water air-conditioning and energy from the sun and coconut oil.  Protection of the abundant tropical fish and other marine life is core to the resort’s mission, and there is an eco-station for scientific research that guests can visit.

The Brando brings the past and future together into a place beyond time.

Bardessono, Napa Valley, California

Yountville is considered the culinary capital of the Napa Valley with some of the best dining in Northern California is located in this small village.

Swank yet eco-friendly, this 62-room resort opened in 2009 with a mission of sustainability and luxury. Built almost exclusively from salvaged stone and reclaimed wood, the hotel is solar-powered, sources its water from geothermal wells, and uses organic cleaning products, and being one of only four LEED Platinnum-certified hotels in the US, it really is at the pinnacle of sustainable luxury. The modern California-clean aesthetic rooms are plush and the bathrooms are spa-like, complete with a pullout massage table in each one. Almost everything at the hotel, from the Coyuchi cotton bed linens to the seasonal menu at the restaurant, is organic, sourced from within a 100-mile radius. After a day of biking and vineyard visits, lounge in covered sun beds by the rooftop pool, visit the spa, or enjoy a farm-to-table meal at Lucy Restaurant and Bar. Or spend your days enjoying hot air-balloon rides to pedicures.

And while you’re topping out at $1500 per night, you are indulging, in one of the greenest luxury hotels in America.

The Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

One of the world’s most romantic hotels, the Palace floats, the Taj Lake Palace floats in the middle of Lake Pichola and built in 1743, with 360 degree views of Udaipur. The ethereal Taj Lake Palace affords guests the pleasures of India’s bygone princely era. Over the centuries, it played as a summer escape, hosting royalty, poets and writers and the Maharana’s guests. Swifting transitioning into a hotel, with original features, fountains and fretworks, including 66 incredibly luxury rooms, sumptuously decorated with rich colours and Indian textiles, all with spectacular views. Best suite in the house?  Splurge on one of the heritage suites, particularly a corner suite: the Chandra Prakash Suite (Lustre of the Moon), incidentally the first choice of the maharaja.

Vintage car rides to the charming city of Udaipur, the Jiva Spa boat, royal butlers, recipes from traditional Mewari cuisine and arrival by boat – all little facets that make this former pleasure palace the celebrated luxury hotel it is today and feel like the royalty that is has honoured in all its years.

L’Hotel Marrakech, Morocco

In 2016 Jasper Conran opened his first hotel in the heart of the Medina in Marrakech. An historic 19th Century Riad, originally the central part of a Caidal palace, comprising of five spacious suites surrounding a courtyard garden and swimming pool, this charming retreat captures the elegance of hotels of the 1930s. Yet it doesn’t really feel like a hotel, more like the exquisite home of a wealthy collector with impeccable taste.

The 5 Suites have large, lofty-ceilinged bedrooms, all white surfaces are bathed in sunlight, with personality stamped all over it.  They surround a large exotic courtyard garden, planted with banana, orange and lemon trees. Three of the suites have their own private terrace overlooking the lush courtyard garden, also home to the riad’s impressive ten metre swimming pool and colourful zelliges tiled fountain. Spend sunset on the roof terrace, awash with scented jasmine, bougainvillea, and honeysuckle and take in the view of the distant Atlas Mountains and the rooftops of Marrakech.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

With sustainable travel high on our agenda, an escape to the jewel of Oman, is an uber-lux private resort that blends perfectly with its majestic surroundings, completely committing to sustainability.

Take the rocky road through the mountain, or arrive via a paraglider, making the most out of the beautiful scenery on the way down, perhaps the speed boat ride to Zighy Marina and enjoy the resort’s mesmerising view from the sea. Nestled in the dramatic Musandam Peninsula, surrounded by rugged mountains, emerald waters, and a powdery sand beach.

Room options range from private villas built with stone and timber, complete with a private pool to The Reserve, with direct access to the beach and four bedrooms.

As with any Six Senses, the Spa is where your mind and body wellness starts and finishes. The Alchemy Bar offers ingredients inspired by the local Omani environment, customs and traditions chosen to revitalize and nourish the body and soul, and you can experiment by creating your own exfoliator from the displayed ingredients and favourite aromas. Unwind at Zighy Bar by the pool, and you may want to experience the private cinema Paradiso viewing your favourite movie under the stars.

Hôtel de Crillon, Paris, France

Paris’ Grande Dame continues to make history, as not only one of France’s most iconic hotels, but the world’s. It’s where Marie Antoinette had her piano lessons, and where Andy Warhol and Jackie Onassis stayed.

The landmark property was commissioned by Louis XV in 1758 and served as a private residence until it was transformed into a hotel in 1909. Just over a century later and the property was re-purchased and then shut in 2013 for its much needed face lift. To embrace the Crillon’s legacy, the new interiors embraces its history with 18th-century furnishings, while bringing the hotel into the 21st century.

The façade itself is magnificent, with its imposing presence on Place de la Concorde. Sitting behind, you’ll find 78 rooms, 36 suites, 10 Signature Suites, a gastronomic restaurant, brasserie, bar, and a spa, hair salon, and barber shop. The Signature Suites are undoubtedly the most impressive here. The Bernstein, named after the composer who was once a frequent guest, is the largest, outfitted with a wraparound terrace that boasts incredible vistas of the Eiffel Tower and Grand Palais. Then there’s the Marie-Antoinette with vases of pink roses scattered throughout, and the unforgettable two Karl Lagerfeld suites. Bespoke Buly 1803 bath toiletries, ridiculously fluffy robes, divine, ensuring it is really one of Paris’s best hotels. An icon.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Head to this far-flung archipelago for a welcome carefree paradise. Song Saa Private Island is deeply connected with the environment, and protecting and indeed showcasing the Cambodian coastline.

Though it is quite the journey (either a five-hour car transfer from Phnom Penh to Sikhanoukville, a one-hour domestic flight from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, followed by a 45 minute speedboat to the island), it is entirely and wholeheartedly worth it. An evolved tropical getaway with a pristine private beach, spacious wooden villas, heavenly spa sanctuaries and a preserved coral reef.

Built with natural materials, the luxurious 24 vast thatched roof villas, come with 1 or 2 bedrooms, living room and sun deck, some with jungle villas, othrs sea view villas and Maldivian-style overwater villas.

Peaceful yoga and meditation sessions, as well as an extensive spa treatment menu, are featured at The Song Saa Sanctuary. Water sports activities like sailing, snorkeling and kayaking are available at the beach.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Antibes, France

The quintessential Riviera playground, with a stretch of private shore, parkland, pool and pontoon. Perched on the tip of a rocky promontory, this secluded hotel offers the dreamiest of settings with pinch-me panoramas.

The spirit is one of old-school glamour since it became home to Scott Fitzgerald and then was beloved by the Windsors, Kennedys, Churchills and countless screen stars. The saltwater infinity pool is cut into the edge of the cliff, with two terraces of restaurants overhanging the sea.

Rooms range from the chateau, pavilion and villas, basking in retro splendour. Pool to private butler-service to rooftop Jacuzzis, white-marble bathrooms with Bamford and La Prairie bath potions.

Whilst one of the most luxe hotels, it is also an advocate of simplicity. Well jet-set simplicity, we are talking Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Zimmermann, Vilebrequin and Erès, and an array of fine watches.

Amangiri Utah, USA

Set within the starkly beautiful landscape of deep canyons and vermillion rock formations is Amangiri Utah. Ideal for adventurers or those looking for a deeply relaxing getaway, Amangiri – literally meaning peaceful mountain – near the border of Arizona, comprises of low-rising, squat buildings that look like the ultimate James Bond hideaway. Walk five minutes in any given direction and the resort disappears entirely.

A massive boulder sits at the centre, around which Aman has created a pool wrapped around this rock (post special permissions from congress and a signature from then-president George W. Bush).

A central pavilion holds the all-day restaurant, swimming pool and lounging deck, as well as a living room, cellar, library and gallery filled with works by local artists. The 34 rooms are located in two wings with floor-to-ceiling windows and natural stone floors, minimal but utterly luxurious.

Enjoy light to challenging on-property hikes, to the very serious 25,000 square-foot spa with daily complimentary yoga and Pilates classes.

To herald its special 10 year anniversary, the resort will soon welcome guests to Camp Sarika by Amangiri – 10 tented-pavilions with individual private plunge pools on a luxury encampment surrounded by 600 hectares of raw wilderness in the heart of the desert, close to Amangiri (opening in April 2020).

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