1. Intercontinental Maamunagua Resort
Raa Atoll, Maldives
Even by Maldivian standards, InterContinental Maldives Maamunagua Resort is a stunner. Surrounded by miles of clear blue Indian Ocean, this remote island retreat is home to 81 one- to three-bedroom villas and residences, including unique Lagoon Villas that combine beachfront and overwater experiences. Six restaurants and bars include The Lighthouse, where guests can enjoy an aperitif on the rooftop before dining on Spanish tapas; South East Asian sea-to-table fare at Fish Market; and The Retreat, an adults-only space with its own beachfront infinity pool and bar. Guests can unwind in one of six overwater treatment rooms at AVI Spa, or consult a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, who offers specialist treatments including acupuncture and cupping. But for the best local experiences you have to leave the comfort of the resort: Hanifaru Bay in the nearby Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is teeming with reef manta rays, and one of the best places in the world to spot whale sharks, sting rays and other marine life on a guided snorkelling trip.
2. Rosewood Guangzhou
Towering above the streets of Guangzhou on the upper floors of the 530-metre CTF Finance Centre, the newest member of the Rosewood family is a showcase of understated urban elegance. Interiors by Yabu Pushelberg – the Toronto-based design firm with a collection of Four Seasons, EDITION, Park Hyatt and St Regis hotels in its portfolio – include 251 guestrooms and 355 private residences, plus seven dining venues with outdoor terraces, a two-storey spa and the 108th floor Manor Club. The hotel is imbued with traditional Chinese craftwork and motifs, from the red lacquered entrance doors to traditional silk screens and a collection of contemporary Chinese art, affirming Rosewood’s promise to infuse each hotel with a distinct sense of place.
3. Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski
The rainforest-covered slopes of Dominica are home to some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the Caribbean; a wild landscape of waterfalls, hot springs and postcard-perfect beaches. The newest addition to this magnificent landscape is Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski, a sprawling resort situated in the northwest corner of the island on picturesque Douglas Bay, flanked by Cabrits National Park to the west and the slopes of Devil’s Peak to the east. The 151 guestrooms and suites offer an elegant base from which to explore the volcanic landscape. Cream of the crop is the mighty Presidential Villa, a-two-bedroom abode with its own spa, private pool and spacious terrace. Fresh Creole cuisine is on the menu at Cabrits Market, while Rumfire Bar is the spot to bid farewell to the day as the sun goes down. Hiking opportunities abound in the island’s three natural parks, including the UNESCO World Heritage Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is teeming with rare birds and animals.
4. The St. Regis Amman
Jordan’s beguiling capital is home to an ever-growing number of luxury hotels, but few are as sumptuous as The St. Regis Amman. Interior architects Perkins Eastman have created a decidedly modern lobby area, with a grand staircase leading up to the 260 guestrooms, suites and residences. Here, interior designers Hirsh Bedner Associates have created a collection of understated living spaces embellished with details that reflect Jordan’s unique landscape and culture: carpets and cushions in the rose coloured hues of Petra stone, bathrooms clad in local marble and headboards and sofas adorned with geometric arabesque patterns. Works by artists from across Jordan and the Levant adorn the walls, including a large format mural of the prized Arabian horse in The St. Regis Bar. Amman’s first taste of the Iberian Peninsula cuisine can be found at Mercado Andaluz, which showcases the flavours of southern Spain, and Levantine fare is the star of the show at Tamara.
5. The Biltmore, Mayfair
Adding a splash more glamour to Mayfair’s effervescent luxury hotel scene, The Biltmore is the first European outpost of Hilton’s new LXR Hotels & Resorts brand. Overlooking Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square, this stately building once housed the private residences of London’s elite: the aristocrats and business magnates who have called the area home since the early 18th century. The 307 rooms and suites are furnished in an unfussy, contemporary style, with neutral colours brightened by pops of jewel tones: ruby-coloured armchairs, amethyst fabric in the dining room and rich sapphire-coloured velvet sofas. Superstar chef Jason Atherton has designed all of the hotel’s dining venues, including signature restaurant, The Betterment.