By Emma Power

50 bucket list hotels that will take your breath away

Friday, March 10th, 2017 2175

Whether for their outstanding beauty or simply because of their iconic pop-culture status, these incredible 50 bucket list hotels have been hand-picked from a worldwide search, each offering a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience something out of the ordinary.

Some of our favourites include private plunge pools overlooking Balinese jungle, hotels with roaring fires surrounded by snow-capped mountains or even hotels that treat the local wildlife as guests.

So, scroll through and take note of those to put on your bucket list. Who knows, maybe there are some you can tick off already!

50. Katikies Hotel ★★★★★

Location: Oia, Greece

Surely an ocean view is on everyone’s bucket list? Featuring minimalist white-washed walls, this luxury boutique hotel is built into the cliffs in the village of Oia, west Santorini. The gorgeous infinity pool overlooks the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea and melts right into the dreamy blue Mediterranean skies.

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49. Emirates Palace ★★★★★

Location: Abu Dhabi

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Luxurious in every aspect, the Emirates Palace certainly belongs on every bucket list. Featuring pristine beaches, sculpted pools and a private marina overlooking a natural bay, the hotel has both mother nature and great architecture working for it. And with over 10 restaurants and bars, you certainly won’t go hungry. Why not try their signature 24 karat gold camel burger at Le Café or indulge in a delicious Afternoon Tea at the Caviar Bar?

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48. Rooms Hotel Kazbegi ★★★★

Location: Stepantsminda, Georgia

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An old Soviet resort with Brutalist architecture, Rooms Hotel Kazbegi is nestled deep in the Caucasus Mountains boasting incredible views, abundant nature and cosy interiors. Relax on the sun terrace, take a dip in the indoor pool or browse the library, your stay is guaranteed to be both serene and chic.

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47. Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard London ★★★★★

Location: London, England

The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard offers breathtaking views of the capital and epitomises chic modern architecture with a trendy Oriental twist. Bathe in the marble-clad bathrooms overlooking the iconic cityscape before enjoying a delicious drink at dizzying heights in GŎNG, London’s highest champagne and cocktail bar.

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46. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur ★★★★★

Location: Udaipur, India

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On the banks of Lake Pichola, The Taj Lake Palace is the old residence of the Maharana of Mewar. Offering a luxurious setting, sparkling views over the lake, fine-dining, and one-off experiences why not take a sunset boat ride on the lake or enjoy dinner under the Lakeside Dome.

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45. Naraya Kusatsu ★★★★

Location: Gunma, Japan

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A traditional Japanese Ryokan squeezed between snowy mountains and surrounded by several natural hot springs, Naraya Kusatsu is an authentic Japanese experience. Friendly staff and incredible views are what makes this Ryokan stand out from the rest on our bucket list, and when you’ve finished in the hot spas don’t forget to try some of the magnificent cuisine.

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44. Camp Katur

Location: North Yorkshire, England

Forget everything you know about camping, and pay a visit to the ‘off grid’ glamping village of Camp Katur! Set within 250 beautiful acres of manor estate land, the site includes everything from Safari Tents to Hobbit Pods and a Retro Caravan known as Betty. Groovy baby.

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43. Four Seasons Buenos Aires ★★★★★

Location: Argentina

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An opulent hotel in the heart of the city, the Four Seasons Buenos Aires is an oasis of calm, decorated to magnificence. Enjoy the heated outdoor pool area year-round or head to the well-appointed spa for some dedicated relaxation. The hotel hosts 97 rooms and 49 luxurious suites; think bright colours, mahogany furniture, and crisp white linen.

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42. The Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat ★★★★★

Location: Ipoh, Malaysia

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points and travel, blogger quote“My pick would be The Banjaran Hot Springs Resort in Ipoh, Malaysia. Relax in perfect serenity and harmony among the gorgeous landscape of a 260 million-year-old towering limestone hill surrounded by rainforests with hot springs. It is absolutely breathtaking, as is your villa with a view of the cascading waterfalls. You can restore your soul in the geothermal waters of the hot springs dipping pools and the amazing spa. It doesn’t get much better than this.” – Cacinda Maloney from Points and Travel 

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41. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise  ★★★★★

Location: British Columbia, Canada

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Surrounded by the soaring Rocky Mountains, the majestic Victoria Glacier and on the shores of the glittering Lake Louise, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel is a gem within British Columbia’s Banff National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the surrounding nature is spectacular and the hotel is recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism, to make sure it stays that way.

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40. Crane Hotel Faralda ★★★★★

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Set in the trendy NDSM wharf area, this quirky boutique hotel in a converted crane overlooks the River IJ, eight kilometres from both Dam Square and the Anne Frank House. The eclectic suites feature either industrial-chic or bohemian-style decor with loft bedrooms, private sitting rooms, rainfall showers and even a hot tub.

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39. Madikwe Hills ★★★★★

Location: Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

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Throw open the windows of your room onto African plains where you can spot giraffes, elephants and even lions. The luxury suites of Madikwe Hills are floor to ceiling comfort. Out on your private terrace, you will find your own plunge pool overlooking the surrounding nature, whilst inside you can enjoy cosy sitting rooms, and a bedroom with more full length windows so you don’t miss a second of wildlife watching.

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38. Old Course Hotel ★★★★★

Location: St Andrew’s, Scotland

This sophisticated resort can be found at the renowned St Andrews’ golf course, overlooking the West Sands Beach and rugged Scottish coastline. But for us, what really makes this a bucket list hotel is the gorgeous onsite spa. The first of its kind outside the USA, it offers the signature Highland Fling treatment and a rooftop hot tub with panoramic views of the famous links courses.

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37. Jumeirah Burj al Arab ★★★★★

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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The world’s first 7-star hotel, the iconic Burj Al Arab is the epitome of luxury, located on its very own exclusive island just offshore from the popular Jumeirah Beach. The suite-only accommodation offers a private reception with a host of private butlers for each floor. Our favourite is the Royal Two-Bedroom suite where palatial does not do justice to describe the opulent interiors and decadent amenities that include your own private cinema.

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36. Icehotel Sweden ★★★★

Location: Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Staying in an ice hotel is a dream of many, and if you’re going to brave the cold, then the only place to go is the iconic ICEHOTEL in Sweden. Made of ice-blocks, the rooms at this art project/hotel hybrid are furnished with thermal sleeping bags and reindeer hides, perfect for winding down after a glass of champagne served in an ice-flute at the famous ICEBAR.

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35. Giraffe Manor ★★★★

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

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Set in 12 acres of private land, and within 140 acres of indigenous forests, this luxury boutique hotel was built back in the 1930s and has remained as popular and charming as it was back then. The most fascinating thing about this hotel is the herd of Rothschild Giraffe who visit mornings and evenings and occasionally poke their heads into the windows hoping for a treat.

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34. Marina Bay Sands ★★★★★

Location: Singapore50BucketListHotels-Singapore-MarinaBaySands-Infinitypoolskylineview

Maybe you’ve already seen this hotel on Instagram as the infinity pool to top all infinity pools, but the Marina Bay Sands is so much more than just an exquisite view. You’ll find fine dining, an award-winning spa, as well as rooms and suites that sparkle just as much as the city lights from the floor to ceiling windows.

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33. Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel ★★★

Location: Jabiru, Australia

Channel your inner Steve Irwin in this unique retreat in the wilderness of Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu. Cool down in the outdoor pool, enjoy a full Australian breakfast in the onsite Escarpment Restaurant and Bar or explore the waterfalls and wildlife of the surrounding Ubirr, Cahills Crossing and Magella Creek.

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32. Sopa Lodges ★★★★

Location: Ngorongoro, Tanzania

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Traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs make up this unique hotel, embracing views over the Ngorongoro crater, filled with grassy wetlands teaming with wildlife. This is a hotel experience that allows a window onto the traditional way of life of the Tanzanian tribesmen, close to nature and full of welcoming hospitality.

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31. Waldorf Astoria ★★★★★

Location: New York City, USA

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Once labelled the greatest hotel of them all, the Waldorf Astoria is an iconic piece of New York history and the first hotel ever to offer 24-hour room service. Located on Park Avenue opposite Central Park, the Waldorf is a centre of luxury where the rich and famous have been staying for over a century. Unwind in the spa, or treat yourself to a Waldorf Brunch filled with delicious eats, while seated in the exquisite Peacock Alley Restaurant.

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30. Fasano Rio de Janeiro ★★★★★

Location: Brazil

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On Ipanema’s beachfront in a building designed by famous architect Philppe Starck, is Fasano Hotel Rio de Janeiro. The hotel’s location says it all – right on Brazil’s most glamourous beach, but better yet is the opportunity to avoid the crowds and enjoy the beach atmosphere from the hotel’s rooftop infinity pool. Inside, the hotel pays homage to the spirit of Brazilian design in the 1950s and 1960s with mid-century modern furniture and soft samba music of the Bossa Nova era.

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29. Bellagio ★★★★★

Location: Las Vegas, USA


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Home to the famous dancing fountains and Cirque du Soleil, the Bellagio is an icon even in Vegas where casino hotels reign. There’s never a dull moment at the Bellagio, so if you find yourself out of money in the casino, pop along to the 15 available restaurants and bars, book yourself for a massage at the spa, or simply set up camp in one of the pool cabanas.

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28. Parrot Cay Resort and Como Shambhala Retreat ★★★★★

Location: Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos

Set on a private island in the midst of the inviting Caribbean Sea, this luxury accommodation is one of the most secluded and exclusive resorts in the world, resting on over 1,000 unspoiled acres of pristine white-sand beaches. Prepare for a beautifully peaceful break as this bucket-list hotel features a holistic spa, Japanese baths, open-air yoga lessons and a Pilates studio.

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27. Nayara Spa & Gardens ★★★★★

Location: La Fortuna, Costa Rica

 

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Hidden in the lush paradise of the Arenal Volcano National Park, is Nayara Spa & Gardens rainforest resort, a paradise of luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine, heartfelt hospitality and excellent spa facilities. Whether you just want to relax or are game for a little adventure, you will find yourself surrounded by nature and wildlife. Recline in the hot spring mineral Jacuzzis with a view over the volcano, or zipline through the trees of the rainforest.

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26. explora Patagonia ★★★★★

Location: Chile

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Set in the middle of Torres del Paine National Park, explora is surrounded by acres of pure undisrupted nature with views over lakes, glaciers and mountains. Its location makes explora a hub for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts the world over, and as such, it boasts excellent facilities and guides to make the most of your time in the park. Explore on horseback through the different terrains, with guided hacks ranging from beginner level through to expert.

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25. Lebua at State Tower ★★★★★

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

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One of Bangkok’s most iconic buildings and renowned for its sense of splendour, Lebua State Tower is a world of lush suites, rooftop bars, and incredible views. The golden dome atop the tower is home to the Sky Bar and the world’s tallest open air Mediterranean restaurant, Sirocco.

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24. Rosewood Mayakoba ★★★★★

Location: Cancun, Mexico

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Inspired by Mayan traditions, the Rosewood Mayakoba is a 1600-acre resort situated on over a mile of white Caribbean sand. Every suite at this hotel comes complete with private plunge pool, rooftop sundeck and your own private boat dock to explore the surrounding lagoon from. The epitome of privacy and tailored service, this is a unique way to experience Mexico’s raw beauty.50BucketListHotels-Mexico-RosewoodMayakoba-VillaExterior

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23. The Chedi Andermatt ★★★★★

Location: Andermatt, Switzerland

Pommie Travels“The best hotel I’ve probably ever stayed at is The Chedi. A true ‘destination hotel’ nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the spacious suites are ‘Alpine chic meets Asian sleek’, with natural stone, soft leather sofas and fireplaces. If you’re a cheese lover then you’ll love the fact that this hotel has its very own cheese room as part of the breakfast buffet!” Pommie Travels

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22. Sofitel Legend Metropole ★★★★★

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

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Just feet away from Hanoi’s celebrated opera house is the Sofitel Metropole hotel, one of the city’s most legendary hotels and a Grand Dame of 5-star elegance. Sumptuous interiors and a classical French exterior of white façade, green shutters, wrought iron and wood panelling, the hotel is iconic within Hanoi, reminiscent of decades past.

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21. Ananda in the Himalayas ★★★★★

Location: Himalayas, India

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An award winning luxury spa, Ananda is situated in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains in Northern India. The spa is housed in an ancient Maharaja’s Palace surrounded by forests and overlooking the Ganges river valley. Specialising in Ayurvedic wellness, the hotel combines Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta for the ultimate in fitness, health and restorative wellbeing.

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20. Claridge’s ★★★★★

Location: London, England

Dating back to 1856, Claridge’s is a true landmark luxury hotel right in the heart of London’s Mayfair. Awarded the nickname ‘the annexe to Buckingham Palace’ due to its long list of royal guests, Claridge’s serves you your very own taste of royalty by sampling what’s rumoured to be the best afternoon tea in London with over 50 varieties of tea and pastries.

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19. Finca Cortesin Golf and Spa ★★★★

Location: Casares, Spain

Mrs O Around the World“My hotel choice is Finca Cortesin in Spain. It is one of the most beautifully designed hotels – you have an incredible sense of place. You know you are in Spain’s Andalucia, from the incredibly fresh seafood they serve at their beach restaurant to the incredible gin & tonic selection. And service is fantastic.” – Mrs O Around the World

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18. Shelbourne Hotel ★★★★★

Location: Dublin, Ireland

This magnificent hotel is set in a grand Victorian building overlooking the iconic St. Stephen’s Green, close to some of the capital’s most famous landmarks. With its signature red-brick façade, the Shelbourne offers you a little slice of history: in fact, the Irish Constitution was drafted here in 1922, making it a must-stay for any history buff.

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17. Four Seasons Hotel George V ★★★★★

Location: Paris, France

A luxurious and iconic hotel, The Four Seasons George V Paris stands grandly at the Place de l’Etoile near the Champs-Elysées. Boasting authentic 17th century tapestries, the city’s most luxurious spa and eight storeys of perfectly palatial suites, this gorgeous hotel offers you the most exclusive views in all of Paris.

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16. Sirenuse Hotel ★★★★★

Location: Positano, Italy

Boasting breathtaking views of the Amalfi Coast and surrounded by an orchard of lemon trees, the gorgeous Sirenuse Hotel sits overlooking the romantic cliffside village and bay. Dine in the Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant, dreamily illuminated by four hundred candles, and enjoy a thoroughly unforgettable Italian atmosphere.

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15. Jumbo Stay ★★

Location: Arlanda, Sweden

Set at the entrance to Stockholm Arlanda Airport, this creative hostel is a converted Boeing 747 airliner featuring original design elements of the aircraft, such as passenger seat windows. If you’re a fan of small spaces, you can even take the front seat and stay in the cockpit or engine cylinder.

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14. Cour Des Loges ★★★★★

Location: Lyon, France

I Am Ella blogger

“My favourite hotel choice is Cour Des Loges in Lyon. Their concierge has been there for over 10 years and if you ask him he will show you secret passages of this gorgeous ex-monastery, with hanging gardens overlooking the cathedral which is just magical! It is worth going to Lyon just for that hotel, and the price is amazing for the experience you get.”- I am Ella.

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13. Hotel Schani ★★★★

Location: Vienna, Austria

Wander into Vienna’s cool and contemporary Quartier Belvedere district and you’ll find this hip hotel with its unmistakable funky façade. One of the coolest budget design hotels in Europe, Hotel Schani Wien blends Viennese traditions with modern demands – guests can check in and out of the hotel on their smartphone and even use it as a room key.

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12. Pier One Sydney Harbour ★★★★

Location: Sydney, Australia

As Chandler Bing would say if he were writing this hotel description, could you BE any closer to Sydney Opera House? From your Federation-style yet contemporary chic lodgings at this boutique Autograph Collection hotel, watch as the sun shimmers off the water overlooking Sydney Harbour and Walsh Bay with a chilled glass of Australian white wine for an ultimate once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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11. Whitepod

Location: Monthey, Switzerland

This innovative bucket list hotel and hi-tech eco camp, made up of geodesic circular domes and a central chalet, offers a unique hotel experience over 1700m high in the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps. A wintertime visit to Whitepod means you can go skiing on the hotel’s private slopes, while a summer stay is the best time to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime hiking-cooking trail.

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10. Marques De Riscal ★★★★★

Location: Elciego, Spain

Overlooking a sea of vineyards, this ornate hotel bears the unmistakable stamp of architect Frank Gehry’s design, with tilted walls, zigzag windows, cathedral-height ceilings and a host of bespoke details. Not just a beautiful work of art, the hotel is a highly sought-after contemporary, luxury retreat.

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9. The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs ★★★★★

Location: Kaeo, New Zealand

Get your camera ready to take in the 6,000 acres of rolling hills near Matauri Bay, breathtaking vistas of Cape Brett, 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the offshore Cavali Islands. The stunning colonial-style lodge allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the rugged coastline and sprawling farmlands and fill your lungs (and soul) with fresh seaside air.

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8. Lough Eske Castle ★★★★★

Location: Donegal, Ireland

 

Bucket List Journey“What little (or big!) girl doesn’t dream of being a princess? Get your glass slippers ready because you will get a taste of royalty the minute you arrive at the five-star Lough Eske Castle. The medieval stunner spreads over 43 acres of woodland, and as if that isn’t enough, the regal interior and luxurious spa situated in the castle’s garden should clinch the deal.” – Bucket List Journey

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7. Beachcomber Trou-aux-Biches Golf Resort & Spa ★★★★★

Location: Trou-aux-Biches, Mauritius

Be kind to the Earth while still enjoying a luxury stay in one of the most romantic hotels in all of Mauritius. The sophisticated, chalet-style suites at the Trou Aux Biches Beachcomber are the stuff of dreams; we love their eco-friendly ethos and #nofilterneeded views of lush tropical gardens, strips of snow-white sand and crystal-clear lagoon waters.

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6. The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary ★★★★

Location: Queensland, Australia

Give the Swiss Family Robinson a run for their money with this one-of-a-kind treetop hotel. Surrounded by 40 hectares of protected rainforest on the banks of the Ithaca River, these cosy timber-and-glass eco treehouse cabins provide the ultimate privacy, comfort and luxury in the Australian wilderness. Each Treehouse comes complete with a king size bed, hot tub, wooden fireplace, kitchen and balcony with BBQ and hammock.

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5. Riad AnaYela ★★★★★

Location: Marrakech, Morrocco

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A 300-year-old palace and four-time winner of the World Hotel Awards Soul Experience, Riad AnaYela is at the centre of an ancient love story about a Romeo and Juliet-style teenage love. The nightly meetings of the two lovers in the palace grounds were later transcribed on a manuscript and found in a hidden room during reconstruction. A gem of Marrakech, this hotel is up there as one of the most luxurious and soulful hotel stays out there…

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4. Matakauri Lodge ★★★★

Location: Queenstown, New Zealand

On the serene shores of Lake Wakatipu with panoramic views of the Remarkables mountain ranges, this chic, upscale country lodge offers 12 luxurious suites, each with private terraces overlooking Queenstown lakeside. Just a seven-minute drive from New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown, this is the perfect base for thrill-seekers who also can’t resist the indulgence of an outdoor infinity pool and Jacuzzi.

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3. Viceroy Bali ★★★★★

Location: Ubud, Bali

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A family owned and operated resort in the heart of Bali’s tropical jungle, the Viceroy’s 25 luxury villas each come with their own private pools overlooking the Valley of the Kings. A resort renowned for its secluded splendour, each villa is appointed with state-of-the-art modern amenities and as if your own private pool wasn’t enough you can always head to the delightfully sumptuous spa.

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2. Ion Adventure Hotel

Location: Selfoss, Iceland

Less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavík, ION Luxury Adventure Hotel offers an unforgettable opportunity to see the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. The modern and funky property juts out against the glacial backdrop of Iceland’s famous (and dormant) Mount Hengill volcano and striking lava fields, enjoying a unique and dramatic landscape – perfectly Instagram-able.

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1. Conrad Hotels Rangali Island ★★★★★

Location: Rangali Island, Maldives

No team-building exercise is complete without the all-time cliche question, “What would you bring to a desert island?” Accessible only by seaplane, this hotel has anticipated your deepest island needs and desires – and more. Idyllic villas stretched across two private island lagoons offer ocean-view baths, plunge pools, glass floors and circular rotating beds so that guests can enjoy the stunning 270-degree view of the seemingly all-encompassing Indian Ocean.

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Looking for more out-of-this-world inspiration? Why not check out our Top 10 private island hotels

Emma Power
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An Irish teaholic & travelholic, Emma is the content writer/editor at trivago's Room5 for UK & Ireland. Aside from eating second breakfast in Hobbiton, New Zealand, her travel bucket list include everything from adrenaline adventures to a whole lot of cheese. Outside of the office, Emma can be found staring up at buildings (passion for architecture) or down into Google Maps (deficit sense of direction).