Since I began a post where we can vent regarding our memorably bad hotel experiences, I'd also love to hear from you experienced travelers: what is your favorite hotel experience? I'll start!
Mine's a 3-way tie:
1) Park Hyatt Hotel, Tokyo. I want to live here - the design of this hotel is gorgeous, the rooms are large, lovely and with incredible city views. The ultra cool bar and wonderful restaurant New York Grill are incredibly memorable. Awesome pool and gym facilities. Great service. This hotel just has a quiet, calm vibe in the middle of a crazy, amazing city.
2) Hotel Monasterio, Cusco, Peru. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job converting a monastery into a hotel. They retained the beauty and history of the building yet made it modern at the same time. Service is impeccable, restaurants and food service wonderful. Excellent location in the middle of Cusco.
3)Vanyavilas, Ranthambore National Park, India. The most amazing service I've ever encountered. When my husband and I checked in at 2AM we had 10 people waiting up for us at check-in, including the chef who made us a special meal. Just 25 luxury tents, about 900 sq. ft. each with huge, fabulous bathrooms and large private yards. The public facilities are gorgeous and well-designed as well.
Hotel Monasterio is available on Luxury Link, I'd love to see the others introduced as well!
My best hotel experiences are between two. Firstly The Banyan Tree in the Seychelles, with our own private villa set amongst huge foliage with views across the Indian Ocean. These views are "to die for". Also our own infinity pool with daybed and private dining sala. And secondly- Al Maha Resort in Dubai. This was such a unique experience out in the desert but staying in luxurious "tented villas" with private plunge pool looking over the desert with the watering hole in front of our villa. Including two "activities" per day. This had the most enormous bath we had ever seen and lots of Bvlgari toiletries also made our stay even more delightful. I would HIGHLY recommend any of these two resorts.
Hard to choose - what I want from a city hotel is very different from what I want in a safari camp, country retreat, or cosy inn.
SAFARI CAMP: Singita, Sabi Sands, South Africa. Superb guiding and game-viewing from friendly, enthusiastic rangers. Amazing accommodation in suites with sweeping views over the Sand River. Relais and Chateaux quality food and one of the best wine cellars I've seen in any hotel (and this one was in the bush). A sommelier who heard that I enjoyed vintage port and pulled a bottle specifically for me (and did a tailored wine-tasting for me later during my stay). A butler who read my mind and noticed which books I read and which things I ate from the snack bar and supplied me with similar things he thought I might like. The list goes on...many places are 'legendary' but Singita is one of the few which lives up to the legend.
CITY HOTEL: The Saxon, Johannesburg, South Africa. The Saxon is consistently voted one of the best boutique hotels in the world, and staying there underscored why. It used to be a private residence and still has the feel of an elegant home rather than a hotel. The suites are enormous and decorated with a warm African style, and plentifully supplied with Molton Brown toiletries. Absolutely superb service and food that was better than one of the top restaurants in Joburg.
COUNTRY RETREAT: Still thinking about this one...will post later.
City hotel- The Oriental in Bangkok. Handsdown the best service I have ever experienced. Here are two examples. We bought a bottle of wine in duty free and called down to room service to ask for some wineglasses and a wine opener. Not only did the ask what type of wine we were drinking so that they could send the appropriate glasses, they sent the sommelier to open and serve the wine. After checking out, the hotel limo dropped us at the wrong terminal at the airport. I happened to mention this on the email survey I received at home after I returned, simply because it was the only bad thing I could think of. They followed up on this by calling me at work in NYC to say they had refunded the charge for the limo transfer. On top of the great service, The Oriental has a great location on the river in Bangkok and is beautifully decorated and full of historic charm.
Hotel in off the beaten-track/adventure location- Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap, Cambodia (Angkor Wat). A wonderful new design hotel ....not whatone would expect in Cambodia. Made extra special because the hotel runs a program to train poor teenagers to work in the hospitality industry...the service was great.
Favorite European Hotel- Palazzo Sasso in Ravello, Italy. The views...enough said.
Very expensive now for Americans because of the euro....so I'd love to see this one on LuxuryLink.
For the U.S. my favorite is the Windsor Court in New Orleans. The service is elegant, the food is extraordinary and the British art could hang in The Tate. Staff are well trained and remember me and mine every time we return. They even sent Hurricane Katrina alerts to those of us who visit often and then updates on the storm's aftermath.
Has anyone been there since the storm? I have not but plan to be at the Windsor Court this fall. It would be great to get another listing on LL to enhance the trip. Cheers...Marolyn
In the US I would have to say The Point at Saranac Lake, NY. This gem is nestled in the Adirondack Mountains on the pristine Saranac Lake. As a former Rockefeller estate it offers the ultimate civilized wilderness experience. Log architecture, stone fireplaces, sumptuous beds and antique furniture recreate the historic Great Camp Era. A refined and relaxed house party athmosphere, superb cuisine and a feeling of total escape made the days fly by. This, I would have to say, is the most idyllic retreat I have ever been to.
In Europe, I would have to name the Hotel Arberg Hospiz in Saint-Christoph, Tirol, Austria because of its "above and beyond service". Some years ago, we returned there on a Saturday evening for a week of skiing with both of our suite cases missing. I was coming from Germany, and the train baggage service had lost my suitcase. My husband coming from the States, his suitcase had not made it either.... We literally just had the clothes on our back. On Sunday morning, Mr. Adi Werner, the owner of the Hospiz, looked at us and then invited us up to his private quarters. He opened his wardrobe, took a ski suite of his wife, handing it to me along with hat, gloves and gogles. Then he did the same for my husband, handing him one of his own ski suites, hat, gloves and gogles, and sent us out to enjoy the slopes. For days, he made all the phone calls to the airlines and train stations to find our suitcases but they never caught up with us. He organized a Toga Party in the tavern where he handed everybody sheets and safety pins to dress up for a Roman Feast. We were grateful for the change of clothes...and the party was a blast. Would it not have been for the generosity of Mr. Werner, this ski vacation could have been a real disaster, but he saved the day... This is service that went above and beyond....
Can't beat Huka Lodge in Central North Island New Zealand for us. Private villa on river bank with private dining in any number of fantastic private locations. Service undeniably the best I've experienced.
Close second - The Witchery in Edinburgh, Scotland. For sheer charm and historical significance this place is incredible. Rooms decorated in 15th / 16th century style - with names like The Inner Sanctum and The old Rectory, these rooms are unique in every way. the restaurant is one of the best in Europe as well.
These hotels sound excellent - and great fodder for a future dream trip. If these are the top hotels from travelers who have obviously stayed in a lot of properties worldwide, they must be great! I'd also started a thread regarding worst hotel experiences but nobody's posted, apparently nobody's had any really bad hotel experiences which is a good thing, it just makes it difficult sometimes to narrow down the choices.....
Did you book the Huka Lodge in New Zealand with a LuxuryLink package? I'd like to start looking into planning a New Zealand trip sometime in the next 2 years or so. I'm trying to get some sense of what high end NZ properties have been available on LL. Currently, only 2 south island lodges are being offered.
I think the best hotel in the US would be the Monteleone in New Orleans. Really great hotel with good service. The breakfast were really great and they have a revolving carousel bar and a roof top pool. The also have a spa, although we were to busy to go. My favorite part was the bed though! Most comfortable bed I have ever slept in! I would def go back!