You & I's Top 17 Hotels for 2016 - By Rahim Latif

Among the first things that come to mind when we plan a holiday is the hotel we will be staying at; the facilities offered, location, ambience, restaurants, food and, of course, the beds, all play a vital role in making the decision. Travellers are always looking to be pampered, and although the comfort of one’s own home is second to none, there are some hotels across the globe that come close!
With our first annual list of the Top 17 hotels across the globe, we present a selection of outstanding properties that really shine. These hotels are an absolute paradise, and provide guests with the ultimate comfort. Each of them has unique suites and a wide range of services and amenities to suit your stay – whether for business or leisure.
Ranging from $200 to $50,000 per night, each of these hotels is well worth the price. While some travellers select a hotel primarily based on its look and price, many also take into consideration the services and activities, area and accessibility, and food offered.

The following round up provides readers a range of hotels to help them plan their next holiday. Some of these properties boast as many as three Michelin-star restaurants, while others are famous for their incredible locations. The following factors were taken into consideration while preparing our list:

  • Location of the hotel
  • Exterior and interiors
  • Number and kind of services and activities provided
  • Accessibility
  • Food
  • View from the rooms
  • USP of the hotel

Chevalval Blanc Randheli

The astonishing Cheval Blanc Randheli is a fine five-star hotel that provides access to an island surrounded by a turquoise lagoon. Each room sits above breath-taking reefs, giving you a view of the gorgeous blue sea. The water villas are among the most unique features. Built over water, the villas consist of a bedroom, living room, and an infinity pool that overlooks the lagoons of the Indian Ocean.

The Deelani restaurant offers some scrumptious Mediterranean dishes, including the Langoustine Prosecco Risotto, Crunchy Pizzas, and Mediterranean Mezzeplatter, and is named after a breeze that wafts across the Maldives. Walk out of the villas to experience the beautiful coral reefs with their variety of marine life – from turtles to soldier fish and much more.

Location: Maldives

The Four Seasons George V

Located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris, the Four Seasons George V is among the top hotels in the world, and is best known for its royal French charm and the quality of service it provides. It features two suites – the Royal Suite and the French Suite – and each can accommodate four adults or two adults and two children. The suites consist of two bedrooms and bathrooms, a powder room, a dining and living area, foyer room, kitchen, sauna and an office space.

The restaurant Le George at the hotel offers Mediterranean cuisine in half portions, giving you a burst of flavours that will astonish your palate. Le Cinq is a three-Michelin-star restaurant offering French cuisine, and is one of the most famous in the country.

Among the hotel’s facilities, the George V lets you have a peek into their exceptional wine cellars, where you can sample offerings from some of their 50,000 or more wine bottles. They house some rare wines from Italy, Argentina, California, France, South Africa, Hungary and Chile.

Location: Paris, France

The Taj Falaknuma Palace

Once belonging to the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Taj Falaknuma Palace was converted into a hotel after ten years of sensitive restoration by the Taj Group, keeping the charm of the palace untouched. Built 2,000 feet above ground level, the astonishing structure stands for ‘Mirror in the Sky’, and quite rightly so; its splendid architecture and interiors are sure to grab the attention of every visitor.
The Grand Presidential Suite at the palace hotel is where the Nizam stayed during his time. The suite is like an oasis, consisting of a bedroom, bathroom, living and dining area, Jacuzzi, a private pool, and a balcony that provides breath-taking city views.

The Falaknuma houses two restaurants – Celeste and Adaa; the former serves Mediterranean and Italian cuisines, while the latter specialises in Indian delicacies. Adaa also appears on the list of the top 100 restaurants in the world. After your meal at either restaurant, the experience is followed by a heritage walk that takes you through the stately hotel.

Location: Hyderabad, India

Oberoi Udaiviladaivilas

Located in the gorgeous city of Udaipur, the Oberoi Udaivilas looks out on Lake Pichola, adjoining which, on a 20-acre property, is a wildlife sanctuary where many species of animals roam about.
The grand Kohinoor Suite at the hotel features two bedrooms, a living room, dining area, and an outdoor area with a pool and sun lounge that offer spectacular views of the lake. Another spectacular space is the Premier Room, which consists of a bedroom and bathroom, and a balcony connected to a semi-private pool. Just a step away from the balcony, and you can take a dip in the lake-sized pool as soon as you step off the sun lounge. As dinner time approaches, you can choose to dine at either the Surya mahal or the Chandani. The restaurants differ in their appearance; Surya mahal has a sky-blue dome with floor designs inspired by Mewar, whereas Chandani is an outdoor restaurant with views of the lake, and western and Indian cuisines on the menu. It is the perfect place to enjoy an evening under the stars.

Location: Udaipur, India

Anantara Kihavahihavahihavah Villas

Situated in Kihavah Huravalhi, the Anantara Kihavah Villas has its own allure. Encircled by lagoons and marine life, the hotel lets tourists imagine endless possibilities of what’s out there in the deep seas. The two-bedroom Overwater Pool Residence is one of the hotel’s most iconic suites that can accommodate four adults and five children. It offers two bedrooms and bathrooms, a private swimming pool, sun deck, dining area, living area, and 24-hour butler service.

The restaurant named Sea is the only underwater restaurant in the world, and adjoining it is the world’s only underwater wine cellar. The hotel also features a UNESCO coral adoption programme that guests can participate in during their stay. The hotel offers an array of water sports like snorkelling, sailing, and more.

Location: Maldives

Madinat Jumeirah

The Madinat Jumeirah lies on the coast of the Persian Gulf. This iconic resort consists of a few hotels, some of which provide villas designed in traditional Arabian architecture.
The Malakiya Three Bedroom Villa can accommodate six adults and two children. The luxurious space sprawls across 531 square metres and consists of three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a powder room, dining area, kitchen, bar, home theatre, a gazebo, pool, a private beach, and a beautiful garden.

Pai Thai is a restaurant located on the creek of the property. You get to experience some of the finest food available in Dubai while watching boats sail past. There is also the Koubba Bar enhancing your enjoyment at night by offering the best spirits and cocktails in town. Thereare also extensive water sports, golf and wildlife activities.

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Shangri-La Villingili Resort

Arriving here, you’ll soon realise you’re at one of the best hotels on the planet. The Shangri-La Villingili Resort lets you have a peek at what’s underneath the lagoon, giving you glimpses of beautiful species of marine life.

Among the rooms offered are the 520 square metre Villa Muthee, consisting of a bedroom, bathroom, an outdoor shower, an open-air terrace, and an infinity pool. One of their main restaurants – Relish – serves cuisines from the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the Arabian Gulf. Their restaurant Dine by Design offers secret and private locations where people can go and enjoy a meal with their friends or family in any beautiful location on an island of their choice.

The hotel offers a range of recreational facilities and activities like glass-bottom boats, marine turtle talk, snorkelling, scuba diving and night fishing.

Location: Maldives

Schlosshotel Kronberg

Nestled in the Taunus Hills near Frankfurt, the Schlosshotel Kronberg is one of the most extraordinarily preserved castles in Germany. Now a castle hotel and golf resort owned by the Landgrave and Princess von Hessen, the castle was built in 1893 under the commission of Empress Victoria Friedrich.

Offering its guests living history to touch and feel, the hotel features exclusive furnishings and a striking collection of antiques and paintings from the private estate of the mother of the last Kaiser. Up to the present day, the hotel is family-run and features 62 rooms and suites – ranging from the superior category to the Royal Suite. Every room is well decorated and combines luxurious pieces with spectacular views of Frankfurt’s skyline. The hotel’s terrace overlooks the park and estate with its integrated 18-hole golf course, which was established in the 1950s. The restaurant at the hotel serves classic cuisines with modern influences, and a distinguished wine list complements the menu. It also features excellent home-grown wines produced by its own wine estate, Prinz Von Hessen.

Location: Taunus Hills near Frankfurt, Germany

The Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora

Enveloped by grand views, the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora overlooks the magnificent turquoise waters of the most famous of French Polynesia’s Leeward Islands. Located on a private beach, the hotel features individual bungalows situated over water, and beachfront villas providing views of Mount Otemanu.

Each of the spacious bungalows and villas boast traditional wood furnishings, high ceilings, and thatched roofs. With features including an infinity pool, a tennis court, and free guided snorkelling tours of the lagoon sanctuary, the hotel is the perfect getaway destination for a honeymooning couple or even a family. Guests can also enjoy activities like kayaking, catamaran cruises, windsurfing, and shark feeding and, at the end of a tiring day, indulge in a relaxing massage or other treatments at the spa centre or in the privacy of their bungalow or villa.

Dining options are aplenty at the resort, all serving a range of Polynesian, French and other global delicacies in diverse settings. Try the Sunset Restaurant and Bar, and treat yourself to freshly prepared sushi and Asian-inspired dishes. Or relax at the Fare Hoa Beach Bar with a tropical cocktail in a beachside setting.

Location: Bora Bora, French Polynesia

The Oberoi Dubaiubai

Acontemporary luxury hotel, The Oberoi, Dubai, offers uninterrupted views of the iconic building of Burj Khalifa, and is located a few minutes from the Dubai mall and Dubai International Financial Centre. The hotel features elegant furnishings and contemporary artwork in each of its 252 rooms, each of which are spacious and elegantly designed.

The striking gold leaf ceiling and magnificent white marble in the lobby are sure to catch your attention the moment you walk in. Located on the top floors, the Presidential Suites of the hotel span a vast 2,529 square feet, and include a grand master bedroom with a study, an Italian-marble bathroom, a luxurious living room, an eight-seater dining table and a large private balcony with a plunge pool.
Dining options include an all-day dining restaurant, an Indian speciality restaurant and a contemporary Pan-Asian restaurant. There is also an elegant bar where you can unwind with a drink.

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Pudong Shangri-La Hotel, East Shanghai

Located in the Lujiazui financial district of East Shanghai, Pudong Shangri-La overlooks the Bund and the Huangpu River. The hotel has two towers The Grand Tower provides guests with exclusive services and privileged access to the Horizon Club, whereas the classic River Wing combines old-world elegance and Oriental touches to evoke a cosy, relaxed atmosphere.

The property houses two indoor swimming pools, a hot tub, a steam room, and sauna facilities in addition to the fitness centre. Every luxurious room in the hotel offers panoramic views of the Bund, Huangpu River or Pudong’s skyline, and has a flat screen TV, mini bar, and tea and coffee makers.

Pudong Shangri-La also features 11 food and beverage options. Japanese dishes can be enjoyed at Nadaman, and Chinese specialities sampled at Gui Hua Lou and Jade on 36, which also has French cuisine. Yi Cafe serves international food.

Location: East Shanghai, China

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

Located in the heart of Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower and Seine River, Shangri-La Hotel is a luxury palace hotel that was formerly home to the Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte.

With three restaurants – La Bauhinia offering Southeast Asian cuisines, authentic Cantonese food at Shang Palace, and L’Abeille that serves French cuisine – the hotel offers the finest delicacies from across the world. The rooms and suites are elegantly decorated with luxury features such as custom-made furniture with crystal finishing. All rooms have a separate living room and a marble bathroom with heated floors, separate bathtub and rainfall shower and Bvlgari toiletries.

Health and leisure services at the hotel include a fitness centre with the option of a personalised coach as well as a 15-metre swimming pool and a hammam. In-room relaxing spa experiences are also available.

Location: Paris, France

Trump International Hotel and Tower , Central Park, New York

A 52-storey hotel, Trump International Hotel and Tower is a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan that tops the list of many travellers who visit New York. Named the only Forbes Five-Star and Five-Diamond hotel with a Five-Star and Five-Diamond restaurant in New York, the hotel offers guests impeccable service, luxurious amenities and spectacular style.

Housing 176 magnificent luxury suites and guestrooms, each suite features fully equipped kitchens, and floor-to-ceiling windows designed to allow guests to get an unparalleled view of Central Park. The hotel was renovated in September 2010 to provide plush seating, rich wood finishes, burnished gold leaf and bronze mirrors, and handcrafted Schonbek crystal chandeliers worth a whopping 30 million dollars! Named the best restaurants in the city, Jean Georges and Nougatine serve delicious food and are the perfect place to be for lunch or dinner. The Trump Spa is spread across 6,000 square feet and is dedicated to providing unique techniques from around Resortsthe world with a selection of facials, massages and other treatments. the spa also includes an indoor heated pool and health club with saunas and yoga classes.

Location: New York, United States

The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong

Situated on the South China Sea, the Ritz Carlton is an awe-inspiring building that will change your views on what to expect from a hotel. The Carlton Suite is a one-of-a-kind space consisting of a large master bedroom, some spacious bathrooms, a living room, a dining area, an office room, and 24-hour access to the club lounge.

The two-Michelin-star restaurant Tin Lung Heen introduces you to a world of Chinese food. With a set meal comprising six courses, it is a must-try for all visitors. Rated one of the tallest hotels in the world, it features a bar on the 102nd floor – the Almas Caviar Bar – that gives you a striking view of the city and the sea. The bar serves the finest caviar, and a splendid selection of champagnes and vodka adds to the enjoyment.

Location: Hong Kong, China

Four Seasons Hotel New York

Designed by the stalwart architect I.M. Pei, the Four Seasons Hotel New York makes you feel like you are in a completely different world the moment you enter.

Each room – from the Presidential Suite to the Ty Warner Penthouse – has a unique design. While some of the suites overlook the city and its massive buildings, the others give you a glimpse of New York’s bustling streets.

The garden restaurant is designed to represent a forest, covered with African Acacia trees. The L. Raphael Beauty Spa is known for its Anti-jet lag oxy-jet energy booster treatment.’ The hotel also has a jewellery store for women to indulge in some retail therapy and gaze at the varieties of diamonds and precious stones on offer.

Location: New York, United States

The Taj Pierre, New York

This historic New York City hotel is situated directly across the street from Central Park in Manhattan, and is equipped with state-of-the art facilities. Housing 189 rooms, including 49 suites, every room of the suite has warm, inviting residential-style décor, complete with high ceilings and abundant natural light coming from the bay windows. The rooms’ soft-colour palettes contrast with rich woods and tufted leather headboards and matching benches. The bathrooms accommodate a floor-to-ceiling glass-walled shower with an oversized showerhead and a marble-clad soaking tub giving guests a true luxury experience. The hotel is located minutes from Fifth Avenue and the Museum of Modern Art. The Pierre is known for its high standards in dining, and it offers both contemporary and traditional fare that delights even the most discerning foodies. Sirio Ristorante offers seasonal and contemporary Italian dishes, from pastas and appetizers to simple and robust entrees. Two E Bar/Lounge is a residential-style lounge that transforms into a modern cocktail bar by night.

Location: New York, United States

Jumeirah Bodrum Palacalace

Lying along the Bodrum coast, the Jumeirah Bodrum Palace features a large private beach area in Bodrum’s Torba Bay, and offers an outdoor and an indoor pool and luxurious accommodations. With suites and villas, each of which offers great views of the sea, the hotel is the perfect destination for a luxurious holiday. Elegantly decorated, each room at the Jumeirah Bodrum Palace has a balcony with a sea view and a seating area. Guests can sample a range of Turkish and international cuisines at the restaurants – the Al Nafoorah, Fortunella, Golden Dragon, and the Pool Snack Restaurant and Bar. The Music Club features various shows every night.

Location: Bodrum, Turkey